Thursday, March 9, 2017

A Selfish Post

The older I get... the more I treasure the telephone conversations I have with my mother.  There's a pretty standard routine.  I ask her how they're doing health wise.  She asks me about work.  I ask her if the slot machines have been kind to her and my father.  She asks me if I've spoken to my brothers.  I ask her how everyone in Hawaii is doing.  The we'll wrap things up... "tell Dad I said hello" and a pair of "love you's".

However... every now and then, I'll luck out and she'll share a story from her childhood.  And yesterday was one of those days.



Back in January my mother's cousin, Evelyn Kawamura, passed away at the age of 83.  I don't think I ever had the pleasure of meeting her, but I vaguely remember my mom talking about her a few times.  


While driving home from work, I had the pleasure of listening to my mom reminisce about her childhood and her cousin. 



Evelyn and my mom grew up just around the corner from each other in Honolulu.  They attended the same elementary school... although my mother is two years younger than her.  When they got a little older, they started swimming at the local parks and recreation pool together.  A few years later, they had the honor of swimming under Soichi Sakamoto at the Hawaii Swim Club.



That's where Evelyn's swimming career really took off.  At the age of 17, she broke the national records for the 300m Individual Medley and 200m breaststroke.



In 1952 she represented the United States at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland.  She won two bronze medals.  One as a member of the 4x100m freestyle relay.  The other in 400m freestyle.

Later on down the road, she married fellow swimmer and Olympic medalist, Fred Konno and eventually became a teacher.  My mother hasn't seen or talked to Evelyn in decades, but within our fifteen minute telephone conversation... I could tell that she was saddened by the loss of her cousin... yet experienced spurts of happiness through reminiscing about the good old days.


I completely understand that.  It's the very same reason I started this blog.


I apologize for another non-baseball post.  I realize that talking about swimming probably isn't as popular as the World Baseball Classic.  However... this was something I really wanted to document for myself.


The good news is tomorrow I'll be attending the GTSM Sports Memorabilia Show at the Santa Clara Convention Center, so hopefully I'll have some new sports cards to write about this weekend or in the very near future.


Until then...


Happy Thursday and sayonara!

13 comments:

  1. Great story, thanks for sharing. I too have family in/around Honolulu and I totally agree that as I get older, hearing stories from my mom about her family there is a treat. Sorry to hear of your family's loss.

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  2. Sorry for your loss...but what a great story!

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  3. Great story Fuji. Sorry for your loss

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  4. very cool story. sorry for the loss.

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  5. Great story. Very cool to have such accomplished athletes in your family.

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  6. Loved hearing your family story. Plenty of time for cards.

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  7. That was a fantastic story to read, thank you for sharing it!

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  8. That was a very interesting story you shared- thanks!

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  9. Great read!I do the same thing with my mother,Fuji.Her memory Isn't what It used to be ,but all I have to do Is throw on some music from the 50's and 60's on my phone for her and out come the "playing on NYC rooftops" stories and how she used to "dance on the Jocko Henderson radio show".I do it more for her because I know It cheers her up but I too get caught up In all the excitement.I always make sure to bring up how thankful I am for all the walks we took when I was a kid and teaching me how to be civil and considerate of others.Love her to death.Too bad she never taught me how to keep from rambling ;)

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  10. Great post and no apologies required. I too like to share stuff from time to time for my boys to read when they're old enough to do so. My condolences on your loss but clearly you've chosen to celebrate her legacy and I believe that's the best way we can honour someone. Thanks for sharing Fuji.

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  11. Real family history-makes ya remember there is so much to life and living and few things can equal or surpass memories and stories like these-thank you for sharing!

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  12. Thank you for sharing, please keep doing so whenever you like, please don't apologize for doing so, and I'm sorry for your family's loss.

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  13. Thank you all for the kind words. I'm glad that some of you found the story interesting as I did. I'm not even 100% sure I ever met Mrs. Konno. It's possible, since when I was a kid I'd go to Hawaii pretty often. However... I don't actually remember meeting her and talking to her. As for my mother, she was saddened by the passing. On the other hand, my parents are at an age where a lot of their older friends are leaving them and in a way, they've started to accept it.

    Big Tone - That is awesome! It's so important to let our parents know that they're appreciated. I tell my students that all of the time.

    forestrydave - Thanks. Your boys will be lucky to one day look upon their father's hobby tales and read other cool stories. One of the original reasons I created this blog is so that one day, I could look back and relive certain memories and document things... like prices I paid for certain cards and where and when I picked stuff up.

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