Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Letters From Home - Second Letter - Honolulu 1937 Sept 2009

My parents were very active during the war.
Mom was a nurse and my father was a reserve police officer.
Schnapps was a dog.

My parents moved to the island of Oahu in 1937, this is my mother's second letter home after leaving Los Angeles for her new life with her new husband in paradise. Here in her second letter she describes what living in Hawaii was like in 1937.

Here is the link to the first letter. . .

Postmarked March 20, 1937

Mrs. Larry Moss

200 F Dewey Way

Honolulu T. H.

Dear Betty,

I suppose the 1st thing I guess you want to know is if I’m happy,. Yes, I am even more happy than I thought I could be.

I suppose the 2nd thing you want to know is all about the island. Well kids if there are any English words in our language that would describe the beauty of this place I don’t know them. The flowers are exquisite and plentiful. The water is sixteen shades of blue and green right in front of our house. The coconut, papayas, palm, and shower trees are so thick that even on the hottest days you can always find plenty of shade. I love every inch of this island. Even the ground itself is a different color than on the mainland, it’s bright red or sort of an orange red caused from the volcanic substance in the earth. The only way you can appreciate it without seeing with your own eyes is by pictures. And remember that everything is just as pretty or prettier than the picture.

Our house is not large and not real modern but it is more than comfortable. The houses here are 2/3 screened with no walls and no windows. Our living room faces the ocean and is screened across the front. I moved our little breakfast table in and when we eat dinner at night we watch the sun set over the water through the leaves of coconut trees. Does that sound beautiful, well its twice as beautiful as that.

Now about our friends and what we do. Larry has certainly made friends in this short time he’s been here and they have all heard about me for so long that they took me right in. Nearly every day someone comes down to spend the day with me on the beach or some girl drives over and takes me downtown, or for a ride. So you see, that’s why I haven’t written. Everyone is so hospitable that you can’t get anything done.

No one does much cooking or laundry or house work. We spend most of your time out of doors. Almost every evening we are invited to someone’s house or if we happen to stay home someone drops in. In the five weeks I have been here we haven’t been home alone in the evening more than three times.

Now I’ll tell you about something that I enjoy on the island and I know you would too and that’s real Hawaiian music. They have what they call Beach Boys. They are Hawaiian boys who are hired by all the large beach hotels to show the tourists a good time. So during the day they give swimming lessons or take the guests out surfboarding or in an outrigger canoe. If they ask them, and pay them, they will sit on the beach and play string instruments. I have yet to see a Hawaiian boy who can‘t sing, play and dance the hula—all three. They are all very talented.

Well, at night these boys pick up extra money by going around in groups of 3, 4 or 5’s serenading outside peoples houses and every one gives them money and invites them in for a drink. Well, if these boys like you, they will come and serenade you for nothing. The other night I heard “ Here Comes The Bride” outside and looked out and here were 3 or 4 of Larry’s boy friends, beach boys that he has made friends of. So we called out and told them to come up and there were 4 of them that sat on the floor for 3 hours and played and sang.

This music does the funniest thing to you, it gives you the saddest feeling and makes you happy all at the once. One of these boys gave Larry a ukulele and Larry and I are both trying to learn it. You kids would sure razz me if you could hear me. Larry can play it well. This same beach boy also taught Larry how to ride a surf board and you should see him standing up riding in on the waves!

I have only been to two shows since I have been here. We haven’t had time to go to any more. The Waikiki Theater is the most beautiful here. It is a few blocks from us and it is on the order of the Chinese at home. It sets way back off the street but instead of shops all along the forefront it is lined with coconut trees, plants and flowers and right in the center is a beautiful fountain with lilies all around. Inside is exquisite. All along both sides are coconut trees, banana trees, flowers, and shrubbery. The ceiling is blue and high and before the show the organ plays and the lights go out and they make a rainbow and have clouds rolling all across the ceiling. It is just one floor and holds a lot of people. They charge 65 cents admission.

Another thing about this place I like is the informality. You can walk in anyone’s house any time of the day or night. No one ever locks their doors and you just walk right in. A couple of Saturdays nights ago we were invited to a lovely dance on the other side of the island. Coming home at 4 in the morning, we passed the house of friends of ours so we dropped in. They got up our of bed, mixed a drink, talked awhile, and then we went on.. Imagine me coming over to your house at 4 in the morning!

Another thing here that is funny is the law about serving drinks. After 12 o’clock you can’t buy a drink, and after 11:30 you can’t get into a night club, they close at 12:00. So the other night, after all the plays closed and put us out on the street, Larry took us to a speakeasy. Imagine, speakeasies, in this day and age.

It was in the country and a real old-fashioned 2 story house. It was real dark outside and I insisted it couldn’t be the place but there were about 8 or so of us so I wasn’t afraid to go in. Hahaha. We knocked and a Chinese fellow came to the door and looked us all over and spoke to Larry – he remembered him so let us in. It was the spookiest place, no lights, and we walked through 2 or 3 rooms to a room way in the back and there were tables all around and people sitting and talking sort of in whispers. No lights but a little candle on each table. It sure gave me the creeps at first but next to our table were 10 Hawaiian boys and one was playing the uke and the all were singing softly so it was beautiful after all.

I like the lazy atmosphere of this place. I would, I can just hear you saying. We are about 15 minutes from down town and it is very quiet around here. There are no street cars, no sirens, and the landlady is the only one around here with even a phone so all I hear is the sound of water and rustle of trees. What a life.

People drive very screwy here. No signals down town and the pedestrian has right of way. I always did walk out in the street and then look, so it’s swell for me. Cars can only park on the one side of the street and at night you have to leave your lights on even if you stay home.

This is my last sheet of paper so I’ll have to quit. Will have to stop as I haven’t any more room, so goodbye.

Aloha and Love to all,

Mrs. Larry Moss

2007 F Dewey Way

Honolulu T. H.


  1. i am so happy to read young Maria's letters. i see now the love of sharing experiences using words you share with her. it is a most difficult task as words are not capable of caring the wonder of awe to the degree some feel or see. " words attempt to lasso the truth as we see." my quote on stmbling in our voabulary for ...it!

  2. I'm glad you like her letters, Sonja. She would be thrilled to know so.