March 13, 2018

Woman Discovers Her Own Grandma’s Long Lost Muumuu in a Thrift Store in Hawaii

A woman from Kauai County, Hawaii, was recently shocked to discover that the muumuu, a loose dress of Hawaiian origin, she found at a new Salvation Army thrift store in Lihue actually belongs to her late grandmother, Florence Shizuko Kamei.

Shannon Hiramoto, whose hobby is to collect vintage muumuus, made the accidental discovery a few weeks back when she was at a Salvation Army thrift store in Lihue, Hawaii.


“I saw this beautiful muumuu right here, and I’m like, ooh, a mini one, because you know it’s always fun finding a shorter one,” she said while speaking with KHON2. “When I looked at the tag, it said Liberty House, then it also had handwritten on it ‘Kamei,’ and it blew my mind, because that’s my great-grandmother’s name, her last name.”

After seeing the dress, Hiramoto immediately felt that it looked extremely familiar, and was positive that this was her grandmother’s since there aren’t that many Kamei living on Kauai. However, she did not quickly jump to conclusions, deciding instead to investigate further.


Hiramoto, along with her mom, spent all day looking for evidence that the dress did in fact belong to her beloved grandmother. Things were looking bleak, but later that night, Hiramoto received a call from her mother confirming her hunch with a single photograph — the last picture inside the last photo album.


To make it even more interesting, the place where the photo was taken is actually the same place where she rests to this day – Hanapepe United Church of Christ.

hanapepe church

I’ve come full circle and feel like she is smiling down on me or at least giggling,” Hiramoto wrote in her lengthy Instagram post detailing the discovery.

A Mu’umu’u Story: A few weeks ago I was thrift store shopping at the new Salvation Army in Lihue and I came across this beautiful mini mu’u. I was shocked when I noticed the Liberty House label and saw the name Kamei written on it. My Great Grandmother’s last name was Kamei and she loved mu’u that were pink or purple or red. I was surprised to find this because she passed away 5 yrs ago! Could it be hers? There aren’t many Kamei on Kauai. It looked so familiar but I needed proof. (See my archive instastory to see how I felt the day I found this mini mu’u!) My mom and I went through all our old photo albums hunting for proof. Alas nothing! Then I get a text photo from mom the other night–it was hers! The last photo in the last photo album! I immediately knew where this photo was taken. Her church in Hanapepe–where she is actually resting to this day (her ashes are in a cubby back there.) I’ve come full circle and feel like she is smiling down on me or at least giggling. Florence Shizuko Kamei was born in Kekaha in 1904, one of her legacies is that when she passed she was the oldest person in Hawaii at age 108! When she died they announced it on the radio and news! Her secret? Green tea and hobbies. She loved her church choir, playing ukulele, Japanese dancing, joking around, and eating. My daughter shares her middle name Shizuko which means Quiet Child (neither of them have quiet personalities!) And I’m definitely passing this dress down to her. #heirloomserendipity #thiskauaianlife #winksfromgreatgrandma #smalljoys #muumuuforever #alohafriday #hanapepe

A post shared by machinemachine (@machinemachine) on

According to Hiramoto, Kamei was born in Kekaha in 1904. She passed away five years ago at the age of 108, making her one of the oldest people to ever live in Hawaii – the other person being Take Yazaki, who also died at the age of 108.

She passed five years ago, so I have no idea where (the muumuu) had been between that point and now. It’s magic,” Hiramoto told KHON2. “I think it’s just her way of telling me I’m on the right track.”

Images via Instagram / machinemachine

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