Touche’ – Revisited

So, today’s instructions from SITS was:  Re-upload a post you wish more people had read and explain why it was important to you.  I chose the following post because it was one I wrote when I first started blogging and I don’t think a lot of my readers now know hubby’s background and the things he went through.  Having gone through all he went through as a child and still turning out to be the awesome husband and father that he is astounds me.  I take my hat off to him every day.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  He’s my hero.  I can’t say enough about what a wonderful person and husband he is.  So, for your reading amusement, I give you Touche’. 

Hubby is an army brat. He was born in Osaka, Japan to an American (Caucasian) father and a Japanese mother.  He lived in Japan until they moved to the US when he was about 5.  He had to learn to speak, read and write English all at the same time.  They moved to Georgia shortly after coming to the states.  

His dad was still being shipped all over the world so his mom tried to settle into living in the south with her two young sons.  Apparently being Japanese in the south in the early 60’s was worse than being Black in the south in the early 60’s.  My husband remembers many instances of people refusing to serve his mom whether it was the grocery store or restaurant or wherever. He also remembers the phone calls where people would call and harass her and tell her she needed to “take a slow boat back to China”.  They’re Japanese dummy… not Chinese… but I digress… He remembers people throwing rocks through their windows. I am sure it HAD to be hard to be her and trying to deal with that not to mention that her husband was out of the country most of the time and she could barely speak English.  

Without going in to too much  detail she moved back to Japan when Hubby was around 10 or 11.  She took her boys and was determined to return with them to her homeland (their dad was in Germany at the time) and when she got as far as Washington, DC and they would not let her board the plane with them.  They are HER children, her flesh & blood but they would not let her take them.  They told her they were children of an American serviceman so she was not allowed to leave the country with them.  WTF?? They are HER kids and someone has the authority to keep her from taking them where they were born?   

Don’t get me wrong… I’m glad NOW that they wouldn’t because I would never have met him otherwise, but, I’m just saying… no one should have the authority to keep a woman from taking her kids with them back to where they were born. Ultimately she took them to a Salvation Army, dropped them off and flew back to Japan.  I could never understand how she could do that until I finally got to meet and talk to her but I do now.  But that’s a whole ‘nother blog. 

Hubby (left) with his mom and brother


 She still doesn’t have a fluency in English.  Before Hubby and I got married I tried to call his mom to invite her to the wedding and surprise him.  It was actually quite comical. She was living with her daughter in Tokyo at the time and I finally found the number and got the operator to make the call person to person in case she wasn’t there.  The phone rang several times and someone answered (obviously speaking Japanese) and the operator asked for my mother in law (soon to be) by name saying she had a person to person call.  The person on the other end again said something in Japanese and then: 

Operator:  Does anyone in the house speak English? 

Japanese person:  (imagine in HEAVY Japanese accent)  ENGRISH?  Yaaaasssss. 

Operator:  Could we speak to them please? In English? 

JP:   Yaaaassssss…..  Herrow? 

Operator:  Yes, Hello?  I’d like to speak to >>>>  I have a person to person call for her. 

JP:   OK…. Yaaaaaasssssss …… Herrow??? 

Operator:  IS this >>>>> ?  

They say something else in Japanese. 

Operator:  Is there anyone in the house that speaks ENGLISH… PLEASE? 

JP:  Engrish???  YAAASSSSSS….. Herrow??? 

The operator by now was very exasperated.  She  was like…”You wanna keep trying or can we just give up?”  So, we gave up.  So much for surprising my hubby with a visit from his mommy.  

Hubby and his brother I think in Arizona


Several years later my hubby’s brother was getting married in Arizona.  We decided to surprise BIL by flying their dad out to the wedding.  Me, Hubby, Daughters #1 and #2 (#3 wasn’t even thought of yet!) and Father in Law board the plane in Atlanta and head out west.  We are coming down the ramp to the baggage claim when we see BIL, his soon to be bride and this little bitty Japanese woman standing beside them.  THEY had decided to surprise us by flying Mom in Law in from Japan for the wedding … I don’t know who was MORE surprised.  

MIL and FIL had not seen each other since before she had moved back to Japan.  I don’t think they had even SPOKEN…  so… we walk down the ramp and she goes  “Hello Donal”  (Calls him by his first name, Donald). I look at FIL and say  “Hey, that went really well!”  And he goes “She KNOWS I hate to be called by my first name! She did that on purpose!”  Ok, maybe not so well. 

Hubby with his mom before she flew back to Japan


They actually did very well the entire time (almost).  The wedding was done, BIL and SIL left for their honeymoon and Hubby and the rest of us were supposed to stay two more days before we came back to GA.  BIL had arranged for MIL to fly back to GA with us and stay for almost a month before she went back to Japan.  The day after the wedding Hubby got called back to GA because his restaurant had been robbed. So there I am stuck in AZ with MIL and FIL who hadn’t seen each other in like 25 years and 2 babies under 3. Everything is going pretty good. It’s the night before we fly back to GA and I’m sitting in a restaurant with MIL, FIL and Daughters #1 and #2.  They are sitting on opposite sides of the table.  FIL looks up and says “You know, Sako?  You used to be a beautiful woman but you sure did get old.” 

Without skipping a BEAT, MIL innocently looks up and says (In her VERY stilted Japanese accent) “Das ok, Donal….. YOU  got old and UGLY!’ 

Pretty good comeback for someone who barely understands English, wouldn’t you say? 

Don’t want to forget to give a shout out to our awesome sponsors this week our friends at Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances, two very special SITStahs are enabling us to make our Back to Blogging event even better.  Two lucky bloggers will win a new washer and dryer ***waving hands wildly*** PICK ME, PICK ME, PICK ME!!!   My washer was bought when my oldest was a baby and she is 27 now so I think it’s time.  And now that I don’t have a job it would really be nice for someone ELSE to fork out the money.  And it sure would be nice to have a crack at winning (and actually WINNING Thelma and Louise.  After all teal IS my favorite color! 

Thanks to our sponsors!


About pegbur7

South of the Mason/Dixon Line
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24 Responses to Touche’ – Revisited

  1. Ron says:

    ““Das ok, Donal….. YOU got old and UGLY!’”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA….oh, how funny! She sounds like a hoot!

    What a fabulous story, Peg!

    As you know, I spent almost three months in Japan (Kobe) and LOVED it. I actually think I could live there indefinitely. Wonderful country, with such lovely people.

    Enjoyed the photos!

    Have a super day, dear friend!


  2. Fred Miller says:

    Those stories, like your mother-in-law’s struggle should be kept alive. We still haven’t conquered our lower nature. Thanks for posting this.

    • pegbur7 says:

      Fred, you don’t know the half of it. I didn’t post the worst because to me it was just too tragic, but, when she was here by herself with her two little boys and her husband was in Germany and she barely spoke English and people kept threatening her, she called the police for “protection” but because of the language barrier or jiust their plain prejudices, who knows, they hospitalized her, told her she was crazy and imagining it all and gave her electro shock treatments. I truly do no blame her for going back to Japan and she didn’t take the boys because she said being in Japan and being “half white” was worse than being in the US and being “half Japanese”. She really had no choice.

  3. What a marvelous story. Such a difficult way for you husband’s Mom to live. I can certainly see why she couldn’t take it any more. She must have been quite desperate to leave her children. I can’t even imagine the heartbreak she went through. I’m glad that time has healed wounds. But this was just extraordinary.

  4. NikNik says:

    I love, love, love, everything about this post, except for the fact that you said I was 27 when in fact I have 1 week to go 😉 ILY

  5. terrepruitt says:

    I get so happy everytime I hear you “talk up” your hubby. So many people in relationships always talk down about their partner. So happy when I hear people actually love and support their partner.

    Ok, I didn’t miss the point of this post, but I had to mention that.

    This is funny. But I will admit that my mind keeps going back to the question of how your MIL left her kids.

    • pegbur7 says:

      See my response to Fred and I think you will understand a little more. Like I said, after I met her and got to talk to her I understood it more. Still don’t know if I could have done it, but you never know. Plus factor in that at 11 years old hubby was already like 5’8″ to hi mom’s barely 4’10” and he did not WANT to leave nor did he want his brother to leave so…

      And I do “talk up” hubby but I also tell on him. So it all evens out. I have another on him that kind of tells on him that I will post in a few days, after this SITS week.

      • terrepruitt says:

        Yes, because you had said that after you talked to her you understood, my question was more out of curiosity than blame—because if YOU said it was understandable I trusted it was. But I couldn’t keep my brain from going back to that question. But thank you for sharing.

        HA. You still “tell on him.” Ha, that is funny.

      • pegbur7 says:

        Everytime he does something “stupid” now he automatically says “You’re not gonna blog about this are you?” LOL

      • terrepruitt says:

        HA! My hubby doesn’t ask because we have a rule, I’m not allowed to. My blog is different though it is more business related.

      • pegbur7 says:

        I tell him if he doesn’t want me blogging about the stupid stuff he does, don’t tell or just don’t do it! Otherwise it is fair game for my blog . More blog fodder!

      • terrepruitt says:

        Oh Peg, if there was a blog being written about the stupid stuff *I* do, there would need to be a STAFF of FULLTIME writers. LOL! (Seriously.)

      • pegbur7 says:

        Well, I tell on myself all the time. Every bodies fair game.

  6. Susie says:

    I love reading more and more about my favorite blogger’s history. Everyone’s story is so rich and I do believe we all have a history that is worthy of writing about. I enjoyed this post very much. Your husband sounds like he led a very adventurous life. I think it is great that he is multi-cultural. I am sure it has broadened his perspectives on things. Thanks for sharing Peg!

    • pegbur7 says:

      Thank YOU Dr. Susie. Like I said, I marvel every day at how well adjusted he turned out to be for what he went through. What’s that saying “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”?

  7. Jimmy says:

    Yes I did miss this one the first time around Peg and really enjoyed reading it, there are a lot of struggles that have gotten us to where we are today and your husband has made a good life for himself with you in spite of the problems in his younger years.

    I don’t understand either how a woman can be told that she can’t take her children with her and then go anyway after leaving them behind, it worked out well because you and your husband found each other and it is not my place to judge her because she was there and I wasn’t.

    Yes she was poking at your FIL by calling him by his first name and the snappy comebacks are golden, it’s good she got to come back and see all of you and by doing this a few family memories were made.

    • pegbur7 says:

      I was blown away by simple things we take for granted. Like going to the grocery store and buying produce. She said those things were so expensive over there. She was amazed we “could afford” to buy apples AND strawberries AND a cantelope at the same time. I want to say that at that time a cantelope over there was like equivelent to like $35 here.

  8. hi! Stopping by fromSITS. I enjoyed the story. Isn’t it amazing the stories that we all have in our backgrounds. I think if we took the time to realize it, we would be much nicer to each other! 🙂

  9. LisaF says:

    This is so weird. I was just thinking about early posts I did when I didn’t have anyone reading my stuff. Funny thing is I remember reading this one of yours! I didn’t comment a lot back then, but I was reading a lot! A great story about your hubby and his roots. Enjoyed it more the second time around.

    • pegbur7 says:

      Thanks Lisa. I was like that too. I was a blog stalker! I would lurk and read then scurry away and not comment. Now that I KNOW how much comments mean to people I always try to comment. Not EVERY time but I TRY! Thanks for reading it AGAIN! 🙂

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