Our last two nights in Hawaii we moved to the Hawaiian Regent Hotel with a beautiful room overlooking Waikiki Beach. (thanks to some Amway friends for arranging that!) Twenty-four years ago, on our wedding night, I surprised Betty with champagne and a portable record player playing Hawaiian music. This time, with Aileen’s help, there was a bottle of sparkling apple juice in a bucket of ice waiting in our hotel room, and the radio supplied Hawaiian music — awww shucks — I’m a romantic, OK?
I sat on the lanai of our hotel room and looked down the sweep of Waikiki Beach, I could see the pink Royal Hawaiian Hotel where we dined at beachfront, the Halekulani, where twenty-four years ago our Ionia friend Mel Haney, took us to the beachfront lanai to listen to a Hawaiian trio. It seemed fitting that our last time “out” in Hawaii was the Halekulani.
I watched the beach catamarans sailing in with conch shells sounding the alert to swimmers. We had sailed on one of those the first day of our first honeymoon. And of course, there were the times we sailed our own boat along the shore off Waikiki to anchor and snorkel, while we snickered at the tourists paying a fortune to enjoy what we had all the time.
It was right out there we had sailed with a school of porpoise dancing around the boat, crossing under the bow close enough to touch. It was right out there we saw the whales blowing spray. It was right out there we saw simultaneous rainbows over Kalihi, Nuuanu, and Manoa Valleys — a beautiful sight on a beautiful day! It was right out there we “popped the spinnaker” and “flew” a mile offshore while Betty was bouncing in a high powered speed boat to photograph the sight!
There, just past the Royal Hawaiian, I could see the top floor of the Sheraton Waikiki. Was it our 14th wedding anniversary we danced to the music of Trummy Young in the Hano Hano room? I surprised Betty with a cake for dessert — and got surprised myself when the waiter brought THE WRONG CAKE! Betty blew out the candles, and we got our anniversary cake.
Moonlight over Waikiki after dinner at the historic Moana Hotel. Waikiki! —a magic place! Just up the street from the Halekulani, is the Reef Tower, our first honeymoon hotel twenty-four years ago! How many times have I seen the sun set behind the Waianae Mountains! There are a lot of memories, but, the “Hawaiian Honeymoon” was over.
Our decision, and departure were sudden; three months to wrap up, close down, sell our place, notify everybody, sell everything we could, including the cars, pack for shipping, etc. etc. Betty and I worked around the clock — thirty-four hours straight to prepare for the shipper. I have never worked so long and so hard in my life! Then we collapsed fully dressed and slept fourteen hours to catch up.
Our second car sold the night before we departed. We left our place in the able hands of Barbara Pratt, our realtor, who took care of the sale and closing. Two weekend “moving sales” cleaned out tons of stuff, including all furniture and bed. We ate on a borrowed card table, and slept on borrowed futons. As we closed the door of our home of the past ten years, I turned to Betty and said, “finished?” She answered,”pau” — the end.
Aloha Hawaii. Aloha means “hello,” and also “goodbye”. Leaving Hawaii was painful! Looking back, we are grateful that God pushed us along to save my life, and to open new doors of opportunity and new adventures for us, that we would not have experienced had we still been living there today!