Last Names

It annoyed me that my parents always

wanted to know last names,

especially if the person I was talking about

was a potential date.

I knew it was their way

of categorizing people.

“Plantation days are over,

we don’t live in separate camps,

it doesn’t matter if he’s Oriental

or what kind Oriental he is!”

I stopped short of saying

it especially shouldn’t matter

if he’s haole.

And I tried to avoid answering if they

actually asked me about nationality

(which is what we called it then),

child of the ’60s that I was.

“He’s a Taurus, he’s really nice.”

In those days, it was more important

to know someone’s astrological sign

than ethnicity.

To me.

Little did I know that,

in the next century,

I would be able to look up

old friends on the Internet

and even sometimes reconnect—

but not if I only remember

first names

and star signs.

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