Here’s to Hawaii

As I’ve muttered a few times here and elsewhere, I’m going to be off to Hawaii in a couple of days’ time for a family celebration — it’s my folks’ fortieth wedding anniversary, and they, my sister and I will be spending it on Oahu. My parents are already there, as they’re spending a full week plus — and who can blame them for some alone time to celebrate! — but my sis and I fly out separately on Thursday and will hang around until next Tuesday.

The choice of Hawaii is not arbitrary, as that’s where my parents met, when my mom was teaching grade school and my dad was a young Naval officer. They spent two stints in Hawaii, that one and then later after the marriage when my dad was assigned there again in the early seventies. This is after I was born, but my earliest memories are of Hawaii — smeared and indistinct (this would have been between the ages of two and four), but nonetheless vivid still in an impressionistic way. I remember the house we lived in, in the suburb of Honolulu north of Pearl Harbor called Aiea, its big (to me!) backyard and the green all around. I remember the living room, where I played with my toys and occasionally saw things on TV that caught my eye (Sesame Street, certainly, but also some news — I remember, distinctly, a mention of a ‘bloodbath’ in Vietnam, presumably building up to the conclusion of the war in 1975). I remember my room, my blanket, my earliest books…and my earliest memory in general, sitting in a chair in the kitchen, eating Spaghetti-Os or something similar, and my dad stepping into the room and smiling and saying hi to me.

My sister was born in Hawaii but has no memories of it at all, she was just too young, and while my folks have been back a couple of times since then, this is the first time either of us have returned to Hawaii since we left in the mid-seventies, and is the first full family vacation away from home since 1994. So this’ll be a treat, the more so because very little specific is planned — there are a few things that my folks would like us all to do as a family, but we’re also dedicated to the idea of just simply taking it really easy, as we should!

Having learned over the years over the colonial history of Hawaii as well, and its existence as a state and formal part of a world power — its essential role as, frankly, a fixed permanent Naval base in the middle of the Pacific — not to mention the image of Hawaii as marketed and sold, and the difference between the tourist portrayal and the often harsher realities for those living and working there, especially in Honolulu, I admit going back will give me a chance to look at things with a very gimlet eye. I think this is necessary — whatever hazy memories of my extreme youth weren’t the full reality of Hawaii and shouldn’t be. But I don’t write this saying I will look at things simply in a negative light, merely, I hope, a realistic one.

Anyway, postings will be sporadic on the blog starting on Thursday but I’ll probably have a quick note a day or something. And yes, I will take plenty of photos!