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A map of remembrances

Guam, then and now

Yes& Know By Aline Yamashita

As 2023 arrived, my memory bank stirred. While driving around with Eric, sites stir those memories.

Waiting in traffic on Marine Corps Drive, I look to the right. Do you remember the first building to have an escalator on Guam? Yup, Ben Franklin’s. Three floors of inventory. I remember riding the escalator. Mark’s Department Store was to the right.

Heading into Hagatna, the name of the first movie at the Cinema Theatre? It was so exciting that hundreds of us waited in line to see “The Sound of Music.” Then, Hafa Adai 1, 2 and 3 opened. Going to the movies was a real treat.

Of course, there was the Johnston’s drive-in theatre in Tumon. A real family event under the stars. And there was Johnston’s theatre in Tamuning, which eventually became an adult movie house.

Where was the best place to find comic books? South Seas. That building structure has opened and closed many doors. Most recently, Coffee Slut.

There was Orange Julius, Sourgoses Pizza, Dairy Queen, Shakey’s – all along that stretch of road.

We all had fundraisers at Ralphy’s– on the shoreline. Today, Rozanne and Harry transformed that into TuRé, a comfortable place to munch and meet.

The best place to get warm pistachio nuts? Town House. Popcorn welcomed you in. Today, that site has housed political parties’ headquarters.

In Tamuning, the best place for Mexican food? Nina’s Papagayo. A fun place. It is also the last place I had tequila. But it was always fun.

Down that road was Gibson’s, which is now the Guam Premium Outlets.

Going through Tumon, I enjoyed remembering the leadership meetings we had at the Okura Hotel. The management allowed us to meet late in the afternoon. After the business, we were able to toast progress and success. The view was exquisite, the company the best.

The Okura Hotel also had the best Chinese restaurant called TohKaLin. My dad loved that restaurant. He loved the Galleon Grill at the Hilton Hotel more, though. He treated us to lovely fine dining.

Which hotel had the most proms? Daichi Hotel. If your prom wasn’t in your cafeteria, it was probably in the Ambassador Room. Or the Cliff Hotel in Agana Heights.


My heart smiled at the memories of Barney’s Beach Bar. Loved spending Sunday afternoons watching folks place beach volleyball.

There was Fujita Hotel, the pink hotel. Piano music floated through the air.

There was a really good restaurant around that area, but its name escapes me. I remember Jimmy Nahalowa was the bartender. He served drinks with a smile.

Cathedral Grade School once formed minds in Agana. Sister Callista was the principal for years. That building has blended in the Academy of Our Lady’s property. There was St. Thomas in Ordot, and FQ Sanchez in Umatac. Inarajan High School and Oceanview High formed many of our leaders today. They closed to welcome Southern High, a decision I still disagree with.

I was saddened to hear that Maria Artero Early Childhood Center closed. Many youngsters got good starts there.

While the current Guam legislature is making history in a renovated property, we worked for years at 155 Hessler Street. Before it housed the legislature, it was the Department of Education’s central office.

Before Adelup became the Governor Ricardo Bordallo Complex, it was Adelup Elementary School. There was also Piti Elementary School.

Many changes. Before Mar-Vic became publisher and editor of Pacific Island Times, she worked at Philippine Daily Globe, TODAY, Philippine Free Press, Marianas Variety, Glimpses Publications, Guam Daily Post, Building Industry Magazine Hawaii. She was published in Business Mirror, Agence France-Presse, The Guardian and the New York Times.

Doors open and close. Opportunities abound. We can all learn from this publication’s visionary leadership. Publishing your own news magazine takes determination, work and joy. There are thousands who appreciate the diverse perspectives offered by the Pacific Island Times contributors.

2023 has arrived. Enjoy your memories. Enjoy making more.

Aline Yamashita is a mom, a teacher and former senator. She served in the 31st and 32nd Guam Legislatures. You may write to her at

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