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

Oct 29, 2020Peter File

What's better than losing something just to find it again years later? Not just that, but losing something valuable to your family, only to stumble upon the exact same thing years later in a thrift store? This is the story of Shannon Hiramoto, and how she rediscovered a part of her family in the thrift store.

Image Credits: Instagram/machinemachine

Shannon Hiramoto

Shannon Hiramoto is a Hawaiian native, with her family history going back for generations in the lone state. Life is good there in sunny Hawaii, surrounded by the beautiful volcanoes and of course, the blue Pacific ocean and beaches around the islands. Born and raised in Hawaii, she's also extremely familiar with the culture of the area - something that led to one of her hobbies. 

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An Artsy Person 

Shannon is also a very artsy person - she enjoys painting and designing things, with her artworks posted on social media for the world to see (be sure to check it out!) She enjoys printmaking plus other handmade things, but that's not what we are focusing on today - we are focusing on one of her hobbies that's deeply related to the Hawaiian culture. 

Image Credits: Instagram/machinemachine

Collecting Muumuus

Yes, you read that right - she's also a collector of Muumuus. Nope, we didn't mistype anything, that is exactly how it's spelled. Imagine on the sunny Hawaiian coast, women wearing their light summer flocks, wandering around beaches, singing songs from a forgotten time... Muumuus are one of the most important cultural aspects of Hawaiian culture. 

Image Credits: Instagram/machinemachine


We love thrifting - if that's something you haven't tried you most definitely should try it out. You get to find all sorts of stuff in thrift stores, sometimes things you never could've imagined. From old antiques to old forgotten clothes, and of course, good bargains at times, it's a place filled with memories and opportunities. But for Shannon, she stumbled upon something quite unique... 

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A Beautiful Dress

On one of her frequent trips to the local Salvation Army Thrift Store, she found a beautiful dress that she liked. Nothing too out of the ordinary for her, especially for an experienced shopper such as herself. This time what she came across was a beautiful purple muumuu, a bit shorter than a regular one, something not that common but not that rare either. But then she noticed something weird about it. 

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Something Special 

However, upon closer inspection, she noticed something interesting about the dress. “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 told 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.” But could this really be her grandmother's dress? 

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As it turns out, her great-grandmother isn't just a normal Hawaiian native either - according to Shannon, her great-grandmother, Kamei, was born in 1904 and lived to the old age of 108 when she passed away five years ago. That actually made her one of the oldest people ever lived in Hawaii. However, she couldn't really recall whether she had actually seen her great-grandmother wear this dress, so she had to ask someone who might know. 

Image Credits: Pixabay/Free-Photos/For Illustrative Purposes

Getting to the Bottom of the Barrel

First, she approached her mother and asked her if she recognized this dress. However, similar to Shannon, her mother doesn't have a clear memory of that dress either. Shannon tried to recall from her deepest memories and seemed to have recalled a similar dress that her great-grandmother wore when she was a child. However, years have gone by and memories began to turn rather blurry, and it is difficult to recall details like that... 

Image Credits: Pixabay/Michal Jarmoluk/For Illustrative Purposes

Her Great-Grandmother's Favorite Colors

But it is certainly difficult to recall the exact color and pattern of that dress. However, she did recall that her great-grandmother loved muumuu that was pink or purple or red, something that actually matches the color of the very dress she found in the thrift store. As she was looking through some old photos, trying to see if she could find some actual evidence of it, she received a phone call from her mother. 

Image Credits: Pixabay/Michal Jarmoluk/For Illustrative Purposes


Her mother finally confirmed her hunch - as her mother was going through the old photos, she found one particular photo that confirmed Shannon's hunch. There in the photo, her great-grandmother was wearing the exact same dress, the very same dress that Shannon found in the thrift store. With the same pattern and the name "Kamei" written on it, it's almost certain that the dress Shannon found was the exact same one that once belonged to her great-grandmother. 

Image Credits: Instagram/machinemachine

The Last Photo 

As if it was a movie in real life, the investigation also came with suspense of its own. The reason why it took such a long time to confirm that it was the very same dress her great-grandmother wore was that the photo that her mother found was the very last one in the very last photo album that her mother went through.

Image Credits: Pixabay/congerdesign/For Illustrative Purposes

A Special Photo

As her mother was scrolling through albums after albums, reliving the memories of the past years, it was only until the very last page of the very last album that she found this photo. But it didn't stop there, as the photo also bears a symbolic meaning of its own.

Image Credits: Pixabay/Catkin/For Illustrative Purposes

A Symbolic Photo 

The location of where the photo was taken is also symbolic in a special way - as it turned out, the photo was taken in Hanapepe United Church of Christ, the final resting place of her great-grandmother. The last photo from the last album, taken in front of her final resting place... how poetic is that? But the story didn't stop here - reunited with a piece of her family history and heritage, Shannon decided that she need to do something about it. 

Image Credits: Instagram/machinemachine

Recreating the Photo

To celebrate the special reunion between her and her great-grandmother's dress, she decided she needed to do something special about it. And so, she went to the exact same spot and took a photo with the very same dress that her great-grandmother wore at that location, which now became the final resting place of her great-grandmother. 

Image Credits: Instagram/machinemachine

A Special Reunion 

For Shannon, this was truly a special occasion, being able to reunite with a part of her family history and heritage. “I’ve come full circle and feel like she is smiling down on me or at least giggling,” Shannon wrote in her lengthy Instagram post. Regarding the dress itself, she said of the following. "She passed five years ago, so I have no idea where (the muumuu) had been between that point and now. It’s magic,” Shannon told KHON2. “I think it’s just her way of telling me I’m on the right track.”

Image Credits: Instagram/machinemachine

This is how a woman was able to find something special in a thrift store, being able to reunite with a piece of her family history and heritage, and above all, finding something that was lost in the most unexpected of all places. What do you think of this story? Did you have any similar experience yourself perhaps? If you enjoyed reading this article, why not share this with your friends and of course, your family? 

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