She Was One of a Kind
Our good friend Helen Morita died on March 17. She was 94. After her obituary appeared in the Honolulu Star Bulletin (the Star Bulletin lets you leave comments; the Advertiser has a ridiculous "guestbook")a former "cabbie" wrote this post:
Mrs. Morita was one of those truly great people that the general public never gets to know and apppreciate. She was a living part of an older Honolulu that fewer and fewer of our neighbors remember. Back then taxi drivers (especially at Charley's) were not immigrants reaching for a dream, they were local folks who knew the town (and people!) "Mango Tree / Mailbox." This haole girl from da east coast cherishes my days as a Charley's driver with great pride. In a very real sense it provided a better education about Our Town than the four years at UH Manoa that the taxi helped to finance. Mrs. Morita, or G-1 as EVERYONE at Charley's called her was not what you might call an "aloha personality" on the surface. She was busy and she accomplished a lot every day. She didn't have patience for sentiment - but she did give a Haole girl, new in town, a chance to work. I will always be greatful for that first REAL job in Honolulu. Years later when I was working at a local foundation, I dropped into the Charley's office (the "New" one on Ala Moana) to thank G-1 for the "leg up" she gave a malihini. You might have thought she'd seen me the day before: She didn't have time to talk story. But that's OK. I think she knew that I was genuinely fond of her and grateful. My grandfather, dead for decades, was a taxi driver. For years after he died we looked under every cab dome for his face out of habit. I have long been in the habit of asking Charley's drivers at red lights or convenience stops: "Hows G-1 doing." They'd smile everytime and essentially say that she would live forever. And I will always glance into Like Like diner any morning I pass it at 5 a.m. so see if my boss is in there having miso soup for breakfast. At least in my heart, she will be. Mahalo Boss! Rest in Peace (at last) "April" 787 -- Cloudia Charters
Aloha Mrs. Morita! Everyone will miss you.