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Family History

Our Family History in Hawaii

Over 100 years of Maui Living
THE IMMIGRANTS Born 1860-1882

Family History
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It was in the late 1880’s with the wave of Japanese immigrants that came to Hawaii from Japan to make money and return to Japan that Carol Ansai Ball’s grandfathers arrived on Maui. Brought over by the sugar plantations, one ojichan (grandpa) worked for the Wailuku Sugar Plantation and the other ojichan worked for the Pioneer Mill Sugar Plantation in Lahaina. Lahaina ojichan opened a barber shop on Dickenson Street in Lahaina after he had served his contract period while the other grandfather raised children who continued work on the sugar plantation. Both families led very different lives, as different as the parts of Maui where they resided. The Wailuku family was large, 11 children all of whom worked to support the family as the head of the household suffered from chronic asthma, hardly a healthy condition in the cane fields. The head of the Lahaina family had his own business and was frugal and resourceful. Further, he had only two girls to support. As part of the fabric of the community the immigrants and their families were here to stay and became important precursors of the Maui that we know today.

THE GREATEST GENERATION Born 1901-1924
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All of Carol Ball’s fraternal grandfather and grandmother’s large family contributed to the family survival by plantation work and domestic jobs in the community. Working for the plantation was a way of life for most Maui residents during the early 1900’s unless you had your own business or worked for the bank. Carol’s father, Toshio Ansai (1908) worked in the warehouse at Wailuku Sugar as a clerk. Carol’s mother, Ruth Harimoto (1908) had been sent to McKinley High School in Honolulu by her father whose barbershop was thriving on 10 cent haircuts. She graduated from the Territorial Normal School as a dental hygienist which merged shortly thereafter with the University of Hawaii. How did these two young people meet, for at that time the passage between Wailuku and Lahaina was a dirt path hugging the side of the cliff? You can see the pali (cliff) road if you look above you as you travel today from Wailuku to Lahaina. They met at a “bon dance” held in all the communities where a Buddhist temple had been built, a ceremonial tribute to those who had passed on . In the same way that teenagers go to the mall to meet and greet instead of shop, so did the Japanese American youth of yesteryear go to the bon dance to meet others, especially of the opposite sex. They married and moved in with Toshio’s family in Wailuku. Eventually Toshio worked his way up the company ladder to become manager of the Waihee Dairy and retired as head of Industrial Relations for Wailuku Sugar Company. Carol’s mom served an important role as one of two dental hygienists who traveled throughout Maui County providing teeth cleaning services to public school children. She recalled that in the initial years of her experience she loaded her dental equipment locker, a large coffin-like wooden box, in the back of a pickup truck and drove it from Wailuku to Kahakuloa on a narrow, one lane road to the country school located there. A half a century later she was still referred to as the “pretty lady in the white uniform who used to come and clean our teeth” by oldsters reminiscing her visits.

Family History
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Many books and articles have been written about the Japanese in Hawaii during this ebullient period as the children of these immigrants became educated and found their places in Hawaii’s society. Carol’s father began his political career during this time and was elected to a seat on the Maui County Board of Supervisors. An important part of the history of the Nisei (second generation Japanese born in America) is their valorous service during World War II as part of the 100th Battalion 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Carol’s father distinguished himself as a company First Sergeant serving with valor in the European campaign. Returning to Hawaii at the conclusion of the war, Toshio Ansai continued his political journey for over 25 years, serving on the Maui County Council and elected to the State Senate. Retirement from active politics allowed Carol’s father an opportunity to serve in another capacity as chairman of the pivotal Maui County Planning Commission. He and his committee helped pave the way for many of the important developments that are enjoyed on Maui today by residents and visitors alike.

 

THE SILENT GENERATION Born 1925-1942
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Carol Ansai Ball was part of the “Silent Generation”. The oldest of two children born to Ruth and Toshi Ansai, Carol grew up in Waihee when her father was the manager of the Waihee Dairy. The old Waihee Dairy site is now the Waihee Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Preserve with Carol’s old childhood home still standing and used as the caretaker’s house. The acquisition of the 277 acre property by the Maui Coastal Land Trust in 2003 saved it from development into a golf resort and preserved this precious resource for future generations. Carol moved to Wailuku with her mother and maid when her father volunteered for military service during World War II. From her home behind the Wailuku Library she traveled by bus to Kaunoa School in Spreckelsville, an English standard school which was a public school but required an entrance exam. Passing the exam required that applicants spoke no pidgin English (broken English commonly spoken in Hawaii). Although initially separated along racial lines, the English standard school ultimately broke down many barriers among racial groups with a commonality of speaking “good English”. The English standard school was abolished in 1948 but it took until 1960 for the final attendees to the English standard system to graduate high school. Kaunoa School is now used as the Senior Citizens Center where popular classes such as ukulele lessons, lei making, and other crafts are taught. Graduating from Baldwin High School in 1956, Carol left Maui for her first trip to the mainland to enroll at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Before the advent of jets the 13 hour trip by propeller aircraft across the Pacific was followed by a 9 hour trip from LA to Detroit. The only trips back to Maui were for summer vacation. It was better than not going back to Maui until college graduation which the previous generation experienced with travel to Hawaii by ocean liner the only way to come home for those students. Just about the only summer jobs that were available to college students of the Silent Generation on Maui were at the Maui Pineapple Company. Field work for both boys and girls, and factory work trimming pineapples to prepare them for canning under the draconian supervision of the foreladies was the typical cannery work. Privileged youngsters, those with parents who had contacts, obtained jobs in the glove room and laboratory. Carol had a job for four summers testing cans in the laboratory. After graduating from Michigan and spending a year in graduate school, Carol married an engineering student from Michigan, Richard Ball. When he graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering, the couple went West to the San Francisco Bay Area as many members of the Silent Generation did, to follow the corporate life. Tiring of the company routine, the Balls continued West to Carol’s home in Hawaii. Settling on Maui, Carol was home at last where members of her generation could finally find a job at somewhere other than the cannery or plantation. According to data in the Maui County General Plan created in 2006, in 1956 the year Carol graduated from high school, Maui attracted only 5% of the visitors to Hawaii and only 1% of their expenditures.

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The building of the Sheraton Hotel in Kaanapali marked the beginning of job opportunities for Maui’s population. Opening a construction firm seemed like a smart thing to do on this island of growing opportunity, eschewing suggestions from Carol’s family for the couple to become government workers. Kaahumanu Center was just being built and Maui was a great place to bring up a family and the Ball family had grown to a family of five. It seemed like Wailea, planned at the end of the dusty rocky road dense with keawe trees on either side, would never be built but its protracted initiation continued the established opportunities for swimming at your own private beach in Makena. Carol recalls how Maui had changed so dramatically over the years before she returned. She remembered traveling to the Ansai family beach house in Napili Bay where the Teahouse of the Maui Moon now sits, when their beach house was the only structure on the keawe tree filled bay. Around the corner when the Kapalua project broke ground and gradually filled with condos, she cried over the seeming desecration of the once pristine site. Decades later, she and her family participated in one of the popular lotteries for a chance to buy a luxury condo and were successful bidders for a unit at the Kapalua Ridge Villas which they retained as the real estate market plummeted, to sell it just before it regained its value.

Eventually Carol took the real estate class in 1978 and passed it. With her broker’s license in hand, and bitten by the entrepreneurial spirit, she opened her own brokerage, Carol Ball and Associates in 1980. For many years the firm won statewide awards for sales performance. Carol ran the firm she formed until 2007 when she and her husband, Bob Yeager, whom she married in 1998, moved to Honolulu where Carol earned her Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology. Returning to Maui, Carol purchased the rights to the Hawaii Real Estate Exam Book which she presently revises and edits. She spends the rest of her time teaching prelicensing classes at UH Maui College, something she finds extremely rewarding. She feels that her ability to give her students the skills to start a new life is a blessing and an honor. She is also the author of an online prelicensing course launching in 2013 and Principal of the Carol Ball School of Real Estate offering real estate prelicensing and continuing education. Besides non-profit service in the community Carol served on the Hawaii Real Estate Commission for eight years and as its chair in the final year of her tenure. She serves as Chairman of the Board of Carol Ball Inc. The Silent Generation had learned to speak.

 

GENERATION X Born 1961-1980
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Rachel, Kimo and Keone Ball were born into the X generation in Honolulu. Although Carol had grown up in Central Maui, when she and her family returned to the Valley Isle, they joined the throngs of returnees to Maui who craved the cooler climes to which they had become acclimated while in college on the mainland. Country living in Haiku without the conformity of suburbia was a perfect locale for bringing up three lively youngsters. When the Ball family built their home in Haiku, vestiges of Hippie land and the Banana Patch still remained and living in Haiku was still a well-kept secret. They built their home on former pineapple land digging up the black plastic used for mulching out weeds as they tilled their flower garden. The Ball children played on the home acreage and in the irrigation ditches and jungles filled with tropical foliage. There was plenty of room to build slip’n’slides for boogie boards with black construction plastic, crafting obstacles to overcome with planks and other creations, playing with friends whom the kids had to import and invite to stay overnight. Nothing was more beautiful than a sun drenched day in Pauwela followed by gentle nightly rains. These Gen Xer kids grew up without needing summer jobs, and often had to stay for dinner at Seabury where boarders from off island still lived, when mom and dad worked late. They, like their parents, ventured off to Ann Arbor after Seabury; Rachel spent a summer abroad at the Sorbonne in Paris, Kimo continued his arduous path as a musician having been greatly influenced by his music teacher, Mark Kennedy at Seabury and Keone did a stint at the Nectarine Ballroom as a bartender, then spent five years as a small engine mechanic at a construction rental business.

In 1986 Rachel got her real estate sales license but when she returned to Maui with a degree in math, turned to running projects for construction firms for 13 years, finally forming her own general contracting firm, Phillips Construction. Obtaining her broker’s license in 2004 and GRI, CRS, ABR designations including top producer, Rachel serves as Vice President and Treasurer of Carol Ball Inc. as well as Broker In Charge and is an MBA candidate at UH Manoa. Her Community and professional service included service on the Maui County Board of Variances and Appeals and Treasurer of the Realtors Association of Maui as well as being a member of the Standard Forms Committee of the Hawaii Association of Realtors.

Keone earned his real estate sales license in 1996 and his broker’s license in 2000 along with CRB, CRS and ABR designations in the ensuing years. Serving as Principal Broker of Carol Ball and Associates and President of Carol Ball Inc., Keone also finds time to devote to community service. He presently serves on the Maui Planning Commission and formerly served on the Maui Police Commission for two terms and as President and Director at the Boys and Girls Club, among others. He served as President of the Realtors Association of Maui, Treasurer of RAM, as well as Director, and is a Director of the Hawaii Association of Realtors. He is an avid canoe paddler and manages to continue this sport which he has enjoyed since he was six years old with the Na Kai Ewalu Canoe Club.

Kimo Ball is a classically trained professional musician in San Francisco giving private guitar lessons to adults and children at the Haight Ashbury Music Center. He is a member of Jello Biafra’s Guantanamo School of Medicine highly esteemed punk rock band and spends his time playing gigs to rockers around the world. He returns to Maui for R’nR whenever he can and of course plans to come back home to retire. What a life. These Xers have the security of knowing that they can make a good living, truly appreciate what it is to live on Maui, and want to make sure that it remains Maui No Ka Oi.

 

Gen Y The Millennials
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Our grandchildren have a wonderful life. There are five of them, three from the Ball family, and two Phillips. We are so lucky that they all live here on Maui with us unlike some of our friends whose grandchildren are on the mainland. Some of them go to public school and some of them go to private school. In general the public school is overcrowded with classes much too large to give any individualized attention. The public schools that the children attend are determined by geography. The children who live “downcountry” go to a fairly new elementary school and Maui High School, one of two public high schools in central Maui. One grandchild goes to a school that at one time was a highly sought after public school. It has since fallen the way of overcrowding and administrative indifference.

Two grandchildren go to a private school, hopefully worth the equivalent of a college tuition that is paid to send them there. The grandchildren are true Plurals, digital natives hooked up to their phones, ipods, computers, and texting. They take trips to the mainland and can’t believe that their grandma was 18 before she set foot in Disneyland. Going to Tahoe to ski over Spring break with the family was as natural for them as it was for us of another generation to take a family trip to the Kona Inn when we were growing up. But I don’t worry about the future for these GenZers. My father told me that each generation should be better than the previous one. For years I thought that he meant that each generation should surpass the previous generation in achievements. But what he really meant was that each generation should have more advantages than the previous one did. Although my father never heard of Abraham Maslow, he knew that it is only after your basic needs are met do you have the luxury of invention. I want my grandchildren to be able to be creative, inventive, caring and self-actualized. I want them to build a rival to the Taj Mahal, find the cure for cancer, and bring world peace….and be able to do it all from Maui.


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