Growing up in 1940s Hawaii


My Great Grandpa got a job in Hawaii when my grandma was very little. Great Grandma Alma packed up the three kids (two boys and a girl) and took a train to San Francisco from Missouri. From there, she took a boat to Hawaii. I remember her stories about the boat ride. One of the kids was sick and the boat was jam packed with young mothers and their children heading to Hawaii to join their husbands. She said it was an absolutely miserable and very long trip!

All of the old photos from that time were passed on to me and I thought I'd share some snaps of their amazing life on Oahu with you. My Great Grandpa was a fantastic photographer and he took advantage of the beautiful subject matter while he was there, including my gorgeous Grandma Alma, who we all say was definitely Bette Davis's long lost sister and their amazing kids, Amanda, Tony and Bill.

I found an oversized post card (pictured below) that Great Grandma wrote around the time that my Great Great Grandma went to visit them on the Island. The photo on the postcard is copyrighted 1947. The back was glued to a scrapbook page so its hard to read it all but she says "Right around that dark rock on the right hand side is our new house- in the process of building"  of the kids, who went to school mostly barefoot with the rest of the school children, she says " Your grand-niece and your grand-nephews are big & brown and healthy. Their "Gammu" whom the two younger ones remembered has won them over completely."


  1. What an absolutely incredible family archive!

  2. I can totally see the family resemblance. That could be your daughter in the sand!

  3. This is so amazing. I love the treasure trove of photos - she was oh-so-stylish - and the notes and stories behind it. I really enjoyed seeing this - sounds like the basis for a novel.

  4. Very charming and exotic, thank you for sharing. :)

  5. Such a lovely family record to have! My great-great grandfather went to Hawaii late in his life, but that was in the 1920s, and I think we only have one photo from then - of him with his church choir :)

  6. The large picture postcard your G-grandmother wrote on? Well that is the lookout over where the town of Kanoehe is. I know that lookout well, having lived in a cute apartment in Kanoehe for 5 years. I would still be there but the cost of living so high and I had terrible turnover of room-mates so I just got tired of working 2 jobs to make my rent. My apartment had a view of Kanoehe Bay (it was a 2 bedroom and I rented out the 2nd bedroom, over and over again). So cool to see a view of the lookout and the island of 1947-1949 era. I loved living there (I was a secretary and worked a retail job part time to pay the rent; in 1980s a small 2 bedroom apt was $600-1000 a month.

    1. Well how cool is that?! What a small world it is! My grandma went back to the area a few years ago but unfortunately their house and neighborhood had been torn down and rebuilt on.


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