How Maui Amost Was.
Many years ago—probably 50 years ago, now that I think about it—I came over to Maui from Honolulu for a job interview. The tourism boom had just started and Hilton was about to open a new hotel here. I had had a meeting with the big boss for Hilton Hawaii back in Honolulu and he’d suggested I check out their new Maui property and meet the general manager because they were going to need an assistant manager. “He’s the guy you’ll be working with,” he had said. I remember those words exactly.
That certainly sounded promising, so I hopped a plane and, with visions of a new career before me, presented myself to the guy who, I was sure, was about to become my new boss.
By the way, that was when Hawaiian Airlines had almost finished replacing its vintage DC-3’s although, for that day and time, they seemed perfect. For one thing, they flew at just a few thousand feet altitude right along the coastlines and Hawaiian had installed two large picture windows on each side of the plane. I got my first glimpse of Maui through one of those big windows. You can see one of them in the photo above.
Maui itself was pretty funky in those days. One of the restaurants on Front Street in Lahaina offered just a single main course each night: if you don’t want spaghetti and meatballs, come back tomorrow night—it’ll be pork chops.
Anyway, the meeting on Maui with the Hilton GM went wonderfully well and, as we toured the beautifully landscaped grounds and admired the pristine beach, I was coming to grips with the dizzying idea of working in such surroundings and actually being paid for it.
Ah … being paid. That turned out to be the catch. I don’t remember the exact figure but, at the time, I was making $625 a month in Honolulu and moving to Maui and going to work at the hotel would have involved a cut in pay.
And so all those visions of a new life on Maui evaporated and I went back to my job in Honolulu. But here I am, 50 years later, retired and happily living on Maui. Somehow, some way, most of the time, things have a way of working out, don’t they.