Saturday, August 21, 2010

Today in History ... August 21

Hawaii became the 50th State in 1959. And some would like to go back to the old Hawaiian way.
In May of that year we flew to Hawaii from Vancouver on a propeller plane. It took 12 hours to get to Honolulu and we arrived in the night about 10 pm and were greeted as they did then, by a beautiful Hawaiian with a kiss and a fragrant frangipani lei! The warm breeze was memorable. It was truly a land of swaying palms and friendly people.
Our hotel was the Hawaiian Village, all new and shiny and pink, as was everything owned by Henry Kaiser at the time. The Kaiser Hospital was pink, construction cranes working on Henry Kaiser projects were even pink.
We stayed in a thatched roof hut on the grounds as honeymooners.
Each breakfast plate had a small orchid nestled amid your bacon and eggs and at dinner in the open air restaurant, a concertina player strolled with soft melodies. On Sundays, Hawaii Calls was broadcast from the Moana Courtyard, the worlds longest running radio show, played to smiling suntanned visitors. Alfred Apaka sang in his mellifluous voice, and even held a pose for my haole girl while she snapped his picture.
There were only six hotels actually on Waikiki Beach then; The newest Hawaiian Village, the Ala Moana, the Reef, the Princess Kaiulani, The Royal Hawaiian, and the Outrigger I believe. In the evenings Hawaiian beach boys would soak pillow cases, inflate them in the air, and run along the edge of the water to dive onto the pillow for a fun ride into the gentle surf. No technology needed to enjoy the ocean waters.
We rented a jeep with a pink striped canopy and drove around Oahu, even sneaking into a pineapple field to steal a huge ripe one, which we mixed with gin in our pink ice bucket as an edible cocktail. Once out of Waikiki, Hawaii was quaint and serene with a feeling it might never change.
We were thrilled to see Tab Hunter in the lobby, and Sal Mineo at the outdoor bar by the pool. Jimmy the pool caretaker tried to teach Jane to dive instead of plummet.
We met two other May 30th honeymooners, Chuck and Eileen Deering from Boston, who took us to Schofield Barracks Officers` Club for dinner! And Martin Denny played his jungle sounds at the International Market place.
Hawaii was old Hawaii then, and in August of that year, a huge change was about to happen. King Kamehameha would no longer be the alii in charge of the Hawaiian spirit.
A semblance of that time still remains on the East coast of the Big Island today, north of Hilo if you explore side roads. You`ll be back in the innocent forties.
Yet we still have to say, Hawaii no ka oe. Hawaii is the best.
Aloha and muhalo.


  1. I have often wondered if Chuck and Eileen are still together.J

  2. Anonymous1:17 pm

    Nice remembrance.


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