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Love Stories of Hawaii

Timeless Love

The Love Shirt
Dedicated to For June, my mother.

Submitted by Darrell

From the tender age of six my wardrobe choices always had a few handmade Aloha shirts. Delicate and colourful, light and airy, relaxed and comfortable, I wore them till they were threadbare. When they were too tired to be worn even once more, or had grown too small to cover my size, a few new shirts would appear. They had been carefully tailored with a mothers love and labeled with a tag "Made Especially for you by June". The shirts stopped appearing about the time I entered high school and were replaced by off the rack commercial versions. I asked my Mother, why she bought the shirts now rather than make them. She said that she had finally ran out of material and no longer had the address of the fabric shop in Honolulu. I was surprised to find that she had brought the material back from Hawaii herself, and I asked when she had been there.

She brought out an old 8mm projector and ran a few reels of carefully preserved film. I was shocked to see myself at the tender age of four playing near the blowholes on Oahu and running on the beach at Waikiki. I saw a much younger woman waving in front of Iolani Palace and horse drawn trams rolling along palm tree shadowed streets. I saw my father standing and smiling in Queen Kapiolanis' Garden. My father was actually smiling! Mom proceeded to tell my of the one vacation she had in her many years of marriage. She told of holding me on her lap for 8 hours in a prop airplane for the trip over. She showed me the wrapped cubes of sugar saved from the flight. Our tour guide made the coconut palm birds, which now graced our living room walls, as she watched. She described the trip with the enthusiasm and excitement of a young girl after her first date.

I never forgot those moments with my mother and I never stopped wearing Aloha shirts. Now I seem to wear little else. I trained myself to handle a sewing machine and taught myself to make Aloha shirts. I try to use the same care as my mother had making them for me so many years ago. I know I am not making a shirt but a fabric testament to the love of my parents for each other and the islands, and the love of my mother for me.


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