Delightful Days of June

Sometimes I think that June is my favorite month of the year.  That thought usually comes around the middle of June when I start thinking of all the good things that are going on in the warm weather and the beautiful green world around me.  I am thinking of fresh asparagus in the garden, fresh mint in my tea and fresh food from the CSA we belong to.  Each week we pick up a box containing all kinds of garden eating and I try to figure out how I can use all of it while planning meals.  I am learning.

June first has been a special day for me for 48 years as it is our wedding anniversary.  This year we celebrated it by attending our youngest grandchild’s high school graduation. It was a beautiful warm, but not hot evening. The class of Three hundred took a long time to get through,  but the good thing was they had an excellent speaker. We happen to have known the speaker for some time.  He was introduced with a long list of accomplishments and titles, during his welcoming applause, I leaned over and whispered to Dick “we call him Todd.”

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It was her night and we were so proud of her.  She is a beautiful gal inside and out.

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This is our son and his daughter, a precious moment caught on my camera.

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I think this is a great new tradition, at least it is the first time I have seen them decorated the caps.  Dick says he remembers being told that if they did anything to the caps they would not walk the stage.  Her cap is very nice as she is very artistic.

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So the next special day in June was when I got to sit on the town square in front of a very popular store to tell people about my book.  I did a lot of talking before I did any selling, but in the last hour – –

I sold books.

I LOVE IT WHEN I SELL BOOKS!!!

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Then there are those special evenings in June when you get to share a time with friends, watch people, kick back and listen to some good music. Delightful!

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We had just had dinner, but the snacks were plentiful and lasted long into the night.

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The views at Hauser Winery are always spectacular, no matter what the season, but when you can sit outside in the warm weather, watch the sun set and the moon rise, sing along with the band and laugh with friends, that has got to be the best of seasons in the wonderful month of June.

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To be sure you can’t even pretend to talk about June if you don’t mention strawberry’s. They are beautiful, delicious and sweet and taste so good in a strawberry – rhubarb pie.  It’s so good I forgot to get the picture before the first two pieces were gone.  Here is my favorite recipe for this great pie. It is so easy and comes from a very old “Better Homes and Gardens” cookbook.

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1 1/2 (scant) cups sugar

1/4 cup flour +1 TBS cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt  1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 cups strawberries

2 cups cut up rhubarb  OR you can do 3 cups rhubarb and 1 cup strawberries  which ever flavor you want to dominate

Pastry for 2 crust 9-inch pie

1 TBS butter

Combine sugar, flour, cornstarch,salt and nutmeg.  Add fruit, mix lightly let stand for 20 minutes.

Spray bottom of pie plate with butter spray.

Spoon mixture into pastry lined pie plate, dot with butter, add top crust, seal and moisten.  Bake at 375 degrees about 40 to 45 minutes.  Serve slightly warm.

 

Enjoy and have a delightful rest of June!!

 

 

 

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Island in the sun

Sunshine is our cry here in Pennsylvania in the middle of May. Please could we have more sunshine.  In two weeks the backyard pools should be opening up. Are you crazy? It is 57 degrees outside.  Yes, it’s a good time to head south to North Carolina and that is what we did.  Our island in the sun is Emerald Isle just off the coast and in the 2nd week of May there was sunshine a plenty with temperatures in the low to mid 80’s.

Here I am, all decked out in my beach cover up gear to go to the pool.  Pool temp 82 degrees. Outside temp 85.  Perfect.  (Taking a picture in a mirror proved easier, and a bit more flattering  than the tried and failed selfie.)20160509_125956

Later, a walk to the beach is a pleasant jaunt through your own private, shadowy jungle.

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Some were able to get into the ocean.  I preferred to catch some rays, read a book, watch the waves,

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and the sandpipers.

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My husband enjoyed getting into a little fishing.  Little is the key word here as all he caught were throwbacks.

Fishing was good, catching not so much.

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Roses are blooming in front of the beach house.

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Walks through the area reveal all kinds of surprises, like birds singing in the tree tops, and

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and purple clam shells, all in a pile.

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The marina is only half full in the first half of May.  That is why it is so quiet around here.

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Another day, another walk.  Over bridges and 20160511_121820

And through the marshy swamps, that looked like we were deep into the Louisiana bayou.

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All paths lead to the beautiful ocean.

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Sunsets for yet another day on the Island in the sun.

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Who can guess what we saw swimming in the water below us.

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To the first person who correctly identifies the swimming object in the water, in a response to this blog, I will send a free email version of my book

A Wish Called Wanda.

 

 

 

 

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Washington Crossing Historical Park

An excerpt from the tourist flier shares a desperate call for help from General Washington.

25th Decem’r 1776 6 0’clock PM – McKonkey’s Ferry

Dear Sir

Notwithstanding the discouraging Accounts I have received from Col:Reed of what might be expected from the Operations below, I am determined, as the night is favourable, to cross the River, & make the attack upon Trenton in the Morning.  If you can do nothing real, at least create as great a diversion as possible.

I am Sir your most obt Servant,

Geo Washington                (copied from flier)

 

Turns out they did nothing.

It wasn’t Christmas day, nor was there ice, snow and wind, rather a beautiful warm spring day that during an outing in and around Philadelphia we happened on the historic town of Washington Crossing, PA.

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According to tradition this is where Washington and his aides ate their dinner prior to the crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas Day during the Revolutionary War of 1776.  Additions were made to the inn in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century by the Taylor family.  This building continued to serve as an inn for decades.

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We entered the historic park visitor center to find this statue of George Washington looking over the site very near to where the crossing took place.  Today it offers this beautiful view of the River.

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Strolling down the park avenue, we got this reflective view of ourselves and the river.

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Next the 20th century structure that houses the Durham boat replicas.  Originally used to haul iron ore, the Durham boats were the sturdy craft used by Washington and his men for the crossing.

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Today these boats are a key component of the annual reenactment of the crossing on Christmas Day.

The Taylorsville store was owned and operated by Mahlon K. Taylor around 1817 and also functioned as the Post Office. The town, which is now known as Washington Crossing, was then Taylorsville.

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In the museum I found this sign which described the person of General George Washington.

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Completing this blog is the beautiful Thompson – Neely stone house, an example of the eighteenth century architecture located along Pidcock Creek.  It was used to aid and care for convalescing soldiers healing from wounds or suffering from diseases and camp illnesses during the winter of 1776-1777.

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Here is another little note from the tour booklet:

“Fully expecting to be supported by two divisions south of Trenton, Washington assembled his troops near McConkey’s Ferry in preparation for the crossing. By 6 PM, 2,400 troops began crossing the ice-choked river.  The operation was slow and difficult due to the condition of the river. An abrupt change in the weather forced the men to fight their way through sleet and a blinding snow storm.  These obstacles proved to be too much for the supporting divisions led by Colonel Cadwalader and General Ewing. Ultimately, their attempts to cross at southern points along the Delaware River failed.

Against all odds, Washington and his men successfully completed the crossing and marched into Trenton on the morning of December 26, 1776, achieving a resounding victory over the Hessians. By moving ahead with his bold and daring plan, General Washington reignited the cause of freedom and gave new life to the American Revolution.”

In case you are wondering, as I was, the Hessians were a group of German mercenary soldiers who were celebrating the Christmas holiday and in no way prepared for an early morning attack.

I recently finished a school year of teaching world history to senior high students from a home school co-op group.  So this find was more than enjoyable to me.  I hope you found it interesting, and if you are ever in the area, I believe  a visit is very much worth your time.

 

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Aloha Oe

One year ago today my friends Dee and Lisa and I were flying, with the greatest of ease, to Honolulu, Hawaii. I thought I would post my last thoughts of that special place to commemorate the memory.  This will be random pictures that hopefully I’ve not posted before.  I hope you enjoy this final look at the place I called home so long ago.

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Things you may see as you walk through Waikiki.

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Surfer wanna bees

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King Kamehameha welcomes you, as you stroll downtown.

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Punch bowl Lady guarding the fallen.

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Random street beauty.

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Random beauty from the highway.

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So my last thoughts are:  I WANNA GO AGAIN!!!!

ALOHA OE from me and Queen Liliuokalani.

 

 

 

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Zac’s Rabbits in Hawaii

Easter and bunnies, they go together, but why?  That is the question.  Several of our most important Christian holidays have some connection with pagan celebrations, and the reason for this is that early Christians had to do all they could to draw people away from the old ways of worshiping the created rather than the Creator. To make a long story short and to get to the purpose of this blog,  the prolific bunny was a symbol of fertility and new life.  Christians grabbed onto the new life part and eventually a story about a bunny who laid colored eggs in spring evolved and came to us from the Germans.  So when you are talking Easter bunnies and colored eggs at Easter time remember the resurrection of Jesus who conquered death and gives us new life, much like the new beginnings we see with every spring.  I saw this sign today:  Silly Rabbit, Easter is for Jesus.

All that to say I thought it would be a good time to share a blog about Zac’s Rabbits in Hawaii.  Zac and Anita and I go back to the mid 60’s when we lived in Hawaii and I stood up for them at their wedding. They stayed in Hawaii, and raised their family there.  What amazes me is that Zac started his business in his own back yard.  Let me take you there.

We left the lovely Luana Hotel, which is right around the corner from Saratoga Road, in our spiffy rent a car. We were driving to the area near Barbours Point and we had many scenic views along the way.

This is a close up of the velvet rippled mountains that I love.

Basically we followed our noses and the address on Lisa’s wonder phone and found Zac’s Rabbitry.  He and his family have lived here for quite a number of years. The property is hedged in on all sides and when the small house needed expanding, they lifted the house and added a basement.  Then Zac went on to make his small back yard more efficient.

You would be amazed, as I was, about the many eco systems he has going on right here in his back yard. He grows plenty of rabbit and people food, giving us a taste of several different plants. He also has his own equipment to process manure into fertilizer and rabbits tucked into ever available corner.

Easter Bunnies for sure!

They are cute and cuddly and we even got to pet some of them as Zac placed them into our hands.  There were babies (aren’t there always babies) and those were the ones that were most available to hold.

Look at these cuties, see the different varieties.

After the tour we took off to places unknown.  Zac took us to a turtle bay, where we saw no turtles but a lot of beauty.

More beauty as we head up the coast

looking out to Kaiena Point, the furthermost point on the island with no road around it.

Another great day in paradise, with one more stop.  Would not want to forget this one!

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Bye Zac and Anita, thanks for your Hawaiian Hospitality.   Happy Easter to all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A little Oriental Flavor

Today is my birthday and my wish is to go somewhere exotic. So happens I have China Town in Honolulu at my fingertips. When we were in Honolulu in April we took a bus downtown and had a look around Aloha Tower and the piers and suddenly found ourselves in China Town. What a fun find, we browsed and pointed and looked and took pictures.

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Exotic colors galore

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Open markets line the streets

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That little guy hanging on the door looks a little exotic, don’t you think?

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I love these decorative poles lining this streeDSCF4350

Now here is a funny story taken from my journal on our trip in 1997.

We had been to church and met old friends Zac and Anita.  The six of us enjoyed a great lunch at Sam Choy’s and later Anita drove us around Kuakini Hospital. There are many new buildings all around and I didn’t recognize a thing. We went back to the Condo for a clothing change and while Karen, Anita and I were in the elevator we noticed this young big blonde guy, standing in the corner with a book. He was very dark tanned and not Caucasian, but not very Japanese looking either. His book was written in the vertical Japanese script. Anita, obviously very curious about this asked.

“Can you really read that?”

He smiled and said, “Oh yes,

“I impressed,” she answered back.

Suddenly Karen jumps in on the conversation and says, “Oh good, then you will understand my Japanese song.” And she breaks out singing this little Japanese melody:

“Mu su Ma san

Yo ku ke Kayo

Yama ota kona

Ho dar du nayo

Yama da fuka dra ha

Yo – ho – ho

Waka go ka san dayo”

Anita and I were in shock, not knowing that Karen possessed this talent. The blonde guy was laughing and said, “Yes, I understand the song,” and we all got off the elevator. Later she started singing it when there were three Japanese ladies on the elevator, and to our delight, they started singing with her. They told her it was an old popular song warning daughters not to fall in love with mountain climbers. Karen told us that she had tutored a Japanese student once who taught her the only Japanese song she ever knew. That’s my Karen, that’s why I love her.

Remembering good times and good laughs are a good way to spend a happy birthday.

Unfortunately I did not get to spend my day that way, as I had this all ready to go, but had to take my husband to the hospital for an unexpected over night stay. He is home today and is tired but doing good.n  Birthday turned out well, however, with many good wishes on face book, our daughter providing a wonderful diner and presents.  This is the reason my post shows up a day late.

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North shore, Waves galore

There is lots of snow and ice here in Pennsylvania, schools are closed and I am at home safe and warm, but my thoughts are taking me to a much warmer place.  When we were in Hawaii this past April we spent one whole day on the beaches around the North shore.  The waves were more than gentle in April but now in February, I’ve heard, they are breaking at record heights.  I remember seeing 30 foot waves when I lived in Hawaii, but sometimes I would have some unsettling thoughts about waves crashing over me.  At a safe distance I like watching the big waves but in general I will take the smaller ones that speak of peace and tranquility.

The crashing, dashing waves are fun to watch as well and call for endless pictures.

The surfer wants the ones they can catch.

A stop at a shrimp truck is highly recommended by anyone you talk to.  We complied and I had my fill of butter and garlic shrimp and more rice than I could handle at one sitting.

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The colorful trucks pull you in everytime

The stories from here on down are from my journal in 1997

After lunch we found Makaha beach and on both sides of us the wave were breaking and there were surfers, but where we went in there were only nice swells. The water was delightful and we stayed for about two hours. We were the only ones in the water and no one on the beach. We had been warned to get away from Waikiki area on the weekend, boy did we ever!

John is good at getting deals. Before we left this morning he was calling about some dinner cruises out of Waikiki. We thought they would be to expensive but he saw some good adds. The guy at our desk was quoting eighty two dollars per person and said the one in the add didn’t exist. John called the number on the add and after talking for a while got us a cruise for thirty one dollars per couple. We were ready to go but we weren’t quite sure what this price would produce.

They provided free transportation to the boat. We were picked up at our hotel and boarded the bus with a bunch of rowdy Texans who were already about three sheets to the wind. However, at the dock they went right we went left. They paid eighty two dollars for dinner, we paid fifteen for a bar-b-Que. Their boat was packed full, ours had less than 25 people on it. We had one musician who was a music teacher and did this boat job part time. There was also a young Hawaiian girl who danced. She was a beautiful sweet girl. They entertained us and we got to visit with them for a while.

It was very informal. We viewed Waikiki in the sunset from the deck. At meal time we were served one piece of fish, one small steak, potato salad, green salad and corn on the cob. We also had dessert and rolls. Non alcoholic drinks were $1.00. The whole thing was delightful and lasted two hours.  (No such deals found in 2015)

On the way in to shore after dinner I requested the song “Sweet Someone,” one of my favorite Kui Lee songs, and our on board musician did a great job singing it. Our young Hawaiian dancer did “Little grass shack” at Karen’s request, and to top it off, the guys presented Karen and I  leis for the night. Best fifteen bucks we ever spent. We got back to the Condo by 8 pm and spent the rest of the evening in the hot tub up on the roof.

(Does anyone out there remember the words to Sweet Someone?  I tried to look them up but could not find them. Here is what I remember.    “Sweet someone, whoever you may be,  sweet someone you suit me to a tea, although you pay no attention to me at all, one kiss and needless to mention, I had to fall.  How I wonder what’s keeping us apart, don’t wonder, just give away your heart.”          That’s all I can remember.   He also wrote I’ll remember you which was another one of my favorites, back in the day.

 

Well now that I wrote that, reminisced and looked all the waves, the sun is out here in beautiful, snow covered Pennsylvania.

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From the Top of Waikiki

With pictures from 2015 and a story from 1997,  we are, in this blog, still wandering around the Waikiki, Ala moana area and reminiscing of the time we lived in Hawaii in the mid sixties.  Our friend Jan lived in Hawaii in 1997, and she picks Dick and I up from the hotel and we are off to see the sites.  She had a big surprise waiting for me.

We were on our way to the new location of Kaiser Hospital. They imploded the old one in 1986 and used actual footage to film Magnum PI in the elevator while it was going down. That building sat very near the Ilikai Hotel with the Marina visible from all floors. This one was further out, near the Tripler Army Hospital.

(We loved this photo opt just across the Ala Wai Canal bridge just up from the Ilikai Hotel)

Jan still worked at Kaiser and wanted to take me to see two gals who she thought I would remember. She had talked with them about me coming and set up a time while they would be on lunch break. They could not remember “Wanda” and I was not sure either who she was referring to. When we opened the door to the break room, low and behold, two familiar faces were sitting there. I paused and said “Hello.” They both stood, started toward me, and said at the same time, “I know this girl!” We laughed, and hugged, and I was thrilled that they still thought of me as a girl.

We had a whirlwind visit as we talked about the old timers and times. They mentioned names that I had long forgotten, but as they talked a face would come to mind. The half hour was short and soon we had to leave Arsenia and Bernice. What a joy it was to visit with them.

We left there and had lunch at Ryan’s across from the Ala Moana park in a row of buildings that did not exist in the sixties. There were so many of them surrounding the park, that the beauty I once knew looks squeezed into a much smaller area.     (20 years later the park may have been smaller, but the trees were bigger.  This picture may indicate that in this same year I would have shoulder surgery. At least I did get off the ground)

(In my dreams this is what I looked like.  She made it look so easy. I think the poundage might have been more the problem than the shoulders.  You go, Lovely, little Lisa.)

After a short walk to have a look at the shrunken park and beach area we drove to the Ala Moana shopping center, where, when living here, we did most of our shopping, and passed the time on some fun dates. At this time, however, it looks quiet different, the ground floor has a large grocery store and some other shops, while the upper floors have been taken over by very expensive Japanese shops.

(The former La Rhonde Restaurant at top of the Ala Moana Shopping Center on far right)

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The restaurant at the top, where I spent my 21st birthday is no longer a revolving restaurant. It houses offices and no longer revolves. The blue ring of lights around the top still serve as landmark in the Hawaii skyline. Seeing it now, I am just so thankful that I had the opportunity to be up there in the restaurant atmosphere.

Back at the hotel we said our goodbyes to Jan and thanked her for a wonderful afternoon of memories. We promised to stay in touch and see each other again back on the Mainland, as she and her husband had plans in the making to move.

A little time on the roof by the pool with a book rounded out the day very well. When John and Karen returned from the beach, it was time to make plans for dinner. He spotted a deal for dinner at the Top of Waikiki in one of his papers. If you ate there between the hours of five and six they would give you a free Imax pass. The meals were reasonable from the early bird menu.

     The Top of Waikiki is also a landmark building with its revolving restaurant that was built just before I arrived in July of 1965. I had lunch with Bruce there once and had often been up to the observation deck. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner and had plenty of time to walk around before catching the 8pm Imax show.   (No Imax now, sad because I have always loved the big screen shows, taking you places you otherwise would never see.)

(The views from the Top still delight the eye.

As we go all about the town,  and into the restroom.

The early bird meals are not only a delight to the eye, but taste good too. This is the pasta dish that we liked so much we went back a second night.

Still plenty to see and do in Waikiki after and early dinner.

Take pictures while waiting for the sunset.

Watch a hula show at a near by hotel.

Get the last sunset picture,

and enjoy the fireworks

on the beach. It was a very good night.  In 1997 and 2015.)

 

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Saratoga stroll

Glad to be back after a long break recovering from my shoulder surgery.  Not there yet but making steady progress and can type with both hands instead of one.  We are on a trip to Hawaii.  The words are from my journal on a trip taken some 20 years ago (those pictures not on digital) with my husband.  These  pictures are from a girlfriend trip taken in April 2015.  I hope you like the meshing of the two.

The next day Dick and I wanted to see if the Trade Winds apartments, where we lived after we were married, were still there. It was a fairly long walk but Saratoga Road was on the way and I wanted to get pictures this time. Camera in hand we walked past Kuhio Beach

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up Kalakaua

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to Saratoga,

 

The pictures I wanted were of me standing in front of the street number and the trees that had served for a background for pictures taken 30 years ago and held stories to be told, if trees could talk.

and down to DeRussy.

From there we took the beach walk behind the Hilton Hawaiian Hotel where Doyle and I danced at the Kaiser Hospital party,

and viewed the Rainbow hotel from the lagoon where Dick and I had spent many hours watching the mosaic take form.

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Out on the street again we were on Ala Moana Boulevard, passed the Ilikai with the glass elevator,

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and then across the street to the Trade Winds. Dick remembered our number, 304 on the top, right in the middle. We walked up to the door and I stood in front of it while Dick took the picture.

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Around the corner, twenty nine years ago, there was a little grocery store

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where Dick and I would stop on our evening walks and get a banana Popsicle to enjoy on the way. On this trip there was some sort of Mart at the same location. We both had the same idea.

“I wonder if they sell banana Popsicles,” I said.

“Let’s go see,” was his prompt reply, as he opened the door, we make a mad dash for the back of the store. There was the small refrigerator in about the same location. Dick pulled out two yellow Popsicles and rushed them to the check out. Out of the store we tore it open and took a bite.

“Pineapple!!” We both declared with a sigh.

“Close enough” I said, and began the long walk back eating our Popsicles, just like old times.

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The “corner store” is now an ABC store, and no longer sells ice Popsicles.  The picture is taken from the glass elevator just a few hotels down the street from the Ilikai Hotel as the Ilikai no longer has a glass elevator.  In the picture above the white car is passing in front of the building that used to be Kaiser Hospital where I worked.  It is now located out near Tripler.  Next stop? Dinner at The Top of Waikiki.

In case you missed it, the book A Wish Called Wanda has just come out on kindle for 6.99.  You can find it at Amazon.com.

Again I must thank traveling companion, Lisa for several of these pictures.  Wish I were more of a camera bug. Happy New Year!

 

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destination: Polynesian Cultural Center

This is the third post in the memories trip to Hawaii, combining my journal notes from 20 years ago with the pictures taken this past April.  Both trips brought back memories of my first experience in Hawaii which lasted over 3 years in the mid 60’s.  In my book “A Wish Called Wanda” I chronicle these memories in letters home. If you have read the book you will recognize names and places. If you haven’t read the book you may realize the fun you have missed and have a desire to start turning those pages.

This post is the second day of the trip, and begins as we are arriving at the famed Polynesian Culture Center, a virtual and beautiful history of the Pacific Rim.

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“Our ultimate destination was the Cultural Center and we arrived about 1 pm. We strolled around the grounds watching several of the outdoor shows before going into the cool Imax Theater to watch “The living seas” which provided a nice break from the warm afternoon sun. Later we enjoyed becoming familiar with each of the Pacific Islands as they demonstrated their dances and customs.

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The Samoans climbed the coconut tree and cut one open with a lot more preciseness than Terry did the night we found one on the beach.

The Tonga Islands were all about the drums and New Zealander’s were dancing with the balls on long strings that whizzed past faces, above heads and under foot.

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Tahiti’s dance featured the long brown grass skirts with the rapid hip action, which I learned was to imitate a fish wiggling as it comes up out of the water.

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Then of course, there was Hawaii with the familiar broad leaf green skirts, doing the male only version using chants and drum smacking for the rhythm.

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Just before the dinning experience we stood along the canal and enjoyed the parade of flat boats with more dancing and singing,

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and then were seated for the Luau.

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We ate chicken, fish and pork, passed on the poi and loved the pineapple.

We danced to the Hawaiian Wedding song and were entertained all through the meal with lovely, dreamy Hawaiian music.

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The main show in the theater area after dinner was colorful, dramatic and breathtaking. Many of the dances used hand movements that were well choreographed. The special effects and lighting made it exciting and there were often several things going on at once.

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It was totally enjoyable and the first time I had ever seen the show as I never could afford it when living there. We drove back to Waikiki in the rain after a long and fulfilling day.”

In April 2015, I just decided that they should not have all the fun and was quick to jump into the happy dance when they asked to volunteers.  My comrades were just as happy to sit back and take pictures.  Somebody has got to do it.

Alhoa!    I will be having surgery on that left shoulder this week,  will get back to the next installment as soon as possible.

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