When I first moved back to Maui a few years ago, I went shopping at the Shops at Wailea and the salesperson commented to me that she had moved to Maui recently and how she was upset over a recent development controversy, how she wished Maui could remain the way it is now, the way it always was. I smiled and told her the Maui we now know is already quite different from the island I grew up on. Whether we perceive development as good or bad, there is one thing we can all agree on; nothing stays the same forever, change is inevitable.
I remember when…
- My first best friend (Dani-Girl) and I used to play Mad-Libs and bury time capsules (old school fun). I wore little denim shorts with Tania embroidered on the back, sewn by Dani’s mom especially for me. Dani now lives in Texas with her beautiful family painting amazing murals.
- Da folks bought their 1/2 acre lot in Maui Meadows for ~$13,000, it was one of the cheapest areas to buy land on the island because no one wanted to live so far from central Maui in this dry area filled with rocks and thorny kiawe trees. There were only four or five houses on the street when they started construction. Maui Meadows is now a desired area to live with many homes in the million + range, it is located at the base of the mountain (with cool breezes) and is a five minute drive to the beautiful beaches of Wailea.
- A pack of wild dogs used to come to our house and try to get our dog Rocky to run away and join them.
- There were mysterious paths with short rock walls (menehunes?) in an undeveloped, uninhabited area behind our lot (where Pililani Highway now runs) leading down to Wailea.
- There was only one way in and out of Kihei, Kihei Road. During heavy storms, we had to play hooky from school because the ocean would flood the road by Suda Store.
- We bought our meat at Azeka’s Market by placing our order with the butcher (including their amazing khal bi) and everything else at Ooka’s in Wailuku. Ooka’s was a local grocery where you could buy much more than food, like slippas from Japan for your little girl that made squeaky noises when she walked. For those of you from Hilo, Ooka’s was our KTA.
- Dad used to take me to the lunch counter at Kress in Wailuku for a special treat, ice cream sodas. When I went to Kress with Mom we also browsed the collection of K-tel records.
- Most kids ran around barefoot. Except for me, I was always too prissy and delicate.
- Our entire family bought all our clothes from Ikeda’s in Wailuku or Peggy & Johnny’s in the Kahului Shopping Center.
- If you needed a tool, nails or paint, you bought it from the family owned hardware store in Happy Valley.
- I took hula lessons from Mrs. Vaught and performed at Maui Mall in front of Woolworths. In all my hula pics, I have the same deer in headlights expression I have in the above class pic.
- We spent Saturdays at the Skate Palace skating to Ring my Bell wearing Luv It jeans (I sucked at skating but went anyway). The former Skate Palace was located where Ceramic Tile Plus now stands.
- We played tennis at Wells Park all day during the summer with a mid-day oyako donburi break at Ichiban’s in Wailuku and to buy snacks from the little shop across from Iao School.
- My family visited the plantation camp where my dad grew up each summer in Lahaina, followed by lunch at the beach park while grandma chased away flies with her hashi.
- Carolyn and I considered Pililani Highway our own private bike adventure path when it was partially completed and not yet open.
- Maui & Son sweatshirts, nylon Dove shorts, pink Izod shirts, 98 Rock Ts and plaid Quicksilver surf shorts were the must have items.
- Everyone permed their hair.
- I slow danced with da BF at teen disco, I was 14 and he was 15 but I thought he was a lot older because he already had a mustache and rode a motorcycle. Yes, it’s the same BF as now but we didn’t see each other again for several decades after the memorable teen disco encounter.
- I could eat two lunches, nachos after school and dinner but still be able to zip up my size 1 Chic tulip leg jeans.
- Everyone looked forward to the Zooper sale at Liberty House and lined up outside waiting for the doors to open. Liberty House was swallowed up by Macy’s toward the end of their regional department store buying spree.
- There was always a long line outside the movie theater by Burger King when a movie first started its run and it felt like it took forever for a new movie to come to town.
- We cut the last day of school to go to the beach at Black Rock, drink Strawberry Hill and watch the boys ride their home made skim boards.
- I realized that bad things can happen to good people with the passing of Joy Giroux, the Maui High homecoming queen on homecoming weekend, after a drunk driver hit her car. Joy was beautiful and sweet, with a constant smile on her face. I knew her from tennis and looked up to her. The memory of Joy is why I don’t drink and drive, I’ve never forgotten.
- The MACC was a concept, a goal and a beautifully constructed model on a table top (I was their auditor in my early 20s).
You know what they say, the memory is the first to go, so Maui friends if I’ve been inaccurate, don’t hesitate to correct me and please share your own memories of Maui or your own town…