Sgt. Dick Cowsill, 19, paced back and forth, eyeing each United Air lines flight as it checked in yesterday at Honolulu International Airport.
“Come on, come on,” he signed impatiently.
Cowsill who is with the 37th Signal Battalion in Da Nang, had arrived here earlier in the day – at 6 a.m. – on an R & R flight from Vietnam, and his frustrations were mounting.
“Oh Lord, where are they?” he asked about his famous family, The Cowsills.
At 1:10 p.m., a United jet taxied into the airport. “That’s theirs,” he beamed. “They’d better be on that flight.”
As it turned out The Cowsills – mother Barbara, father Bud, brothers Bill, 21, Bob, 19, Paul, 17, Barry, 14 and John, 12, and sister Susan, 9 – made it here to spend their own rest and recuperation in Waikiki with Dick.
When the family saw Dick, they all screeched, and swarmed him – kissing, hugging, laughing, tugging.
Mommy’s reaction was typical of a mother: “Oh, no, you’re so thin,” she moaned, with slightly wet eyes.
Then after a head-to-toe scrutiny, she smiled: “I guess you’re looking good. Very Good.”
Dick said the family had planned to join him here – “Why not?” as mommy put it – as soon as he informed them Jan. 28 that his R & R was coming up – in Hawaii.
“It’s so beautiful here,” Dick said. “I had time to go to the R & R center in a cab, to leave some of my baggage, and I know we’ll have a grand time.
“I was in Vietnam for six months. I’m due back on the 11th. So we have some time together.”
Mommy chimed in. “It was mommy’s and daddy’s idea to pack up and come on over,” he said. “We’re so used to traveling this way, it was easy.”
Then, nudging daddy, she whispered: “my, he looks great. Doesn’t he?”
Father Cowsill said the family needed the rest – “we’ve been working like crazy,” he explained.
“We’re doing a Timex special on TV in March, called the ‘Wonderful World of Pizazz.’ It’ll be outasite,” he said, speaking in hip talk.
“We’ve also got dates with ‘Hollywood Palace’ and the “Jonathan Winters Show,’ so we’re on the go, year-round. There’s even a new MGM album coming up.”
Dick and Paul are the only lads who do not actively perform with The Cowsills. They work as road managers, and remain behind the scenes.
“At least that’s the way it used to be,” said Dick, still wearing his GI uniform.
“We’ve been singing in the living room so long, it was only natural that I join them as an act,” said Mrs. Cowsill. “The only difference now is that we get paid.”
Dick said because he has so many brothers and a sister, he couldn’t keep track of their ages. “And buying presents fir them was a problem,” he laughed, “spent a lot of time buying ‘em all gifts before coming over, and I had to rent five lockers at the R & R headquarters to store the gifts.”
Barry, wearing a mustard suit and mod dark glasses, said he hadn’t seen his brother for the last seven months. “He looks the same,” he decided.
“It was seven months,” mother emphasized. “We couldn’t go to Vietnam to see him, so this trip over here worked out beautifully.”
Sister Susan – her rosy cheeks glowing on her elfin face – noticed Dick’s thin mustache, and frowned.
“Yuuuuuuk,” she said. “He scared me. I don’t think he looks good with that.”
Dick, who normally has Cowsill hair – meaning, longish and flowing – told his brothers: “My, you all need a haircut.”
“But we just had one,” said Bob and Paul. “Tell Dick about your hair picture,” John and Barry yelled, obviously referring to an inside family joke.
It took three cars to get the Cowsills and their baggage to the Ilikai Hotel, where they’re staying. One limousine was chauffeured by Kimo McVay of Duke Kahanamoku’s, another by an Ilikai staffer, and a third station wagon transported the baggage.
And what about a performance in Hawaii?
“When it’s right,” said father. “When it’s right. Evidently, it hasn’t been right yet. But we hope to come back some day.”
Mother also had a hope: “I think it’d be very nice if we could return on a second honeymoon. Without the kids, bless them.”
The Cowsills left their new home I Santa Monica, Calif. – which Dick hasn’t yet seen, since he’s been in the service – to fly here. “I understand it has a swimming pool and everything,” Dick said. “The kids sent me pictures.”
Their original home – an old mansion in Newport, R.I. – still stands, according to Dick.