Hawaii ~ Vacation Turned Staycation

Hi everybody! I am making some awesome progress on the staircase.  I just finished taping off the last of the spindles and risers.  It would be nice to start the actual painting this week… fingers crossed! In the mean time, I am sharing my life story.

Last week, I started off with A Child of the 60s & 70s.

Today, I’m going to pick up where I left off. I’m in the middle of 3rd grade and mom decided we were going to take a vacation.
Hawaii… This picture was actually a picture taken in 2005, when my mom took our whole family there. (Photos aren't the greatest quality when you scan them in.) It truly was a beautiful trip, which I'll get into later down the road... There are a a few pictures I put in, because I couldn’t find the ones from my childhood "vacation". On that 2005 trip, we visited some of the same places we did when I was a kid. In all the years, it really hadn’t changed that much.

Anyway, I have no idea why we would go in the middle of school, but that was the way things were with my mom, not a lot of rhyme or reason. Anyway, we went to Hawaii, mom, the boyfriend, me and my sister. What a vacation! Right? Well… it wasn’t the kind of vacation you’re envisioning. I would say it was the hippie version of a vacation.

We flew to the big island and stayed in this weird house, I don’t know who these people were or where we met them. I just remember a few very odd things about that place. There was no glass in any of the windows, which is why my sister woke up the next day with about 30+ mosquito bites on her face… poor thing. I'm not sure how long we stayed at this house, maybe a week or two?  It was a weird place, I know, I already said that…but it really was.  People walked around without clothes on... a lot… ugh… I wish I could unremember some things. That’s just freaky to me…I wasn’t scared, but I definitely didn’t like it. I'm so thankful I was never physically assaulted.

They did have this cool place to swim.  It was a huge natural spring with rocks all around it. There was a rickety old slide in the middle of it. The main thing was to be careful getting in and out, there were eels that liked to hang out at the edge. Again… freak out here!!! I don’t recall any adults watching us, there was no lifeguard. I didn't even know how to swim.  I taught myself how to later. Seriously, the fact that I made it into adulthood was a miracle!

So, I’m assuming we didn’t have round trip tickets…because, the vacation turned into a staycation. We moved on from the weird house and we stayed at a park, like a campground. All four of us stayed in a tiny two-man tent. No, I’m not kidding. My sister and I didn’t seem to care, although, I do remember her complaining that she had to sleep with feet in her face... :/  We ran around all over this place, plus there was some sort of petting zoo there. Hey, we were kids, this place was great! It amazes me how resilient children are.

Eventually, we moved into an a house. This picture is the actual house we lived in. In Hawaii, they used lava as a gravel driveway. My feet were so tough from being barefoot all the time, I could run up and down that driveway.
Hawaii House

We lived in a tiny town called, Pahoa. This is what it looked like in 2005, when we lived there, it had a post office and a small market, not much else. Oh, and a school, that’s where I finished 3rd grade.
Pahoa, HI


These are some random things I remember….

Going to school barefoot, basically we were always barefoot, and playing some beanbag game, that I loved to play. I wish I could remember how it went....

My sister and I liked running around and exploring the jungle near where we lived.

I loved eating guavas and passion fruit.

I was in even in a Brownie troop.

I taught myself how to sew, and I made little apron dresses for me and my 3ft. doll, Sallie. I found scraps of fabric from somewhere and made us matching outfits.

On the Big Island, we liked to go to this black sand beach, I can’t remember the name, but it was pretty cool!
black sand beach

As crazy as my childhood seemed, I'm so thankful that I don't have horrible memories of being scared or worried. For some reason, I just took life for what it was and rolled with it. I think I was pretty carefree growing up in my younger years, probably because my grandma covered us in her prayers.

My mother’s drug use continued… we grew little plants, that I was quite proud of…. I remember a picture of me holding a little ‘pot’ plant (marijuana) and I was grinning from ear to ear. I had no clue. I searched for those pictures, but I’m missing a ton of pictures from my childhood. :/

We lived there almost a year. I don't really know why we left, but I'm thinking we were struggling financially. My mom told my grandma to sell her VW Bug and all of our "stuff", so we could purchase tickets to fly back.With that, and some help from my grandma we made back to the states. Grandma opened up her home to us and we were able to move in with her. I know for a fact that the boyfriend didn't stay with us, grandma would not have that!

Grandma was living in southern California in a town called El Monte. Not the best neighborhood, but not the worst…. I was in 4th grade now. The next picture is all of us. Me (playing the flute), mom, the boyfriend and my sister.

Living with Grandma was the best! She made the most amazing oatmeal chocolate chip cookies! She always took us to church with her.  I forgot to mention, in most of the places we lived, my grandma would try to find a church with a bus ministry to come pick us up for church. I know she prayed for us every single day. I believe her prayers protected us throughout our childhood.

For Christmas, was given my own sewing machine.  I loved it! I continued to sew clothes for me and Sallie. Sewing became something I loved to do and I still enjoy sewing today.

The next picture is 5th Grade. That Winnie the Pooh dress, was my favorite! I practically wore it every other day. At 10, I didn't have the skills to make it. Today... I could make it. I'm so thankful we were still living with Grandma. Every year, I had to go to a new school, because we were always moving. This was the first time, we didn't move before school started. I was able to have the same friends in the next grade. That was huge for me!
I'm going to assume that these bottom two pictures where taken around same time. And I'm basing it on the fact that my hair is the same and I look the same age. The left one was taken at my grandma’s house. I loved living there, being with my grandma.

The portrait on the right… well, that’s just somethin’ else.  Crocheted tops, which my mother made. Bamboo velvet flip flops…Can you say Hippie? But our pants were very cool, they had the double zippers!

Mom had a tough time getting on her feet. She had a drug problem and thank The Lord, my sister and I were shielded from some of it.  But not completely…Things got pretty rough. She was very moody, she was either very high and euphoric and "happy" or  she in a bad mood, angry at everything. Consequently, she yelled more... and mostly at my sister and I, and unfortunately we got "spanked" more. I am not against spanking. For me, spanking while angry is not a good combination. That leads to abuse. Which is what my mother did...yes, it was awful, yes, I had wooden coat hangers broken over my rear... and yes, as an adult I forgave her... I will continue to say how thankful I was that my grandma was there, she was our stability. Although, she couldn't stop my mom, no one could...

To be continued…..

Thank you for reading. I know this is hard to read and it's a tough place to leave you hanging, but let me assure you... God is faithful and full of mercy and grace. You will see that eventually, in my story.



  1. I'm enjoying your story and yes I remember praying for you also . Getting to know you as a child .

    1. Awww.... Thank you Aunt Grace! I didn't know. I sooo appreciate you reading and sharing that with me!

  2. I'm so thankful that you are sharing your story, even though it is maybe painful. it touches on some similarities that I had during childhood. Maybe that's the painful piece. :)

    1. Hi Andrea... Thank you. Isn't it nice to know that you aren't the only one? Thank you for your encouragement!

  3. Lori, I will have to go back and read the first part of your story, but there were probably a lot of kids that experienced what you did in those late 1960's, early 70's. I was lucky that I grew up in the 1950's which was still pretty tame. My mom, dad, sister, brother and I did live in a tent on my grandparent's property while my dad was building our home. I hated it as I was in 9th grade up to my senior year in highschool and I always felt like white trash. But I suppose I learned some valuable lessons..Happy Wednesday..Judy

    1. Hi Judy! Thank you for sharing that with me! Yeah, it's sometimes hard to believe that there were days when you didn't have to lock your doors and kids could just roam with out fear. It's good to know I wasn't the only one who lived in a tent! :) I can't imagine how tough that would have been, especially while in high school! Bless you! I really appreciate you taking the time and reading my story! Blessings!!

  4. i had tears in my eyes while readng this, Lori. Being a grandma myself, I know how grandmas pray faithfully for their loved ones. Thank goodness, you had your grandma there for you. xo

    1. Awww... Grandmas are sooo important! One day, I'll hopefully have my turn! Thank you so much for reading and sharing such encouraging words! Blessings!

  5. Thanks for sharing your story! It must have brought back many painful memories but I'm glad you shared it with us because I liked reading it and knowing the blogger behind a beautiful blog and a reminder that it not a perfect world. Praying that you continue to stay strong in this journey we call life~ warm hugs, Poppy

    1. Hi Poppy! Oh, you have no idea what an encouragement your words are to me! Thank you, thank you! You are so right, we do not live in a perfect world. I just read something this morning... We will all experience pain, but we can choose not to live in misery! I choose to live joyfully! Blessings!


Comments are awesome! Let me know what you think!

09 10