43 years ago today I fell in love with and married a beautiful young South African girl by the name of Claudette Comrie. We had met just months before in front of the Moana Surfrider Hotel in Waikiki as she was literally just getting off the bus coming from the airport on her first ever trip to Hawaii. My occupation at the time was operating a pedicab in Waikiki, peddling tourists around, showing them the various sites and in general acting as a local tour guide. It was early evening and I was waiting in front of the hotel soliciting rides from the arriving travelers when she disembarked from the bus.
While her first response to my pedicab ride solicitation was an emphatic “no”, later in the evening when by chance I ran into her again and asked her a second time, she said “maybe later”.
As the reader of this missive has by now figured out “later” came soon enough, my lovely South African bride-to-be climbed onto my humble pedicab, I took her on a tour of Waikiki, we had a whirlwind romance, and the rest as they say is history.
Neither of us of course knew what the future would hold. We had known each other for less than 6 months when we were married in Durban’s Old Fort Chapel and then returned to Hawaii and Kauai after spending several months backpacking around Southern Europe and Israel.
The past 43 years has been an exhilarating ride. Though there have been ups and downs and occasionally times of great stress, our life journey has truly been extraordinary.
We have two incredible children both of whom have married exceptional partners and three beautiful grandchildren (with another on the way) as well!
We have traveled the world and experienced places and events many only read and dream about. Fortunately for me that story about Claudette, an employee of South African Airways at the time, wearing a t-shirt that said “Marry me and fly free” while mostly a figment of my imagination…continues to ring true!
We are both technically “retired” now. My work in public service over the years has been and continues to be incredibly fulfilling. Claudette I know is also greatly enjoying her retirement from United Airlines – doing all manner of things she enjoys – around the yard, in her “she shed” and with her “walking friends”.
While 43 years seems like a very long time ago, at this particular moment it seems like only yesterday that I was smitten by that beautiful young girl with a funny accent getting off the bus in Waikiki.
*If you wonder what happened next, what brought us to Kauai and more – you can read the next chapter: Another Hooser Fun Fact (you will catch the pun later)
*Slightly edited from a post first done upon our 36 anniversary.