Monday, March 09, 2009

Chapter 3 - Oh How She Could Yacki Hacki Wicki Wacki Woo

Here's part 3 of my low-rent travelogue that follows this one. After we were denied the opportunity to join my dad at Johnston Island by the Air Force, he was transferred to Hawaii in 1956 and we were soon to follow after being temporarily stranded in San Francisco waiting on the Air Force's "ride" -- I don't remember where we stayed or for how long, but I know my mother was HOPPING mad at the Salvation Army over something, I think it was because they turned us away when we were broke. I will also never forget her story about ordering some Chop Suey in a restaurant there, seeing something in it that looked a lot like a tail, and when she asked the waitress what it was, she replied "salamander."

I was about to make my first airplane flight, and it could have ended up being much more memorable (in a bad way) because one of the engines caught fire while we were over the ocean. Somehow we managed to land in Hawaii and it was not by raft or helicopter so disaster was avoided.

The video above (which is someone's modern video, but nothing has changed about it) provides the sound track for this post, it's one of the songs (with dance moves) that I learned while living there - and I may have driven everybody crazy singing The Hukilau and Honolulu Hicki Boola Boo... or maybe not. It really was just one loooong party where people wore their swimsuits all the time and were either dancing, drinking, singing, playing an instrument, or all of the above.

Here I am trying to play my ukulele with some of our neighbors.

There's my record player on the floor, add some refreshments and some Hawaiian garb and it's a party.

We lived there no more than 2 years and I was about 4 when we left, so I don't have the usual type of touristy memories. My mother and grandmother had told me that a praying mantis would spit tobacco juice in your eyes, so I remember trying to get back to our apartment when I saw that I had to pass what seemed like a giant praying mantis, so I was frozen with fear and couldn't get past him.

More of the neighbor kids, probably other military kids. That's me sitting on the ground. I've never been much of a ham.

I also remember being absolutely horrified at the sight of hot lava. I mean, how many kids get to see bubbling molten lava in person? I developed a great fear and fascination with volcanoes. I never visited another one, but found the story of Pompeii to be one of the scariest things I ever read.

My mother at the beach, looking stylish in 1956. She was naturally very thin. I didn't inherit that trait. She actually used to drink those weight-gain concoctions but they never worked.

You had to have a muumuu. I still have this one. It's probably valuable. All I need is a buyer.

My mother, dressed up and sitting by the Banyan tree.

I very seldom saw my dad when he was not in uniform, but here's an exception.

and here's me wearing the same outfit (not just a matching outfit - the same one)

click to enlargeExcept for the gigantic tobacco juice-spitting bugs, the bubbly hot molten lava, and getting a really short haircut, Hawaii was one of the nicest places we were assigned to live. I'd love to go back someday.

The next Chapter will be about the Florida panhandle and living on a chicken farm. For previous installments, click on the "lifestory" label.


Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Great post. I love finding out about people's pasts. Your mom was a cutie and you were nothing short of adorable as a child.

WeezieLou said...

how, how wonderful!!! the photo's were great, the sound track unparalleled.

Pyzahn said...

Wonderful travelogue, with great pics. Boy, when your dad gets out of uniform, he REALLY gets out of uniform.

I loved the family-shared hula outfit. And the mumu was cutecute.

I still have my tap dance tutu. Hot orange with a snappy little hat that reminds of the the ladies who used to roam through nightclubs hawking cigarettes.

Keep 'em coming.

Jannie Funster said...

You were certainly loved a lot - I do not have as many photos of me as a kid, and certainly not in a mumu or grass skirt.

Totally cool post, love seeing old photos.

Mando Mama said...

Extraordinary. It's amazing not only that you have the photo chronicle but that you actuall remember some of these events.You ought seriously to consider putting these in a book. You had more adventures by the time you were 5 than most of us will have in our lifetimes.

Blueberry said...

I do remember a few things from a really early age where normally they are forgotten (just a few). Timelines are sometimes fuzzy, but I have been attempting to piece my life together with letters and photos. By the time I was 4 (in this Chapter) I had moved at least 6 times, bag and baggage. My parents and most of my aunts and uncles are dead, and I am an only child so it's a difficult puzzle. A challenge!

What's helping me is that my mother was a packrat and my dad loved taking pictures and processing them himself in the photo labs on base.

Lisa Allender said...

How cuuuuuute! Definitely consider publishing a memoir of this time--say, everything you recall up to I dunno, say, age 13?
What's really cool is the "normal-ness" of the lovely mom, the military dad, and the "shared" grass-hula-skirt.
It looks like you were fortunate to have such a loving home/childhood.
I am sorry your parents and relatives have passed on.
It's great, though, that there's this whole"blogging community" to share pics/memories with, yes?
You might enjoy the "Open Salon" blog community over at, uh, salon. com.
I read your bio--you may want to know that there are a lot of atheists/liberals/etc. over at salon, and it's a very inclusive atmosphere for all.
Peace, woman.
btw, I found you by seeing one of ur comments at WeezieLou's blog.

Blueberry said...

Thanks to everyone for the comments. I am planning a total of 13 Chapters. Not sure if it will be once a month or what, it will depend on my progress at getting my head and photos together.

It is true (now that you mention it) that my mother looks "normal," the pictures do suggest that, but she was actually more bohemian, eccentric, and interesting than I will ever be. It's her story that needs to be put in a book.

enigma4ever said...

oh this is so all the photos and the were such a little cutie...