I looked up "muumuu" in the Oxford English Dictionary and was delighted to
find that their second citation of the word is from Hula Moons:
Helen being a woman, put on a yellow mumu, a cross between a flour sack and
an old-fashioned nightie. Mumus were designed by the well-intentioned
missionary ladies...as a covering for the Hawaiian women, in the early days when a few
flowers sufficed for a garment. (1930; their first citation is from 1923.)
The Hawaiian word is correctly spelled mu'umu'u, and pronounced with four
syllables. It means "cuf-off", because it has no yoke and usually no sleeves.
I was just in Hilo, where the Basically Books book store has a number of Don
Blanding books for sale, including two copies of Stowaways in Paradise. I
confess I was too busy pursuing my other Hawaiian interests there - looking for
books on the language and on Hawaiian flora - with too little time to spend.
Knoxville TN and Gastonia NC
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