Remember small-kid-time when our parents told us it was time to go to sleep – but we weren’t tired?
Unless it was Friday or Saturday night, 9:00 was my bedtime And just like clockwork (get it?) at 9:00 I was told to hit the hay. Actually, after I brushed my teeth, my dad would meet me at my room to say our prayers, then it was time to sleep.
Most nights I had no problem going to sleep.
But on those occasions where I couldn’t go to sleep – I wanted to stay up with my older brothers and watch TV too. I would get out of bed and creep into the hallway and peek out at the TV. Maybe it was the creaking wooden floors but they somehow always knew I was standing back there in the dark watching TV. And out of nowhere, I’d hear “Eh, go sleep!”. At which time I quickly jumped back into my bed and didn’t dare chance peeking at the TV again.
But sometimes they’d cut me a break. I’d quietly get out of bed and peek around the corner at the TV. Then I’d get braver and stick my whole head out and watch. Then the next thing you know, I’m sitting in the middle of the hallway watching TV. And when the show was over – I was ready to crash out.
My older brothers told me how they tried to “break” my dad by grumbling about having to go to bed early. Every night they’d complain that they’re older and should be able to stay up later. Until one night after their nightly bitching – my dad said “Okay, you guys can stay up”. Ho, they were so happy! They started flipping stations to find something good to watch. But pretty soon, their eyes got tired and as they were lying on the floor – they fell asleep. But not for long as my dad shook them awake and said “Eh, you guys wanted to watch TV so – watch TV”. And each time they nodded off – my dad was there to shake them awake – until they were almost crying for my dad to let they go to bed and go sleep.
Never again did they make a fuss when they were told to go to bed.
I remember some nights when my dad was sitting on the couch watching TV, I’d lay down next to him and rest my head on his lap and watch TV too. They he’d start patting my back in a slow rhythm – and before the next commercial break – I was out! I guess he used to carry me to bed because the next morning I’d have no recollection of walking to my bed. I take that back, I do remember once or twice being carried to my bed. Of course I kept sleeping because I didn’t want to be put down and have to walk to my bed.
Fast forward to when my girls were small. I remember daughter #2 walking out into the parlor where I was watching TV and repeating that same phrase “I can’t sleep”. What was kinda amusing was that the whole time she’s saying that – she wasn’t even looking at me – just the TV! And I’d tell her to go back and try. And again, she doesn’t even look at me and is just focused on the TV. It’s almost like I had to snap my fingers in front of her face to get her attention. Sheesh.
Some things never change…
Did you used to try to stay up late and sneak peeks at the TV? Did your kids do the same thing to you? At least before 24-hour cable stations – there was a definite time to turn off the TV. Remember watching this (but a local version).
What I really mean is Chinese Restaurants – but in MLC Speak: Chop Suey Joints. 😉
Chop Suey Joints are a staple in local eateries. From way back in the day – celebrating a grand-parent’s birthday, a child’s graduation, retirement, anything – called for sharing a meal at a chop suey joint.
Okay, I’m not talking about fancy wedding reception kine that you could tell how much the families spent on the wedding depending on whether it was a 7-course or a 9-course dinner. I’m talking about the good ol’ “eh, we go eat Chinese” kine place.
Growing up in Kailua, we had quite a number of chop suey joints: Ching Lee Chop Suey – Right next door to Andy’s Drive In Lanikai Chop Suey later became Lee’s Garden Princess Chop Suey – Special won-ton soup with chili-sesame oil and shrimp Four Star Chop Suey – Just down the street from my Japanese school. I used to go into Four Star Chop Suey and oogle at the stale manapua and rice cake in the display case.
Then later when I moved to town, it meant a whole new slew of chop suey joints: Hoy Tin Chop Suey
Lin’s Chop Suey – now Nice Day Chop Suey Silver Dragon Chop Suey – now Liu’s Chop Suey Golden City Chop Suey Moon Garden Chop Suey
I remember when I was working at Servco in Mapunapuna and Gibson shopping center was still open. No sky-slide though. In the shopping complex was Wah Kung Chop Suey. Whenever there was a new hire – it meant lunch at Wah Kung. They are still open – but located now at 99 Ranch.
One place I haven’t tried but I always see it is – Au’s Garden Chop Suey. It looks like a typical 70’s chop suey joint. Even more so I want to go there.
And the one that used to be in its own building tucked in the corner of the municipal parking lot in Kaimuki. Was that Hong Kung Chop Suey?
I tell my kids that back in our day, we had Chinese restaurants or Chop Suey joints and that’s it. No Pho places. No Vietnamese or Thai restaurants. All we had was Chop Suey joints. And dim sum lunch. That’s something new – maybe in the past 20 years or so. Our day, no such thing. You go to a Chop Suey joint and you order family style – whether breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Unless you wanted to chance the “lunch plate”.
Here’s a chop suey joint that’s been around forever (I even ate here once).
Don’t ask me if it was “tasty”. I don’t remember. LOL
What Chop Suey joints do you remember? Are they still around today or maybe new owners with a new name – but same building? Got any favorite dishes at certain chop suey joints? Special celebrations that you remember? Or just names of old chop suey joints that are just MLC memories.
Remember in elementary school when it was “movie day”? We’d march – single file – to the cafeteria and the rest of our grade would come in sitting by classroom (so the teacher can keep an eye on us). A few boys would be called upon to slide the curtains closed and the movie projector would already be set up. The nerd-kid-teachers-pet would be running the projector.
Today is movie day! Enjoy.
First, some history about Hawaii
My hometown of Kailua:
Ala Moana Shopping Center around the 2:00 mark! (excuse the language)
Skateboarding in the 70’s
And finally, an MLCer emailed me asking if I could help her identify where in Ala Moana was this picture taken. Probably snapped around 1983 – 1984.
It looks like that’s Andrade to the left and McInerny in the background. But I can’t figure out what that railing on the right side is. Across Andrade was the pool with the cooling tower and a big open space where the Santa Claus used to be. That area is opened up now, but it wasn’t opened up until Neiman Marcus moved in – in the ’90’s, right? If you watch the video with the Old Ala Moana Center in it, you can see Andrade.
Bust out the wooden hanger. No, the solid yardstick. Heck, just make it dad’s belt.
Yes, I forgot the Mother’s Day blog post. Apologies to all the moms out there.
So to make up for it – I’ll keep this post open to anything about our moms.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about your mom?
What single word would you use to describe your mom?
How about mom songs or songs with lyrics mentioning mom, ma, mother, etc.
How did you spend your Mother’s Day?
Here’s one of my favorite mom songs:
Check out those moves!
When I think of my mom, the one word that describes her is: Strong. Not physically strong – although she could do almost anything – but strong in the sense of her will. My mom could overcome anything. When I ask her how can something not bother her, she says “as Aku (Pupule) says: T.S.”. My mom overcame a lot of adversity – on her own. She didn’t come to us boys asking for help or a shoulder to cry on. Nope, she toughed it out herself. And I admired that in her. If she could do it, so can I.
So with that, I want to say I’m sorry for overlooking Mother’s Day and I hope all the moms out there had a nice Mother’s Day.
2. I would choose something with a nice ride. Maybe a Lexus LS. In my old age, I value comfort over looks. In cars, I mean.
3. My restored car would be an El Camino. I always admired them but never thought of getting one. A nice root-beer colored El Camino with a Hurst shifter, Cragar 5-spoke rims, headers, lift-kit, pin-striping, 8-track player, & Sprig air freshener (orange blossom).
Here’s a great topic for a page uncle. Unique traditions or celebrations of Hawaii, what is your favorite? I mean last I remember, we in Hawaii even do Halloween different in talk-stories. Then you have obon festivals which isn’t really all that popular on the mainland. Then there’s Omiyage, which to be honest I’ve never seen on the mainland. Or how about Chinese new year? Though practiced on the mainland, it’s never as big as in Hawaii or Asia. We could go one forever.
Thanks @Hbh! Speaking of customs, let me wish all the MLCer’s a Happy Boy’s Day!
Koinobori : The black carp (Magoi) at the top represents the father, the red carp (Higoi) represents the mother, and the last carp represents the child (traditionally son), with an additional carp added for each subsequent child with color and position denoting their relative age.
Here in Hawaii, a Japanese tradition is to celebrate Girl’s Day on March 3rd or 3/3. And we celebrate Boy’s Day on May 5th or 5/5.
In Japan, they celebrate Girl’s Day on 3/3 also, but on 5/5 – it’s call Children’s Day – not Boy’s Day. Wassup Wit Dat? (Oh wait, wrong blog).
What other Traditions or Customs can you think of?
How about the custom of giving koden or money at funerals. It wasn’t until recently that I found out that it’s not something you would do on the mainland. In fact, it might be construed as rude. From my understanding, when our ancestors immigrated here to work in the fields, they didn’t have 401Ks or life insurance. So to help families pay for funeral expenses, people gave koden. That is a custom still practiced here in Hawaii.
Another one – the Filipino money dance at weddings. When the bride and groom get up to do their first dance together as husband and wife, a tradition is for the guest to put a folded bill of some monetary value into either the bride or the groom’s mouth which they then pass to their new spouse. Although it’s a Filipino tradition, it’s seen at almost all weddings in Hawaii.
Since we’re on weddings – the Banzai toast. Another Japanese tradition. There are actually 2 Banzai toasts – which normally a brave (or drunk) uncle will give one and someone else – will give the other. One toast is from the guest to the newlyweds. And the other one is from the newlyweds to the guests. Sometime at the Filipino weddings, instead of the Banzai toast – there’s the Mabuhay toast.
Here’s one that kinda meaningful – including a penny when gifting someone cutlery or a knife. So as not meant to be taken as a threat from the person giving the knife towards the person receiving the knife – the penny is included as a token to show friendship. A superstition is that giving something sharp will severe the relationship.
Similar to that is when you gift someone a wallet or something that holds money, you always include some money in it. The meaning is so that the person’s wallet will never go empty.
My mom used to tell me never to whistle at night – because you’ll be calling the devil.
I once asked my mom why it’s bad luck to cut your fingernails at night. She didn’t really know but she guessed that back in the old days of kerosene lanterns, light was dim and cutting your nails in the dim light might cause you to cut your finger. That sounded logical to me.
If you point at a graveyard, you have to bite your finger.
Okay, that should get you started. What other Hawaii traditions, customs, and let’s throw in superstitions – can you think of?
From @sally: My friend just posted that Up On The Roof was the first 45 he ever owned. hmmm, sounds like a blog topic to me. LOL
Everyone remembers their first, right? My first 45 rpm record:
Hey Jude by The Beatles
I thought that it was such a good deal because Revolution was a good song too. And the side B – the inside of the apple – looked really cool. I vaguely remember buying it from Ramsay Appliance store. I think it was where the First Hawaiian Bank is now on the corner of Beretania St. and Piikoi St.
During my pre-teen years, I collected quite a few 45 rpm’s – including my brothers. So to store them, I had a couple of these:
Unfortunately, they all got thrown away after my mom’s house got flooded.
But I do still have my most favorite, cherished 45’s. They are still in their original paper sleeves. They are mostly the hard-to-find records that I bought from the Music Box store that used to be on Union mall in downtown.
I remember browsing through the 45’s in Holiday Mart. I used to go to the counter and pick up one of the K-POI countdowns for the week:
Then head over to the bins that were numbered from 1 to 20 for the top songs of that week. The 45’s were priced at 99¢ each.
So, can you remember what was your first 45 rpm record? Can you remember where you bought it from? Did you have a lot of 45’s or were you more of an album type of person. Do you still have any 45’s around today?
Remember when school lunch cost us 25¢? That was such a deal. In intermediate school, we were so hard up for cash that we used to forgo our lunch money so we could buy ice-cakes or candy after school. Then in high school, money came by a lot easier so we used to eat two lunches. That cost us a whole 50¢.
Today, high school lunch prices are about to go up from $2.50 to $2.75.
Which leads me to today’s question – how much do you budget yourself for a meal?
Keeping in mind that we are older now and we can’t pound food like we used to. Well, we can – and I don’t know about you – but I don’t feel good after packing away a huge meal. Das why – when it comes to buffets – lose money. When I try to eat my money’s worth – I end up not feeling too good.
But I digress – how much to spend on food.
Mini plates are enough for me so that’s one way to manage the food budget. I used to be able to get a mini bbq chicken plate from Queen’s BBQ for under $5. That was a deal. Now, I think it’s just under $6, I guessing. I haven’t been there in a few years. I wonder if the “Hep You!?, Hep You!?” lady still remembers me.
At Mistuken, I can get a mini bento for under $5. And it’s enough to fill me. Just that I taste and burp garlic chicken for the rest of the day. But it’s a good deal.
But at Ala Moana – walking around the Makai Market, the average cost of a plate is about $8 – $10. Mini’s (if available) are around $7 – $9. Add money for a drink and you’re looking at spending around $10 for a mini plate and drink.
Is $10 about the going rate for a meal nowadays? If so, I need to up my food budget.
Try walking around Yataimura in Shirokiya. Expect to pay over $10 for a meal there – whether it be ramen, spaghetti, curry, etc. Although you can get something for just under $10 at the pre-made bento counters there.
I guess, gone are the days of Shari’s Drive In – Home of the dollar plate lunch. Check it out – even had car-hop service!
Youth Unlimited ad courtesy of Mark’75
We had one in Kailua at the Times Market shopping center. No car-hop service. Just $1 for teri-beef, 2 scoops rice, & mac salad. After surfing all morning, we used to ride our bikes down to Shari’s with $3 in our pocket. Two plate lunches and a soda. Best deal in town! It was great while it lasted.
I always wondered – what if someone opened up a place like that today, but with today’s prices. Say, mini plate $5. Regular plate $6. Add a cup drink for $1. Make the prices with tax included so no need to deal with coins. And keep the menu simple.
Anyone want to give it a shot? Not me. But I’ll eat there!
So how do you budget your meals? Do you limit yourself to $6?, $8?, $10?, $13? per meal? I’m not talking fancy stuff. Just drive in, food court, poke shop, fast food, etc. kine. Is a mini plate enough, more than enough, or do can you still grind one whole plate? Or are you eating wiser and choosing salads or lighter meals?
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.