A local from Kauai, Hawaii, expressed her love in a particular style of clothing. Shannon Hiramoto was an avid collector of vintage muumuu dresses. That was why she often found herself rummaging through the racks in thrift stores. Until one day, when she was walking down the streets of Lihue, her eyes automatically traveled to the Salvation Army. Her heart pounded in excitement because she saw it as another chance to find muumuu dresses. But what she was about to discover inside the store would change her life forever.
In a heartbeat, Shannon entered the store. Her eyes sparkled and her feet rushed into the vast selection of vintage dresses. She blissfully touched every linen as she searched for a particular style of dress. Shannon took out a few muumuu dresses, but she stopped when she saw a garment that looked oddly familiar. Shannon dropped all the clothes she had in her hand and picked up that one dress instead. She stared at the clothing as she tried to remember when or where she saw the gorgeous dress.
One of A Kind
Something about the dress tells her that it was one of a kind. This pink muumuu dress was a v-neck style in a beautiful floral pattern. And it had a shorter length than any regular muumuus. With frills also embroidered, Shannon found the garment really ravishing. However, she couldn’t recall any possible memory with the dress. So Shannon searched for the brand tag of the dress and there was a mark written on it—and it struck her.
“Liberty House” Shannon read the label. However, there was something more than just the brand tag. There were faded handwritten letters in a permanent mark. Shannon knew right away that she had to take the dress home. What made this dress so special to her?
Shannon still had no idea regarding the dress. Yet she had this strong feeling that it meant something huge to her. Shannon believed it wasn’t just any stroke of luck but it was pure fate that she found the dress. Shannon tried reading the letters again and again until she gasped in realization. Suddenly, an image came to Shannon’s mind.
It started blurry when she saw a figure walking towards her. As it drew closer, everything became clear to Shannon. The lady in a rose-colored dress gave her the most heartwarming smile. Shannon had the urge to hug her as tenderness of familiarity bonded between the two. The woman had lived for 108 years and Shannon knew her by heart.
The Only Key
Shannon snapped out of her trance. She had to find the real answers or everything she just saw would be nothing but sheer imagination. Now that everything started to make sense to her, especially the one word on the dress which could be the key to her family’s secret.
Shannon rushed home as emotion started to surge her. Luckily, her mother was there when she reached her house. Shannon then handed the dress to her mother without uttering a single word. Her mother was confused at first, but when she glanced at the garment in her hand, she froze instantly.
Caught Off Guard
The mother looked at the dress then to Shannon. As if she was asking why her daughter had the garment. Shock registered on the mother’s face and her hands began to tremble. It was Shannon’s chance to seek for an answer. Her mother sat down with her.
The Real Owner
Her mother took a deep breath and told Shannon that the words written in the dress’ tag was an initial which spelled for “Kamei”—the owner of the garment. Shannon’s ears rang at the familiarity of the name, and it completely dawned on her who this person was.
Meant to Be
Shannon told her how she managed to find the dress. She still couldn’t believe how fate brought her to the shop and coincidentally discover the dress in between hundreds of dresses on the racks. Shannon held the muumuu and stared at it lovingly. She was right the whole time. All of a sudden, her mother stood up and walked away. Shannon was left confused.
Her mother came back with family photo albums in her hands. She placed the books on the table with Shannon and began flipping the pages. Every nerve in her body electrified as she waited for the face of the owner of the dress to show up. However, not even a single photo existed. Shannon was starting to lose hope, but she didn’t notice that her mother continued flipping the pages.
A few days had passed and Shannon already accepted the fact that she would never see the owner of the muumuu dress. She was on her usual daily routine when her phone suddenly vibrated. Shannon took out the phone from her pocket and saw a message from her mother…there was an attached photo.
Her mother said that she found it on the final page of the last album she looked at. Shannon’s eyes pierced through the image in front of her. It was a full-body shot of her great grandmother! The photo also had the same letters written on it, “Kamei,” Shannon whispered.
But what made her really dumbstruck was her great grandmother’s full name, “Florence Shizuko Kamei.” Turns out that “Kamei” was just her last name! She was born in 1904 and died at the age of 108. Shannon also discovered that her great grandmother held the title as the oldest person in Hawaii! And when she passed away, it was all over the news and radio. But could Shannon remember her great-grandmother’s secret?
Kamei’s Kept Secret
Shannon recalled what her grandmother told her, “Green tea and hobbies.” Her great grandmother loved green tea and consumed it daily. However, there was one particular thing that she was crazy with… it was collecting flowy dresses! Her great grandmother used to wear muumuu garments with a bright smile on her face. She was known as the woman who radiates positive energy wherever she goes. Her great grandmother also had a variety of hobbies such as dancing, playing ukulele, and singing in the church choir!
When Shannon was still young, she heard a lot of wonderful stories about her great grandmother. This made her look up to her and became her inspiration as she grew up. Shannon even named her own daughter “Kamei” as the middle name. Besides, Shannon really loved the meaning “Quiet Child,” the name’s translation in English. However, her daughter or great grandmother never had the image of a quiet personality.
Wave of Familiarity
Shannon didn’t stop from trying to remember when or where she saw her great grandmother’s muumuu dress. Because whenever she looked at the garment, it had lingering feelings on her. “It seemed familiar, but in this memory way.” Shannon thought.
She knew that her great grandmother always wore either pink, purple, or red muumuu dresses. Out of the blue, Shannon exactly remembered where the old photo was taken. It was the place where her great grandmother also lies.
The place where her great grandmother was beaming with a smile while wearing a muumuu dress was in Hanapepe, a historic county. Shannon creased her forehead as she tried to identify the background. In split seconds, her face lit up in recognition, “The United Church of Christ,” she said between her breaths. “Her ashes, her remains are in the back of the church there,” Shannon suddenly recalled everything.
Tribute for Kamei
Shannon wore her great grandmother’s muumuu, then she stared at the mirror—a smile played on her lips. She grabbed her things and hastily went out of her house. Shannon took a ride to Hanapepe and searched for the direction of the church.
A sudden idea struck her to honor her great grandmother’s memory by visiting the United Church of Christ. She wanted to pose for a picture with her special muumuu dress on. It was amazing how the dress found its way back to their family again. And not just any member of the family but to Shannon, who shared the same interest with Kamei.