Birthplace: Waipio, Hawai`i
Photographer: Sachiko Maruyama, Age 15 ~ Leilehua High School
|Mr Richard H. Sato was born in the Libby McNeil & Libby Pineapple Plantation Camp in Waipio, near Wahiawa and is one of five siblings. He is married and has four children. He is a graduate of Kipapa Elementary School, Leilehua High School, and the Milwaukee School of Engineering. He served in the United States Army and was an electrical engineer for the United States Navy, Department of Defense until his retirement in 1984. As one who has traveled the globe many times, Mr. Sato currently works as a travel agent. He has travelled to exotic places like Diego Garcia in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
|In the 1950s, my father Shigetaka Sato bought a parcel of land in the Eames Tract of Wahiawa which was at that time, filled with gladiola flowers. This land was purchased for 25 cent a square foot, which was considered expensive at that time. As kids growing up in Libby Waipio in the mid 1930s, we would hike and ride bikes through the pineapple fields, now known as Mililani Mauka, up to the edge of the Koolau Mountains and park our bikes. There was no need to lock them back then and we would walk into the mountains, totally unsupervised. But we never got lost. We ate guavas, pineapples, mountain apples, rose apples, wild lilikoi, poha, popolo berries, portuguese plum and more. We would also explore Kipapa Gulch and Waikakalau Gulch, where we would catch huge Pungee (Snakehead Fish) and sell them for 50 cents each.
|After graduating from Kipapa Elementary in 1942, I entered the 9th grade at Leilehua High School. During pre-war days, Leilehua was on loan from the Army at Wheeler Army Air field. When the war broke out, we lost that school and so our high school was scattered throughout Wahiawa from Kam Hwy to Cane Street, using mostly Japanese Churches and schools as classrooms. So you can imagine the long walk when we had to change rooms. These were World War II days. Libby Plantation provided the school bus, which I rode so I could participate in Leilehua Mules Sports.
|Wahiawa has grown a lot since my youth and is very different now for the younger generation, but it is still God’s Country. I would not want to live any place else even if given the opportunity. Wahiawa is such a nice, little town even though its population has grown.
|I hope the younger generation can remember to respect their elders and others and stay out of trouble. It is important for them to find the right path in life and to enjoy what comes their way. Serving in the army was the greatest gift life offered. It allowed me to serve alongside my cousins and friends and taught me many valuable lessons.
Find a path that will benefit you and do it with modesty and respect.