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Lost Love in Hawaii
Dedicated to My mother and father
Submitted by Mary
I was just a child then, eight years old and full of hope for what life would bring. We had a compact family unit, my G.I. father, my Japanese mother, and me - a product of east meets west after the War. It was 1960, when flying somewhere in a jet was SUCH a treat! We were leaving the land of geishas and shoji screens, headed for the mainland, with a stopover in Hawaii. Hawaii!! My parents, weary from yet another military move, took the trip as another notch on their belts, which would later be marked for such exotic places as West Pakistan and Turkey. But for me, it was an adventure of thrilling proportions. The land of hulas - that's where I belonged! I was proud I had taken lessons with my little plastic green grass skirt swaying on my childish hips, tiny hands motioning for all the little fish to come swimming to me. Thick and long dark hair, dark eyes, I could fit right in with the natives!
Only a small girl with a big smile and a yen for travel, I was starting a love affair with those jumbo jets. I would always feel the nervous anticipation each time I said hello to the airport, ready to step out onto new soil. But this time, I was imagining lovely Hawaii, land of palm trees, embracing sun, cool waves - and tirelessly swaying hula girls!
Our wheels touched ground, I ran down the aisle of our plane, and it was exactly as I imagined. A blanket of warmth and nothing but smiles on every face. How could you not smile? This was Hawaii! Another young girl placed a lei around my neck, and I felt suddenly bonded to this land. My mission was to seek out and bring back my own precious REAL grass skirt. Our short visit over, we boarded the plane once again for the mainland. I slept and dreamed peacefully of Hawaii.
Now in Minnesota, we emerged into a different kind of greenery. Our tiny family was starting over in a new place, with new friends to be found. Another adventure for a small girl, I was nervous about being the "new kid" on base. But I could forget my worries for awhile, while I lovingly placed my souvenirs of Hawaii on my bed to remember.... ..Sobbing, I ran to my mother and father unpacking in the next room. I had left my precious grass skirt on the airplane!
I have never quite gotten over my loss then. Now I have my own 18-year old daughter, and a mother who always wanted to go back to Hawaii, just like me. So we are going in November, three generations of this Japanese-American family, just "the girls". We will start our own love affairs with Hawaii, discovering her charms in our own ways. And just maybe, I will find my own REAL grass skirt to bring back home with me again!