Saturday Story

How I Got Here

I often get asked how the family ended up in Hawaii.

My step-dad, like my bio-father was a window cleaner. Unlike my bio-father, Pop was his own boss.

In 1964, Pop had just finished as the maintenance director for the Seattle World’s Fair (think Spaceneedle) and Fentron Aluminum asked him to check a job in Honolulu, They were building the Ilikai, which was going to be the tallest building in Waikiki and nobody in Hawaii knew how to wash the outside of a high rise building’s windows.

Pop came to Hawaii, realized Honolulu was going one direction, up, and that there were no “real” window cleaners in Hawaii. So he decided we were moving.

Mom was pretty unhappy about the move, she was ready to turn professional bowler and it would be next to impossible for her to do so from Hawaii. But she went.

Me, I was finishing my junior year in High School, had friends and dreams of being a Seattle cop. I didn’t get a vote.

We moved that summer. Well, I moved that summer. Mom and Pop moved in March and I “lived” with our next door neighbors until the school year finished.

That summer 2 of my high school friends, Don and Nils, flew to Hawaii to spend the summer living and working with us.

Donny was the same age as I was; Nils was a year older and had just graduated.

Don left in the middle of that summer; I don’t remember just when Nils left.

I made a re-contact with Don a while back and we speak every now and then.

He says Nils turned into a “Hippy” and has basically just done nothing. Don says Nils best job was as a school bus driver. And he lost that with a bad drug test.

Don flew helicopters in Viet Nam and then flew for off coast (US and Africa) oil rigs, He now lives in Arizona and Washington state.

Recently the Honolulu magazine did a story on the Ilikai’s 50th anniversary. I sent them a short letter describing how it was that my family and I came to Hawaii and they printed. Reading that little letter later that year gave my Mom a smile and a warm feeling. But that’s how all this started.

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