When I was sixteen I dreamed of going to Hawai’i. I’m not sure why this thought crossed my mind, but it may have been the ten plus times I watched Gidget Goes Hawaiian at the local theater. I was enamored of the islands though I really knew little about them other than what I saw on the screen. But, it became an obsession with me. After a few months of listening to my wistful wishes, my uncle Gene made a bargain with me. IF I got all A’s & B’s in my senior year he would, as a graduation gift, give me a trip to Hawai’i. Now many of you may not think this was much of “raising the bar”, but for me it was an almost insurmountable mountain. I was much more interested in the social aspects of school than the educational benefits. I was a mediocre student and my goals were more in line with going to all of the dances, riding horses, marching in the cadence corp., etc. I was terrified.
When my uncle was diagnosed with cancer that same summer and died several months later, I didn’t give the trip much thought, but I did continue to study and I did make all A’s & B’s. It wasn’t until graduation that I found that my uncle had added a codicil to his will leaving a provision for me to have my trip. I was surprised, elated, a little scared. The planning stage began with a major obstacle. At seventeen, I was not allowed to stay in a hotel alone and we did not have the financial ability to send an older member of the family with me. So, somehow other arrangements had to be made. For this we turned to a neighbor who had lived in Hawaii for some time. It ended up with her having the perfect solution. I was to stay with a good friend of hers that she had met in the islands and with whom she remained in contact. So, it was arranged for me to stay with a local family for the summer of 1962.