Kaleo O Kalihi
Blasts From Past
March 24th, 2013

Funny thing. I enjoy the perks of modern society. It would be hard to live without my computer, iphone and many of life's new conveniences, yet, it's hard to let go of the past at times. This is especially true when they are fond memories. Let's take a walk down memory lane (one of the early Ka Leo themes) and see what we can remember together.

photo by Mauibuilt2011 flickr

Went to Sears this weekend and had a lot of memories of this place. They were the first to get Ala Moana started back in 1959 in what was the largest shopping mall in the world. Remember this front facade? Walking in the auto service center side, I would love to eat at their coffee shop. My uncle was hard at work in automotive and my attention quickly got caught by the smell of fresh popcorn at the candy counter. This was always accompanied by the aroma of roasted cashews and the place couldn't have smelled any better to a little boy like me.

photo by ronmartin.net

Then of course there was the "fancy" place, Liberty House. I would love to get clothes there, but a lot of mine were from GEM department store. Shoes were from Sears, most times Kenner brand. Longs Drugs provided the kamaboko slippers. Liberty House was high end to my family, but still had that local owned and Hawaii feeling. Now Macy's is there. Nice store, good return policy, but I miss the ole LH.

Most of my vivid recollections are from the 70's when I was an elementary school student and what more iconic than these? Tell me you didn't have a pair.... I got mine from Liberty House and it was a prize possession. Only got taken out when we had some kind of thing going on at school or when we went out to a party or dinner.

Thought I forgot huh? No ways! Everyone knows that this was THE pants to wear with your Famolares. The ever famous Angel Flights. The bigger the bottom, the more creds you got. Talk about fashion "flare". The temperature seemed cooler back then, but the velour shirts were still pretty hot. Solid color or one stripe across the chest while Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall" album played in the hallways. BeeGees were there too along with Donna Summer, Lipps Inc, KC and the Sunshine Band, Nick Gilder & Patrick Hernandez to name a few. What groups do you remember?

Then we started to head into a different decade. Enter Members Only jackets. I had this exact color. Wanted black or blue, but McInerney was pretty sold out and I wanted one badly. Brain shift! Remember Mcinerney turning into Guava Lane? 80's flashback.

This post is not solely about Ala Moana, but it was a big part of my life growing up. It was a place to hang out, check out chicks and see more than a family member or friend while you were there. It was OUR place as Hawaiians. Things have changed. I would be lucky to know even 25% of the store names now, which reminds me of what once was there:

Singer - my cousins would go for sewing lessons every summer
Iida's - tons of stuff from Japan. Used to think it was a grandma store, but I miss it now
Carol and Mary - my aunty retired there. Miss you aunty Dot
Keikiland - Oh how I loved this place, but money was tight, so I didn't go often
Woolworth - anybody making that fried chicken nowadays?
JC Penny - hot dog for breakfast at their coffee shop

Help me keep these memories alive. Tell about your memories and what you miss. Progress is good, but it's good to remember the past. It's a part of us and something that development can't take away.

11 Responses to “Blasts From Past”

  1. Mark E. Jensen:

    Remember "You Dollar Buys More At The Wigwam Store"!

    And..... Exchange OJ? Goes round round round!

    Aloha, MJ

  2. Dark Energy:

    Howzit Alan,

    Oh yes those memories. For me, now living on the mainland, my memories are of the places my grandparents (who raised me) would take us to go eat especially those mom n' pop places that are no longer around. I forget most of the restaurant names but they had great food, such kind owners, and those deals! Fruit cup appetizer, main dish, a drink, and pudding for dessert all for 2 dollars! Or where grandma bought me my first custom fitted suit on Fort Street Mall (its no longer there either). I miss the neighborhood Manapua Man carrying the two rice tins full of hot steamed manapua on both ends of a long dowel. Or the old Hawaiian lady selling boiled peanuts in a bag outside the zoo. I am sure everyone remembers their own favorites but these are touchstones to my childhood and the fond memories I have of my grandparents.

  3. Ed Oshiro:

    Alan - Flashback time. I had the shoes and the slacks. Thank you for the nostalgia.

  4. Da808:

    Both KC Drive-ins both locations-waffle dog and onon shakes..miss those days!!!

  5. aokami:

    Mark E. Jensen, oh my goodness! Good ones! I forgot about Wigwam, but Exchange was always in my house. Cheaper than cans of juice and was so ono

    Dark Energy, the memories are always gonna be there :) thanks for tuning in and commenting. It's always great to take a snapshot of the past yeah?

    Ed Oshiro, aha! Same club

    Da808, I remember taking dates there, what good times

  6. Old School Dave:

    I remember stores such as Kramers and Ritz at Ala Moana. Others included McInerny, Keikiland (spent a lot of quarters), and Iidas (Japanese goods). After pau shopping, we use to go to Woolworth's counter/fountain, Patti's Chinese Kitchen, or Wiki Wiki Coffee shop for lunch.

    Somehow, Ala Moana just doesn't feel the same anymore.

  7. Alan Okami:

    Old School Dave, That's right! I remember when we would joke around and do the "Kramers" look, ha ha. There's so many things that I find myself struggling to recall as the place and things around us continue to change

  8. PFP:

    Great write up Alan! Brings back memories. Good memories. Had most of the objects you have in this write up.

    I miss Naka's in Kalihi. They had the best of everything, especially their chow fun. Miss the bakery that was across from Farrington, and Fred's, the fried rice place across from Farrington. They had the best fried rice. Frankie's market on Dillingham. Would love to see pictures of those places if you have them or if any of your regular readers have photos of these places. Brings back a lot of wonderful memories of growing up in Kalihi.

  9. Alan Okami:

    PFP, Naka's!!! I remember them too. This area has changed quite a bit. Sounds like you from this hood, so you probably remember Happy's Drive Inn (best sweet sour spare ribs) and J&M Fish and Chips (best bento box)

  10. RatMin:

    Just able to read your post and it brought back a lot of memories. I grew up in the Salt Lake/Moanalua area and we shop at Gibson's (where Toyota City is now) and Pearlridge after they opened. I remember San Francisco Rag Shop, Kramers and Ritz were the places there for the guys to get their Angel Flights and Member's Only. Robin's was the shoe store for the Famolares. We used to eat at the Jumbo's and the Wendy's in Mapunapuna. Play video games at Tilt by Gibson's as well as the game places in Waikiki. A lot of good times back then.

  11. Alan Okami:

    RatMin, Gibsons! Giant Slide, I LOVED that a a little boy. Jumbo's And when Pearlridge was new, so many good memories, thanks. Maui and Sons shorts and checkerboard Vans too.