I don’t know where this post will go because I never had a pen-pal.
I think it was around 4th grade or so that my teacher tried to get us interested in getting a pen-pal. I flunked the project. Nah, actually it wasn’t required. And a few of the “goodie-goodie” girls followed through and made contact with someone. And they would share their letters with the class.
The closest thing I had to a pen-pal was a girl I met at a social. Cathy N. and I agreed to keep in touch and send each other club cards – hers, from the Leeward side and mine, from the Windward side. And we actually did send each other letters with club cards inside throughout most of high school – although I must admit that it was about 3 to 1 in her favor. I was never a good correspondent. Sorry about that Cathy.
Now, I did used to send letters to girlfriends back in the day – but those don’t count as pen-pals. Is there such a thing as a pen-morethanpals?
And the stationary that the girls used to use was so thin, and light, and feminine. And nice smelling too. Mine, it was Japanese stationary pad paper – the kind with lines and maybe a cute little cartoon animal in the top corner. Remember – this was back in the day before Hello Kitty was even born.
Did you have a pen-pal? Or pen-pals? If so, were they from the U.S. or from another country? Did you ever exchange more that just letters? Maybe they mailed you a gift so you reciprocated and sent them a coconut. KIDDING! And in case this topic dies fast – as a fallback, what about love letters that you used to send. Or receive. Did your siblings tease you about them? Or did you rub it in their faces. LOL By any chance, do you still have love letters from old flames? Don’t worry – you can say – your secret’s safe with me.
I think we all agree that the 70′s was one of the best times for music. Not just for pop and top 40, but for the local scene too. And we were fortunate to be growing up right in the midst of all this talent. Little did we know that these tunes would be forever ingrained in our memory – stirring up the emotions that we were feeling at the time – even to this day.
Isn’t music wonderful how it can transport us back in time?
And who doesn’t want to be taken back to the 70′s. It was such a “righteous” time!
Does this Kui Lee song take you back to prom night? It does for me. I can almost smell the 7-strand pikake lei that the girls were wearing and the maile lei on us guys.
This is a song from a little known band named George Street. Gail Mack is the singer and I think her voice is comparable to Karen Carpenter. She’s that good. Fortunately, Gail Mack and Gordon Kim are still performing today. Check out their website at: http://gailandgordon.com/ I had the privilege of talking story with Gail one night and I asked her about the story behind this song. Interestingly enough, it was after the song was written that all the events in the song happened.
This one’s for you Dancetta Feary. So many hits from Kalapana. But this is the first song from the first album. A classic.
Here’s another one that I love, love, love. Summer and New Year’s Eve – 1976
Country Comfort – Title cut: Sunlight, Moonlight. I had to have this album. If not for the mellow sounds of Country Comfort, but for the album cover of them cruising at the taxi stand just down the street from where I grew up. I still remember the black jitney cabs parked behind the building. And you know what? The songs from this classic album far outweighs my fondness for the album cover.
I saw these 2 guys playing at a party at someone’s house. They were awesome. When they came out with an album, I just had to have it. Toma/Natto made a name for themselves in the 70′s. And every so often, you can still catch Toma/Natto playing together today. Dave Toma and Richard Natto.
And a duo that was popular (to say the least) back in the 70′s whose music still lives on today: Cecilio & Kapono. Everyone – and I mean everyone – had their first album. When I hear this song, it always takes me back to the time we were coming home after spending a day – a Sunday – surfing on the north shore. The cassette was playing as we rode along the Windward coast, in the afternoon shadows of the Koolaus, heading back to our friends house where we’d hang out, maybe bar-b-que something, and watch the day – the whole weekend – come to a close.
Sometimes a song can be inspirational. Like when you come to a crossroad and don’t know what to do. Of course you want choose the right road. But unless you Follow Your Road, you may never know. Pauline Wilson and Seawind
I was fortunate to have this photo-op with Pauline Wilson.
And this medley from the Mackey Feary Band album (1978) – still messes with my emotions today. I’ll just leave it at that…
So what local bands, duo, solo artists from the 70′s did you listen to? There are so many more that I did not mention. And what songs of theirs are your favorites? What memory does that song bring to mind today? Don’t worry if you list something that someone else has already listed – each of us have a different reason for liking a song.
Ala Moana Center played such a big part in our MLCers lives that I have to dedicate at least a whole week to it. So let’s do a Thursday 3 questionnaire about AMC.
What store(s) from the old Ala Moana Center do you miss? And why?
What are some flashback memories do you have of the old Ala Moana Center?
If GGP (General Growth Partners) made you in charge of the current Ala Moana Center, what changes would you make?
Here’s my replies.
What store(s) from the old Ala Moana Center do you miss? And why?
One store that I remember and miss is Seafarer Leather. It had a rustic look with wood plank floors and leather goods all around the store. In the 70′s, leather wear was popular and you could buy kits to create you own custom leather accessories. From cutting and tanning the raw leather, then pounding stamped designs into it. It’s a hobby that I wouldn’t mind doing today. I remember going into Seafarer Leather and buying long leather shoe laces. Then I’d take it home and cut it into smaller pieces that I’d wear around my wrist or ankle. I remember this one time I took the long piece and tied it around my neck like a necklace, and let the long ends drape about halfway down my back (outside my silky shirt). And I had a small bells that I bought from India Imports tied to the ends. I looked cool! Party Center I couldn’t wait to turn 18 years old so I could go around the back, restricted aisle at Party Center to see all the naughty gag stuff. But after I turned 18, I no longer had the hankering to go see what’s back there. I remember once buying Sneezing Powder from Party Center. It really works! Do you folks remember “Morning Breeze”? The little bottle with super stink liquid inside. Just a few drops and the place smelled like a sewer! Kramer’s for my silky shirts and corduroy pants. And Angel Flights. Who remembers Kramer’s Man-of-the-Month? House of Music. I didn’t know how to play any instrument or read music, but I enjoyed reading through the sheet music just to be able to read the lyrics. I remember buying the sheet music to “What Am I Crying For” in case I ever learned how to play guitar.
What are some flashback memories do you have of the old Ala Moana Center?
I remember going up the escalator next to the center stage. It used to be on the Ewa side of the stage. The on the mall level across the escalator, people used to sit on the window sill of Andrade’s, right across the pool thing that had the exhaust outlet coming up from the center – decorated to look like a feature in the pool. I remember cruising in San Francisco Rag Shop. I think they purposely put all the guys stuff in the back of the store so we had reason a to walk through the whole store to check out the chicks.
My friend, Linda S. who is too shy to post here ( ) , wrote that she liked India Imports for those elephant sandals that made the bottom of your feet black, till you broke them in. And Villa Roma for those granny bags and rabbit fur bags, felt hats and midriffs and bell bottom jeans!
I remember my old girlfriend carried a granny bag. And I remember the girls carrying the rabbit fur bags. But what I miss are the leather bags that the girls used to carry. Like this one:
And who can forget Pete’s Modelcraft (Mahalo to Jason N. for the picture)
If GGP (General Growth Partners) made you in charge of the current Ala Moana Center, what changes would you make?
Like all the other MLCers here, I’d get rid of the high-priced designer stores and bring in the lower priced stores. Local owners would have priority. I’d bring back stores like Kramer’s, Iida’s, Jeans Machine. And real department stores that carried everything from clothes to toys to electronics to tools to domestics to furniture to sporting goods to automotive. And I would use the stage to promote all of our local talent. But most of all, I’d make it a place for the budget conscious. A place where retirees could meet up, walk around and get exercise, then have a healthy meal. Maybe even a fitness center.
Okay, your turn to answer the questions. And feel free to share your Ala Moana Center stories – like doing your Back-to-school shopping. Or Christmas Shopping. Or who can name the 4 major sales that Liberty House used to have every year?
Let’s visit one of our favorite subjects. A reader emailed me and asked if us MLCers would be willing to help her with a project. She’s looking for perspectives/stories of shopping and/or working at the oldAla Moana Shopping Center.
Now, I know that us MLCers sometimes need help in jogging the memory section of our brain, so I thought that this might help. I found this list of Ala Moana Merchants – circa 1979. Take a look.
A A Jewelery & Antiques
A B C Discount Stores
Al Phillips The Cleaner Inc.
Ala Moana Banquet Halls/Spencecliff Catering
Ala Moana Coffee Shop
Ala Moana Pet Center
Ala Moana Poi Bowl
Ala Moana Pro Golf Shop
Ala Moana Stamp & Coin Co. Ltd.
Andrade & Co.
Bank of Hawaii
Bartleys Town & Country Shops
Bella Italia Inc.
Byron II Steak House
Carol & Mary Ltd.
Cathedral Gift Shop
China Silk House
Coral Reef Restaurant
Crack Seed Center
Crazy Shirts Inc.
D J’s Sound City Inc.
Daisy Pot Inc.
Ed & Don’s Candies & Ice Cream
Elizabeth & George Studios
Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour
Fashions By Hino Inc.
Fine Arts Sterling Silver Co. of Hawaii
Foodland Super Market
Francis Camera Shop
Francis Y Fine Hawaiian Gifts
Friendly Service Station
F W Woolworth Co.
Gima’s Art Gallery
Gold Master Jewelers
Gould Emura Yamamoto Drs Optometrists Inc.
Hale Kukui Makai Candle Shop
Haven Creative Sandwich Shops
Hino Hairstyles & Wigs
Honolulu Book Shops Ltd.
House of Music Ltd.
Iida S M Limited
India Imports International
Irene’s Hawaiian Gifts
J C Penney Co. Inc.
Joe Pacific & Co. Ltd.
Kramer’s Men’s & Boys’ Wear
Leilani Gift Shop
Longs Drug Stores
Lucia’s Home of Antiques
Lydia O’Leary of Hawaii
Morrow’s Nut House
Nettle Creek Shop of Ala Moana
Orange Julius of Hawaii
Palm Beach Shop
Paniolo Trading Inc.
Patti’s Chinese Kitchen
Paul’s Jewelry Inc.
Plaza Swimwear Company Inc.
Prince Kuhio’s Restaurant
Products of Hawaii
Reyn’s Men’s Wear
Ritz Department Stores
Ross Sutherland Limited Stores
Saint-Germaine America Inc.
San Francisco Rag Shop
Sears Roebuck and Co.
Security Diamond Co. Ltd.
Seiko Center Ltd.
Sera’s Surf N’ Shore House of Air Brush
Skirts ‘N Blouses
Smitty’s Pancake House
Territorial Savings & Loan Assn.
Thom McAn Shoe Store
Thom’s Barber Shop
Tobaccos of Hawaii
Tsuki’s Hair Styling
Tutu’s Grass Shack
Vim & Vigor Foods
Waltah Clarke’s Hawaiian Shop
Wikiwiki Coffee House
Yami Soft Frozen Yogurt Shoppe
Recognize those names? Brings back some old memories, eh? I’ll admit that there are a few there that I don’t recall like Lydia O’Leary of Hawaii and Nettle Creek Shop of Ala Moana.
Europa Inc. – where was that in the mall?
And don’t forget about some places that used to be at Ala Moana Center prior to this list – such as Keiki Land.
And not just the merchants, but the areas around Ala Moana Center like:
The sand box
Or the Bird Cage
Or the center of the mall water feature
Or the Liberty House side water feature
Here’s one of my memories. It has to do with this water feature in front of J.C. Penneys
See, I was too small at the time to see what was inside the upper part of the water feature, so I asked my dad to lift me up so I could see what was in it. He said that there wasn’t any fish or anything – just water. But I wanted to see for myself. So he lifted me up and I was hanging on to side with my body. As I slid down, the rough concrete slid across my stomach and scratched me up a bit. Yeah, was little bit sore, but I didn’t say anything.
How about the events! Remember when Ala Moana sidewalk sales really took place on the sidewalks?
Or when there was entertainment at the Center Stage. Check out this picture of the band Greenwood performing at Center Stage. Eh, isn’t that Robin Kimura?
Everyone feeling pretty nostalgic for the Ala Moana center that we remember?
Oh, here’s one. It was the summer of ’72. The Ala Moana Young People’s Hula Show used to do a performance every Tuesday and Thursday at around 1:00 or 2:00 PM. (and a Sunday morning performance). It had hula and Tahitian dancing and was mostly for the tourist. But there was this one hapa-haole girl that I thought was so cute. I was so mesmerized with the shaking of her hips during the Tahitian dancing and her pretty smile when she danced Hula. I think I spent almost every Tuesday and Thursday that summer at Ala Moana Center.
(btw, does anyone remember if Kikaida ever made a stage appearance at Ala Moana Center Stage back in the 70′s? The reader that is doing this project vaguely recalls going to see Kikaida at Center Stage, but isn’t really sure.)
Then later when I was in the 9th and 10th grade, we used to hang around Ala Moana to scab chicks network our “social club”. We’d walk around the mall and randomly go up to a group of girls and ask them if they were in a social club. You could pretty much tell which girls were also “networking” like us. Then we’d exchange club cards, maybe talk story a bit, and hope that they invite us to a social.
Remember DJ’s Sound City record shop? Street level, mauka/Sears side. Remember the black light poster room that they had in the back? And all the social club people would graffiti their club name on the posters in the room? One time we were in there and my friend noticed some girls that we had met some time before. They were from a Kaimuki/Kalani ’77 club named Dawn to Happiness. So my friend starts to read out loud the Dawn to Happiness name on the posters. And I’d echo their name too from another poster. And soon enough, the girls ask us if we’re in a club and we start talking and exchange club cards. They ended up to be our sister club.
And remember Ritz department store? The men’s department was downstairs and they had a collection of club cards pinned up on a little boarder that went around the whole men’s department. That was yet another place in Ala Moana Center that we networked our social club.
Okay, so what are some of you favorite memories of going to the old Ala Moana Shopping Center? Or if you worked there, what was it like back in the day? Share you perspectives/stories with us. And who knows – maybe some of your comments will appear as part of the project.
In my previous post, cmo suggested maybe a pidgin post. Thanks for the blog topic idea!
Speaking pidgin was something we all learned from small-kid-time, albeit unconsciously. It wasn’t until quite recently that I came to my own conclusion of how or why Pidgin English came about.
My theory is that back in the days of the plantations, when our grandparents or great-grandparents came to Hawaii to work in the plantations, they didn’t speak English. They only spoke their native language from where they immigrated from. And because of that, they lived in “camps” based on ethnicity. For example, there was the Portuguese camp, the Japanese camp, the Filipino camp, etc. And everyone could communicate with each other fine and dandy provided they lived in the same camp.
But it’s when they tried to talk to another person from a different camp that didn’t speak their native language, that they had to come up with a neutral or common language that they could both understand. And thus was born: Pidgin English.
There are some words that I use that I didn’t even know was pidgin. For example, “bobora”. We used it as a slang to refer to Japanese tourist. But I found out that it’s a Japanese word meaning “Pumpkin”. Or so I thought. Actually, it’s not even a Japanese word. It’s pidgin! It’s based on the Portuguese word abóbora which means Japanese squash.
And I also found that it’s not only the words that makes up Pidgin English, but it’s also the structure. For example, ever heard a sentence ending with the word “was”? Like: “Da finga-nail clippah? – ova by da TV was“. It took me a little while to grasp what the person was saying.
Let’s see how many pidgin word, phrases, or sentences we can come up with. Let me get started with:
Bumbye – means later on okay (wea you heard dat befoah?)
Bocha – take a bath
Da kine – can mean anything
Bobora – Japanese tourist, pumpkin
Buggah – usually referring to someone or something
Fut – fart
Shaka – I don’t know where this word was derived from. Could it be “shocker”?
Since my last post kinda took on a life of it’s own from remembering Funeral Processions to local comedy, I thought we’d might as well let this play though and post your local comedy memories.
For me, one of the first albums I bought of Kanaka Komedy was Kent Bowman’s “No Talk Stink” album.
One of the first live performances of Kanaka Komedy that I saw was at Territorial Tavern in downtown. I was having dinner there and these 3 guys jump on stage and start doing some comedy routines. It was a group called: Booga-Booga.
One act that I never caught was at a place on Young street, close to Kalakaua Ave. It was a tavern called Kojak’s and it’s owner/performer was none other than Mel Cabang. His stuff was a bit more than your standard Kanaka Komedy. It was raunchy. If you couldn’t take swearing and an occasional dildo as a prop, then you didn’t want to see Mel. But if you ever see his shows, prepare to have a sore stomach from laughing.
Remember this guy? Still going today! Andy Bumatai!
Remember a little showroom in the Waikiki Sand Villa hotel called The Noodle Shop? A trio started out there called Frank DeLima and Na Kolohe.
And one more. Unfortunately, he was gone too soon. So much talent. So crazy. So funny. So Rap Reiplinger
We had a lot of local comedians back in our day. And we still have a lot today. Who were your favorites back then? What are your favorite skits of theirs? Who are your favorites today? Have any favorite skits to share?
A couple of weeks ago, we attended a mid-morning funeral. After the service was done and we all ate lunch, the undertaker – I mean, funeral director announced that the burial was going to be at a certain cemetery and that if anyone wanted to go, that they’ll just meet there.
As the hearse left and the family tried to keep up and follow, I was explaining to daughter #2 that back in the old days there were funeral processions. It’s something only MLCers would remember.
Remember how after the service when they were ready to head to the cemetery – small flags with a magnetic base were passed out to all the people who were planning on driving to the cemetery? And everyone would put the little flags on the roof of their car. Or on the hood or trunk if it was a convertible. Or if the car had a vinyl roof. btw, whatever happened to vinyl roofs?
Anyway, then all the cars in the funeral procession would turn on their headlights. Back in the day – that was the only time that people drove in daylight with their headlights on. Unless they forgot to turn it off after coming out of the tunnels.
But the motorcycle cops would stop all traffic in front of the mortuary and let the hearse out first. It was usually then followed by the cars with the immediate family of the departed one. And then followed by all the relative’s and friend’s cars, and for the caboose – there was a car or truck with a flashing yellow light on it’s roof to signify the end of the funeral procession.
Daughter #2 couldn’t tell if I was telling the truth or making this all up. But Paula also added that the funeral procession was non-stop. That the motorcycle policemen would stop all cross traffic to let the funeral procession proceed. This meant that the funeral procession ran though red lights and stop signs. It was pretty neat. Felt kinda naughty running the red lights and stop signs.
And also, you could kinda tell how popular the person who passed on was by the number of cars in the funeral procession.
Then at the burial, the undertaker – err, funeral director would gather up all the funeral flags and take them back in the hearse.
Still not sure if daughter #2 believes me.
Do you remember funeral processions? Did you ever get to drive in one? Have any funeral stories that you’d like to share?
Beatle Boots, Beatles mop-top hairstyle, mustaches, sideburns, John Lennon glasses, long hair, Indian gauze clothing, Ravi Shankar, Magical Mystery Tour, Yellow Submarine, Blue Meanies, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (LSD), Yoko Ono…
As we celebrate 50 years since the Beatles’ debut in America, I can’t help but think how these musical geniuses shaped us MLCers in one way or another. Think about it, how did the Beatles influence you? Especially since we were younger then and so much more gullible and looking to identify with something or someone.
And as the Beatles evolved, so did we.
I remember seeing the Beatles appear on the Ed Sullivan show. Two of my older brothers were planted right in front of our black and white Zenith TV. I watched too as I wanted to be included on one of the biggest events in U.S. history. But I didn’t know what I was watching.
Pretty soon, my oldest brother came home with Beatle boots. And I thought they were so cool. I remember having my mom take me to Liberty House and ask the shoe guy for Beatle boots. And I got them! Wore them to church every Sunday (because that was the only time we used to wear shoes in those days).
Let’s see… mop-top hairstyle. Nope, I didn’t get to have one. Although my oldest brother did. In fact, he was quite the Beatles fan. I remember playing with his John Lennon glasses with the blue lenses.
And the records. Magical Mystery Tour. I listened to that record for hours and hours.
And Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band album. I would put it on the stereo, open up the liner notes and follow along, word for word.
There’s no doubt about it. The Beatles influenced my youth. And unless you lived under a rock, I’m sure that they influenced your younger days too. Share your All Things Beatles thoughts and memories.
Since the 2014 Winter Olympics starts now, I thought we’d do a Thursday 3 on the Winter Olympics.
Are you planning on watching the Winter Olympics: A lot, Little bit, or Not at all?
Which events are your favorite(s)? Least favorite(s)?
What are some of your memories from previous Winter Olympics?
Here’s my replies:
1.) I plan on watching a Little bit of the Olympics. Maybe the nightly recaps. And more during the Gold medal finals.
2.) Favorites: Figure Skating, Luge, Ski Jump, and Snowboard.
Least Favorite: Biathlon, Curling, Ice Hockey
3.) Remember the 2002 Winter Olympics? And all the U.S.A. athletes were wearing the berets made by Roots of Canada?
Well, of course I had to have one. In fact I bought a few off eBay. Still have them too. Maybe I’ll wear one while watching the Olympics…
Okay, those are my replies. Looking forward to reading yours. And don’t hesitate to share any winter Olympic stories or winter Olympic sporting event. For example, maybe you attended a Winter Olympic games? Or maybe you played ice hockey in your younger days. Maybe you still ski or snowboard today. You gotta admit – us Hawaii folks get hard time relating to the winter Olympics.
Okay, I’m not talking about going to Japanese school after regular school (but you can, if you want). I’m talking about the foreign language classes that you took in intermediate and high school.
I remember when I was in 7th grade at Kalaheo Intermediate School. I signed up for Spanish because they only offered Spanish or French. I remember the first day of class when the teacher introduced herself: “Hi class. My name is Miss Fincke (pronounced Finky). Make all the fun of it that you want now because I don’t ever want to hear it again”. The whole class went silent. But she turned out to be a really cool teacher.
In fact, I still remember my first lesson in Spanish class:
Paco: “Yo soy Paco”
Alfonso: “Yo soy Alfonso”
Paco: “Hola, buenos dias. ¿Como esta usted?”
Alfonso: “Yo soy bein”
And that’s all I remember…
Actually, I do remember some bits here and there, like: “Sientente” means “Sit” because we used to hear that from Miss Fincke. And other phrases like “Como se llama” (What’s your name), and “Hasta Mañana” (See you tomorrow), and “Hasta Luego” for See you Monday which Miss Fincke would always say on Fridays.
I took 3 years of Spanish from 7th grade to 9th grade. I failed my 9th grade year. But that was okay (as I justified it) since I was going to take Japanese class in 10th grade. In fact, that was my reason for getting a district exception to attend Kailua High School instead of staying at Kalaheo as it transitioned into a high school.
At Kailua High School, I had Miss Fujinaka (what’s with all these unmarried language teachers?) as my Japanese teacher. She was mean. Well, not so much mean as she was stern. But we gave her a hard time anyway. I took her class for 2 years before giving up.
Learning a foreign language was difficult for me for a few reasons. For one, when the Language Arts teacher was teaching about nouns, verbs, adverbs, etc. in elementary school, I wasn’t paying attention. So when the foreign language teachers taught us to use certain words based on whether it’s a noun, verb, etc. – I was lost.
And it required memorization. I did not have the knack of memorizing words.
And then there was the structure. Spanish was somewhat easier because the structure was just like English. For example, to say “What is you name”, it’s Como (What) se (is) llama (your name). But Japanese – the structure is the opposite. You have to phrase it like: Namae (Your name), wa (is), nan desu ka (what?).
Das way hard!
I remember when my older brother was in high school, he had a set of records that was supposed to help him learn French.
He used to play it on the stereo in the bedroom and I used to listen to the female voice repeating the same phrases over and over again. I think he mostly enjoyed hearing her voice.
Did you take foreign language classes in Intermediate and/or High school? If so, which language(s). Did you learn anything? How about after-school language classes – like Japanese school? Sometimes I think my mom sent me to Japanese school because we didn’t have A+ After School Care in our days. Kidding, mom!
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.