Returning to Hawaii by Ship

June  1962

My return to Hawaii. – At the end of the summer I had just enough money to fly back Hawaii. Before I left I, drove my 1951 Yellow Plymouth two door to San Anselmo.  I left it with my my uncle John was kind enough to sell it for me.

SS President Wilson – My uncle and aunt John & Pick West drove me to San Francisco where the SS President Wilson was docked and waiting. Finally I am bound for Hawaii on a big passenger liner! I enjoyed three nights and four days of shipboard fun in anticipation of my return to Oahu. We went swimming, played shuffleboard, ping pong and had good fancy dinners all of which made it even more fun.

There was even a little bit of summer romance with a girl bound for Australia. I was very sad to part with her when we got to Honolulu, but on the good side my friend Fred was there to greet me with an Orchid Flower Lei at the Hotel Street Ship Warf.

Apartment Sharing – I rented my own apartment in the me block of apartments where Fred was living, but the rent was using up my money faster than I wanted so I talked Fred into sharing his apartment and splitting the rent. It was on Kuhio Avenue just a short walk from Kalakaua which is the main street in Waikiki and the international Marketplace where I ended up working as an office boy.

Earning Money – Fred had lots of business ideas. We pulled Rickshaws, sold Coke drinks from a backpack on King on one of  the local hollidays. We were too late for Kamaha Kamaha Day, but we still were able to sell coconuts to the tourests as a cool drink. As far as making money, none of these things paid very well but what the heck we were in Hawaii and having fun.

Coconut with a straw – Another of Fred’s ideas was to get permission to use some old refridgerators that were in the area behind the International Marketplace. We put some coconuts in the several refrigerators to cool. Coconuts have such good insulation that it took two or three days for them to get cool on the inside where the coconut milk was but eventually we were able to offer them to tourists for two dollars each. We would take a big machete and whack off the top just enough so they could put a straw in the eye and then we could try to sell them to the tourists. Needless to say we had to become somewhat good salesmen.

Pulling rickshaws – This project turned out to be very hard work not that you wouldn’t imagine that. I was not in favor of this endeavor at all but Fred did pull tourists around and he got a bit of money before something happened and the rickshaw owner was not happy so he took the rickshaws back.

Selling Coca-Cola from a backpack was it interesting idea. King Kamaha  day is a one-day event but throngs of people are in the streets and the theory was that they would like to pay for a nice cool drink. We rented some Coca-Cola dispensing backpacks filled them up with Coke. The setup came with a hose that ran up over the shoulder. You grab a cup from the quiver on your side and  fill the Coke cup. It was an okay business but of course it only lasted one day so it wasn’t very sustaining.

Office-boy Job – In order to get a more steady income Fred got a job working as an office boy for the International Marketplace Corporation. That left me with nothing to do. I wasn’t too happy about that and he wasn’t too happy about having a full-time job, so eventually we decided to split the job. We each worked every other day.  Unfortunately there were some complaints of lost instructions, due to the changing of the guard each day. For example the boss would give Fred a task for the next day and if for some reason Fred forgot to tell me or I did not clearly understand it or he’d write a note and I didn’t find it etc, so if the task didn’t get done, then the boss wasn’t happy. Eventually they said this has to change, so I enthusiastically pleaded my case with Fred to take over the job full time which I did.

(c) John A. Peters 2014


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