From ages 2 1/2 to 4 I got to live in Honolulu Hawaii on an Army base and it was awesome! When most people hear this they say something along the lines of, "Oh, how sad that you can't remember any of that." Well, my friends, that is completely erroneous thinking. I have a crazy accurate memory, and I remember A LOT of my younger childhood years. Unfortunately, this is the only picture I personally own of my Hawaiian years, but it captures one of the most vivid memories of that time for me. That dog is Alex and he was dumb and got hit by a car, and we really didn't miss him much, but that chair there is where I spent a lot of time with my dad. When he got home from work on base, he would always camp out there for about 45 minutes or so to unwind and watch the news, and he would usually let me join him there. In fact, those are my little blue shoes under the chair.
Some of my other memories inlude going to the beach- a lot. We got some kind of military discount for the parking or something, so we went all the time, and that is where my dad taught me to doggy paddle. I also remember one time when my parents had fallen asleep on their towels under an umbrella, and I decided to wake them up. I grabbed a pail and filled it with water and came back to dowse them. It wasn't until the bucket was empty that I realized I had put the contents of it on the wrong people. . they were MAD!!!
We had a really cool banana tree behind our house, and my dad would cut some of the limbs down just enough for us to swing on them. Also- the bananas from that tree were really gross for some reason.
When I was scared at night, I used to go into my parent's room and get my dad to come and chop up the monsters with his cool swords. Oh, and we always had to call out to him from the door, because if we touched him to wake him up, there was a chance we could end up in the death grip. I also remember one time when I was going in to get the samurai help from my dad, I slipped on something and hit my head on my parent's steel frame bed- Not Good! I had a huge gash and my parents called the ambulance. The ambulance was too slow for my dad, so he put me on his lap and drove me in himself. I remember being so scared that they wouldn't let him hold my hand while I was in there and they kept poking me with all sorts of needles and crap. It turned out that the cut was too close to my eye for them to stitch it up, so I still have a little scar from it.
That was not the only time was in the hospital over there. I also had some sort of breathing problem which still gets to me sometimes today. I don't think they ever figured out what it was, but I spent a night in an oxygen tent, which I thought was AWESOME. However, the next night they wanted me to stay in a crib and I was sooooo offended! I was a big girl, and did NOT sleep in cribs anymore. I'm not sure which hospital stay it was, but my dad would come in to visit with me and he would read Heidi by Johanna Spiri to me, and it is still one of my favorite books to this day.
I wasn't the only one who made my parents grateful for their really great military insurance though. Little Heather was pretty much a train wreck of sickness and freak accidents. She got every sickness that blew through there, and some of them were pretty weird. She also almost cut off her thumb when she tried to cut the rubber bands off of a rolled up newspaper with a butcher knife, and she got some box staples in her head when my dad was rolling her around in a big furniture box. He felt so bad! Heather was just giggling and laughing as he gently rolled the box around with her in it, and then all of the sudden, the laughing turned to screeches, and they were off to the hospital again.
I also remember our neighbors with whom we shared the rights to our madadamia nut tree. They had a daughter who was a little older than me named Miranda. They liked to have me come over and play because Miranda had a speech problem and they were hoping that my incessant chattering would ease her out of it. These are the same neighbors who went deep sea fishing and brought back a shark that they cleaned out where we could see it, and I was certain that the thing was going to wake up all of the sudden and eat all the guys who were out there helping. Actually, I don't know if it was really a shark- it was just a very large, toothy, and scary looking gray fish with a sinister looking dorsal fin. I suppose it could have been something else, but my little 3 year old mind was certain it was a live shark just pretending to be dead.
There was an ice cream truck that used to come around, and on the truck they had a cooler that held sodas. On the top of the box they had glued some soda cans to differentiate it from the identical ice cream sandwhich cooler. However, it took a few years for that to sink in, and I was always astounded that they could get those soda cans to stick to the top without falling off when they opened the chest. It was truly a mystery to me.
I remember the very long and scenic drive that we had to take to get to our church building, and I remember that ward being really great. My first memories of church at all are from that building, and it wasn't until I moved to Utah that I realized they do things a little differently in other places. For instance, in Hawaii they don't have apricot trees, so that iconic Mormon song didn't make much sense to them. Instead, they would substitute other native fruits for Apricot, and it was a privilege to ge to choose which one we would sing that day. "Popcorn popping on the coconut, pineapple, banana, red mango tree." On our first sunday back in Utah I got all excited when we sang that song, and when we finished I raised my hand all excited, and when Sister Orlando called on me I said,"let's do coconut now!!" Sister Orlando was a little taken aback by this, but luckily my mom had already been called as the primary pianist (a calling she held in almost every ward we were ever in while I was in primary) and quicly pulled her aside and explained it. The Hawaii ward also gave out really great leis to say goodbye to people, and ever since then I have wished that we did more as a church to bid members farewell. I also LOVED saying Aloha to every person who took the stand- it was lively and endearing. My first Sunday in Utah the person conducting said, "Good Morning brothers and sisters." and I said Good Morning back very loudly and got some funny looks.
OK, I have a lot more, but this is getting a little long, so I will end with the the thing that I miss most about Hawaii (yes, I still miss it 20 years later!). Our madadamia nut tree. It was wonderful, and I was really great at cracking the nuts. The shells are really hard, and you have to hit them in just the right place, or you will shatter the nut inside and end up with a bunch of crumbs. I was awesome at putting the nuts in the crack of the sidewalk and smacking them with a hammer in just the right spot to get a perfect nut. My mom would have me go out and do a whole bunch for her whenever she needed some for recipes, or needed me out of her hair. I was so spoiled with those yummy morsels that are upwards of $8.00 a pound out here.
I loved Hawaii but have yet to go back. Ross and I plan to go at some point though, and I hope it is soon!
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