ala wai canal 1920 to 1928

I think that I was 12 and my brother was 9 when we moved into the Wailana. It was one of the first of its kind, a high rise condo at the beginning of Waikiki with retail shops, grocery and liquor store and restaurant (complete with lava cave bar) on the ground floor, and a floor of business suites above. At this point we lived on the 5th floor, just above the business suite, the business floor was also the floor that the swimming pool was on. There was a "garden" next to the pool which was really just a paved area with wide flower bed-ish things that had plumeria trees and highway flowers for ground cover. Mostly kind of barren, but probably low maintenance.


Dad was an engineer at Pearl Harbor, Mom was a school teacher, regular folks, but at the time condo living was not what locals did. This is also not what most families did. We were living in Hawaii, land of trade winds and sweet scented air, in a centrally air conditioned '70 designed condo unit. You couldn't be too loud, or run around, or ride your skate board, or much else as it would disturb the neighbors. Lots of retirees, tan men and women that wore clothes from magazines, white people and no kids. For a while there we were the only Asians.

Since my brother and I were old enough to amuse ourselves and use the oven to make Swanson's frozen dinners for lunch, my mother would leave us in the apartment on the weekends while she ran errands. My favorite Swanson frozen meal was the Hungry Man Turkey Dinner, mostly for the mashed potatoes and cranberry treat.

I never liked Barbie, Skipper or Midge. Ken was better but still not that good. Their arms only moved like saluting Hilter, their feet never moved and none of them could sit in a chair. I think this is why I got a GI Joe, my brother too. His arm and hands moved, feet too. Torso twisted, you could make more realistic poses and the accessories were MUCH better, scuba outfits with tanks, fins and masks. Astronaut outfit, back pack, mess kit, maps, binoculars, cool right? Forget Barbie. She was pretty much only good for dates with GI Joe, but not even, like I said, she couldn't sit in a chair, not dinner out!