Updated: Aug 22
Do you believe in love at first sight? The minute I arrived on Maui in 1985, I knew it would be my home—and it was. I lived in Lahaina when I first moved to Maui and that’s why the fire on Front Street and beyond really hit home for me. To get to Hawaii I first had to convince my dad we could expand our office supply business to the islands. I did my homework and set off for paradise. Thanks to orders from Office Mart and others, I was in business. When I told my parents I was moving to Maui, they didn’t object. (My father would end up selling the “family” business while I was away.) To make it work I had to find work other than my sales calls. The cool thing was there was a worker shortage at the time so I was able to try my hand at a dozen different jobs. My favorite job was doing design work for Maui Jim Sunglasses, but working at George Benson’s recording studio in Lahaina, as a spotter for Lahaina Waterski Company, as a deckhand out of Kapalua, and poolside at the Alii Kaanapali Resort were all awesome as well. I got around the island in my Suzuki Samurai jeep (see photo) and lived in an old house in Lahaina, one block in from Front Street. My hangouts were the Pioneer Inn for breakfast, Kimo’s for lunch, Whaler’s Village and Leilani’s for happy hour, and Banana Moon for after-hours fun. Many of these places are gone, burned to the ground. After making friends and I moved into Maui Sands in Honokawai—thanks in part to a connection made by my high school pal who moved to Maui a year before me. After settling in I explored every inch of the island, but Lahaina was where I spent most of my time. It’s devastating to see it all destroyed. Having lived on Maui, got married there, and visited the island over 20 times since the 1980s, it’s hard to believe what’s been lost. However, in 1992 I was on Kauai a week before hurricane Iniki leveled much of the south side of the island. It took years, but Kauai built back better and I know Maui will, too.