Letters & Chapters

A Letter From Doc Cooke to Commander I.S.K. Reeves

“KALAUPAPA MOLOKAI
JANUARY 14TH
1932

My dear Skipper:

May I preface this letter by waiving a preliminary hearing and pleading guilty to the charge of abusing a very much treasured friendship – – – I have before me your October 15th letter which I have been trying to answer for a long period of time, however, as you drift along through the following paragraphs you will perhaps find some excuse for my customary delinquency.” Read more…

 

Home Country
by Ernie Pyle

“…..The day was misty, and air currents banged us as we dropped over the cliff and roared down upon the earth. It was as though we were suddenly flying over the remote Tibetan monastery of Lost Horizon. We bounced on the rough runway. Only one person was in sight when we climbed out – a Hawaiian in overalls, who stood by the side of an old Ford a hundred yards away and looked at us. He was a leper – a word that is in disfavor at Kalaupapa. In the legal phraseology, he was a ‘patient’. He merely stood and watched….” Read more…

Ernie Pyle visited Kalaupapa late in 1937. He was America’s best-loved war correspondent, and was called “America’s greatest frontline war reporter”. He remained friends with Doc and corresponded with him until Doc’s death.

He was killed on April 18, 1945 by a Japanese sniper bullet while on the frontlines with American marines on an island four miles west of Okinawa. Other books by Ernie Pyle: “Ernie Pyle in England”, “Here Is Your War”, “Brave Men”, and “Last Chapter”.

 

The Lepers of Molokai
by Jack London

“The First Letter in the Important Series of First-Hand Impressions for Which the Companion Has Sent Mr. London Around the World

When the Snark sailed along the windward coast of Molokai, on her way to Honolulu, I looked at the chart, then pointed to a low-lying peninsula backed by a tremendous cliff varying from two to four thousand feet in height, and said, ‘The pit of hell, the most cursed place on earth.’ I should have been shocked, if at that moment I could have caught a vision of myself a month later, ashore in the most cursed place on earth, and having a disgracefully good time along with eight hundred of the lepers who were likewise having a good time. Their good time was not disgraceful; but mine was, for in the midst of so much misery it was not meet for me to have a good time. That is they way I felt about it, and my only excuse is that I couldn’t help having a good time.” Read more…

 

Father Damien ~ An Open Letter To The Reverend Dr. Hyde Of Honolulu
by Robert Louis Stevenson

“To do this properly, I must begin by quoting you at large: I shall then proceed to criticise your utterance from several points of view, divine and human, in the course of which I shall attempt to draw again, and with more specification, the character of the dead saint whom it has pleased you to vilify: so much being done, I shall say farewell to you for ever.” Read more…