Arsinia (Arsie) Paet Anderson
Lucy Peros | All photos courtesy Arsinia Paet Anderson ‘Ohana
Families are like branches on a tree. We grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one. This was exactly how the family of this month’s Sakada Offspring came about.
Arsinia (Arsie) Paet Anderson was born at Pu‘unēnē Hospital in 1951 as the eldest of four siblings with brothers Bernard, Clifford and David to Zacarias Fontanilla Paet and Cayetana Torricer Paet. Cayetana would tell people their names were in alphabetical order and Zacarias’ name was the “Z” according to Arsie.
Arsie attended Pu‘unēnē School until 1959. When her family moved to Kahului’s 6th Increment, she transferred to Lihikai School located across the Maui Beach Hotel on Ka‘ahumanu Ave. Her mom would drive them to school every morning and they would walk back home after school. Walking home built character and friendships because they had time to walk, talk and laugh with their friends along the way. Her eighth-grade class was first to graduate at the newly built Lihikai Elementary School on Papa Ave. She remembers her eighth grade friends at Lihikai school like Lita Cabudol, Barbara Paheco, Amanda Torricer, Alicia Tanaka, Lourdez Tesoro, Linda Akiyama and guys like Wayne Guerrero, Gerald Cabrera, Sidney Nako, Victorino Polido, Edward Damaso, Michael Ito, Pau and Vincent Javier and Clinton Rebo to name a few. When she got home from school, after doing her homework, it was her job to cook rice and iron clothes. The clothes were sprinkled with water the night before and kept in the refrigerator so it wouldn’t dry. As a freshman, Arsie attended St. Anthony Girls High School and graduated as part of the Class of 1969. The girls’ and boys’ high schools were combined as a coeducational institution in 1968. During her Senior year, the Maryknoll Sisters and the Marianist Brothers taught classes.
After high school, Arsie attended and graduated from Cannon’s School of Business on O‘ahu. Her first full time employment was with the State Department of Transportation on O‘ahu. She met her husband, Bruce Anderson, who also worked for the same department. Their first child, Jamie was born on O‘ahu and their son, Dana was born on Maui. They moved to Maui in 1979 where she worked full-time at Maui Memorial Hospital. Thereafter, she worked at Maui Community College, Hardware Lumber Maui, and retired from the Hawai‘i Government Employee’s Association, totaling thirty-nine years of full-time employment. On Maui, her husband Bruce worked for the State Judiciary as the Driver’s Ed Officer, for the Department of Education as a teacher, a School Renewal Specialist. Then he became the Maui District Superintendent and then retired as Maui High School principal.
In retirement, Bruce and Arsie are involved in ministries at St. Joseph Church in Makawao. Arsie is a Lector, volunteers at the food pantry to serve and deliver food bags to clients and serves on the parish’s stewardship committee. Bruce was recently baptized and became a Catholic. He serves as an usher, is a board member for the early learning center preschool and serves on the building and maintenance committee. Both Bruce and Arsie are active in keeping COVID protocol to insure safe and healthy practices at St. Joseph Church. They also volunteer weekly at Maui Food Bank which allows them to indirectly serve those in need.
Both Arsie and Bruce are also involved in their daughter’s business, Friends & Faire, in Wailuku; and keep close contact with their grandson, Kamaleikupa‘a, who is a firefighter at the state airports crash fire rescue at the Kahului airport fire station. Jamie, their daughter, is a full-time entrepreneur. Her business is a place to gather with friends (old and new) and other like-minded, creative people to make something cool or shop for local handmade products. It’s a place where people celebrate birthdays, bridal or baby showers, team building or to gather. Their son, Dana is a firefighter with the County of Maui at the Lahaina fire station. He is kind and generous with his time and helps his sister and parents when called upon, coaches high school basketball, loves to surf, enjoys remodeling an old house and likes to cook and be at family gatherings.
Arsie’s three brothers were all ambitious, talented, creative individuals. Bernard the eldest brother, owned and retired from his businesses, Bentos & Banquets and Cupies. He now enjoys going back to nature in raising pigs, which he gained his knowledge and joy from his dad, Zacarias. His dad had a piggery to help supplement his income. Bernard used to help him as a little boy including doing all the things that needed to be done in raising pigs.
Clifford, the second brother, recently retired as the maintenance engineer from Kā‘anapali Beach Hotel and his colleagues say he was dependable, and a hard-working employee who helped after hours or at special events at the hotel. As a supervisor and union agent, he helped inform employees of their rights on working conditions at the workplace. Growing up, Clifford was adventurous and creative—climbing trees to make a swing, using lumber to build something. He learned how to be creative and built things by watching and helping his dad make or repair things. Clifford was the MacGyver during their hanabata days according to Arsie.
David, the youngest brother, was musically talented and had a fondness to sing karaoke. He studied culinary at Maui Community College and Kapi‘olani Community College on O‘ahu. He was creative and loved to prepare wonderful salads, sandwiches, pot pies, desserts at Bentos and Banquets in Wailuku and at Cupies while working and helping Bernard who owned the eateries. David was a master in preparing healthy, delicious and eye-catching meals and found his calling and niche at a job cooking at Ka Hale A Ke Ola homeless resource center before he died in 2012. He loved helping and serving the people he met at the shelter.
Arsie’s Dad, Zacarias, came to Hawai‘i from Bantay, Ilocos Sur, Philippines as one of the thousands of Sakadas who came to work in the plantations of Hawai‘i in 1946. He was only 25 years old when he came. He was contracted to work for HC&S plantation. He worked at the Pu‘unēnē sugar mill and was later promoted and transferred to the fields as a heavy equipment operator. According to his wife Cayetana, Zacarias drove a caterpillar to clear the roads leading to the mill because of dropped sugar cane from the tournahauler trucks. He also worked in cleaning the fields making rock piles helping Mr. Figueroa. He probably even moved those rocks which can be seen piled up in the open fields of Central Maui today where sugar cane was grown. He also worked with the women planting sugar cane by digging a line for the cane and the women would plant the cane.
After being in Hawai‘i for five years, in 1951, Zacarias courted and married Cayetana Torricer, a local born Filipina. For a wedding gift, Cayetana’s brother, Marcelino (Moso) Torricer, gave them two piglets and a truck. They lived in Spanish B Camp in Pu‘unēnē until their son David was born in 1959 then moved to the 6th Increment in Kahului when David turned one year old. Cayetana grew beautiful orchid plants. She also enjoyed hosting birthday parties for her children and invited the Cortez, Lee, Pacheco and Quirino Paet families. Cayetana made everything homemade: birthday hats, food like sushi, hot dogs, Exchange Orange juice, cookies and cakes. They fondly call Cayetana “Energizer Bunny” because she is always moving; whether in her kitchen or cleaning her home or caring for her plants. She’ll be ninety-two on August 7.
Arsie Paet Anderson shared her personal reflections about her parents, Cayetana and Zacarias Paet. “While growing up, I remember my dad would introduce us to relatives at family gatherings. He would tell us to respectfully address our elders as Nana, Tata, Manong, Manang or Lelo and Lela (grandpa or grandma). I remember too when he sponsored to bring his brother Felipe (Ipe) from the Philippines to Hawai‘i and upon his arrival both cried and hugged each other in a joyful reunion. My dad sponsored Uncle Ipe to come to Hawai‘i in hope of a better life and this was the beginning to bring his other siblings and their families to Hawai‘i. My Dad never forgot his family, he worked very hard and persevered to help make our lives better. I am blessed God gave me wonderful parents in Zacarias and Cayetana. They molded my character based on principles of work hard, perseverance, being kind, help others and love of family which overflows to my family today. I am so grateful and attribute my success in life to them. Dad was not afraid of hard work. He came to Hawai‘i to find a better life for his family and his siblings’ family as well. The legacy my dad gave his children is to be unafraid to work hard, helping others, be respectful of our elders and take care of family.”
Like in the movie, Lilo and Stitch, “ ‘Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” So are the Zacarias Paet Family, no one was left behind and forgotten.
Lucy Peros is a retired schoolteacher, having taught at St. Anthony Grade School and Waihe‘e Elementary School. Both of her late parents, Elpidio Cachero Cabalo (a 1946 Sakada) and Alejandra Cabudoy Cabalo of Hāli‘imaile, worked for Maui Land and Pine Company. Lucy now enjoys retirement and has time to join other seniors in the Enhance Fitness Program under the Department of Aging three times a week. She also attends the line dancing class and other activities at Kaunoa Senior Center and joins other Waihe‘e School retirees when help is needed at the school. Lucy also devotes some of her time to activities at Christ The King Catholic Church. She enjoys writing and reading in her spare time.