Saturday Story

How We 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 1963 Fentron Aluminum asked Pop 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 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, had completed the qualification school, 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 two 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) oilrigs, 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.

“It was a real pleasure to read the story on the Ilikai turning 50. It was early 1964 when one of the construction companies working on the Ilikai brought my father, Don Lynn, to Honolulu from Seattle. It seems that, at the time, there were no high-rise window cleaners in Honolulu. That summer, my family moved to Honolulu. As a family, we all worked on the Ilikai, washing windows and cleaning the aluminum railings. Pop could see Honolulu, and Hawaii, was going to go one in direction, up. For the next 25 years, Pop made a good living owning or managing window-cleaning companies. When he retired, Mayor Frank Fasi declared it “Don Lynn, Godfather of Window Cleaners” day. With a smile, of course. Alas, Pop passed in early 1996 and isn’t here to see the Ilikai turn 50. But most of the major window cleaners in Hawaii owe their starts to my dad. And my family owes a big thank you to the ‘Ilikai for bringing us here, 50 years ago. Aloha.”

, Honolulu, Hawaii

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