Sometimes it pays to be old.

You’ve lived it, you’ve seen it, you’ve done it.

Life means a keg load of memories.

I turned 80 today. You read that right. The Eighty is Weighty Club.

So what if the body aches are constant; that it requires effort to get off the sofa; that the hair, if still there, has whitened. All part of aging.

So what? You have fond memories. Try these on for sighs…an alphabetical compilation of people, places and things, from A to Z, to tingle the memory bell:

Arakawa’s, a Waipahu landmark

A – Arakawa’s. The picturesque department store in the sugar cane town of Waipahu. Its shopping bag, replicating the blue palaka print, was a treasure.

B—Brothers Cazimero. One of the founding members of the renaissance of Hawaiian music. Robert still carries on the tradition of preserving and performing the music; bro Roland has gone on to a heavenly career and presence.

C—Char Hung Sut. Known for its char siu bao and chow fun. Shut down for good. Auwe.

D — Drive-in theaters. Yeah, dating-time destination. Even with those awful audio gizmos you had to hang on the car window.

E—Escalators. Sears Roebuck, on Beretania St., had the first moving stairs.

F—Foodland. When there was only one, well before the advent of Foodland Farms.

G—Gabby Pahihui. The first God of slack key guitar. Think “Hi‘ilawe.”

Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

H—“Hawaii Aloha.” The anthem of choice to close an event, with hands-upon-hands and voices in union. A unifier.

I—Israel Kamakawiwio‘ole, when he was a member of The Makaha Sons of Niihau. Before “Over the Rainbow.”

J—Jack in the box. When it was mostly a toy, with “Jack” jumping out of a music box you cranked.

K—Kress stores. The foremost five-and-dime outlet. Debatable: Was Woolworth’s the dime store fave?

L—Lurline. The flagship that brought visitors from the mainland to Hawaii, when sailing preceded air flights for the wealthy.

M—Movies.  With Cinemascope and Surround Sound. And remember 3-D?  And movie palaces, like the original Waikiki, Kuhio, and Princess Theatres?

N—“No ka oi.” The useful Hawaiian term to designate “the best.” Worked the; still works today.

O—Olomana. The duo named after a mountain, with pioneering musicians Jerry Santos and Robert Beaumont; the latter died far too early.

P — Phones, with cords and rotary dials; later, in booths, providing Superman a space to change costumes. The booth vanished with the invention of cellular phones.

Q—Queen’s Hospital. When it was a modest facility in pretty much the area where its stellar medical campus is located.

R—Roadshows, movie films with anticipated long runs, with premium, reserved seating, intermissions. Think: “Cleopatra,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Bridge Over the River Kwai. Add: powerhouse movies that ran for months, with long lines before mall theaters and stadium seating: “Sound of Music,” “Jaws,” “Star Wars” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

The “shaka” sign — right on!

S—Shaka. The thumb and pinkie finger that say many things for many moments. The simple definition: “Right on.” Thanks, Lippy Espinda, who popularized the signal.

T—Typewriters. The tool that enabled you to insert paper and spool of ribbon, and learn the rhythm of the keyboard, to “write” your term papers.

U—University of Hawaii. It enabled many of us to get college degrees without trekking to the mainland; its agricultural roots have grown to embrace a medical school and a very healthy travel-industry school.

V—Videotape. The early way to film, tape shows on TV, before the arrival of DVRs and iPhones.

W—Waikiki. Love it or loathe it, there wouldn’t be an industry that welcomes visitors without Waikiki. Think Moana Hotel, the first lodging for tourists on now the fabled Kalakaua Avenue.

X—Xerox machines. Consequently, messy mimeograph devices and carbon paper became outdated.

Y—Yasai man. The peddler-on-wheels who visited communities to sell produce, meat, milk and other needs for daily lives.

Z—Zippy’s. When there was only one, on King Street. Now, there two dozen, with Las Vegas becoming home for Zip-Min, Zip-Pac and fried chicken, too.


  1. Happy Happy Birthday, Wayne. You’ve done so much for us all these years, selfish me put in a wish that this birthday continues on for many many more years. That alphabet list will probably come from outer space some day. Happy Happy Birthday, worth repeating. fran

  2. Happy birthday Wayne san! Wow 80 is a milestone birthday and if it wasn’t for this damn pandemic all your friends and family should be throwing you a big birthday bash! Thx for the stroll down memory lane and I hate to admit but I recognize a lot of your alphabetical list! We’re all getting “makule”!

    1. Makule doesn’t come without effort and patience; and despite the ache here and there and practically everywhere, you betcha: gotta be proud and happy about the resilience and the next decade to come. Bruddah, you have some catch-up to do.

    2. But remember, my friend; as the adage goes, with age comes wisdom. OK, all the bulbs on the chandelier might not be working every time, but when you’re old(er), you also can boast knowledge that only comes with time. Live on!

  3. I truly thought you had made a typo with the “ 80 “ years old. And then I remembered…. I am now 73, so you could very well be 80. I never imagined ‘in a million years’ that I would get to the 70’s, and I bet you think the same with the 80’s…. who’d a thunk, eh?
    The most interesting new talent I have is that I now pee when I laugh, cough, or sneeze. How about you?
    Not sure if I should be embarrassed or not.
    Being ‘old’ is a new adventure every day. At least for me it is, as I can’t remember what I had for breakfast now, let alone what I did yesterday, so when I say ‘new adventure’ I really mean it!
    Anyway, best wishes for today and for the year ahead Wayne.
    Hauoli La Hanau!

  4. WOW — you put the history of my life in one story. Lucky we live — in Hawaii !!! And lucky we have WAYNE !!!
    Best gift I can give – I won’t sing. (People usually pay me not to sing).
    Hugs, Lynn Cook
    P.S. tune to revise “The Book of Wayne” ?

  5. If you’ve lived for seven decades, and beginning the eighth, there are treasured memories, for sure. Glad to share my reflections from the past, and encourage all elders to do same, in the name of persevering those precious moments in time,.

  6. Hi Wayne,

    Your “Golden Moments” brought back so many memories of places and people that meant so much to many of us. Mahalo nui loa and Hauoli La Hanau.

    Aloha Dolores

  7. Happy, happy birthday Wayne…a life well-lived…seen it all, done it all and still have your memory to close your eyes a re-live it! Mahalo for all that you do for us…those who have reached the pinnacle of success, and for those who tried, but never quite got there. We love you!

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