Waipahu High Graduate Tumacder Publishes Tell-all Memoir

Orlando Tumacder shares his memories of growing up in Waipahu.

Orlando Tumacder shares his memories of growing up in Waipahu.

Although former Waipahu resident Orlando Tumacder moved to Texas four years ago to be closer to his daughter, his thoughts are never far from Hawaii. Many of his memories of life in the Islands — both good and bad — are included in his recently released memoir, Reflections 50 Years in the 50th State.

The book is a culmination of nearly three decades of work. Tumacder had been part of a writers group for years, and he often found himself gravitating toward writing short stories based on his own life.

“I started from early childhood and took whatever I felt were the highlights or the lowlights of my life, and I would write about it,” Tumacder explained on the phone from his Texas home.

Over the years, individual stories were published. But it wasn’t until he relocated to Texas that he thought about putting them together in a collection.

One day, he ran into another man who happened to be from Hawaii. This man also was an author. When Tumacder mentioned that he, too, was a writer, the man asked to see some of his writing samples. He liked what he saw and introduced Tumacder to his publisher.

The book features more than 30 stories that take the reader on a journey through Tumacder’s life — from growing up in Hawaii as the son of Filipino immigrants, to his work as a custodial supervisor with the City and County of Honolulu.

He admitted, however, that at times it was hard to recreate some of the difficult moments in his life that he writes about in Reflections.

In addition to happy memories of hanging out with his little brother and his uncle, he also shares stories of his struggles in his marriage, his teenage daughter getting assaulted and his mother passing away.

“I shed a lot of tears,” said Tumacder, who graduated from Waipahu High School in 1972. “It is very hard to relive certain things.”

But he feels the good outweighs the bad when it comes to being so forthcoming. He has found that readers often come to him to share a similar experience.

“That is wonderful when we can just be transparent with each other,” Tumacder said. “There is a healing that comes with it.

“I think that for the most part, people put up walls. There are things that people keep to themselves … but I want to be open and honest,” Tumacder added. “I think that is very therapeutic. For me to write about very difficult or challenging things, not only will it help me overcome them, but whenever someone reads it, it would so touch them.”

Published by Texas-based Entry Way Publishing, Reflections 50 Years in the 50th State is available at stores.story-e-books.com and via Amazon.