SCHOOL / JAPAN ACTIVITIES
Fall of 1952, spring and fall of 1953, January 1954. Graduated: Roosevelt H.S. Fresno, Calif. 1954. I used my middle name until 1955 when I joined the Army and had to switch to my real first name Cleve, therefore everyone who knows me from before 1955 calls me Ross and everyone after that calls me Cleve.
Junior Class President, Senior Class President, Annual staff, Senior Play, National Honor Society, Lettermans Club, Baseball, Football, Judo, Co-Captain Football Team, DeMolay Master Counciler, Y-TAC President.
Born: October 20,1936 Shangahi, China. Pre YoHi: My father was a 'China sailor' who brought my mother to China to be with him and for me to be born. We left Shangahi in 1937 just prior to bombing of that great city! After a short stay in Chiefoo we moved to Manila, P.I. and then back to the U.S. As a youth I lived in California, Virginia, Maine, Washington State,Hawaii and Guam.
YoHi: We lived in Kita Kamakura for six months and then in Yokosuka Base housing for one year .
Miss Maude-Ellen Zimmerman, Mr. Robert Chard.
What I remember most about being in Japan and going to YoHi was the adventure of it all. While living in Kita Kamakura I had to catch the train every morning to Yokohama then transfer to a bus to school. Each evening the same routine in reverse. After moving to Yokosuka Base we all rode the school bus every day from Yokosuka to Yokohama and back. In the small village we lived in we were the only american family and only one or two people in the village spoke english. Our neighbors were the Kozu family (the wife was the sister of our landlady who taught Officers from England Japanese) The sister's father was General Nagumo the Military Dictator of Manchuria during the Japanese occupation. The Kozu family was very nice to us and always tried to help us in any way possible. They had two children, a girl 14 and a boy 10. The girl 'Akiko',was one of the two people in the village that spoke english, so she was our only link to the community. Akiko was always bringing my mother gifts, such as dolls or fans or other objects of art that we felt were priceless. We of course gave them gifts being careful not to return a gift of greater value (in thier eyes) than the one received. Because of the value they placed on our 'American Goods "this was often very difficult. On Christmas we gave to each member of the family what we thought were approriate gifts. For the father a bottle of whiskey, for the mother a box of chocolates, for the daughter scented soap and for the son 'Hikotaro' a foil wrapped giant solid chocolate Santa Claus.Well.....they swapped gifts to get what they wanted...mom took the whiskey, dad the chocolate santa,the girl the box of chocolates and poor Hikotaro was stuck with the soap. Such was life in Japan, always a surprise !
Playing football for two years at YoHi with the greatest bunch of guys in the world !
YOHI IMPACT ON MY LIFE
Yohi taught me to be a self starter and do everything that you want to do and not to wait on anything.
Since leaving Yokosuka I have traveled to Wake Island, Hawaii,San Francisco, Hong Kong, Nagoya, Tokyo, Mexico City, Ensanada, Texas,Florida, West Virginia, North & South Carolina, Arizona, New York, Georgia, Alabama etc. All in all.....I'm pooped!
BEST FRIENDS - YOHI / C0NTACT WITH
Bob Wolinski, Pat Collie, Blake Hawkins. Current Red Devil Friends: Blake Hawkins, Larry Adams, Dottie Ennis, Bob Wolinski, Bob Fachtmann.
"Hey Goodlooking" by Hank Williams.
Being there. My greatest adventure in Japan was a trip with the Judo Club I belonged to, into a village for a Judo Match and then afterwards to the village public bath. It was one giant room, women on one side and men the other. You put your clothes in a basket on the floor and then went naked to the area to soap and rinse prior to getting in the hot bath. Needless to say it was very difficult to be relaxed when you knew fifty or so Japanese people were looking at your naked body with great curosity because none of them had ever seen an American before! In addition at 16 years of age I was embarassed beyond words to be in a room with naked women and children ! It soon passed, as when I followed the proper custom of washing before bathing I was accepted and they stopped looking at me. I was then a 'tomadachi' (friend) or at least a tolerated foreign devil.
KONNICHI WA....................hello,whats happening dude?
OHAIYO GOZAIMASU........you lived where in Ohio?
MOSHI MOSHI....................hello-hello-hello,I said hello!
SUKOSHIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEE...a real little bit
WAKU RU DESUKA.............do you understand?
HONTO NE ?.........................isnt it the truth or yeah!
SO DESU...............................yeah or isnt it the truth!
WATAKUSHI WA SHOGUN..I am cool or I am the Boss!
ICHI BAN.........................number one...the best....finest !
BENJO WADOKO DESUKA..I have to go...where is it?
DAI JOBU.......................o.k. .....cool....lets do it !
GOMEN NASAI...........Im sorry,excuse me
DOZO...........................please, come in...sit down...drink etc.
IKIE MAS....................lets boogie...lets go
TAKUSAN ATSUI.....good looking girl or very hot!
SAYONARA..............later dude or goodbye
POST SCHOOL ACTIVITIES
One year Jr College, one year Fresno State College.
I have spent my business career in retail Drug Stores and Optical Stores.
I started at the bottom and rose to buyer for 700 stores and then Manager of 45 Optical stores in 9 states.
I then retired and bought into a small optical chain, sold it three years later and became a Regional Manager for 25 stores with a large mid-western optical chain. I am a licensed Optician in the state of Ohio.
Married for 40 years to the same lovely lady - Maxine Ruth Hiipakka, Roosevelt '57'!
My wife and I have two grown children and three wonderful grandchildren.
MILITARY AND "CIVILIAN" CAREER
Military service: U.S. Army Security Agency, Jan. 1955 thru Dec 1957 SP3, stationed at Herzto Base and Kassle Germany. Traveled to Spain, Italy, Switzerland, France, England, Holland, Norway and Denmark.
Fresno, Ca.; Oakland, Union City Ca.; Burbank, Ca.; Houston, Tx.; San Antonio, Tx.; Tempe, Az.; Cincinnati,Oh.; Cleveland, Oh; West Chester,Ohio.
I am a Freemason F&AM of California and a Scottish Rite Mason as well as a Shriner A.A.O.N.M.S. and have been for over thirty years.
ODDS AND ENDS
Housing Japanese Style
Living in a small village in Japan was indeed very different than almost anything I had ever done in my life. Our house was located at the top of a large hill overlooking Kita Kamakura. The road or lane leading to the house was steep, muddy most of the time and exactly as wide as a honey bucket cart. The best way to get from the village at the bottom of the hill to the house on the top, was by jeep. My father bought a used hardtop jeep just to go up the hill. He would park our car at the bottom, we would load up the jeep with groceries and ourselves and make the journey up the hill, down the narrow lanes and finally into our yard.
The house itself was a typical Japanese home, all wood, two stories and a lot of shoji sliding doors. My father had installed sliding screens all around the house so we could catch the breeze and keep the critters out. In the living room we had a space heater for warmth. The rest of the house was unheated except for a hibachi in the dining room and a small gas stove in the kitchen. Upstairs were the bedrooms and an american style bathroom. Downstairs consisted of the kitchen, maids room, benjo, hot tub, dining room and living room. The halls and kitchen and baths had wood floors, while all of the other rooms had tatami floors. We never wore our shoes in the house and usually wore geta in the yard.
Our yard was very, very large and surrounded by large (8 foot) hedges. There were a lot of plantings but fortunately for me, no grass. We had a gardener that came in every week and kept up all the plants and manicured the yard. I think it cost about a dollar a week. Also the trash man would come around once a week and buy our trash. Since most of our food was from a can purchased at the commissary our trash was a great source of metal for lighters and other assorted goods made of tin or light metal.
It was the best of times for our family, we were together! Long separations were very normal for Navy families and so we cherished every moment that we could spend together! Because of the charm of the house and our wonderful neighbors and the village.....we almost hated to move to base housing. My mother maintained contact with some of our Japanese neighbors for over 20 years after we returned to the states.
Even in Japan, one had to be cool in school. This often meant being very inventive in ones dress (shirts, pants, shoes etc.). For the most part we were all stuck with what we brought with us or what was in the PX. However teenagers are very clever if it means a new look. At YoHi in 1952 through 1954 boys in order to be cool had to have the SHOES! The SHOES consisted of one pair of U.S. Navy, standard issue, black dress shoes to which the following had to be done! Take them to the beach and have 3 half soles added to them, build up the heels and then add taps to the heel and toe! After all this was done we would polish them to a high spit shine and then strut our stuff in the halls of YoHi. We must have sounded like a herd of bull elephants, going down the tile hallways of YoHi... clunk-a-de-clunky, clank-clank-clank, bang-it-ty bang, bang, bang!!! You can imagine the sound when there were a bunch of us walking at the same time!!!! BUT WE WERE COOL!
Most of the time at YoHi everyone was kind and sharing with each other. I think we all felt that we were in the same boat and had to make the best of everything together. There were times however when we boys challenged each other to see who was tough and who was a wimp! To participate in this challenge activity one had to become a TURTLE! Now a TURTLE was a blood brother who had sworn an oath with all his other brothers to always respond to a certain question with a certain answer, no matter where you were or who you were with! If you failed to do this you were branded awimp! The game was to find a brother standing next to (in order of priority) a teacher, his girlfriend, or any other girls! The question was Hey so-in-so are you a turtle? The correct response was something only boys could say to each other and not in public. And so we all became wimps at one time or another. We thought it was great fun as no one could figure out what we were talking about or what a TURTLE was or why we were laughing so much!
Living in Japan and going to YoHi was in some respects like living in a comfort cocoon. We had our school, our friends, our parents and that is about all! All else was very loose and temporary. When the time came for anyone to go home, they simply disappeared and life in the cocoon continued on. We made friends fast, and lost them fast. One thing you absolutely had to be was flexible! One evening after dinner my father said to me would you like to graduate from your old school in Fresno? I knew that his tour of duty might be up before graduation, so I said yes. Normally when you went home you had about two weeks notice, so that you could pack and prepare to leave (Not to mention going away parties). The day following my father said to me, you are flying home the day after tomorrow! Well I about dropped my teeth! I couldnt say no and I couldnt even say that I didnt want to go because I had already said that I wanted to graduate at home!
The next day was a frantic one, checking out of classes, getting a transcript of my records and saying goodbye to everyone. That evening I said goodbye to friends on the Base and my girlfriend. The next afternoon my mother and I were on the train to Tokyo and the airfield. After a tearful goodbye from mom I settled down to wait for check-in time. What a check-in it was! I was first in line and the first question was, let me see your passport. To which I responded what passport? Now the fun began, a frantic phone call to home and a maid that didnt speak English, trying to explain to her to tell mama san to bring the pass-a-port-a-ru to the airport-a-ru!!! Mom came, with passport and more tears and then I was off!
Hello Wake Island, I didnt know you were so small and barren! Just a stop for fuel and then on to Hawaii! More fuel and then 24 hours after it began the flight was over in San Francisco. On to the Greyhound bus and then 5 hours later, home with my grandmother and blessed sleep.....24 hours of straight sleep!
O.K. here I am, 17 years old, no parents, no classmates, no girlfriend! The cocoon is broken!
Fear not, all is well after all. The next day I moved in with my God parents and their two girls, 17 and 10 and things were looking up. One more day and I was back in school, seeing old classmates and telling them what Japan was like!
The circle is complete and I am not alone anymore, I am HOME !!!!
If you remember me -- drop me a line! I look forward to hearing from my classmates!