I was out over the weekend with friends and the question came up about whether there was a sandbox at Ala Moana shopping center or not. The answer of course is ‘YES’ there was.
My friends know I have a great memory for things from my childhood but I have trouble remembering what I had for lunch yesterday. My theory is that our brains are like hard drives and that once they get filled to capacity they have to purge useless information to make room for new data. Funny thing about my brain is a crap load of old useless stuff is stuck in there like commercial jingles and cartoon theme songs from the 70’s. To this day I can sing them all verbatim and can even recite Wrestling Hawaii locker room interviews.
So back to the sandbox. The good thing about it was that back in the day parents could drop their kids off at the sandbox, do their shopping, and return four hours later and the kids would still be there. Can you imagine parents doing that today? I remember the sandbox had those concrete turtles and ladders to climb on and of course cigarette butts and those mysterious black Cheetos left behind by the neighborhood cats. LOL.
Ala Moana back in the day was more grungy and fun. Remember all those totem pole water fountains made from ceramic pots? Once I was running around on the wet bench outside of Longs and slipped and fell in the fountain. Before the high-end shops made their appearance at the mall the walkways were all asphalt with gum spots everywhere. Do you remember Keiki Land?…the first arcade complete with a merry-go-round, boat ride, and a whirlybird helicopter. Shirokiya was the place to go to buy your action figures…..Rainbowman, Kikaida, Kamen Rider, Zaboga, Daimond Eye, Raideen, Go Rangers. Pete’s Modelcraft had all the cool hobby stuff. I got my first BMX bike from Eki Cyclery….a Mongoose with motomags! Honsport was the sporting goods store, and if you wanted morning breeze or fake doo doo Party Center was the place to go. I picked up my first album, Cheap Trick’s Dream Police, from DJ’s Sound City. Street level makai was the mysterious side of the mall. India Imports had weird stuff and remember those wooden Indians in a barrel with a spring loaded da kine? We would check those out in the bowels of Sears. I got my first Boogey Board and skateboard from Penney’s of all places before they added the “JC” to their name. The first surf shops I can remember were Hawaiian Island Sports, which later changed to “Creations” and Sera’s. Who remembers the huge bird cage between Liberty House and Shirokiya?
Here’s one that nobody seems to remember. Do you remember the large Santa before his eye job? When I was a kid Santa has small cheerful eyes. Then sometime in the 80’s I think they gave him those large evil eyes ala Sta Puft Marshmallow man from Ghost Busters.
Kramers man of the month, Woolworth’s chicken, the smell of incense at Iida’s, the giant dented ornaments on the Christmas trees, haircuts at Thom’s Barber Shop, The Ritz, Lynn’s Delicatessen, Connie Conrad from Security Diamond & Conrad Jewelers, San Francisco Rag Shop, etc. etc. Soooo many great memories…..too many to list.
What were some of the shops or experiences you had at Ala Moana from back in the day? Let me know, so I can fill my brain with more useless stuff. hahaha.