Guess Who I Met on the Way to the Beach

By Walter Soellner

Hawaii, the enchanting islands, is always a wonderful place to visit.

For my birthday (no numbers please!) my daughter Anna gave me 2 tickets to Hawaii. Wife Sandra and I landed in Honolulu on Oahu for a 10-day visit.

We are not the ‘lay in the sand’ types roasting our winter white skins. We are more the ‘wade up to our knees’ types. The water was warm, salty and wet, just like the travel posters. That was fun so what else was there for us to do?

Off to a drive up the east coast of the island (is that the windward side or the other? Who knows, I’m not a sailor.) Lots of small beach towns, and dozens of beautiful beaches with towering mountains in the background. Very Aloha!

Walter and Sandra at the arboretum
Walter and Sandra at the arboretum

Over the next few days, we visited the Honolulu Zoo with its exotic bird displays and some interesting lizards (more like 4 foot dragons!) and a bounty of turtles, along with the usual animal menagerie. Worth a visit.

There are five arboretums in Honolulu! The one we visited was started in the 1850s and was an amazing maze of tropical plants and trees. Some trees were 15 feet in diameter, rivaling our California Redwoods. They had plants that were extinct everywhere in the world except right at this arboretum.

One of the highlights of our Hawaiian visit was a day spent with Rose Anna and Wayne Higashi. Rose Anna is professor emeritus in English at Evergreen Valley College, where we first became friends. She and her husband Wayne, a native of Hawaii, retired on Oahu. Sandra and I were given a tour of the town by them, with a visit to the Hawaiian Art Museum. (See photo). This museum is a delightful surprise with its world class collections of all the famous artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Really an amazing collection…spoken by me, a retired art professor.

Wayne and Rose Ann Higashi, and Sandra and Walter Soellner
Wayne and Rose Anna Higashi (l.), and Sandra and Walter Soellner

Rose Anna and Wayne have a house just across the beach road looking east out to sea. She is active with her poetry and her ‘My Tea Planner’, an active work of love and social gathering. It is so nice to be with friends.

Our visit to Oahu would not be complete without a return visit to Pearl Harbor and the World War II memorials there including, of course, the Battleship Arizona. Seeing that beautiful Pearl Bay and knowing that sudden tragic history, makes one reflect on our lives and the lives given so we may enjoy our freedoms and the beauty that surrounds us every day.

A return visit to these islands we hope is in our future.