I can remember exactly where I was 50 years ago tonight. I was sitting outside my best friends house on Oahu watching the bonfire at the dump way off in the distance. Our two families sat in beach chairs celebrating the day Hawaii became the 50th state. For awhile it seemed the bonfire was about all we were going to see until it was decided we should go down to Waikiki and see what was going on. Surely Statehood should be celebrated by something other than a distant bonfire. And indeed Waikiki was a wild party. I remember sitting in the '56 Chevy Bel Air convertible riding down Kalakaua Ave. seeing people dancing in the street. It was bumper to bumper traffic and lots of noise and colors. It was great, better than any New Year's party. I'm happy to have experienced something few people in this country will have ever experienced.
I don't know when this photo was taken. Most likely in the 1940s. When I moved to Hawaii the Royal Hawaiian and the Moana, the hotel on the right, were still standouts in Waikiki. Now you can barely see them. I'm saddened for what Waikiki became, but glad I got to see it before the palm trees gave way to cement. Once upon a time the grounds of the Royal stretched to Kalakaua Ave. and were a magical place to visit. Not much left of it anymore. I'm glad I have the memories.
Happy Statehood Hawaii. Aloha 'Oe.
Click on image to see it larger.
With chagrin: Well, apparently I didn't know where I was this night 50 years ago. All these years I've had things mixed up in my mind. What I'm actually remembering is when Statehood had passed. It took the Honolulu Star Bulletin to set me straight. That plus my friend reminding me she was Japan in August of 1959. So what I remember is Statehood being declared and the party that ensued afterwards including the bonfire on Sand Island. Here's how the Star Bulletin explained it on March 12, 1959.