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The Rise of Dairy Queen, Treats and Sweets, and The Sad Fall
December 15, 2013 - Ray Tsuchiyama
I remember going to the Dairy Queen in both Kahului and Wailuku – the latter more often, with my Uncle B. and Aunt J. Even as late as the 1970s a Maui high school student would be delighted for a summer job at a Dairy Queen, a level up in the social ladder.
I continued to go Kahului successor “Treats and Sweets”.
I felt I was in a time warp of the 1960s, eating outside sometimes in sweltering heat, swatting flies, the cheeseburgers and hot oily fries, the ultra-sweet teriyaki beef, the huge mounds of rice, the very old-time nostalgic flavor of saimin, no longer so available at Mainland fast-food restaurants, with air-conditioning turned up to maximum.
Of course in the age of television and magazines and Internet Mauians wanted more. A friend said that when Jack-In-The-Box opened he took his children and stood in line for a long time for a more Mainland taste, a national brand.
And Mauians like the very Mainland hot dogs at Costco, so crowded during lunch time.
I went to Treats and Sweets on the day it closed last week Friday.
I saw many people lining up, and ordering their burgers and plate lunches. Some recognized each other, and asked about their Baldwin or Maui High classmates, some in Honolulu, others in Vegas or Seattle or San Diego, or inquiring discreetly about the health of each other’s parents, some long gone, others in-between visits to Maui Memorial Hospital, and some who have recently passed and “baby boomer” children disposing of old furniture, packing clothes for Goodwill, and taping up old albums of fading black-and-white photographs taken at houses no longer around, on streets that are now gone.
I ate my burger in silence by the faded Coca-Cola sign and closed my eyes and saw my Uncle B. and Aunt J. in their big Buick, riding along the windy beach roads, tooting the car horn at neighbors walking on the sidewalk, attending Sunday services at the Wailuku Hongwanji, meeting friends at Ah Fooks and talking for twenty minutes at a time – a slower Maui, a smaller Maui, and now with the demise of Treats and Sweets, a Maui with fewer actual businesses that conjure up recollections and images of a lost world, barely a couple of short decades ago.
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