Do You Remember… Working Cannery


The other day, a co-worker asked me if I worked “Cannery” during the summer.  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I did not.  I told him that I felt like I missed out on a piece of growing up.


A bunch of my friends did work at the cannery and I used to listen to the stories they’d tell.  I had no input, but I enjoyed listening to their stories – which is why it almost makes me feel like I missed out on something.


Eh, isn’t that Snow wearing the striped top?


I remember hearing how they worked the afternoon-early evening shift.  And since they car-pooled, they said that whenever JM drove, the ride home always included a detour to cruise down Hotel street and back around Pauahi street.


Or I’d hear stories about how mean the ladies were.  Or how the trimmers purposely shoved the pineapples back up the Ginaca machine to jam the machine just so they could have a short, unscheduled break.  They said “Just don’t get caught!”



Shoyu Burner shared with me how his new work shoes (when he started the summer job) would later be all soaked with pineapple juice and before he’d put them on, he’d have to shoo away all the gnats and bugs.  Ewww!


At my dad’s funeral, my uncle told me how my dad gave him his ID because he was under-age, just so he could work at the cannery.


The only memories I have of the cannery is riding in the car along Dillingham (where Costco is now) and smelling the cooked pineapple smell.  Ho, da stink!



Did you have the privilege of working “cannery” during the summer?  What stories do you have?  Any other cannery memories to share?  Tell me what I missed out on.  LOL

141 Responses to “Do You Remember… Working Cannery”

  1. ankleBYTERS says:

    Yep…the really big ones are called it, like the one last week…goes back to the early ’70s…’s one about 8 years ago:

  2. Sally says:

    @ankles: Is “haboob” really a word there? Cuz my friend born/raised and moved back to AZ says it was never called that. It was always a Dust Storm. Jus’ wondering.

    And now, back to our sponsors.

  3. ankleBYTERS says:

    Escape the Fate – Gorgeous Nightmare

  4. ankleBYTERS says:

    Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells A Story

  5. ankleBYTERS says:

    Another haboob moooosic time…

    Boston – Amanda

  6. LINDA KATO says:

    Good morning MLCers ❗ Happy Sunday ❗ 😀

    Another beautiful picture perfect day in Hawaii ❗

    Have a great day everyone ❗ 😀

  7. DIO says:

    Seawalker: so what, from Guess Jeans to red muumuu?

  8. DIO says:

    Good evening MLCers 😀

  9. LINDA KATO says:

    Good evening MLCers ❗ 😀

    We spent the day at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Lagoon for my niece’s son’s birthday. He knows how to stand up paddle. Not that easy to do if you can’t balance. Our first day at the beach in decades ❗ What a beautiful day ❗ 😀

  10. ankleBYTERS says:

    Whitesnake – Is This Love (live)

  11. Seawalker says:

    @Keoni – No Oscar or Emmy for that guy. We’re talking coming out of the closet. I’m sooooooooooooooooo confused! 🙂

  12. ankleBYTERS says:

    Jefferson Airplane – Somebody To Love/White Rabbit (live)

  13. ankleBYTERS says:

    The Beach Boys -Good Vibrations (live)

  14. ankleBYTERS says:

    Beatles – You Never Give Me Your Money (extended version)

  15. Keoni says:

    @Rod Maybe he misunderstood ‘dress rehearsal’?

  16. ankleBYTERS says:

    Monsoon or Haboob moooooooosic time…..

    Eagles – Outlaw Man (live)

  17. Rodney says:

    You mean da guy went dress up? 😉

  18. Seawalker says:

    @Mark – Speaking of Ratman, is his shorter shotgun-ridding sidekick Bobin? Kidding!

    Went to a wild one last night. People who we never saw since intermediate school. Ho, one guy came in a dress. Enough said. LOL

  19. DIO says:

    Good afternoon MLCers!!

  20. LINDA KATO says:

    Good morning MLCers ❗ Happy Saturday ❗ 😀

  21. Mark'75 says:

    Thanks again Rodney!! Sharing these stories brings back a lot of memories.

  22. Rodney says:

    Now that’s what I’m talking about! Memories of cross cores, turtle backs, Ratman, the dispensery, riding the bus all pilau, etc.

    Thanks for sharing all the stories and good memories of the days when you went “work cannery”.

    It was a buss-ass job back then, but it’s something we can all look back upon today and laugh at all the good times.

    Thanks for sharing your stories and making MLC such a success!


  23. LINDA KATO says:

    Good afternoon everyone ❗ 😀

  24. gretch says:

    Happy Aloha Friday! Reading these cannery stories sure brought back memories – good and bad! I wen work cannery two whole summers back in the early 80’s. Had that afternoon-to-night shift. After pau work, bunch of us had to hoof it out fast to the bus stop by Club Hanagasa to make the last Makaha bus for the night (the only one we could catch)! Bus driver would yell at all of us stinky kids to move all the way back! But while trimming pine, had some of the best laughs! Sometimes the ginaca would stop/get stuck – then when it restarted, only the cores would come rushing out. Sometimes it wouldn’t restart right away, so the older Filipino & Samoan ladies would start whittling away at the cores. Boy, they had some naughty stuff to show us newbies! Honest and hard work, simpler times. Good memories.

  25. ankleBYTERS says:

    Pink Floyd – Is There Anybody Out There?

  26. ankleBYTERS says:


    I wonder who the QB will be in ’12 ❓ I hope UH has a gang buster of a year this coming season ❗ I want to see them more on TV ❗ If there were season DVDs available from their ’06-’07 games (minus the Sugar Bowl 🙁 ) I wouldn’t hesitate to buy them.

    If you keep your eyes open for any length of time, guarantee, dust in the eyes. Looks like wind, dust and rain this evening….

  27. Seawalker says:

    @ankles – They have a kid named Graves who’s supposed to be pretty good. But all the good ones (QBs) start early on in their career. So I think you’re right, if U.H. does get Forcier, their will be some transferring going on or position changes.


    BTW, that dust storm, does it get into your eyes? You know how when dirt gets in the wind, you automatically squint your eyes…

  28. ankleBYTERS says:

    Gloria Estefan – Turn the Beat Around

  29. ankleBYTERS says:

    Green Day – Boulevard Of Broken Dreams (Live)

  30. ankleBYTERS says:


    They NEVER go on strike or have lock outs ❗ I pretty much gave up on football season for ’11, could care less about the NBA either….the majority make more in one year than most of us make in a lifetime ❗ No sympathy from me. Forcier sits out this season and has two years to play two right. I wonder what the other QBs will think ❓ There may be a transfer or two ❓

    Now on to Aloha Friday happy hour mooooooosic…

    My Chemical Romance – Bulletproof Heart

  31. DIO says:

    Gooooooood afternoon everybody 😀

  32. Seawalker says:

    Hey @M, post #100 on Aloha Friday means you have to buy a round for the rest of us working stiffs. 🙂

    @ankles – Tsai said on his blog that he thinks Tate Forcier will sign with U.H. Tsai spoke with Forcier yesterday. Woohoo, that would be the ace in the hole when competition begins in the Mountain West. If Forcier had success as a passer in the Big 10, then he should tear ’em up here. Now, all U.H. needs is to reload the slots and wideouts. College football… it can’t get better than this!

  33. LINDA KATO says:

    Loved reading all of your stories ❗ What a memory to “work cannery” ❗

  34. LINDA KATO says:

    Good morning MLCers ❗ Happy Aloha Friday ❗ 😀

  35. M says:

    100! Guud morning MLCers!
    Happy Aloha Friday!

  36. ct says:

    @RealOne – I agree … dats the only way to eat pine … fresh … almost gold … got spoiled … so that’s another reason cannot eat pine nowadays … somehow doesn’t taste as good … maybe became a pineapple snob … lol

  37. DIO says:

    I wish I had the opportunity to take a cannery tour. I took a tour of Kahuku Sugar Mill many years ago, but never a cannery tour, despite it being located closer to where I lived.

  38. ct says:

    @Mark’75 – Yeah … and got pretty good at spinning stuffs like bottles and folding umbrellas … and flashlights … bad habit from spinning da pine … *yikes*

  39. RealOne says:

    My mom was a nurse in the dispensary, swing shift (2:30-11:00PM). Lots of stories. Before I had age, I used to go “work” with her. Saw lots of PA burns. Whenever you visited the dispensary, you had to sign in. Everyone had a medical card with documentation of all visits. So you signed in, time entered when you arrived, the clerk retrieved your card and you waited your turn. Once, Mom was in back eating dinner and some guy walked in with a juice cup. He didn’t sign in. He told me, “from today”, as he gave me the cup. When I looked in the cup, there wrapped in paper towel was a 2inch piece of an index finger. Anytime, there was an industrial accident like this the whole line, ginaca>trimmer>packer>processing>pallet stacker would shut down. Really, think about, they had to find the missing piece!
    BTW, yes I did work cannery. Nurse’s daughter, yes, I was privileged, never worked the line. I worked in the Inspection Dept, old time quality assurance. After a month, I was pulled out and became a Tour Guide. Yeah, I hear it already. Did it for many years, slow days 4 tours/day, busy days 8-9 tours/day. We took the tourists on the walkway above the ginaca machines. I loved watching those machines.
    I love FRESH pine, that’s the only way to eat PA. My mom worked cannery for 20+ years, brought home fresh all the time. I ate 1-2 slices on each tour. I could’ve been a PA poster girl!

  40. Mark'75 says:

    @ct: Did you ever notice that after a long shift, the fingers of the hand that grabs the pine cylinder seems to roll by itself?

  41. ct says:

    okay … da fingahs not working … dats “bribe” not bride … bettah quit befoa get brain damage …

  42. ct says:

    @Mark’75 – Da secret wuz to bride da Filipino fore lady … so you could work the same table with da same crew as much as possible … until da oddah folks started foa wine and den squeal to da lunas … den had to move tables for a while … jus no get da 2 tall pines … da buggahs jus like da big juice can size … heavy and dripping with juice … bummahs …

  43. Seawalker says:

    I still remember going down to apply at the Cannery. They hired you on the spot. Think they asked for a T.B. clearance, and that was it. 🙂

  44. Mark'75 says:

    @ct: Yeah, I mentioned the slots earlier in the blog…but ho man, I’m jealous! I never got to shoot a hockey puck across the table. Don’t think the lady across would like it much. You guys had all the fun on the night shift.

  45. ct says:

    @Mark’75 – I don’t why I remember all this … cuz … have a hard time what I did yesterday … hahahaha

    If you remembah … Dole the trimmers had two chutes … one to juice the other to mill. If da guy across from you got bored and wanted to make trouble … they would through a turtle back or mushy pine at an angle down da juice chute … if he got the angle right … it would bouce up you mill chute and whack you … just like a hockey puck … so that’s where da marble pine came in … to fight back … and because it went under … nobody really knew what wuz going on …

  46. Seawalker says:

    @ct – Sticks, eh? Can’t remember. But it must’ve been the sticks to dislodge the pineapples. But I do remember this: do not stick you hands in the machines and make sure the crowns are facing all one way. And the taste of pineapples? Love ’em till this very day!

  47. Mark'75 says:

    @ct: Wow… brown hard marble pine…gee, this and cross cores…I forgot all about them… thanks! Never got into pineapple fights, being surrounded by old ladies though.

  48. ct says:

    @Mark’75 – We used to sharpen our knives on the rail … okay … not supposed to … but then da rail got real sharp too … so we used it to cut da cylinders with da rail … dats one thing we learned real fast … how to take care da knife … and keep em sharp … let da knife do da work …

  49. ct says:

    @Mark’75 – Yeah … an used to have da rock hard marble pine … we used to save em … in case had da pineapple fight … wuz deadly as ammo …

  50. ct says:

    @Seawalker – Don’t knock it … had some good looking packers … jus dat they nevah really speak english … so had to play charades … with da hand motions … hahaha …

  51. ct says:

    @Seawalker – Home come you nevah have da stick … hahaha … I remember da Ginaca guys had this long pole … so if the bin feed jammed they could unjam em … oddah wise … da pine would stack … and avalanche …

  52. Seawalker says:

    Sometimes the pineapples would get stuck coming down the chutes. But some of us would unjam it by whipping a pineapple at the blockage. Not me, I would just sit there and wait. Why? Because I was paid by the hour. 🙂

  53. Mark'75 says:

    Pionomo rolls…..hmmm….could’ve gone night shift!

  54. Seawalker says:

    Who said had chicks? That’s what I remembered… choke Filipinas worked there. But hey, one man’s passion is another man’s poison.

    Okay @che, what’s the secret recipe to pineapple juice? We’re not talking recycled, are we?

  55. DIO says:

    Mark’75: At least you were working indoors. Around my neighborhood, I can become shark bait working outside! 😆

  56. Mark'75 says:

    @ct: That’s right! Cross cores. Forgot about that. Had to chop the pineapple cylinder in half lengthwise and put in on the top, above the center conveyor belt in front of you. Think was by the 5th one, we replaced the half cylinders with a full one. Then the forelady would yell at the ginaca guy.

    Working the day shift, was dark when we started, was dark when we finished, didn’t have to worry about looking Filipino. I turned shark bait.

  57. ct says:

    okay … pau … for now …

  58. ct says:

    But I don’t think I ever at so much baloney in my life … used to fry baloney … da kine with da red casing … every day foa make 2 sandwiches … no can use mayo … cuz … used to eat foa lunch every day … bring ’em down to the trimming table with thermos … cuz only had 30 min for lunch … so stay at the table and grind … and nap … dessert wuz one Good News candy bar … (used to buy em by da box) … also good for trading … or for favors …

  59. ct says:

    @DIO – Yeah … they don’t make ’em like they used to … real sugar … real butter … Kam bakery … and ensaimadas … onoooooolicioussss

  60. ct says:

    For the first couple of weeks … man … da best pine you ever tasted in your life … hoooo da sweet … like candy … den … you jus get sick of it … don’t really eat pine to this day … hahaha

  61. DIO says:

    ct: Dang, don’t mention Pianomo rolls. I looooooooooooooooove that. Problem is, it ain’t easy to find in my neck of the woods. 🙁

  62. ct says:

    We used to bring snacks … like Pionomo rolls for the fore ladies at the one tall pine (small pine) to bribe them so we could work at their table and keep da same guyz together … oohhh forgot to mention that we had to rotate every half hour so that everyone had a chance at the front … if you had a good crew … one person would pick up and trim an extra pine so if you were at the back … you could cruise or nap for half hour …

  63. ct says:

    okay … dats threw on pine back up … not through … *yikes*

  64. ct says:

    How it worked at Dole … the Ginaca chute alternated feeding 5 pines on each side of the table (I think at Del Monte it went around) every so many seconds … there were 10 workers at each table … 5 on each side … so you had to trim about 5 or 6 pines a minute depending on the size of pine.

    As someone mentioned earlier … if you worked with a jerk (real word substituted) … he through one pine back up the chute … and left 4 for the others … then through 2 back … then 3 … then over time … made 2 groups of 4 close together … thus trimming the minimum amount of pine possible. This would cause some pretty bad beefs …

  65. ct says:

    @Mark’75 – We used to pound on the wall to keep da Ginaca feeder up … sometimes da guy would fall asleep and we used to get plenty cross cores (when da pine goes in sideways) and turtle backs (when goes in crooked) … and smash so flood of juice and skin comes flowing down the chute and belt … used to hate that because if you in da front … you gotta keep count of the cross cores … bummers …

  66. ct says:

    Yeah …had da tube socks … cut off da toes … and cut one small hole for your thumb so moa easily foa put in da gloves … but in order to keep da juice from dripping … learned real fast to fold the end of glove back … and keep da elbows up …

  67. ct says:

    Bummers … wuz too short for tray boy … so … had to trim … and with the long hair styles in the 70’s … we had to wear da bonnett … wuz kinda funny because to get the smell off … we went to da beach almost everyday foa get da smell off after the morning shift … so we got pretty black … so all the Filipino fore ladies thought I wuz Filipino … so they would sing and talk to us in Filipino … hahaha

  68. Mark'75 says:

    @Rodney: Thank you for posting this topic. It’s brought back a lot.

  69. ct says:

    Yeah … couldn’t get one state job … or one job at da supah market … gas station … or even McD’s … soooooo … worked at Dole

    Yep … dat wuz the only job left for me … along with some other Kalani boyz … wuz hard work but … hey … we managed to have a good time …

  70. Mark'75 says:

    My sister worked at the cannery about a summer or two before me as a packer. I recall she once asked her co-worker, “Why is the machine called ginaca? The co-worker answered, “Because a man named Ginaca invented it.” My sister said, “Oh…I thought it was because it goes ginaca, ginaca, ginaca…” LOL

  71. ct says:

    Good evening MLCer’s … howzit

  72. che says:

    My grandma worked at Dole for 35 years, my dad and uncle worked there and my older sister worked there. I was the last in my family to work there. You don’t want to know what they use to make juice.

  73. Mark'75 says:

    There was a short stocky Japanese man who always wore khaki shirt, khaki pants, and black rubber boots. Like all of us, he rode a bicycle around the plant. We knew him as “Ratman.” “Ratman” was the, yup, exterminator and had ingenious ways of trapping and killing rats. And he killed them by the score. Whenever I’d see him making his rounds, I followed, making niele.

    Around mid-morning, a lunchwagon would come to the cannery and stop by the warehouses. I always bought a manapua from the wagon, until one day I saw “Ratman” laughing and joking with the lunchwagon guy. I looked down at my half-eaten manapua and thought…

  74. Mark'75 says:

    After getting off the bus and running up the ramp to the locker room, it would still be dark at 5:30 am.

    In the summer of ’74, this song would often be pounding in the locker room:

  75. Mark'75 says:

    @shoyu burner: thanks for the info…maybe I’ll stop by there again to check out the model, by myself so I can take my time.

  76. shoyu burner says:

    @Jibo’s bro., da “stonebreaker” was good at “trees and Black outs” hehehe….

  77. shoyu burner says:

    Wow, jus’ finished my shift at da Cannery!…. I still have my ID badge somewhere. @Mark ’75, Dole Cannery square still has the scale model on display in the atrium area. Funny thing is that my office is in da “Cannery”. I guess you could call it “full circle”, yikes! (actually worked @ Delmonte)

  78. NaPueo says:

    @Sally: I was told that real good money could be made if you worked the fields on Lanai.

    First timers also had to stay away from the gamblers.

  79. Sally says:

    I was told that real good money could be made if you worked the fields on Lanai. Later realized it was because there is absolutely nothing to do on Lanai. Beach is free.

  80. KAN says:

    I’m like Ankles – I never had to work Cannery. I had friends who did, and they never got the pine smell off of them for the entire summer.

  81. ankleBYTERS says:

    I am blessed ❗ 😉 Never worked at the cannery, none of my friends did also..we all worked at gas stations while in high school.

  82. Mark'75 says:

    In the ’90s when Dole Cannery Square first opened, I had a flashback that took me way back. In the food court area, there’s a scale model of the cannery and adjacent can plant.

    Back when I worked in the Electric Shop, I had the run of the entire plant to check for…burnt out lightbulbs. Castle and Cooke had just laid off a great number of administrative staff and many offices were vacated. In a room that’s just about where the food court is now, I saw a scale model of the cannery, the exact SAME model that’s in the food court.

    Seeing it again was a ‘chicken skin’ moment, and I ended up taking a lot of time looking at and remembering the details…running up the ramp to the locker room…Electric Shop…Machine Shop…Bran Storage…warehouses labeled in the year they were constructed…until the kids yelled, “C’mon dad!!!”

    At that time, the cannery was still in operation and tours were offered. Although it operated at just a portion of what it was, the tour brought back a lot of memories.

  83. Mark'75 says:

    I wrote about my 4 summers of Dole cannery experience back in April. Yeah, my friend and I signed up, hoping to get onto the night shift where all the young girls worked, but ended up assigned to the day shift with the old ladies on the trimming tables. In the beginning, I got those mean pineapple acid burns on the forearms that would blister. Like superman808 and MaryC, I cut off the feet of tube socks and slid them up my forearms, along with the baby powder that the cannery provided.

    Working with the old ladies had its benefits. During a lull, one lady would grab my knife, and scrape the blade with her blade, making it razor sharp. When I learned the forelady was actually human, once in a while she’d pass around a tray of sliced pineapple that was the sweetest you could ever have tasted. (They knew the best)

    On the trimming table, there were two slots in front of you. One was for the “eyes” of the pineapple that was leftover from the ginaca machine that you trimmed off. That slot ended up on a chute bound for pineapple juice. The other slot was for the hard skin of the pineapple the ginaca machine missed, that you chopped off the pineapple cylinder. This slot ended up on a chute for bran (cattle feed). During peak season (12 hr. shifts) when things got hectic, it didn’t seem to matter which slot you shoved things into, just to keep up.

    After work, getting onto the bus, we must have reeked. People made sour faces as we got on. Once I heard a comment, “You think this is bad, wait ’til the tuna packers get on.”

    The next 3 summers were a cruise, working at the Electric Shop, changing lightbulbs. A “seasoned” seasonal worker. LOL

  84. Jibo's Brother says:

    Whoa-what a coincidence. Was talking about my best job and it was working at Del Monte cannery as a trimmer.

    I was one of 2 guys on our line, the rest were cute girls. With the money I earned I used it to buy a red Bill Stonebraker pintail surfboard.

    Ahh, what memories!

  85. MaryC says:

    @superman808, yep, wore those tube socks on our arms. Actually, we sometimes let the juice DRIP down our arms so we could get out of work for a half hour or so while waiting at dispensary. But looking back “now that I’m older and wiser”, that was pretty stupid way to get out of work!

  86. Seawalker says:

    Those Farrington mahu-lani(s) must’ve migrated to the gym where I’m at. After a workout, the highlight of their day is at the showers and locker room judging from the amount of time they spend there.

    We wore ear plugs while tending to the ginaca machine. That cut off one of your senses completly. You also wore thick rubber gloves and the pineapples really messed up your sense of smell.

  87. superman808 says:

    @MaryC…did you cut up “tube socks” and put your hands through them before you put your gloves on? I remember doing that…it helped the pineapple burns.

    I learned my first day…it was a mean rash.

  88. Keoni says:

    I’m glad I didn’t work cannery – those pineapple burns sound nasty! No such danger from liquid chocolate.

  89. ankleBYTERS says:

    That’s snow….she’s the tallest one in the picture 😉 😆

  90. MaryC says:

    I worked cannery for 3 summers. The work was HARD, but being out all night (worked graveshift) made it worthwhile! (Otherwise I’d never be out “all night”). I remember those mean ladies, and going to the dispensary with pineapple burn down my forearms. We ate our dinner in a huge room upstairs that looked like a school cafeteria. I didn’t drive back then, and would walk to Fort Street Mall to catch the bus to Wahiawa. But before the bus would stop at Woolworths to get some fried chicken (this was at 7 AM!!). Good fun days!

  91. superman808 says:

    I went to private school and I “work Cannery”… 🙂

    Dole Cannery was my very first job in senior year of high school. The Monday-Friday 10pm-6am graveyard shift ROCKED…we had the best of fights, the hot chicks, and you got to sneak out to the restroom, take a dump and pass out on the toilet. Oh boy, what an experience. Not to mention a handful of mahu boys from Farrington eyeing you up in the open communal shower room as you’re bare balls. 🙁

    BTW, as much as I scrubbed myself down with soap, and shampoo, couldn’t get that pineapple scent off me. Fellow bus riders probably thought I was wearing chic-do’le.

    What a THRILL!

    Working the Ginaca machine (tearing off the crown from the pine and orienting the fruit in one direction for 8 hours straight) was such a monotonous job, that anyone would be bored out of their minds. I stuck it out through the entire summer. Plus, I had another job down the street at Jack-in-the-Box on the weekends.

    Every once in awhile, I’ll dream about that job, and how much life was simple…really.

  92. Seawalker says:

    @snow – You should say it’s you cause that broad looks like a supervisor. Everyone else is wearing light-colored clothing. 🙂

  93. Seawalker says:

    I was a real short-timer with the cannery. Lasted only 3 days. Makes me want to dig up my old W-2’s to serve as my badge of courage. But for all those who never worked there, wimps! Hehehe. It was something I really wanted to try even though I already had another PT job and took summer school classes. Since I had no connections, I was with the front-line goons. The dreaded ginaca machine. But at least I did the morning shift. Stories? Not really. No good looking chicks while I was there. 🙂 No incentive to stay longer than 3 whole days.

  94. dihudfan says:

    hemajang… I worked there ’63-’64… I also got the job because my parents knew someone inside. I remember the cafeteria, ate there all the time… jukebox was also going and they had a pool table. The one most hated thing about working there was going home with wet shoes every nite. I had to shoot down the machines after the run was over. I think it was really good experience working there. It made me think of future jobs.

  95. snow says:

    good morning MLCers!

    hmmm… rod, does that look like me? i wouldn’t have been caught dead in that hat! 🙄 lol… i didn’t work at the cannery either! i thought we would have had more cannery stories here… but it seems like others may have had the same aversion that i did! i worked at liberty house instead… and worked there for a really long time… about 15 years (even got a pension… woo hoo! lol.)! i don’t think i would have lasted at the cannery… too smelly… and, well, i didn’t like to get dirty (and still don’t!)! haha!

  96. LINDA KATO says:

    I worked as a dental assistant during the entire summer before my senior year in high school to fill in for our dental assistant on maternity leave. I earned $1.00 per hour (minimum wage was $1.25). I was told since I was learning the job by on the job training, I could be paid less. It was the hardest work I’ve ever done on my feet all day long and never a spare minute. I continued to work on Saturdays after that summer to help out a very busy practice in addition to cleaning homes for pay $10 per day and babysitting at 50 cents per hour.

  97. LINDA KATO says:

    Good morning MLCers ❗ Happy Thursday ❗ 😀

    Loved reading all of your stories ❗

    No, I did not work at the cannery but heard lots of stories about how hard the work there was ❗ One of my girlfriends worked as a foreman until she retired from the cannery to work with me at the Labor Dept.

  98. kathi says:

    I remember the water tower and that very distinctive smell also. I never worked at the cannery and I have not one single moment of regret at not having had that particular shared experience!

    My jobs during high school and college were clerical or in the graphic arts, except for about a year at Zippy’s which made me decide I was never ever going to work in food service ever again in my life. I actually said that about the other jobs, too, but here I am so many years later still making my living in the graphic arts field.

    @sally: I wonder if my Zippy’s uniform is still at my folks’ house? I don’t remember keeping it but don’t remember throwing it out either. It would have been the orange one, real flimsy material. I’ll have to look next time I’m home.

  99. hemajang says:

    @dihudfan, maybe I work cannery about same time. I got in because pop knew a Libby’s worker with same last name but not related, pulled me in the mechanic shop. Easy work, first year was basically knife sharpener and helped the mechanics. Sharpened mostly the small triangular blades from the ginaca machines. This patient long time worker taught me how to sharp knives, thought he was pretty cool and looked after me. The only bad thing was when the ammonia tanks would leak, huuu, the smell was acidic and burned my eyes. Not sure what they used ammonia for. I remember the round metal bango number they gave you and got paid when this lady rolled around this cart full of envelopes/checks and called out your bango number. You had to show your bango number. I either ate lunch from the cafeteria across street or upstairs in the dark locker room. Ate w/a co-worker who I forgot his name but was from Kaimuki and played the sax for a local band…can’t remember band name either. Had another worker in our shop who was responsible for clearing jams from pineapple cans on those wire what-you-call-it flumes that went overhead from canning machine to warehouse. A loud alarm would go off and one of the guys would grab this long stick to clear a jam overhead. Machinery would always go down and mechanics were constantly bustling about fixing stuff. The head of department was this short old man in khaki shirt and pants w/red baseball cap and dark glasses. I heard he had bad eyes when he was a welder…a very stern, unsmiling, could tell he ran the shop w/iron fist.

    Caught the bus from Ewa and we must have stunk up the bus on the way home but you get immune to the smell. Working cannery was fun and was my first real job. Second year still work in the mechanic shop but was oiler/greaser. Huuuu, was dirty work, greasing and oiling machines and gear joints, had to climb up the rafters and between huge vats, pipes and machinery looking for nipples to grease. No one else went to those places and was covered w/oily soot and dust. I must have looked like a coal miner at the end of the day.

  100. Sally says:

    Wow, didn’t take long to go OT did it? lol Gee Rod, With as many friends that worked Cannery you’d think there would be a lot more stories.

  101. Sally says:

    @Ynaku: You was one buta kau kau man?!

  102. Ynaku says:

    I grew up in Hilo so neva “work cannery”

    I did spread baggase though and pick up pig slop. I dunno which is more stink, rotten pineapple or slop.

    I liked the baggase

  103. M says:

    Guud morning MLCers!
    I never worked at the cannery and from the stories I heard from my friends who did, I’m glad that I didn’t work there.

  104. evie c says:

    well if you think smelling like a pine, standing up the whole time you’re working, then getting a half hr lunch break, would be fun, then yup, you missed out. Walking by that bagasse room daily was the pits….super smelly. I think that was pineapple remnants used as fertilizer or something like that. Only ladies were trimmers and packers, which I was. Boys worked on the ginaca machines or in the field picking pines, other duties. Each working day I caught the bus 10:30pm, working to around 4 am or so. No busses nor could parents fetch me, so slept over till bus started at 6 am. >yawnyawn< Funny, but recalling those days, it was like the episode of I Love Lucy, where she worked on the chocolate conveyor belt, trying to get all the choc. pieces, but missing. Then messing up! same deal for me. Ha! You could eat all the pineapple pcs you wanted, but till this day, pineapple's my last choice!

  105. DIO says:

    good night, sleep tight, dream of swiss chocolate all night. 😀

  106. Keoni says:

    OK, I going say good night. Pleasant dreams as LK says.

  107. DIO says:

    yeah, that was exactly the feeling. Truly HOMEgrown. 😀

  108. Keoni says:

    That is so cool. And I know the feeling you must have gotten – wow, these are from HOME! 🙂

  109. DIO says:

    eh, you want to hear a similar story? A week or so ago, I’m in one of the grocery stores down the street from here. I went there with the intention of buying bananas and a few other things. While there, I spotted some papayas. Usually, fruits that are sold here are from Mexico or somewhere in South America. This time, the papayas were from Hawaii (according to the box). I looked in the box and found newspapers, and yup, they really were from Hawaii. 😆

  110. Keoni says:

    Interesting story:
    I was in shop around the time that macadamia’s were starting to become more widely known. I recall us getting a small shipment of them from Hawai’i and part of the interior protective ‘fill’ was crumpled up newspaper from Hilo! I remember it was the society news page, but it was from Hawai’i! I saved that page for a long time and read it often! Does that tell you how long my love affair with the islands has been going on?!

  111. DIO says:

    wow, that sounds good. only thing is, i’d probably swap out the walnuts and use macadamias instead. 😀

  112. Keoni says:

    One of the candies we made that I’ve never found duplicated elsewhere was called “swiss chocolate”. It was something like a stiff butter cream. We would roll that into a small ball, then roll it in honey and finally in chopped walnuts. I would love to have some of that again and can still recall the great taste of it.

  113. Keoni says:

    Yeah, I could’ve made million$! But they had no sense of innovation. (They did make an awesome shortbread cookie, though!)

  114. DIO says:

    Keoni: You’d be the flat bread king. 😛

  115. Keoni says:

    Well, I do have a story that’s kind of connected:
    I originally started out in the Baking course at Hershey which was in the other half of the building where the Candy Kitchen was. I started out OK, I guess, but soon ran into a problem. Part of the training was to teach us to form some of the baked goods like dinner rolls, Kaiser rolls, etc. In so doing, it’s important to form the roll quickly and not overwork it – which results in a lump of dough that won’t raise right, etc. It’s called “killing the dough” (at least that’s the term they used).
    Well, I practiced and practiced, but time after time, the upperclassman who was attempting to train me would say, “No, John, you killed it!” It didn’t take me too long to figure out that I wasn’t destined to become the next Grampa Stroehmann.
    That’s when I switched to Candy Making.

  116. DIO says:

    Keoni: I thought maybe you had stories of jobs like this:

  117. Keoni says:

    DiO: My training was at the Hershey Candy Kitchen which was kind of connected with the Chocolate Co. We did work with chocolate, but the Candy Making course was designed to teach us to start/run a typical candy shop.

  118. DIO says:

    Keoni: You mean you don’t have any high school memories of making chocolate in da factory?

  119. Keoni says:

    @DiO Sadly, that didn’t happen either, but don’t tell,k? It’ll wreck my reputation!

  120. DIO says:

    Keoni: I think in your case wasn’t “work cannery” was “work factory” 😀

  121. Keoni says:

    I want to state that, contrary to widespread rumors, I did not work cannery! 😀

  122. DIO says:

    sally: that’s local style…. 😀

  123. Sally says:

    Funny, you notice how it’s “work Cannery” and not “worked at the Cannery”?

  124. Sally says:

    Yah, but did Jade Moon ever ROKK the hairnet and cap and the Menehune Mini Dress with SHORTS underneath? Gawd I wish I had kept that slush stained uniform!

  125. DIO says:

    I think the thing that I find interesting about cannery and sugar mill jobs is the fact that the machines (correct me if I’m wrong) didn’t seem to have any guards or protections on them, or had very little of them. Nowadays, you have warning signs on everything, guards to protect you from various parts of the machine. What ever happened to simply paying attention to what you were doing so you didn’t get hurt?

  126. NaPueo says:

    Never worked the cannery. Some friends did. Also knew some who worked in the fields. Now that was hard work.

  127. dihudfan says:

    thanks DIO… everyone is winnahs here, very interesting posting at this site… brings back good memories, keep my old brain from going senile… ALOHA!!!

  128. Rodney says:

    @Sally – not, Jade Moon was the Zippy’s Gurl. LOL

  129. Rodney says:

    WTG DIO – Let’s give it to dihudfan. 😉

  130. Sally says:

    When I was in the 6th grade my SIL told me stories about working Cannery. How the ladies were so mean and you came home all stink. She lasted 2 weeks. That was enough that Cannery was not even in my radar of job searching.

    I became a Zippy’s Gurl! The glitz! The glamour of it all! HAHAHAHA!

  131. DIO says:

    dihudfan: To me, you’re FIRST on this one, since you actually have something to add….

  132. dihudfan says:

    I guess second… but first to write about working at the cannery….

  133. dihudfan says:

    wow… first…. working Libby’s in summer was hard work. Made better than minimum pay, worked the nite shift (no nite life during the summers), met lots of people from all over the island, mostly girls. I had a pretty good job working on a double seamer machine (machine that put covers on the cans) on the hot line (crush and concentrate). Made pretty good money when the machines didn’t breakdown. Libby’s had a pay system that paid premium pay when you went over the quota they figured for that machine. 1st year was bustass, 2nd year was pretty much cruise (was the boss helper, and I just relieved the guys on breaks and lunch, and I worked on the best machines… gallon concentrate, machine ran really slow, but would not breakdown, lots of premium on that machine). Of course all the money was used for the following school year. Best part of working nite shift, was after work we would go eat at Jet Burger or Kelley’s, only places open at that time of nite or morning. Sometimes would be so tired, I would fall asleep in the bath tube after getting home… woke up like a human prune… that was the good old days, hard work but also fun being out so late at nite. Good memories!!!

  134. DIO says:


    Ooh, I got nothing. Never worked at the cannery, never even been in the cannery. Like you, the only thing I remember is the putrid smell and that landmark water tower.

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