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Sitting at my desk as I Covid-Isolate on a rainy January 2021 day, I am looking at this picture which was taken around 1952 when Sam was attending the College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho. Sam graduated from Nampa High in 1951. He had a couple high school records that stood up for years. He commuted to college from their rental farm off Franklin Lane - the main road from Caldwell to Boise, Idaho.
I don’t think Sam had a car or truck to drive to school so he must have hitch hiked and walked the five to ten miles from the farm to the school.
Sam told me about the Track Meet where he ran the hurdles with RC in Corvallis, Oregon. In the motel that night they watched the Heavyweight Championship.
Rocky Marciano, byname of Rocco Francis Marchegiano, also called the Brockton Blockbuster, (born September 1, 1923, Brockton, Massachusetts, U.S. world heavyweight boxing champion from September 23, 1952, when he knocked out champion Jersey Joe Walcott in 13 rounds.
Sam had no idea that RC Owens standing in front of him in this picture would eventually become a famous football star for the SanFrancisco 49ers.
Raleigh Climon Owens (November 12, 1934 – June 17, 2012) was a American football wide receiver from 1957 through 1964. Owens graduated from Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, California, and attended the College of Idaho (where his roommate and teammate was Elgin Baylor).
Owens then joined the National Football League (NFL). He had his best years playing for the San Francisco 49ers, where he was noted for his "Alley Oop" receptions of quarterback Y. A. Tittle's passes. The Alley Oop was essentially a jump ball, where Tittle would throw the ball high in the air in the end zone, and Owens would jump up and get it. The tall, long-armed Owens was known for his jumping ability; he once blocked a field goal by jumping up at the cross bar and knocking it down. The next season, "goal tending" was made illegal. Owens's best year by far was 1961, when he gained over 1,000 yards receiving.
Maybe Sam’s nephew, Rick Noji, inherited some of his world famous High Jumping from the Goto side? Rick jumped as high as 7 inches above his own 5’8” height and would have made it to the Olympics, but was aced out because of politics. Rick is in the University of Washington Hall of Fame.
We know Elgin Baylor here in Seattle. An inadequate scholastic record kept him out of college until a friend arranged a scholarship at the College of Idaho, where he was expected to play basketball and football. After one season, the school dismissed the head basketball coach and restricted the scholarships. A Seattle car dealer interested Baylor in Seattle University, and Baylor sat out a year to play for Westside Ford, an AAU team in Seattle, while establishing eligibility at Seattle.[4] The Minneapolis Lakers drafted him in the 14th round of the 1956 NBA Draft, but Baylor opted to stay in school instead.
It’s fun to think about the story this tells of how our lives fit in our community of activities and how we are all connected. It seems that Elgin Baylor, who is also black, may still be alive, but the rest of them have lived out this earthly existence. This is a group that had incredible work ethics to bring out the best in themselves as they contributed their talents.

PS. Sam's best friend, Dr. D Branch - that inherited the "Green Truck", tells me he met Elgin Baylor at the Lenny Wilkins golf tournament a couple years ago. Branch also says he played football against College of Idaho in his youth.

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Christmas Zoom Joined by Jap... Christmas Zoom Joined by Japan Cousins

It’s a privilege to be part of the Goto Clan and participate in this “TIME” here on earth.

As I listen on BOOK TV to Professor Greene, who made world-renowned groundbreaking discoveries in the field of superstring theory and writer, Janna Levin, who researches black holes, I WONDER WHERE WE FIT??

"The best that most of us can hope to achieve in physics is simply to misunderstand at a deeper level."--Wolfgang Pauli,

Most of us look at these theories and assume we are almost insignificant. Today, I look at the link we provide in this universe and realize that life cannot go on without our contributions. Sam’s reading, audio tapes and discussions fill a whole bookcase in our home!!

We are as important as the BIG BANG - assuming that it had it’s moments.

On this third anniversary of remembering Sam and my 56 years plus together, I treasure these memories. As I isolate Christmas Week 2020 and in the words of the song: “I’ve got my love to keep me warm.”

I have a screenshot image of our "zoom" participation, but it won't load. Will keep trying.

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I am Sam’s 1951 Chevrolet pickup. What makes me special is that I have the two corner back windows, making me a five window model. I remember when Sam first picked me up in 1974, off his Dad and brother Fred’s Quincy, WA. Farm. Fred said he bought me used, in Wenatchee around 1954 as a utility truck for the farm hands to do their work and run errands.

Sam remembers his frozen feet as we made the trip over the Snoqualmie Pass on the way to his home on Mercer Island because my heater wasn’t working. When we got to the house Sam asked his girls, “Look what I got! How about going for a ride?”

Sam’s girls, 7 & 10, were intrigued and were excited to take a ride. But when we were going along West Mercer Way, they saw someone they knew. They bent their heads down and hid because they were embarrassed to be seen with me. It only took them a week or so to discover that I was a classic that everyone wanted. Then, we started giving everyone rides to Baskin-n-Robbins for ice-cream in the back. They always saved a few licks for Nadia, the dog. Two or three times, I was a swimming pool for hot summer days.

Lynette used me as her transportation for a lot of her summer jobs.

When Kelly got to Mercer Island High School, I really became the center of attention because I was dressed up as the Homecoming parade float a couple time.

All piled up in the back yard of the West Seattle Rental House was the old iron furnace, old metal stove, boards, junk, stacks of newspapers and magazines. It took 4 trips to the dump and Seattle Iron & Metal this time. When we took the 1000 pound load we were too late at the Georgetown dump, so we took it all home to Mercer Island. Those hills were not easy.

That was all before July 3, 1993, when Dee picked me up after an overnight at Muffler City on Rainier Avenue. “OOPS, the gears are stuck. Oh well, Dee knows how to open the hood and even out the arms.” Most of my vital parts have been replaced and are in good working order, but I could still use a lot of restoration work, especially my clutch. Sam gave me a paint job so I look pretty good.

As we head to the Factoria Dump with GOK (God Only Knows) basement room clean out and yard waste, it helps to have appropriate 1950’s Western Classics in the tape deck to set the mood, “In 1814 we took a little trip, along with colonel Jackson down the might Mississipp.” “You load sixteen tons and what have you got? Another day older and deeper in debt.”

It’s amazing how my value is determined by people’s attitudes.

p.s. It is 2020, Green Truck is on it’s way to a new home, one of Sam's best friends - Dr. David Branch, since Sam’s death 3 years ago. It is being re-restored and kept in the "family". David says, "And further kept in the family as I plan to will it to my sons, who are interested."

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"Itadakimasu" is an essential phrase from my Japanese vocabulary. It's often translated as "I humbly receive," but in a mealtime setting, it's compared to "Let's eat," "Bon appétit," or "Thanks for the food." Some even liken it to the religious tradition of saying grace before eating. But the uses for itadakimasu extend far beyond food.

The Meaning of "Itadakimasu". いただく (Itadaku) is a phrase that is very polite with the meaning " to take ." Traditionally itadakimasu is used when taking something from someone with higher authority or position than oneself. In this sense, the head is bowed with the hands held, palms up, higher than the head to receive an item.

“Itadakimasu” literally translates to “I will humbly accept it,” but the translation does not reveal the deeper meaning. This phrase is meant to honor those involved with making the meal happen: the farmers and fishermen, in addition to your mum or dad (or whoever prepared your meal).

This is one of the Japanese phrases my 5th generation Japanese American Grandkids have mastered and are able to practice it daily when we all sit for most evening meals.

Trust that being American is to honor our heritage and maybe continue with some of the values that add meaning to our purpose in life!!

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Is there some kind of Universa... Is there some kind of Universal influence guiding my choices??

Fifty-three years ago, October 26, 1967, it was 12noon. Lynette, three-years-old, and I, eight months pregnant, were in the playroom under the stairwell. We had just finished watching Seattle TV’s, “Wunda Wunda is my name, for boys and girls, I’m glad you came.”

As Lynette and I traversed the hallway, passing the front door and starting up the stairs for nap time, my water-bag broke and I started hard labor.

I made it back down the stairs, through the hallway, past the playroom door and into the kitchen; making sure I was calm on the outside so I wouldn’t scare Lynette. I grabbed the kitchen towel, held it between my knees and rotary dialed my husband, Sam, on the kitchen wall phone. No one answered at the dental office as they were out to lunch!

I rotary dialed my doctor, Dr. Lamke, and she was out of town!

I rotary dialed 911 and the police! The receptionist said they didn’t provide such services as taking me to the hospital.

By that time, I was having a hard time standing with the pain, but it was intermittent so I had a minute or so between contractions. Lynette was hovering over me worried during the times I lay on the floor.

I rotary dialed my neighbor five houses north, Penny Simkin, and asked if she would come and get Lynette!

Meanwhile, working to keep Lynette occupied, I asked, “What should we name the baby?”

She became animated as she was good at naming all our animals and “Snow White” our car. She answered, “Bogene if it’s a boy and Judy if it’s a girl. I don’t know where she got those names.

“Lynette, please go answer the door,” I asked of her as Penny came to the front door and I continued to lie by the kitchen doorway.

Penny offered to take me to the hospital, but she first had to get a baby sitter for her three preschoolers. She called another neighbor, Sally Herard, across the street on the next block there on 23rd Avenue East. Marvin Herard, Seattle University Art Professor, happened to be home and ran over to sit the four youngsters as Sally had their own preschoolers at their home. We were friends because we got together regularly for neighborhood Halloween Trick-or-treating, Christmas cookie decorating & ornament making and birthday parties with all the kids.

I grabbed a larger bath towel and ran out to Penny’s blue and white Volkswagen bus without a coat, without my purse and I don’t remember locking the door. As I lay on the back seat, we headed to Northwest Hospital. We didn’t worry about seat belts those days. We passed University of Washington Hospital, a few blocks down the hill from where we lived, but I thought we should go the extra 10 miles, as that was where my doctor and hospital where we had our first born was. Good thing she knew the way.

Half-way to the hospital, I said, “I think we better hurry!” I was never scared because I didn’t know the gravity of what was happening and as a nurse, I was trained to handle emergencies calmly.

Penny says she thought of running some red lights to get a police escort, but with family morals and education, we were appropriately indoctrinated to follow the law.

As we pulled up in front of emergency, about 1:30pm, Penny ran in and fortunately the Delivery Room was all ready for another patient with the Obstetrician and Anesthesiologist already there and scrubbed. The doctor ran out, examined me and said, “She’s breaching!” They wheeled me in on the stretcher and Kelly was born at 1:41pm, five weeks early. She weighed 4 pounds, 11 ounces. The statistics at that time said most of the babies and half of the mothers die when the placenta comes loose like our Placenta Previa situation. We were fortunate to have had a quick delivery.

Kelly had to stay in an incubator for two more weeks until she reached 5 pounds. Sam and I went daily to give her breast milk. Kelly was an active kicker during the pregnancy and given her successful hyperactive personality, we joke, “She kicked her way into our world!” She is the owner of her own successful web-design company since 2000, “gotomedia”.

Penny Simkin was already interested in Childbirth Education, but Kelly and I like to credit ourselves a little with the thought, “We helped nudge her into becoming the world renowned educator that she is.” Bastyr University School of Midwifery is called “Simkin Center”.

Since that time, over 50 years, until our 2020 Covid-Isolation, Penny, Sally and I have almost never missed getting together for our birthday celebrations - May, September and January.

September 2020, Penny and I did a Covid-Visit on her back patio, still on 23rd Avenue East. I now live on Mercer Island, 13 minutes East. After we caught up on the activities of our children, we talked about the challenges we face as 80+-year-olds. I mentioned wanting to try learning to write fiction, as I continue to mourn the loss of my husband two years ago, isolate because of the Covid World Pandemic and restart a new life. Penny told me her grandson Freddy’s wife, Arshia Simkin, was teaching a writing class in North Carolina. I went home and immediately enrolled in the virtual, Tuesday, Advanced Fiction Workshop.

At home, I went to my computer and chose a protagonist. My goal is to provide a more intimate story of the Japanese Immigrants who came to America between 1890-1924 and how they faced challenges in their lives with our heritage values. My great grandfather came to Seattle in 1897 and the 1980 census shows our successes. With the deadlines and the 6week REDBUD course, I have gotten to five chapters and almost 20,000 words.

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Arriving at Bellevue, Washington’s, contemporary Westminster Chapel just in time for the lights to dim, I quickly sit along the aisle in the left section. The Bellevue Philharmonic is playing Respighi’s CHURCH WINDOWS, but I am reliving last weekend’s 500 mile trip to visit with a favorite aunt and uncle in Ontario, Oregon and enjoy a family reunion.

The horns announce the descent from Eastern Oregon’s Blue Mountains into the Treasure Valley and the turn off Interstate highway I-84 into Ontario. The low tones of the clarinets suggest the low clouds and drizzle driving along Idaho Avenue. The kettle drums roll along with a periodic tap on the bigger kettle as I recognize the familiar landmarks of my hometown, “There’s where the Ontario Fish Market used to be.” That was our family business.

My memory turns me left at the Elk’s Lodge and the violins point out the exceptionally green, carefully manicured lawn and lets me know it is my aunt and uncle’s white house with the green awnings as I park.

I step through the screen door onto the enclosed porch and knock. The cymbals crash a waft of acrid smell as I open the door and the base fiddles tell me how dark it is as I enter the living room that has not changed in 45 years. The long sofa is on the right and the stuffed chairs on the left with towels and spreads protecting the fabric. Regular paid help keeps everything in perfect, spotless order as directed, but the years have put a gray wash on colors that were originally muted and quietly elegant.

Straight ahead on the day bed next to the mahogany dining set is my aunt, like an elegant French horn. As I get closer, I see her curled hands and feet from her 20 year decline with arthritis since she was in her 50s. The beat is slow and the tones are low as she can only move an inch at a time and has not been out of the house for years.

“How are you?” the French horn greets me.

“I am fine,” the saxophone answers for me.

And like Auntie’s prompt and meticulous letters, we catch up on the weather, what her children and grandchildren are doing and how much she enjoyed the chocolates I had sent. She always shares chocolates or jam with workers and visitors.

The oboe, my uncle, joins the conversation. In hesitant melancholy tones, he says, “I didn’t know anything about it until they sent me this. Here’s the press release you wanted.”

It is the announcement that he, as a small business owner of a grocery store in Ontario, has been named runner-up to Fred Meyer as 1972-73 Oregon businessman of the year when he was 54, my age now.

Later, when we are alone, Uncle says, “This ice pack on my back helps me get a few hours of relief from the pain so I can sleep.” Then he holds his chest and shakes his head as if trying to clear the fog of depression and says, “I can’t overcome my panic attacks. Walking helps, but as soon as I come back in the door, it’s the same again.”

On another day, he leaves the family reunion banquet early because he feels he cannot leave his wife alone for more than an hour or so.

As I am leaving this summer weekend family reunion, my aunt comments, “I think of what I might be doing if I weren’t crippled. Sometimes I wonder what I could have done that was so bad to deserve all this?”

I become aware that I am still in Westminster Chapel. The music crescendo builds. My fingers are tightening, my lips are thinning, my shoulders are tensing as I feel years of her love, fears, determination, frustrations, resentments, helplessness and anger held majestically in an alert mind and uncooperative body.

The triangle rings out my disappointment because she and I can’t play together. I always thought that someday I would repay my aunt’s kindnesses by going with her to a New York Broadway play or on a cruise to Alaska.

The bass drums pound out my anger because my uncle has been a responsible, giving person all his life and this is his pay. He was the oldest son, taking his role seriously. He was the one who helped his grandfather, during the depression years, to eke out an existence on his farm in Japan at the age of 6 years old. When Uncle's mother died in 1926, he and his 3 siblings were taken to Japan. It was his determination that built the successful Ontario Market grocery business after he returned to America. In 1985 he was Grand Marshall for the annual Ontario Christmas parade.

The conductor’s exaggerated gestures portray frustration because of my aunt and uncle’s dark prison-like existence I see and feel helpless to alleviate. As the music is concluded. I think of the saying that goes: “There is no such thing as a problem that does not have a gift.” Where are the gifts for them?

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Signing up for a fiction writing class is a major challenge, but what else is there to do with Covid-Isolation?

I've decided to try writing a novel called "GAMBATTE".

I consider myself a fair writer and a descent recorder of incidents.

Our first assignment is to write a "flash". Now that I have read as to what a flash might be, it's something I feel comfortable trying because it's short. Short, is the way I write to keep the reader's attention?

Here's my example: BORN IN CAR
It was 2am, the morning after Valentines 1944. The tan one-seat 1940 Chev coupe with only a window and shelf-like ledge behind the seat, was slipping and sliding as well as speeding the 12 miles to the hospital, along the snowy country gravel road, from their farm in a place called Sand Hollow. The Japanese man was driving, his wife in labor next to him and the 5-year-old, half-dressed girl, with a coat but no shoes, curled up in the window ledge. “Hurry, hurry! It’s coming! It’s coming! in exaggerated but muffled whispers so the 5-yr-old would not be frightened.

"I'm... going as fast as I can," was the frantic reply. He parked in front of the hospital steps, ran to get help and was followed out by a nurse. They clamped the umbilical cord and cut it. The placenta was laid on the hospital steps while they carried healthy baby and assisted the mother into the hospital. Coming back to clean the blood and debris, the nurse was shocked to have totally missed seeing a 5-yr-old still on the window ledge, until she heard the child's voice, “Won’t the baby freeze out there on the steps!?”


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My neighbor and I Covid-distance visit every Tuesday. She is an immigrant who worked to get her citizenship and the right to vote.

Both of us plan to vote. Therefore, a good part of our usual 3-hour visit out in her garden patio is a discussion of whom we vote for.

I have long held beliefs on both sides of the political divide. We are free because we agree to have differences of opinion.

Listening to a TED talk or two, it seems "reason" is no longer the answer. Both sides are right, but the problem is that we know how to deal with anger, but not disgust.

The solution?

According the Jonathan Haidt: read HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE again by Dale Carnegie.

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Mary’s Place is a non-profit temporary place for homeless families in the Seattle area. They made arrangements the first of 2020 to use the old Keiro Nursing home that closed a year ago and was sold. The buyers agreed to allow use by Mary’s Place for a couple years until they began construction of a new high rise.

The building was originally created and used by the Japanese American community. Linda, the communications director of Mary’s Place, agreed to some drawings that depicted Japanese values.

The idea was generated because our friend, John, told me a story about his family picnics at the park when he was little. John explained, “Mom made us clean up the place as we were leaving so it was cleaner than when we got there. She said that was the Japanese way!”

That statement gave me an idea, The kids and families who come to live at Keiro could be inspired to learn some Japanese values for living. My granddaughter agreed to do a few drawings which Linda wanted to blow up and frame along some of the walls.

We decided on depicting a few Japanese sayings and five were completed.

Like the comic strip above suggests, the idea has “slipped off the branch”. The project is on hold. Mary's Place may not be able to use Keiro building after all. Some political issues are getting in the way of what we thought was a sure thing?

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School principal, Linda Cliatt-Wayman from Pennsylvania says, “SO WHAT? NOW WHAT?” This is one of the mottos that changed their “failing school” 120% for the better. Wayman encountered too many neglected children who endured abuse or were left to raise themselves and she has spent her decades-long career demanding that students fight for their future. She has transformed three low-performing schools, dramatically improving test scores and the rate at which students attend college.

Her TED talk is particularly inspiring and we can apply this wisdom to our Covid-Isolated family situations. I like her examples.

It feels good and is socially prudent to be concerned about the “needy”, but we all have needs. We are working on it all and everyone here is excited to make our school situations successful.

The girls want to be teachers - at least that is what they are saying now. I trust ideas like Wayman’s are being incorporated into their learning so the girls will one day be ready to pass the skills on.

The illustration is a true story. One of the benefits may be that we no longer have to face such embarrassments with Covid-Virtual school??? The other part of the illustration story is that it was a 3 mile walk to get to school. Also, he couldn't get out his whole name "Shigeru" which was hard to pronounce. So the teacher gave him the name "Sam" and that was fine with him. For sure, we keep learning, it is always good to know history and reminds me to be grateful for how far life has progressed for us. Covid brings us a new era!!!

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