Category Archives: Vintage Hawaii

Family treasures: My mom’s letter written at the end of WWII

Another treasure from the family papers.

This one is a short, two-page handwritten letter from my mother to my father’s parents in Long Beach, California, dated August 19, 1945, just days after the Japanese surrender that marked the end of WWII.

It begins:

“Well, the war is over and thank goodness so is the wild rejoicing. I suppose Long Beach was in a state of bedlam like Honolulu. From my sister’s description, they acted the same in Los Angeles. We watched the mad surging crowds (mostly sailors) from a second story window down town and thanked our lucky stars we weren’t on the streets acting looney. In fact that wasn’t the first celebration, for when we went through town the Sunday before, there were parades etc starting up on receipt of that famous false alarm that was broadcast. People were throwing firecrackers into the streets and we had to stop several times to avoid them.”

Here’s one of the photos taken by my parents of those crowds in downtown Honolulu, which I had posted earlier.

August 1945

The letter went on to comment on expectations that living conditions would soon improve.

My mom thanked my grandmother for her help finding material for a quilt being sewn for my sister, Bonnie, then 2 years old. But she added, “don’t go through any more trouble about it, as very shortly the stores will be stocked to overflowing again, and I will be able to get the perfect match here.”

And this sentence about travel from the mainland to Hawaii: “Wartime conditions on ships were anything but enjoyable as many of our friends can testify. Rooms for two were packed with 6 & 8 peole and there was no recreation. But very soon, now, fares will go down and conditions improve…”

Just click on the letter (below) to see both pages.

August 19, 1945

Correcting the record on the Crouching Lion

The Crouching Lion, the Kaaawa restaurant with a troubled history of repeated failures under a string of owners, has reportedly gotten a new lease on life, according to Pacific Business News.

Advanced Fresh Concepts, one of the largest fresh sushi suppliers to supermarkets across the United States is moving ahead with plans for its second Oahu restaurant, at the historic Crouching Lion Inn complex in Windward Oahu, Pacific Business News has learned.

But PBN repeats an error when it refers to “the 90-year-old inn along Kamehameha Highway in Kaaawa.”

Although the building was built in the 1920’s, it was originally a private residence. The man who built the house was George F. Larsen, originally from Oslo, Norway.

According to his granddaughter, Larsen was “a successful mason contractor who arrived in Honolulu in 1912 to help with the construction of Schofield Barracks.”

In 1937, the home was sold to Reginald Faithful, then the head of Dairyman’s Association, one of the islands’ largest dairies and predecessor of Meadow Gold Dairies.

Then in the early 1950’s, my father, John M. Lind, came up with the idea of converting the building to a roadside inn. He approached Faithful and proposed a partnership. Faithful would make the building available, and my father, who managed a restaurant supply firm, would operate the business. They finally reached an agreement, and the Crouching Lion opened in 1952.

Here’s how my dad described it years later, in 2005 at age 92.

We set up a nice little kitchen. We put in tables and chairs for four people each, total seating about 60 in the living room and dining room, with a huge fireplace on one end, and it created an atmosphere that we weren’t very accustomed to in Hawaii. It made a very very nice setting.

We arranged to get a chef who was from Ireland, Joe Sheridan, and we had menus set up. We had Aggie Kellett, one of the women from the [Waikiki] Surf Club, come in as hostess and manager. So we had the chef in the kitchen, a gal in the dining room to greet the guests, and it was set up pretty much as a chafing dish-type food service from the cart to the table with fancy chafing dishes, ladles, and things of that nature.

We served luncheon and dinners. It was all specialty food. The dinners were all candle lit tables with tablecloths.

Joe Sheridan, the first chef, was quite colorful with his white coat and his high crown chef’s hat working the dining room as well as the kitchen.

Carl Reber, who was manager of the Commercial Club, asked if there was any possible chance of him getting work out there. When Joe decided he was going to leave, Carl was given the job and he seemed to enjoy it.

It was outstanding, but not to the point where there were a lot of people (chuckle).

We were told we were about 10 years too soon because round the island travel was not too heavy, and the attempt to get the cars to stop wasn’t too successful.

Make Antique Alley one of your New Year resolutions

Here’s a suggested New Year’s resolution: Stop in and check out Antique Alley. It’s an experience you shouldn’t be missing.

You’ll find Antique Alley at 1030 Queen Steet, near downtown Honolulu.

The store’s owners and operators, Paké Zane and Julie Lauster, are great people, and always eager to talk to folks who wander in.

Here’s the view just as you walk in the front door. The photo was taken earlier this week.

Something for everyone

It’s hard to describe the experience. You just have to immerse yourself in it for a while. It’s not really shopping, it’s an education!

Here’s a little video taken as I walked through the back part of the store. It give you some idea of the variety of cultural treasures you’ll find here. If you don’t know what something is used for, Paké will probably be able to enlighten you.

In any case, tell Paké that I sent you.

Throwback Thursday: A beer protest c. 1971

Here are a few photos from a strange little protest held sometime in the early 1970s, while we were graduate students at the University of Hawaii’s Manoa Campus.

My brain cells are not yielding full memories of the event. As I recall, it was triggered by a report that the university would not allow beer to be served on campus. Perhaps it was at the “new” campus center. We took it as another paternalistic attempt to control behavior of adult students, and for whatever reason it struck a chord among a group of friends.

With several of us chipping in a few dollars, we bought some beer and proceeded to give cans of beer away on the front steps of Hamilton Library, sort of a direct action protest of the new campus policy. It was obviously tongue-in-cheek, but others seemed to have no trouble getting into the spirit.

Note that campus security was on the scene, but all remained peaceful and they didn’t run us off the library stairs.

Click below to see the photos dredged up from my box of negatives. I do apologize for the condition of the nearly 50-year old negatives, which obviously weren’t stored under the best of conditions.

UH Beer Protest c.1971