Saturday, January 23, 2016

Nostalgia is Contagious

I went to Hawaii when I was 8 years old. My mom took all four of us kids, plus bushels of other relatives came too,  for my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary. I didn't go again until last year, 28 years after my first visit.

Then I went again this year---1 year after my last visit.

Personally, I think this has the makings of a fine yearly tradition. (Don't tell my mom I said that. She still insists that each trip to Hawaii is "the last one"---until two seconds after she gets home)

Since this year we were on yet another "last trip", and since my mom isn't getting any younger (don't tell her I said THAT either!), we put a special emphasis on nostalgia.

Hawaii is the land of my mom's childhood. She grew up here, and it shaped her as no other place has before or since. It's where she played, went to school, learned to drive, and had her first crush. And there were certain places she wanted to see again.

And shoot, it's Hawaii. We ALL wanted to see them, even if it was our first time.

The first stop on our traveling nostalgia tour was the Hanalei Valley lookout. My grandparents took my mom to Kauai in 1960 for summer vacation. They had stopped at this lookout, and my mom had always wanted to return.

So we did.

Bam. 'Cause we're cool like that.

Hanalei Valley, 1960 and 2015

As long as we were on Kauai, of course we had to stop and see Waimea Canyon.

Because Mom wanted to, of course. 

Then, jet-setters that we are, we hopped over to the Big Island for some more recent, but I feel still very important, nostalgia.

Fifteen years ago, my mom had taken my grandparents to visit an old friend in Hawi. While they were there, they'd stopped at a wonderful little restaurant that my mom had always wanted to take us to.

Well, since it was important to her.... 

On the way around the island to the restaurant, we got to see our very first active volcano!

We also stopped at the edge of the Waipio Valley. It's too bad we didn't go down, or we could have gotten our very own case of genuine Hawaiian dengue fever.

Maybe next time

Hawi at last! And yes, I do feel that this moment was a very special and important one...for my mom.

The fact that I licked the plate clean is quite incidental to the whole affair.

 They practically had to roll us onto the plane after that, but we made it to Oahu, my mom's old stomping grounds. The very air there is thick with nostalgia.

Sacred Falls, a popular swimming destination from my mom's childhood, is now closed to the public because the trail is so dangerous, so that was a miss. They do still allow swimming at Waimea Falls, another swimming hole from "back in the day." So of course we had to go.

As if the falls aren't beautiful enough, you reach them through a beautifully maintained botanical gardens.

 All for you, Mother.

Ah, yes. Camp Erdman. The school where my grandparents taught would rent the YMCA campground for the students' camp experience. Grandpa and Grandma would go as chaperones,  and my mom would go as one lucky faculty kid.

This is the shore where my grandpa almost drowned one year in a rip tide. He was trying to swim in and making no headway, so he'd wave at my grandma to show he needed help.

She'd wave right back, and go right back to chatting with the other ladies.

Thankfully, one of the students finally decided Mr. Day was getting a little close to Alaska and headed out in a canoe to pick him up. Nowadays, since they've discovered litigation, kids don't get to swim along this shoreline. The swimming pool is so much less likely to suck you to your doom.

Oh, there were so many spots we visited, I couldn't possibly do them all justice. Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial, Punch Bowl, Hanauma Bay, the library my mom spent so many happy afternoons exploring, Diamond Head, Iolani Palace, Ala Moana, the Pali.

Good memories. Great places.

Why, I do believe I feel an attack of nostalgia coming on myself. Must be time to go back!

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