People asked us if there was much difference between Florida and Hawaii. There are palm trees, beaches, and ocean views, and this is “The Sunshine State.” An immediate distraction and difference that we had to adapt to was the proliferation of billboards and signs. Hawaii has no billboards or big store front signs distracting from the beauty of the islands.
Another difference was the temperature range. We arrived in October, and two months later it got cold — real cold! The temperature went down below freezing, and there was ice on oranges just north of Tampa, which is about midway down the west coast of the state.
July 25, 1990! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! A red-letter once-in-a-life-time birthday! I was 55, and officially retired from my first major career as Instructor at the University of Hawaii for twenty-four years. We could also officially close the sale of our house — and officially get my retirement income started — yahoooo! To celebrate, we went out for dinner at a beachfront restaurant at Clearwater Beach. My sister Jan was there from Miami to share in our dinner party. Incidentally, our dinner was compliments of Barbara Pratt, our real estate agent, benefactor, former student, and super-friend in Hawaii.
The sun was still fairly high on the horizon when we sat down at the window table in the empty restaurant — just us early birds, the waiter, the manager, and a super chef somewhere. We were entertained by a bevy of seagulls and a pelican trio outside. The pelicans flew in line above the shallow water along the beach, and dive-bombed the minnows.
The beach curved away into the distance, a golden highway to memories of our Hawaiian honeymoon, and to dreams of our future “second time” and place.
Those were exciting days!