Age of Innocence
Chris Urmeneta is one of nine kids and my mother's older brother. My Uncle originally wrote this article for AlohaWorld.com. With his permission, I am sharing this with you on our family site.
Sometimes, I'm still amazed that after almost thirty six years, the memory of what happened in October, 1963, is still so clear to me. Sadly enough, not all memories of those "hannabuddah days" are pleasant ones. But when you're barely fourteen years old and a police officer comes to your house, asking questions and making accusations, it isn't something easily forgotten. Apparently, some Japanese tourists had stopped at the beach near our house and someone had stolen cash and jewelry from their car while they walked along the beach. He just wanted to ask me a few question, he said.
So, I had to go with him to the spot where the crime had been committed. There he tried to get me to confess to something I had not done. He said there were witnesses so I may as well confess. I can't remember ever being as scared as I felt back then. Petrified with fear, I didn't even know what "grand larceny" was, this crime that I was being accused of committing and being asked to confess to. But even in tears and being threatened to be taken "downtown", I still refused to give in. So, there we went, this larger-than-life police detective and a little, barefooted, kid with "puka pants" and tears rolling down my face headed toward town. We stopped at the fire station in Pupukea by Niimi's grocery store, where he said he had to make a phone call. He went in and I sat in the car, too scared to do anything else. When he finally came out, he took a copy of my fingerprints, and took me back home, promising to come back and get me.
I remembered asking him earlier who it was that said they saw me taking those things out of that car. He wouldn't answer. I remember admitting to being on the beach in that area that day. But neither my fears or tears, nor his threats and accusations could make me take the blame when I knew I was innocent. I never saw him or heard anymore about how things turned out, but I will always remember that day in October, 1963, when being innocent was not enough.
About the Author
Chris Urmeneta was raised on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii and attended Kahuku High School ('67). He is married with two grown children in their 20's. He and his family live in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Chris is a purchasing agent for a hospital based durable medical equipment company in Tulsa. “To be able to say I was born and raised in Hawaii makes me proud. I miss the Islands and think of my old friends and classmates often. Kahuku, class of '67? E-mail me. I sure would like to hear from you!” (ex- Sunset big wave rider).