Monday, February 4, 2013

March 5, 1954 A March Letter, The Birthday, The Kindergarten Doll Festival, The Wedding Demonstration and Bonnie Wants Order

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"I am ashamed that I forgot to thank you for the children's Valentines when they enjoyed them so much.  My birthday card was awfully sweet and made my birthday even nicer than it was.  I didn't make myself a cake but B bought me a string of pearls that are truly beautiful.  I have worn them every day since we bought them and have had compliments on them wherever I go.  They just glitter.  The children gave me a book and a bracelet to match a necklace I got for Christmas.  I really had a big birthday.

The Christmas Damascene

We keep busy with the usual things.  My painting class still meets every week but I quit the flower arranging lessons because the time was so inconvenient but hope to join another class soon.

We took the children for routine exams at the doctor last week.  She is a Yale graduate, is a Methodist missionary along with her husband, and comes to her Kobe office once a week.  She has other offices too and has three children.  They don't speak English.

The children are fine.  I can't remember how big they were when we left home but know they have grown a lot from their pant legs.

I spent last Saturday in Kyoto just looking around with some friends.  It is such an old city and wasn't touched during the war because it is the art center of Japan.

Ann & I went with Bob's kindergarten class to a party celebrating the doll festival or girls' day.  It was in a Japanese home.  They had one special matted room where a lovely set of dolls was displayed.

The dolls represent the royal family and court and every home with girls in the family has a set which they unpack once a year for the girls to enjoy and show to their friends.  They are not played with but the children in this family were allowed to pick them up and handle them.  There was a special flower arrangement and a special picture on the wall in this room too.  After the children had looked at the dolls they went to a big playroom with sliding windows on two sides.  It was a wonderful room just full of toys.  It was decorated with colored rope and Christmas ornaments.  The children had candy, tea and o-sushi (fish and rice).  Jimmy's mother went too and we were taken into the parlor and had ceremony tea (thick, bitter green tea) in big bowls which we were supposed to drink in three and a half sips with a loud noise on the last sip.  A sweet bean cake was served first to take away the bitter taste and it was delicious.  Then we had green tea with tiny bits of toasted rice cake in it which tasted sort of like a clear soup.  There were all sorts of crackers and cookies with this.  The father showed some pictures and most of the children went home but they got out their family album and we started talking about their wedding pictures.  The woman got out her wedding kimonos and after they dressed us up the man took our pictures. 

We had a wonderful time.  The program at Women's Club was about weddings and they had a professional dresser dress a model ready for her wedding and all thru the whole thing.  It was very interesting and I took pictures.

Teruko-san showed me how to draw a pattern from a picture but it is too much work.  I'll just buy my patterns.  I am making Bobby a kimono with her help.  Her mother has to help us too for it is a terrible job to make one.  She cut it out and I have been doing the sewing.  They are always done by hand.  I have material for Ann one too but Teruko-san is going to make it.  She said it was easier to make than to tell me how.  She doesn't speak a bit of English.  

B is away for four days at a Fulbright meeting.  They wired us to bring the children and both come but it was so late that it was too much trouble to change reservations and get ready.

The kindergarten had a big birthday party yesterday for all the children who have had birthdays the past three months.  Ann and I went and had lunch with them all.  The mothers were there and made rolled o-sushi (fish and rice rolled in seaweed).  Then they had tea and cake.  The children put on a little play but there was so much noise.  100 little kids can cause a lot of commotion and the Japanese children have much more freedom than ours do.  They aren't reprimanded for being noisy or wiggly at a program.  The result is bedlam.  When it is time to go home they sing a goodbye song to their teachers and are dismissed.   It is one mad rush to the door.  It would be so much better if a few were dismissed at a time or in some orderly fashion.  I am glad Bobby could go this year.  He would have been lonesome without school."

               Love to you all,


From Silver Bells, March, 1952 issue

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