Tales of a Life Well Wasted & Other Gems

Missionary Kid

My First Passport Photo

I spent the first five years of my life in Japan. I was born in Syracuse, New York – in the same hospital where my mother did her training to become a registered nurse. At 5 1/2 months I was on my way to Japan with my parents where they would be missionaries from The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM). I have very few memories of those years, but I do have a few and I have pictures and all the memories my mother shared with me. And some audio recordings my dad made. (He had a reel-to-reel tape recorder that he loved to use.)

In 1951 the least expensive mode of transportation over the ocean was by sailing as a passenger on a freighter. Actually, that mode of travel is still available today, I think. At any rate, that’s how my parents and I traveled to Japan. According to my mother, the crew fell in love with me – after all, it’s not often you find a baby on a freighter! According to a note made by my father:

We arose early to take our last look at the Golden Gate Bridge for 5 years. The boat weighed anchor at a little past 6:00 am. The fog was so thick we could scarcely make out the bridge. Cathy was frightened miserably by the foghorn on the ship. She finally slept, however, moving restlessly whenever the thing sounded.

Our home in Karuizawa, Japan
The living room of our home in Karuizawa

We did arrive safely and after my parents completed some orientation and training at the mission headquarters in Tokyo, we settled in Karuizawa. Karuizawa is located near Nagano in the mountains north of Tokyo. I think we were there for two or three years, but I’m not really sure. While we were living there, I was joined by first a brother, then a sister.

Story in progress…