September 30, 1961 – Hawaii

Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Honolulu, Hawaii – Cloudy

       As dawn approached I was snuggled in my bed dreaming pleasant fantasies when all of sudden my world was invaded by screeching creatures that pulled my consciousness to the surface.  Once I was fully awake I focused on the unpleasant sounds to try and figure out what they were.  As I walked to the window to see if I could tell where the noise came from I noticed Edith was still very much asleep.  I envied her ability to sleep through the noise.  Once I got to the window I could see huge flocks of Myna birds under our window and I realized they were responsible for making a racket that closely resembled a million doors with rusty hinges all opening at once.  I went back to bed and tried to go back to sleep.  I really wished right then I had my grandson David’s squirt gun so I could squirt water at the birds and drive them off.

      When I finally got up it was hectic because Edith and I were both trying to get dressed at the same time as we tried to pack our luggage again for when we went back to the airport this evening.  We joined the rest of the tour at breakfast in the dining room and I enjoyed my simple breakfast of grapefruit, toast and coffee.  At 9am Rudy joined us in the dining room and had us to pile aboard our now familiar bus to spend our Saturday touring the island of Oahu or at least that’s what it looked from reading where it said we were to go on our itinerary:

Sept. 30 – A full day’s excursion has been planned for you to see the entire Island of Oahu, visiting the Iolani Palace, former home of Hawaii’s Kings and Queens – the very beautiful botanical gardens, – famous for orchids, the Punchbowl – an extinct volcano, for a fine view of the city of Honolulu, Queen Emma’s home, the Upside Down Falls, breathtaking view from the top of Nuuanu Pali, the taro and rice paddies, banana, coconut and papaya plantations, the Laie Mormon Temple, Kahuku sugar mill, Wahiawa Pineapple plantation, and a Panoramic view of Pearl Harbor.

View of Beach

     Our tour started off by visiting the Iolani Palace.  Edith and I were impressed with what we saw and especially the history behind it that we were told about.  Our next stop was the Foster Botanical Gardens where I was looking forward to seeing their famous orchids.  I found them to be ever so much more colorful and unique than the ones I had back home.  The yellows and pinks seemed so deep and vibrant.  The variety of plants in the garden included some I hadn’t even heard of before like the Banyan Tree.  The gardens had such wonderful smells that I kept finding myself closing my eyes and taking deep breaths to take it all in.  After we started traveling again on our bus we went past taro and rice paddies, banana, coconut and papaya plantations on our way to have lunch.  We even saw a set up of a native hut and outrigger’s canoe that was interesting to look at.

Banyon Tree in Botanical Gardens

Outriggers Canoe Display

Crouching Lion Inn

      By the time I sat down to wait for our lunch at the Crouching Lion Inn I was ready to take a break.  The heat had drained me and I found myself drinking glass after glass of water in an effort to get rehydrated.  Curt and Flo were sitting at the same table with Edith and I.  Curt suggested dishes for each of us to order telling us they were specialties and something we should try.  When I saw the platter of food placed before me I would never have guessed what kind of fish it was that I had ordered – Dolphin.  I was amazed to find it had a sweet, non-fishy taste and I was pleasantly surprised. Edith made it quite clear that she didn’t like her lunch.  I was beginning to sense she was a very picky eater.

          For desert I had a nice big piece of coconut cream pie and by the time I got up from the table I was totally satiated.  All I wanted to do for the rest of the day was to take a nap instead of doing more touring.

      As we continued to drive around I found myself dozing off and on despite all the bouncing around.  I was glad when we finally arrived at our first afternoon stop so I could get out, walk around and wake up.  The Punchbowl had a terrific view of the city and there was a nice breeze as we stood on the edge of the extinct volcano.  It turned out it was also be a national cemetery.  I was moved seeing all the military graves in a place of such beautiful scenery. 

The Punchbowl Extinct Volcano

     I got upset when I had trouble trying to change the film.  I was afraid I might lose some pictures.  I found another binder to put the film in and I hoped it would be fine.  I was glad I was figuring the camera out now rather than later when a mistake like this might be more disastrous.  Ramona’s camera was more complex than mine but I had decided to use her camera because the pictures always came out better than mine.

      Our next stop turned out to be the home of Queen Emma’s that she had shared with her husband, King Kamehameha IV during her lifetime.  We were told that because the climate was cooler in the upland and far more pleasant than the area nearer to the beaches which Queen Emma had used as her summer home.

      Next the tour took us to the wonderful Upside Down Falls, the Laie Mormon Temple, the Soto Zen Temple, the Kahuku sugar mill and the Wahiavw pineapple plantation.  All were impressive to see but also exhausting to rush through.  I was glad when we got to the top of the Pali lookout and were given time to enjoy the breathtaking view.  The sight of Oahu Island, Diamond Head and a little island called the Captains Hat was magnificent to see.  We also had a breathtaking view of Pearl Harbor.  Seeing the harbor and remembering the men lost on the ships that December 7th made me wistful.  I took several pictures to remember everything. 

Pali Lookout on Oahu

View of Pearl Harbor

Captain's Hat Island

Soto Zen Temple

      Once we arrived back at the hotel Rudy asked all of us to gather in the lobby.  He let us all know we would be leaving for the airport around midnight to check in and get our tickets.  The hotel had set aside two suites for us to wait in till we had to leave since we’d had to check out of our rooms.  Rudy asked the women to congregate in the first room and the men in the second.  Finally he let us know that those wanting to go to the Surfside Hotel for dinner and a floor show should meet in the lobby at 7pm.

      While Rudy was right each room had several beds most of the women including me weren’t lucky enough to get one to rest on.  I made myself as comfortable as I could in a big stuffed chair and took advantage of our wait to write letters.  First I decided I would write Bob’s kids and Sammy (their dachshund puppy) since I knew they would be excited to get something from me:

 Sept 30, 1961

Dear Patrick, Penny, Liz Ann and Sammy;

     We arrived here safely yesterday at 11:40am and came right to the hotel after a stop by the wrong hotel which I will tell you about some day.

     We went to the Beachcomber for dinner last nite and the floor show was tops.  It was Ed Kenny and his Troupe.  We saw the Fire Dance, several hula dancers and heard some wonderful singing.  This club was a very beautiful one.  It rained last night.

     This morning we were awakened at 5am by the Myna birds, screeching like mad (about a million of them) I wished I had a squirt gun.  They were under our window.  Then we went for a tour of the island had lunch at the Crouching Lion and the coconut cream pie was real good.  We went to the Pali outlook, to the pineapple farms as well as to the top of the extinct volcano where there is a cemetery overlooking Honolulu.  Oh a lot of other places then back to the hotel.  We are going to the Surfside Hotel tonight and see the floor show.

     I am enclosing some pictures of where we went and the clipping of the Limping Mammoth.

Love to you all, Grandma

 P.S. Save the post cards for me.

      Then I wrote one to Ramona and her family to update them on how things were going.  I’d asked her to keep all the letters so I could use them later to work on my memoir:

Sept 30, 1961

Dear Ramona, Ray, Janice, David, Mike and Binky;

     Last night we went to the Beachcombers the guest of the tour and it is a beautiful place, belongs to Duke Kahanamoku, he had the table next to ours – his wife was with him – the floor show was grand.  I could hardly eat my dinner.  The Fire Dance and hula dancers and Hawaiian singers – Ed Kinney and his troupe entertained us for 3 hours.  Our dinner was so delicious.  I had a whiskey sour then filet (2 ½ inches thick) and stuffed mushroom caps and coconut Sunday for desert. 

     This morning Myna birds awakened us at 5 am sounded like a million doors with rusty hinges all opening at once, they were right under our window.  We got up, ate breakfast and at 9am met for the tour just like the itinerary says – everything was nice- and our guide sang to us, he had a good voice and he told funny stories.  We had the best fresh pineapple.  I got back to the hotel at 5pm.  Edith and I had a big lunch at the Crouching Lion.  Dolphin steaks which are fish with a sweet taste very good and coconut cream pie which was super. 

      I took the rest of the film and it broke getting it out of the camera.  I used another binder and sent it on to you.  The itinerary will explain these pictures I can do the camera now I’m sure without more trouble. 

     Tonite we are going to the Surfisde Hotel and see a floor show then leave here at 1:45am for Japan.  We will arrive Monday at 5am.  We skip a day.

Love Mother

     When it came time to go to dinner at the Surfside Hotel and watch the floor show I opted to stay behind. I was still full from lunch and didn’t have the energy to go anywhere else before we had to leave for the airport.

      After finishing my letters I walked down to the lobby to mail them before returning to the room we’d been given. When I got back to the room I noticed everyone who had gone to the Surfside Club had returned and were talking and getting to know each other better.  It was a pleasant time and I enjoyed getting to know everyone better.

      Rudy came to collect us promptly at midnight for our trip to the air park to get our tickets to travel to Japan.  Once the tickets were obtained we had to wait till it was time to go aboard the airplane so we had to find seats but none were as nice as those at Los Angeles International airport.  Once we were seated we waited and waited but our plane wasn’t ready to leave at the scheduled time of 1:45am.  They told us we wouldn’t leave till 2:50am but even then there was delay followed by delay.  Finally at 5:00am Rudy told us we had time to go get breakfast in the Sky Room of the air park restaurant, so we decided to do just that.

     Edith and I found a table and looked over the menu.  Our waitress brought us some coffee and started to take our order when there was an announcement over the loudspeaker that our plane was boarding immediately.  As I got up I noticed some people in our group had been lucky enough to get their food order.

      Once we got to the gate Edith and I lined up to hand over our tickets so we could board the plane and get comfortable.  I was anxious to get aboard so I could try and get some sleep.  I settled into my seat and I was pleased that this time I was sitting next to the window because it would give me a chance to see some of the islands we were going to fly over even though I wouldn’t be able to get very good pictures.  As we lifted off the ground I closed my eyes and tried to sleep.


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