Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Japan, late 1950s: family photos

Monkeyrotica's mom was born in Japan — isn't she incredibly lovely in the photograph below? She was an only child, born to parents who had her late in life. Her mother had a strong family name and was the last of her line, so when they married, her father renounced his own surname and took his wife's. I imagine that was a pretty serious undertaking in patriarchal Japan in the early part of the 20th century? Her mother's family were the last of a samurai line and there were swords and scrolls to pass on, so it was just practical. When Monkey and I were planning our wedding, there was talk about taking her Japanese surname and making it ours, but he really didn't feel attached enough to it, having been born and raised in Washington D.C. and much more known history with his dad's family. We kept his given name.

I.S., circa 1958. That one raised eyebrow says chapters about her sense of humor (that she passed on to her son).
Monkeyrotica has two siblings, but he was the only one who was born in the U.S.; his sister and brother were born in Japan. His dad, Tom, was stationed in Japan during the Korean War, and I. S. was his translator. She told us that Tom's first wife (who was still married to him at the time) introduced them to each other.

I.S. and Lisa, in the garden of the house in Japan.

Tom is the sharp-looking bald guy in the photo below, boldly sporting a white suit and holding Monkey's older sister. We're not sure who the girl is. A cousin, perhaps.

I've done a great deal of genealogy research on Tom's family, who came over from England in 1680. One interesting tidbit that came to light when I was discussing the family history with friends was this:

Monkey's Dad, Tom divorced and remarried, c. 1960. (Monkeyrotica was from the 2nd marriage)
His Grandfather, William divorced and remarried, c. 1930. (Tom was from the 1st marriage)
His Great-grandfather, Hal divorced and remarried c. 1900. (William was from the 1st marriage)
His Great-great-grandfather, W.C. divorced and remarried, c. 1865. (Hal was from the 1st marriage)
A juicy tidbit here: W.C. divorced his wife, Anne, because she cheated on him while he was off fighting for the Confederacy in the American Civil War.

I'm not so sure about marriages prior to W.C., but four solid generations of men with broken marriages? My girlfriend asked, "How does it feel to be a starter wife?"

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