Friday, September 25, 2009

Thank you Pat!

Remember when I wrote that I was in contact with someone who was doing a project about my grandfather? And how this person, Pat, was spending a lot of time researching and talking to people and sending pictures? And remember when we were trying to figure out a way to get Leiya to Indiana to attend the community event? Well, I didn't have anything to do with the figuring but Pat did all the work and arranged for Leiya to get to Indiana!!! On September 11th some of Pat's friends drove 2 1/2 hours to Leiya's college, picked Leiya up and drove her back to the little town of Columbia City. They opened their home and Leiya stayed with them two nights and then with Pat and all her friends, Leiya attended the exhibit focused on her great-grandfather!

Tetsu and I are amazed at the love and care that all the people in this little town gave to Leiya while she was there! Pat arranged for shop keepers and organizations to donate things for a welcome basket including popcorn, cookies and even a t-shirt from my grandfather and my mother's high school!!! (They both went to the same high school.)

Leiya said she was overwhelmed by all the people that greeted her and little old ladies would come up to her saying they had gone to school with my mother (my mother is 86). Other people were relatives or friends of somebody or other who had worked for my grandfather at his soy sauce factory, some people told her about his love for gardening and golf.

Something amazing was that when I was writing to Pat about my childhood memories I briefly mentioned the name of a young boy, Richard, who I remembered worked summers. I don't know why I remembered his name. I must have been 10, Richard must have been in high school. RICHARD came to the exhibit!!! He mentioned that he had worked summers at my grandfather's and Pat practically swooned and asked him to speak right then and there! Leiya wrote, "Mom! Richard remembers you!" So now I know who Richard was and Leiya and Pat reported that he had such nice things to say about my grandfather...

During the weekend Leiya was given a tour of the little town and was able to imagine how life must have been like 70-80 years ago for her great-grandparents and grandmother. Do you realize that all this history would have been lost to us if Pat hadn't stepped into our lives!?

Leiya was taken to the cemetery and visited her great grandparent's graves. I wouldn't have any idea where they lie. Leiya got to visit her great-grandfather's farm that I stayed at during the summers. I didn't remember the name of the area or the address. How big the trees have gotten that he planted!

Some pictures that I absolutely love are the ones from the second hole of the local golf course. My grandfather was a avid golf fan and the farm that he purchased after he retired was a jump through the hedge to the golf course. One day he went out to play golf with his friends (at 84), said

"What a beautiful day!"

hit a ball off the second hole and collapsed with a heart attack. For a golfer I can think of no better way to make the step from a place he loved to an eternal place he loved just as much. Look at this view!!

I will forever be thankful to Pat and the community of Columbia City for taking an interest in my grandfather and for allowing Leiya a glimpse of her family history. I hope I'll someday get to visit myself and meet the wonderful people and bask in the surroundings.

Thank you Pat, and much much love.

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