Pre World War II Honolulu

Diamond Head Crater, Honollulu Hawaii Courtesy Wikimedia Creative Commons Attribute Share Alike 3.0

Diamond Head Crater, Honolulu Hawaii
Courtesy Wikimedia Creative Commons Attribute Share Alike 3.0


We lived in Honolulu off and on before World War II when my dad worked for the Standard Oil as an expatriate businessman. Honolulu was a good place for Dad  to stash the family while he traveled all over the Far East—Saigon, Rangoon, or Mumbai. Sometimes we’d live with him in Shanghai or Manila when he expected to be there a while.

Hawaii was not yet a state. Of course it was drop-dead gorgeous. Hot pink Bougainvillea flowering everywhere. carnation and plumeria leis. The beach every day. Mother would slather us with baby oil and we’d lie in the sun until we crisped like bacon only to turn deep pink and peel. Today, of course, we are warned to use sunscreen.

As a second grader, I took the city bus to school around Diamond Head volcano by myself—barefoot  because school rules allowed bare feet until seventh grade. On holidays and special days even the  teachers went barefoot.

Still, paradise wasn’t perfect. Think about Communications. News came by boat to Honolulu. It arrived two months late. The same with magazines and radio shows. Comedian Jack Benny wished all of us a Merry Christmas in the middle of February.

We listened to music on 78-rpm records that lasted three minutes. We had the kind of record players where you stacked half a dozen records that dropped down one by one. Our parents told us how lucky we were to live in this modern age where we didn’t have to wear out our arm winding up a Victrola to hear a record play.

I wonder if these inconveniences kept us from the stress people feel today from trying to multitask in such a fast-paced world.

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