SCHOOL / JAPAN ACTIVITIES
1962-63 (Callaghan School); 1963-1966 (Sullivans School); 1966-68 (Yohi)
My Sister, Cherie Lyn (Reed) Garrett, Class 1971, attended Yohi 67-69. We've always been very close and remain so today. My brother, Timothy Allen Reed, left Japan before entering Yohi, but he attended school at Sullivans.
During my Yohi years, I joined pep club and enjoyed going to the football and basketball games. This was really stepping out for me because I was basically very quiet and shy during my school years. But I managed to yell right along with the rest during the sporting activities. It was fun to wear our uniforms, too. An example that emphasizes my shyness happened in junior high school. There was a boy in one of my classes named Camille. (He had a French-sounding last name.) I was so embarrassed at that age to have the same name as a BOY that I privately went to my teacher and told him I had never liked my name and that he should call me by my first name (which shall remain unnamed here). I went by my first name in that class for an entire year! Even I didn't recognize myself when my name was called!
My family moved to Japan on the military ship USS Barrett in January of 1962 when I was 9. It was one of the worst winter storm seasons in the Pacific that year. Ours was one of only a very few ships to get through basically unscathed. Upon arrival, we heard numerous reports of Navy ships arriving in Yokosuka that had to go into dry-dock for repairs. I remember the seas being so heavy at times that the ship would lunge from side to side and the port holes would actually go down into the water. Being young, I was generally carefree, but at times it would get pretty scary! My sister and brother and I had fun with most of the other dependent kids while our parents spend a great deal of time in their bunks seasick!
Once we arrived in Yokohama, we took what seemed to be a very long train ride and eventually arrived in Yokosuka where we stayed in a hotel for the first few days. I recall my mom being appalled at the cleaning methods because the maids would use the same cleaning rags for the table tops, floors and even the bathrooms! She always said they were very tidy, but not very sanitary. However, we did survive!
We found a little house right on the main road in Hayama. There were three tiny houses right together, all three occupied by Americans. One of our neighbors had a dog named "Ichi-Ban". The neighbor lady -- very nice -- had an extremely shrill voice that carried heavenward and she would shriek "Ichi-Ban, here Ichi-Ban" at all hours of the day. We grew to detest the name "Ichi-Ban"!
I entered the 5th grade at Callaghan School. That's where I met my friend, Judy Teshima. She was the tallest in the class at the time and I seem to recall that she wasn't overly thrilled to give up her title! (You see, I was taller than she was!) I retained this distinction until Kim arrived (I think in the 6th grade). She was taller than everybody else. I attended 5th and 6th grades at Callaghan and then went on to attend Sullivans School during my junior high years.
My family lived in a couple of different houses in Hayama except for a period of about a year when we moved on base at Yokosuka about 1965. During the summer of 1966 we went back to the States for three months, traveling quite extensively across the entire country. We returned to Japan where I entered Yohi in the fall for the 9th grade. We moved into yet another house -- still in Hayama. This one was even bigger than the other two we'd lived in off base. It had been built in sort of sections. My sister and I shared a set of rooms in the oldest part of the house that had a thatched roof! Oh yes...the B-I-G spiders and all! There's a great story about that!
You see, my sister Cherie (who is only a little over a year younger than me), hated those spiders (every bit as much as I did). But whereas I would not want to spend the night in the hallway for fear of going into our darkened room, she would have never gone into our bedroom again were it not for me blazing the way through the lurking spiders! We kept a huge jug of Raid with a spray gun nozzle on it so that when we returned to a dark house and turned the lights on we could spray the spiders and get to our room. Well, Cherie would NEVER do that. You see, those spiders (which were not harmful to we humans) liked to jump at vibration. So when you entered the room, well, you guessed it! So we'd very carefully eyeball the rooms before entering and I would actually end up drowning the poor things in gallons of Raid before the toxic properties of the stuff ever had a chance to take effect! But I got back at Cherie for always making me go first. A sailor friend of ours had bought a black plastic spider and brought it to our house. I ended up with it. So one night I put it under Cherie's blankets so that when she got into bed, there it was! She was marvelous! She screamed and shrieked and yelled and, well just did everything perfectly to make my joke a huge success. Funny thing -- I did this every night for a week. And she did HER thing every night for a week. (You'd have thought after the first couple of nights that she'd be expecting it, wouldn't you???!!) Ah, the good times we had. It just did so much to strengthen our sibling rivalry! (We have recounted this story quite often over the years. Of course, Cherie's version is somewhat different than mine !)
I had a number of memorable teachers. Mr. Lorenzetti -- 6th or 7th grade, I think. He was unforgettable. I remember being in his class the day they announced to us that President Kennedy had been assassinated. Sad day. I remember Mr. Hill (I think that was his name) -- all the girls were "flowers" ...and you could never get an A+ in his class -- if for no other reason than that one of the letters in your name on the paper dipped below the line when you wrote it!
My all-time favorite teacher was in junior high -- Mr. Scales. Does anyone remember him? History! He made it live. He was great! He was rough and gruff and everybody was afraid of him at the beginning of the year. Right after school started that year, I had already left to go home one afternoon and someone came out of school hollering at me that Mr. Scales wanted me. (This was while everyone was still afraid of him.) I wondered what on earth I could have done. I timidly went back to the class. I learned that he had heard our family had a missionary church and he wanted to come to it. He did, too. He was a wonderful musician and could sing and play the accordion beautifully! I was privileged to see a side of him that none of the others probably ever did. I wish I knew how to find him! He was a neat man.
It's difficult to decide who was a favorite teacher at Yohi. Miss Sattre and her wonderful Home Ec class! I loved it. I enjoyed Miss Bolick's class -- typing and all that. I think Mrs. Bennett had the most patience with me. I took her bookkeeping class and discovered at that point in my life I didn't have a knack for it. Now that I look back on it, I can't imagine what was so difficult but, well, suffice it to say I didn't catch on readily at the time! One day I finally decided I just couldn't face class that morning. Since it was my first period class, I got off the school bus and actually ditched to the snack bar for that period! (Geez, I still can't believe I did that...never had before, never since!) I'm sure she probably knew. She never let on, though.
HUMOROUS (depends) EXPERIENCE
Probably one of the most humorous memories (at least to my sister, my brother and my mother), was one day when the bus arrived at our stop after school, my mom and brother were there waiting for Cherie and me to get off. This was during the period when I was growing in stature more quickly than in grace! I cheerfully stepped off the bus with a big smile on my face and ... wham! I hit the ground (nearly falling into one of those lovely, sweet-smelling ditches alongside the road). Did my mom and brother rush to help me? Not as I recall! All I remember is their gales of laughter. (Possibly they may have extended a hand at some point when they caught their breaths -- but that part doesn't seem to stick out in my mind!) Somehow, in a manner that defies explanation, I had managed to trip over thin air. (Feet weren't coordinated or something!) I never did find out what everyone on the bus did! (I think I'm glad about that!)
I'm sure I had them, but it's been too long to remember. (Maybe that's selective memory!) Now I could tell you more about my sister's crushes than mine...but, well, I'll leave that to her!
One of my most memorable moments came when I tore all of the ligaments and cartilage behind my kneecap while playing the position of "roving forward" during basketball one PE class. I remember some kind soul tripping me to keep me from catching up to the ball and rather than just falling down, I tried to catch myself and the upper part of my leg twisted opposite from the lower half. (Ouch!) I had to be carted off the court and taken to the dispensary for treatment. I ended up with a cast from my hip to my ankle. This was during mid-term exams! Needless to say, I ended up missing some of my mid-terms and had to make them up later.
When I finally returned to class a few days later one of my teachers hadn't heard about my mishap. Here I was hobbling into class on crutches, but before she could stop herself and notice that I really had a valid reason for being late to class and missing my exam, she stuck foot in mouth and began bawling me out in front of everybody. She turned several shades of red and ended up apologizing to the class and me when she realized my legitimate reason for missing classes. (Well, maybe you had to be there!)
After that injury, I couldn't do PE for a long time. I ended up doing "cage" duty for that class period which was just before lunch. (Remember the cage??) My friends (and some of their friends) enjoyed me having "cage" because I could leave five minutes early to beat the rush to the snack bar to save tables for everybody! (Anyone besides me remember gravy fries and gravy rice?? "Cholesterol" wasn't an "in" word back then!)
A SAD MEMORY
I remember the l-o-n-g bus rides to and from Yokohama. My high school years were during the Vietnam era so I remember hearing the older boys on the bus talking about getting their draft cards. I was saddened to know that some of them were going off to Vietnam possibly not to return alive.
IMPACT ON MY LIFE
Living in a foreign country and learning about a culture so different from our own has remained a very positive experience for me. I've always been grateful for those experiences in Japan. I grew up there during a very unrestful time "back in the States". I think we were all very sheltered in those days. The culture, the scenery, the fun field trips...all of these helped make me what I am today.
BEST FRIEND NOT YET "FOUND"
Actually, two people that I'd love to locate from my Yohi days -- Diane Sardella and Debbie Sanders. Are you out there?
BEST FRIENDS - C0NTACT WITH
Since discovering the Yohi web site I have reestablished contact with Judy Teshima. We have been steadily corresponding and hope to get together one of these days.
Wow, that's hard to say. I love music and especially loved the sound of the 60's -- still do today! I know I drove my mom crazy listening to and heartily belting out "Barbara Ann" (Beach Boys) over and over. I went to one of their concerts when they were touring Japan in the early 60's (Yokosuka Naval Base). I also really liked "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" by -- whose else? The Beatles.
One of our field trips was to Tokyo where we got to go to a Kabuki Theater performance. That was a particularly wonderful experience that I shall never forget!
POST SCHOOL ACTIVITIES
ME AND MY FAMILY
I married at age 17 six months before leaving Japan in September of 1969. I moved to Houston, Texas, where my daughter, Rebekah, was born. Two years later I moved on to Salt Lake City, Utah where my son, Jonathan, was born. (He was a twin -- his brother lived only a couple of days as the twins were born prematurely.) I finally ended up in Soldotna, Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula where I've lived for nearly 20 years. I'm married to a wonderful guy, Dale Morris (who did not go to Yohi -- but he survived the famous 1964 "Good Friday" earthquake that hit Alaska). Dale is a life-long Alaskan and works in the "oil patch" here. He's a quality assurance inspector and works on the North Slope (at the top of the world -- literally!). Both of my children live nearby, as does most of the rest of my extended family. I am a paralegal in a law firm -- very busy -- never boring. (Those typing classes in high school definitely paid off!) I've been in this field of work for 16 years and enjoy my profession as I get to use my writing skills drafting pleadings and briefs and generally being creative. It's challenging to say the least and very satisfying. Both of my children have graduated from college with their respective degrees. My daughter is a high school history teacher and my son is a Certified Public Accountant. I am, needless to say, very proud of their accomplishments!
ODDS AND ENDS
Something that nobody who knew me then would probably believe about me today is that I am no longer so shy. Although I would still say I am in some ways reserved, I have developed a sense of self-confidence that at one time I thought I would never have. Along with my secular job as a paralegal (where I interact with people on a daily basis in a position of knowledge and delegated authority), I hold a ministerial license and am an assistant minister in my church. I am also the music director and a Sunday School teacher for our young adults class. None of my students believe I ever had a shy day in my life! Ha! Little do they know! Life and experience does truly shape you, doesn't it? Even the difficult experiences can be beneficial if you allow them to be. Good, bad, in between, my life was made richer by my years spent in Japan and at Yohi.
I found the Yohi web site after I ran across an article in the newspaper about a "Military Brats' Registry" on the internet. I registered and the very next day I had an e-mail directing me to this web site. What fun I've had ever since. I have now found Judy Teshima with whom I'd had no contact for 30 years. We've been e-mailing back and forth regularly now! I also directed my sister, Cherie, to the web site. She and I have had great fun re-living our school days in Japan.
If you remember me -- drop me a line! I look forward to hearing from my classmates!