Yeah, it’s named Macy’s – but I still call it Liberty House
There are still shades of Liberty House at this Kailua store.
Notice the LH – for Liberty House – still on the wrought iron fence
In 1946, a small Liberty House shop opened with three employees and upgraded to a full-line department store in 1953, with nearly 50 employees.
The Liberty House Kailua store is very dear to my heart – being that I grew up in Kailua. When our mom dressed us up in our Sunday best for picture taking, I knew we were going to Liberty House to meet with Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Visiting Liberty House in Kailua meant being on your best behavior because it was the “fancy” Kailua store. Just like watching the old black and white shows where the people would go into the big New York department stores – that’s what I felt like when I went into Liberty House Kailua.
I remember that there was an upstairs coffee shop. There were 2 sets of stairs. You would go up one set of stairs and there would be a counter going the length of the room – and at the other end of the counter was the second set of stairs. Walking pass the stairs, you could hear the clanking of dishes and smell the freshly brewed coffee. I never did get to eat up there.
Then further over in the back corner of the children’s department – there was a partitioned room where Liberty House sold Cub Scout and Boy Scout uniforms. I never was a Scout, but I remember looking at the khaki shirts and the BSA kerchief that they wore around their neck. I’m sure they probably had a room for the Brownies and Girl Scouts uniforms too.
Liberty House Kailua also had a awesome toy department. It was upstairs and tucked in the corner. Everything was neatly stacked and pristine NIB (New In Box). There weren’t opened boxes for you to try the toy out. No sir. This was Liberty House. You want to try it, you buy it first. Although there sometimes was a table with display models on it. Did I play with them? Hardly. Again, this was Liberty House – on my best behavior.
Oh, I remember the gift wrapping room too! Yes, and not just around Christmas time. There was the year-round gift wrapping room where on the back wall there were all the sample gifts wrapped in the different designs. Of course, I always got excited going in there – just seeing all the gifts on the wall. Yeah, they were just empty boxes – but I didn’t know that! I remember the birthday balloons gift wrapping, the pastel colored baby shower gift wrapping, the all white, lacy newlywed gift wrapping, and a bunch of all occasion gift wrappings. And each one came with frilly ribbons wrapped nicely around the box.
There was a stationary section with greeting cards for all occasions, as well as a knick-knack section. That’s where I bought a couple of Playboy foldout jigsaw puzzles one Christmas. And I was only 14 years old! They didn’t card me so – SCORE! (as I rode home with them on my bicycle).
Upstairs – besides the toy department was the appliances, beds, furniture, chinaware, beauty salon, domestics, photo studio, and administrative offices. There were escalators and one elevator.
I remember after we got married and we were living in Kailua for a bit, I went into Liberty House with Paula and we went to sections of the store that I’ve never been to – like the Generations section and the women’s shoes. Even went into the young men’s section where I hardly even ventured before.
It was about a year ago that I popped into Liberty House Kailua – and I remember snapping a few pictures with my phone camera – because I wanted to preserve the feel of the store – recalling how I remember walking around the store at a much lower height. And maybe deep down, I knew that this piece of my childhood might not be around forever. And I was right.
The store is scheduled to close around Spring of 2016. But I want to go back a few more times before they close. Maybe around Christmas time to recall the days of visiting Santa to take a picture and drooling in the toy department.
Oh well… Kailua Town has changed so much. I’ve pretty much written off Kailua Town. Except for a few standing buildings that I recognize – most of old Kailua is just a memory.
“We can’t return – we can only look – behind from where we came…”
What stores do you miss in your small-kid-time neighborhood?
Help support the Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry.
This is some weird weather we’ve been having, no? Was hurricane season always June through November? Because as far as I can remember – it never rained during summer vacation (back when school didn’t start until after Labor Day – which we’ll touch upon later).
Sure there was a passing shower or two over the whole summer – but not this kine pouring, flooding, thunder/lightning stuff. I know because during the summer time, we used to put a pup-tent in our front yard – and wished it would rain – because there’s nothing more fun than sitting under a tent in the rain. But it didn’t rain. Or hardly ever. And if we were lucky, we got a passing shower.
Nowadays, it’s like we have a typhoon season. Heck, I didn’t even know what the word typhoon was! I thought it was the rich guy in Monopoly. Later I learned that he was a tycoon. Typhoon, tycoon, harpoon, all the same to me.
Remember when we didn’t start school until after Labor Day? Not only were our summers longer, but we didn’t have to put up with the hot dog-days of summer in the classroom. An unscientific survey (in other words, the newspaper one) asked if you think schools should go back to the old school schedule like we had. And most everyone voted yes. Duh. IIRC, the edumacation administrators believed that the 3 month summer break was too long and that kids forgot what they learned back in June. I don’t think that’s the case. Come Monday, I can forget what I learned the previous Friday! Whether two months or three months – what difference does one extra month make? See, I think that the one’s who rationalize that kids are going to forget what they learned in three months, are old futs who they themselves have a hard time remembering what they had for dinner last night. But kids are bright! They retain better than adults. No worry administrators – just because you cannot handle doesn’t mean that the kids cannot handle.
Plus, we didn’t have this funny kine weather to put up with even if they made us go back to school in August. We had cool summer breeze – makes me feel fine – August weather.
And right about this time of August, my mom picked out one day when she said “Don’t go anywhere tomorrow – we’re going back-to-school shopping“. Oh yeah! I could brag to my friends “Oh, I cannot come over to play tomorrow. We going Ala Moana Center for get new school clothes“. Back-to-school shopping meant two new pairs of pants and a couple of shirts from Sears. And it also meant getting to eat lunch at Ala Moana Shopping Center! Hmmm, Lyn’s or Patti’s? Maybe mom might take us to the Sears or Penney’s coffee shops. And maybe we can talk her into a short stop at Keiki Land.
But back to this weird weather…
What’s your take? We’ve had a couple of storms pass North of us. The last one passed South of us. The next one projected to go directly at us – but so did the previous three – however we got lucky. Are you prepared? Maybe this weekend we should go back-to-school shopping just for the hell of it.
Well, another UH school session is upon us – and you know what that means: MAJOR TRAFFIC. But for UH students, there’s a new rule that goes into effect this semester – No Smoking on campus. Not even in a designated smoking area (because there aren’t any). Even in your own car – No Fumar!
Oh yeah, and that includes e-cigs or vaping.
Be prepared to see students hanging out on the sidewalks on Dole Street or University Avenue puffing away. Maybe a few gutsy ones will take a chance and light up in the bathrooms – while the lookouts call out “heat” when an administrator is coming.
Wait. Is this college or intermediate school?
Anyway, no smoking on campus period. The city already banned smoking in parks.
Got me thinking about the old days (because that’s what we do at his blog). Remember when you could smoke anywhere? Remember co-workers smoking at their desk at work? Remember ashtrays inside the Liberty House stores? Can you imagine – someone lighting up inside of Macy’s? Or Wal-Mart? Or Zippy’s? Or CPK? Or how about an airplane!?!
But we used to do just that.
Remember going to the nightclub? Always stopped by the Coin Power self-serve gas station first to buy a 75¢ pack of Benson & Hedges. Or Kools if you really wanted to be macho. And if you forgot to make the stop – no problem – there was always a cigarette machine located in the club. Might’ve cost you 2 bucks though. And remember how fast the bartenders were with their lighters? As soon as you pulled out a cigarette and before you could even get it to you lips, the bartender was standing there holding an open flame right in front of you. Feel so important!
People tell me stories of how – at only nine or ten years old – their mom or dad used to send them down to the neighborhood store to buy a pack of cigarettes for them. And the store owner sold it to them! Well, of course the store owner knew who’s kid it was.
I believe there was a time when women couldn’t smoke. Or at least in public. But Women’s Lib changed all that! Remember this commercial?
I feel we’re living in a much cleaner environment now where we don’t have to pass through second-hand smoke. And the new rules put in place – like the one at the UH campuses – just makes it a safer environment for everyone. But try telling a young smoker that in our day, we could smoke in work places, restaurants, and stores. I’m sure that will really freak them out.
I remember when I was small and we used to go to Ala Moana. Outside of Sears across of Security Diamond (or was that Conrad Jewelers) were all these old guys hanging out and talking story. My dad said that that was the Pearl Harbor retiree hangout.
This isn’t the place, but it was the closet picture I could find.
I guess back then – when Ala Moana was a place for the locals – retirees used to spend the day hanging out at Ala Moana Center. I suppose beside the Pearl Harbor retirees area, there might’ve been the State workers retirees area, and maybe the City workers retirees area. Maybe the Gasco retirees, the HRT/MTL bus driver retirees, and the HC&D retirees – all with their own areas to hang out.
Then when McDonald’s opened up the big restaurant somewhere around the vicinity of where India Imports used to be, the retirees used to hang out there in the mornings sipping their senior coffees with free refills. Some of them would get there early before the stores opened and walk around the mall a couple of times to get their daily exercise – then go to Micky D’s to meet up with their other retiree friends and talk story.
However, since AMC downsized McDonald’s – and Micky D’s had to limit the coffee refills and time to sit in the tiny dining area – retirees had to find a new place to hang out. I wonder if they even hang out at Ala Moana Center anymore. I sometimes see them cruising in Makai Market on the weekends. I’m guessing that on the weekdays there are probably more of them there. I think the weekends are too crowded for the retirees, plus they might be busy baby-sitting on the weekends so you don’t see too many of them there.
So… what’s going to happen when us MLCers retire? Where will we be hanging out?
There’s getting less and less places for retirees to kick back and cruise. I remember when I used to go to Bowl-o-Drome for lunch, I’d find some retirees cruising in the bowling alley. There might be 1 or 2 guys practicing – while another 4 or 5 of their friends are sitting in the pit “coaching” them – even though they didn’t ask nor do they want to be coached. Or there might be just a loner sitting in one of the spectator seats, counting zzzs. When it’s too hot to stay home – just check into the neighborhood bowling alley and take a nap there in the cool comfort.
But how many neighborhood bowling alleys are around nowadays?
I think a lot of the elders are into staying healthy so there’s probably a number of them walking around Magic Island and Ala Moana park, or at Kapiolani park. But of course, that’s weather permitting.
Some of you MLCers who are already retired – is there someplace that you go to talk story and hang out? Or do you pretty much go exercising on your own? I still have a number of years before I’ll be retiring – but knowing that there’s different places out there to hang out makes retiring so much more fun to look forward to.
Remember Party Center with the smoke bombs, pull string exploding favor (not the champagne bottle one), this one look like tootsie roll chews, the powder fake smoke cigarettes, and the risqué adults only section?
India Imports with all those colorful glass cylinders in the display case along with small clear color boxes to put stuff/stash (I’m guessing…too young and put my coin collection inside.
I do remember cruising the old Ala Moana stores. I remember going into Ritz on the mall. We’d walk into the store and head directly to the basement where the men’s department was. But not for the men’s clothes – we went there to look at all the social club cards that were pinned up on a boarder that wrapped around the whole men’s department. Sometime we’d catch some girls down there checking out the club cards too. It was a little meeting place.
And as 4G mentioned, Party Center. I remember going there and buying sneezing powder. The stuff actually works! And they also used to sell the little black pellet things that you light with a match and as it burns, it creates a long thing of ash that’s supposed to look like a snake. And remember the hot gum. It looks like regular chewing gum but was super hot. And I too couldn’t wait until I turned 18 years old to see what was in that Adults Only section. But I don’t think I ever went back there after I turned 18.
Another store I remember was the Jeans Machine. It was pretty similar to the San Francisco Rag Shop. In fact, I think the Jeans Machine was there before the “Rag Shop”. But eventually, the Rag Shop became the place to be and the Jeans Machine closed up.
Kramer’s was another place we used to go to check out clothes. Kramer’s was more local wear – silky shirts, hang ten shorts, corduroy pants. Remember the Kramer’s Man of the Month?
Another one that 4G mentioned was India Imports. Man, I could cruise in that store for hours – looking at all the hippy stuff. The incense, the sandals, the peasant tops, the oils – I had a blast smelling everything. And the workers had the real Indian ladies with the red dot on the forehead working there.
Another store that I spent hours in was Iida’s. I love all things Japanese so Iida’s was my cultural store. I used to look at the samurai sword collections, the scroll paintings, the four-panel silk screen paintings, even the butsudan. And they had a nice little collection of Japanese trinkets. They even sold calligraphy brushes and paints. It was one of my favorite stores.
I know we’ve reminisced about the old Ala Moana Center before – but do you remember walking around inside the store and looking at all the different things? Like the Japanese candy carousel in Shirokiya where you used to fill a paper bag with whichever candies you wanted and just pay by the weight. Or the stuff in Pete’s Modelcrafts. Or how about you girls, looking though patterns and buy material to sew dresses. I’m sure we all remember the food places. Share your cruising inside Ala Moana store memories with us.
So one night while dining out, the wait help comes over and refills the water. Naturally, I say “Thank you”. And then the wait help replies “No problem”. I thought, okay – maybe it was the way I said thank you that prompted the “no problem” response. Then when I said “thank you” once again to the same server, the reply once again was “no problem”. *The server was probably in the early twenties (Millennial).
I thought about it over the next few days and it didn’t sit well with me. I didn’t quite know how to explain it but I felt as though a “you’re welcome” is more sincere than “no problem”.
But it was something more than that that was bugging me. So I posted it on Facebook.
Basically, it says that it’s a Generation Gap thing. Actually, the article didn’t use the term Generation Gap. That’s an MLC term. But this excerpt from the article said what I couldn’t say:
Baby Boomers, however, get really miffed if someone says “no problem” in response to being thanked. From their perspective, saying “no problem” means that whatever they’re thanking someone for was in fact a problem, but the other person did it anyway as a personal favor. To them “You’re welcome” is the standard polite response.
That’s it exactly – “no problem” means that whatever they’re thanking someone for was in fact a problem. And that’s the thing – it wasn’t a problem. I was just acknowledging the server for doing what they were hired to do.
What shocked me was when I read:
You almost never hear a Millennial say “you’re welcome.” At least not when someone thanks them. It just isn’t done. Not because Millennials are ingrates lacking all manners, but because the polite response is “No problem.” Millennials only use “you’re welcome” sarcastically when they haven’t been thanked or when something has been taken from/done to them without their consent. It’s a phrase that’s used to point out someone else’s rudeness. A Millennial would typically be fairly uncomfortable saying “you’re welcome” as an acknowledgement of genuine thanks because the phrase is only ever used disingenuously.
Really!?! So if a Millennial says “thank you” to me and I say “you’re welcome”, they think I’m being cocky? Nah, I’m sure they realize that it’s just what old futs say.
Okay, so when we were in our twenties – we replaced “bye” with “laters”. But we knew better than to dis our elders by saying “laters” to them. If they said “bye”, we said “bye” back. Or “see you later”. It was respect. Or fear that we’d get our ass chewed out.
But don’t worry – I’m not turning into an old curmudgeon that chastises the young ‘uns by saying “You know in my day, if we said no problem instead of you’re welcome – we’d get a whipping with a leather belt on our bare bottoms”.
I get it – it’s a Generation Gap thing. I won’t let it bug me now that it’s been explained to me. After all, we were once in their shoes, right?
Hey Rodney, here’s another suggestion for a topic. How about favorite rides. Theme parks, carnivals, fairs, water parks, whatever! For me, Space mountain,Star Tours and Indiana Jones at Disneyland. Colossus at Magic mountain.
Thanks @losthawaiian! Good idea!
Our girls were in the “tweens” the second time that we went to Knotts Berry Farm amusement park.
This time, they were big enough to ride everything. And they wanted me to come along. So while Paula watched the backpacks, I had to “play man” and do the father-figure thing and act all brave (and I use that term “act all brave” loosely). First thrill ride that they wanted to go on was the Supreme Scream.
Okay, that wasn’t too bad. I didn’t know what to expect so it was thrilling all right. I didn’t lose my breakfast or mess my pants so I was in good shape.
After a few other roller coast rides, like the creaking, all wood Ghost Rider roller coaster, and the short but exciting Montezooma’s Revenge, the girls wanted to try the Riptide. Again, I couldn’t say no, right? But first we had to let our lunch settle in our stomachs. Then it was time.
The thing that I remember about the Riptide was at the end of the ride, you think it’s over as the ride comes to a stop at the bottom and the water stops shooting. But just for good measure, the riders are rotated upside down and held there for a few seconds – and I could see all the coins and things that dropped out of people pockets – sitting at the bottom of the pool. This was one hell of a ride!
But before leaving, we thought about all the rides we went on and felt that the Supreme Scream was the best ride so we decided to ride it one more time. And you know what? This second time riding it was spookier than the first time. I believe it’s because of the anticipation. Not know what to expect the first time made it easy. But this time – I KNEW what was coming. The slow ride up seemed to never end. I could see the outskirts of the city and the ocean on the horizon. I swear I could almost see the curvature of the Earth! Then finally the thing stopped. And I heard that “pssssssrt” sound of the air pressure being released. And I knew that at any second I was about to free fall. It’s that waiting part that is killers. Then all of a sudden, the seat drops out from under me and in a split second later, my okole catches up to meet the seat once again.
Did I scream? Like a little girl! Say what you want, but the name Supreme Scream matches that ride.
So what are some of your favorite theme park rides? In fact, it doesn’t have to be limited to just theme parks. Like @losthawaiian mentioned, it could be carnival rides, water park rides, any kine. I’m sure there are ones that stick out in your memory. Share your stories with us.
Another awesome Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry fundraiser coming up in about a month from now. If you’ve never been to one, you have to come check it out. Awesome music for your listening and dancing pleasure. Part of the ticket prices are tax-deductible. But most of all, it’s their short program – where bone marrow recipients get to meet their donors for the first time. They get to meet the person who literally saved their life. And not just the recipient, but their family are all there to show their appreciation. It’s such a touching, heart-warming, chicken skin moment. Something you have to see to make you hope that one day, you’ll be chosen as a bone marrow donor.
In the last MLC post, we remembered visiting Disneyland small-kid-time. Some of us didn’t get to go until we were big kids, but it didn’t matter – we had just as much fun anyway. That’s the thing with Disneyland – it doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s okay to have fun like a kid!
So I wanted to follow up with us MLCers passing on the Disneyland experience. Whether it was taking our kids, our nieces and/or nephews, or our grandchildren – we introduced “the happiest place on Earth” to them as our elders had done for us.
@Mark’75 and family was just there earlier this year and shared these pictures with us.
If you look real close at the center of the castle, you can see the 60 signifying Disneyland’s 60th anniversary.
And like all MLCers – we enjoy our snacks and desserts. Almost too pretty to eat.
And in this picture @Mark’75 explains that all the confetti flew at the end of filming “Live with Kelly and Michael” show, to kick off Disneyland’s Diamond Celebration.
Thanks for sharing your photos with us @Mark’75
IIRC, we took our two girls to Disneyland when they were about 3 and 4 years old. I remember because the younger one was still being pushed around in a stroller. Some of the attractions still looked small-kine familiar to me. I think on this visit, one of my older brothers and his wife went with us. A few memories of that trip lingers in my MLC memory. I remember buying a train engineer hat and wearing it all around the park. I don’t know why I chose that hat, but it fit good and I enjoyed wearing it. In fact, I still have it!
It’s weird, yeah – you can buy and wear Mickey Mouse ears, a Goofy hat, or any number of strange headgear designs in Disneyland and walk around with it on – and not feel embarrassed about it. Wear it anywhere else outside the park and expect to get beat up. @kellyk actually brought that observation to my attention.
Another memory was after a full day at Disneyland, we went to Denny’s by our hotel for dinner. Soon after the girls were done eating, they were lying in the booth with their head on our laps – crashed out from a full day of enjoying the Disneyland experience. That just kinda makes the whole trip worth it.
I know that we also took our girls again when they were around 9 and 10 or so. This time they were taller and could ride on the more exciting rides. California Adventure park was just being built at that time so there wasn’t that many thrilling rides. In fact, they enjoyed Knotts Berry Farm amusement park more.
Which reminds me. When our girls were at the younger age – we did go to Knott’s Berry Farm then too. I remember because I recall that we spent a lot of time in Camp Snoopy – where the rides were more their size. My memory of Knott’s Berry Farm? First time I ever ate a Funnel Cake.
I know that some of you had already shared some stories about “passing on the Disneyland experience” in the previous post, but feel free to post those stories again. Or what special memories stand out from your visits to Disneyland. @Masako mentioned about the Disney parks in Japan. Now I want to go visit them one day.
Do you remember small-kid-time going to Disneyland? I was around 8 years old when I first went to Disneyland. I didn’t know what to expect as I didn’t see any of the brochures or anything. All I could imagine was the castle that was seen every Sunday night on the Wonderful World of Disney.
The 5 sections of Disneyland. Remember them?
And back in the day, there were different ride coupon books that you bought at different prices.
It took strategic planning to use the coupons for only the best rides. It also meant not getting to ride some of the less popular but just a fun rides.
I remember riding the submarine ride. I recall going under the waterfall.
And of course – It’s a small world.
But at 8 years old, I don’t remember too much about Disneyland. But there is one memory that stands out in my mind. This was on the Autopia ride.
Of course, my older brother was taking the car in the front of me and I had to follow behind him (the story of my life). And he’s acting all big-man at age 10 because he’s going to drive for the first time. So he’s all serious and stuff – focused on driving these cars. Me, I was there to have fun. So just as the ride was ending and it was time to slow the cars down, I gave it all the gas I could and BAM!, rear-ended my brother. He slowly turned around and gave me the meanest stink-eye ever. I was laughing so hard. That must’ve been the most fun I had the whole visit because to this day, I still remember it.
Did you get to visit Disneyland small-kid-time? What do you remember about your Disneyland vacation? Share you Disneyland stories with us.
Wow, not even August and school is back in session. I remember when we didn’t go back until after the Labor Day holiday in September. All that means for us MLCers is Back to School traffic!
So how about a Back to School Thursday 3.
How does back to school affect you?
Do you remember your first days back to school after the summer break?
What kind of lunch pail did you have?
Okay, here’s my replies:
How does back to school affect you?
It’s the traffic. To get to work, I have to pass through the elementary school traffic. Yuk!
Do you remember your first days back to school after the summer break?
I do! Looking around the class to see if there’s anyone I knew. Getting a feel for the teacher whether he/she will be a nice teacher or a mean one. The seating arrangements and which desk will be mine for the next school year. And getting assigned a cubby-hole. Gotta have a cubby-hole.
What kind of lunch pail did you have?
I had a Snoopy one. We also had a Bonanza one that was shared because only one kid went on an excursion at a time usually. But I wanted the vinyl covered Snoopy one. Remember how the thermos was make of glass inside? And whenever someone dropped their lunch pail – the first thing to do was take out the thermos and shake it around to listen whether you can hear glass chips rattling around. Felt so fortunate when the glass didn’t break.
Okay, that’s my abbreviated Thursday 3 answers. Your turn. And don’t forget to leave some back-to-school stories in the comments.
Rodney Lee is a Baby Boomer - and proud of it. Rodney started the Midlife Crisis blog back in the days of The Honolulu Advertiser and ran it for about 3 years. After The Honolulu Advertiser shut down, Rodney decided to continue his blog here at Midlife Crisis Hawaii. New blog entries are added every Monday and Thursday.
So join Rodney as he reminisces about the good ol' days.
Midlife Crisis Hawaii - where the memories live on.