It was 50 years ago today that my family boarded the SS Matsonia in San Francisco to sail to our new home in Hawaii. Hawaii was still a US territory, not a state. We sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge on a very cold January day, bundled in the warm clothes we'd brought from the East Coast. Within days we were in paradise covered in flower leis.
I'll never know who aboard that ship decided to seat two military families with two little girls at the same dining table, but I'm forever grateful. Those little girls became best friends for life, the sisters neither of us had. Today out of the 6 members of those two families only 3 survive.
I can't begin to describe what an adventure it was for two little girls on that ship. We still talk of the fun we had. We were instant friends.
We ate on the deck next to the pool, stole swizzle sticks out of people's drinks, sat beneath Tiki statues playing with our dolls, ran up and down from one end to another exploring the ship. The temperature changed from the wintery cold to tropical warmth and soon we were in shorts with our heavy coats packed away. We danced the Hukilau and were awarded with our own new Hawaiian names. It was magic. Though the ship is long gone, that beautiful ship, the friendship is still strong.
To learn more about what it was like to sail on a classic beautiful ocean liner before they became little more than giant garish shopping malls take a look at the book To Honolulu in Five Days: Cruising Aboard Matson's S.S. Lurline by Lynn Blocker Krantz, Nick Krantz, and Mary Thiele Fobian. I have placed a link to the book in the Amazon column on the left
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