Woman Comes Across Dress In Thrift Store, Notices Strange Tag

Thrift Store Purchases

With the bonus of finding remarkable bargains, browsing thrifts store for unique items can be quite a rewarding hobby. There are reasonable prices found for treasures, clothing, and other novelties. However, sometimes you can't help but ponder the history of these pre-loved finds.

A certain woman was about to uncover the heritage of a peculiar item, and her discovery would change her whole existence.

An Obsession Like No Other

Shannon Hiramoto, a Kauai native, spends her days hunting through donation shops for a specific design of dress, particularly vintage muumuus. These dresses are flattering, all the while being loose-fitted. Shannon explains that searching for vintage muumuus is a hobby that she has adopted.

When an entire rack of muumuus presented itself to her in a Salvation Army in Lihue, euphoria struck her. One by one, she gleefully started pulling them from their hangers. Just then, something caught her eye that left her otherly speechless.

An Attraction That Could Not Be Explained

She chose a dress from the wide variety before a persistent sense of familiarity settled within her. She scoured her brain in search of when she had previously seen something like it. She admired the extraordinary length of it as she held it to her chin; she then began admiring the pretty frilled V-neck collar thereof.

A floral pattern scattered across the pink background; however, Shannon was about to discover a more extensive knowledge behind this dress.

Beyond Appearances

During an interview, Shannon recalls, "I saw this beautiful mini muumuu right here, and you know, it's always fun to find a short one."

Upon further inspection, her instincts led her to believe there was more to this dress than meets the eye.

An Interesting Tag

Shannon glimpsed at the Liberty House tag fixed to the collar and immediately noticed the singular word written in faded permanent marker.

Without giving anyone else a chance to spot her, Shannon quickly grabbed it and hurried towards the check-out counter with her money grasped in her hand. She could not go without knowing more.

A Note Left For Her

The word written on the muumuu's tag left Shannon feeling that it could be a sign from above. She knew, however, it would be rare that a message was left just for her in a thrift store. But how else could she justify this feeling in her heart when she first saw it?

She willed herself to remember as she closed her eyes tightly. 

A Ghost Of What Once Was

Behind her mind's eye, a shape began to form, and then it came into focus- a spirited lady dressed in pink. She smiled knowingly as her defying spirit and lust for life shone in her eyes. She had lived a full life and passed away at the age of 108, however, she had left Shannon a message.

Shannon had an inkling that discovering that dress had been the singular defining moment in her life. 

A Secret Past

Shannon felt the truth with each beat of her heart, but she could not risk having insufficient proof and making a fool of herself. Was she bold enough to think she was right? The logical part of her mind told her that she needed to find more proof and that she would have to dive deeper into the family secret to find it.

The implications of her findings were huge once she discovered them.

Suspicions Sprout

Is one word possibly powerful enough to send shivers down Shannon's spine? She raced home to her mother, with her suspicions following closely behind. She was, thankfully, already waiting. Shannon hoped that they could decipher the mystery together and sought her opinion.

Her mother's face went pale as if she had seen a ghost when she showed the dress to her.

Uttering Her Name

Like a bolt from the blue, the word written on the label struck Mrs. Hiramoto. Her eyes widened as she shifted her gaze from the dress to her daughter's face. Every emotion, from happiness to heartbreak and everything in between, flashed across her face as Shannon watched. Shannon's mother's hands began to shake.

Shannon had never imagined that one word held the authority to reduce her mother to tears. It wasn't just a word. It was a name.

Faded Ink

The name, written in the garment owner’s hand, was “Kamei”. Shannon felt shivers run down her spine as she watched the realization dawn on her mother’s face. She knew there weren’t many people in Hawaii with that name.

In fact, she had only ever heard of one.

Old Photographs

Shannon’s told her mother how she had stumbled upon the dress, and she listened, dumbstruck. Shannon let her recover before carefully inspecting the dress again. Then, Mrs. Hiramoto began to nod slowly — conceding that Shannon’s hunch could be correct about the dress’ previous owner.

Shannon’s mother paused to think for a second before disappearing into the next room. When she reappeared, she had a stack of photo albums in her arms. The pair began to examine each photo, and Shannon’s heart leaped with every turn of the page.

Searching For A Miracle

Shannon knew the chances of finding what she was looking for were slim to none, but she had to start somewhere. But when they eventually came to the end of the albums, they still hadn’t found the answer.

Defeated, and with no more photographs, Shannon felt deflated. She was no closer to solving this mystery than when she’d started. She came to grips with the fact that she may never know the truth now. But unbeknown to Shannon, her mother hadn’t given up.


Shannon had searched through the old photo albums for an entire day, but they had found nothing. She had all but given up hope. She knew that her wild notion had been far-fetched, but she couldn’t help but feel disappointed when her search yielded nothing.

Then, she saw a message from her mother that made her heart soar.

Proof At Last

A few days after Shannon had talked with her mother, she got the text. Her mother had sent her the photograph that she had always known about but had forgotten.

“And it’s this, and it’s her. It’s a full-body shot, and I was just so excited! My mom said it was the last photo in the last album she looked at.” Now, Shannon knew for sure. The muumuu had actually belonged to her beloved great-grandmother.

A Family Name

“But it also had handwritten Kamei on it, and it blew my mind because that’s my great-grandmother’s name. Her last name.” Born in Kekaha back in 1904, Shannon’s great-grandmother’s name was Florence Shizuko Kamei.

She could hardly believe it! The unbelievable coincidence of finding her dress all after all these years was absolutely mind-blowing. But the wise woman still had a message to deliver.

Some Life Advice

Shannon recalled: “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!” But what was the woman’s secret to a long, happy life?

The answer is simple…

Hobbies And Green Tea

“Green tea and hobbies,” Shannon remembers with a laugh. But Shannon’s mother remembers more. She remembers her wearing long flowing dresses, and if she wasn’t already laughing, there was always a smile at the corners of her lips.

Great-grandmother Kamei was a happy woman, and she loved to sing and play her ukulele in the church choir. Her great passion for family, food, and fun lives on in Shannon.

An Inspirational Woman

Shannon’s great-grandmother was an inspiration throughout her life, so much so that she even named her daughter after her.

The name means “quiet child” in Japanese, but neither great-grandmother Kamei nor Shannon’s daughter had quiet personalities!

A Fading Memory

During the last few days, Shannon scrutinized her early memories for this particular pink dress. She was sure that she could even recall seeing her great-grandmother wearing it. But she admits that memories can be deceiving. “It seemed familiar, but in this memory way,” she explains.

But even now, she still isn’t absolutely sure if it was a true memory or if she had just wanted it to be one so badly.

Her Final Resting Place

In that earth-shattering photo, Shannon’s great-grandmother poses in that very same muumuu that Shannon had discovered. The photo was taken in the historic county of Hanapepe, in front of her church, The United Church of Christ.

“What’s really special about it is she’s there,” Shannon said. “Her ashes, her remains are in the back of the church there, so it was like visiting her again.”

Muumuu Magic

Shannon reveals: “She passed five years ago, so I have no idea where it had been between that point and now.” But what does Shannon think about finding the beloved muumuu after all this time?

She says: “It’s magic!”


Shannon believes that she found the dress for a very important reason that is far more meaningful than just a happy coincidence.

She believes in her heart that it was a special message from her precious great-grandmother. “I think it’s just her way of telling me I’m on the right track,” she explains.

Perfect Serendipity

“I’ve come full circle and feel like she is smiling down on me or at least giggling,” Shannon confided in an interview with the local news station. She plans to keep the muumuu in her family as a precious heirloom. And when her daughter is big enough to wear it, she will tell her its amazing story.

The absolute serendipity of Shannon finding such an important family treasure in a thrift store is priceless, and what happened next almost proves that her beloved great-grandmother still plays a part in her family’s daily lives.


Shannon’s amazing story about the miraculous muumuu made international headlines, making her and her clothing store, Machinemachine famous and giving her business a big boost. 

It was almost as though her great-grandmother still had a hand in ensuring her great-granddaughter’s success. After all, Shannon may never have developed a deep passion for fashion and muumuus if it weren’t for her.

Passed Down Through Generations

Shannon’s grandmother, Mildred Hiramoto, learned to sew from her mother, Kamei. She then passed her knowledge down to Shannon and taught her how to sew at the age of 14. 

On Shannon’s business website, she says that sewing is a way for her to stay close to her grandmother. Every time Shannon threads a needle, she feels both women’s love.

Keeping Their Spirits Close

“My grandmother passed in 2011, and I miss her every day ---sewing is one way to keep her spirit close. I started my company/experiment called Machinemachine in 2007 and am continually excited about meeting customers and making things every day!” Shannon wrote on her website.

In 2016, Shannon moved her shop to a new space and started working with her father, Charlie. But they are not just creating muumuus.

Keeping Her Culture Alive

Shannon is extremely environmentally-conscious and uses vintage, upcycled, and donated fabrics to make her fashion creations, and her father prints them by hand – which makes them even more unique and special. 

As a testament to the clothes’ comfort, customers often write, “I live in this dress!” in their reviews. But Shannon’s not just keeping her grandmother, and great-grandmother’s spirits close – she’s also keeping her culture alive.

A Rich History

After Shannon’s incredible story of serendipity went viral on social media, people all over the world became curious about muumuus and their significance in Hawaiian culture.

Shannon and the matriarchs in her family don’t just love muumuus for their style, colors, and comfort, the connection to these particular garments goes much, much deeper than that.

Christian Protestant Missionaries

The muumuu is actually a powerful symbol of freedom from oppression in Hawaiian culture. The story of muumuus begins in the 1820s – when Christian Protestant missionaries arrived on the island. 

At the time, native South Pacific women wore scanty clothes to stay cool in the heat. However, the missionaries had a big problem with that. 

Insisting On Modesty

The missionaries wanted to cover up as much of the Hawaiian women’s skin as possible. They introduced a two-piece ensemble that consisted of a “holoku” – a floor-length undergarment dress with a high collar – and an outer dress called a “mu’um’u.” 

Of course, these clothes were unbearably warm in the tropical South Pacific heat, so the women eventually adopted the outer “mu’um’u” dress without the underdress, and it evolved into what it is today. In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author's imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.