Hello friends! We miss seeing your faces and hope you are all holding up well. Like most non-essential retail shops our brick & mortar shop is temporarily closed. If you miss shopping with us, don't despair, we are still selling online! All our shipping is free and, as always, there is no charge to gift wrap. For a little excitement, we are going to run a different online sale each week. You'll never know what's coming, cause we don't either! Starting right now, all our handbags & backpacks are 30% off! Read on to the bottom to learn a little about my amazing Grandma Maki who lived through the Spanish Flu and was quite an influence on my life.
My grandmother, Maki Hamada, lived to be 96 years old. (In the picture above she is with her parents & sister probably in the late 1920's. Maki is standing on the right.) I was fortunate to be very close with my grandmother (as she was with all her grandchildren), I was in my 40's when she died and I've thought of her often this last month.
She was 8 years old when she & her mother came down with the Spanish Flu. My grandfather was away working, and she & her mom cooked for farm workers (can you imagine doing that at age 8?), they both shared a bed. Grandma would tell me their fevers were both so high that they went in and out of consciousness for days. Her father heard they were ill and came home. They were so fortunate, they recovered and continued cooking those meals.
As a Japanese American woman, born in 1910 in California, she went to college and was just a few credits shy of graduating. Nevertheless, quite astounding given that she was a woman of color in the 1920's. Afterwards, she met her husband & had 2 kids, my dad & uncle. During WWII, she and her entire family (children, husband & parents) lost everything and were put into Amache, an American internment camp in Colorado. That's Maki above, in Amache, with my father & uncle. After many years in the camps, they were released and moved to NY as did many Japanese Americans (the east coast Japanese Americans were not put into camps). Amazingly, her outlook was always positive. She told me she was the 'entertainment director' on the train to the camps. Windows blacked out, she sang songs and made up games.That was my grandma, she loved people, enjoyed helping others and was always talking while gesticulating wildly! She was big with the arm movements and underlining words (ah, the things we remember).
The Spanish Flu and the camps were just a part of her vast history. Though these extreme events definitely shaped her life in some ways (she hoarded toilet paper, cereal & orange juice until the end) she rolled with so many life changes and rebounded with a smile. We all loved her so as she was a pure pleasure to spend time with. I know she felt anxiety, that's one of our family trademarks, but she endured as I know all of us will during this unprecedented pandemic.
Though my amazing Grandma Maki is now gone, I can feel her happy energy with me daily. I bet we all have someone like Maki in our lives that inspire us do more and be more. Heartening today is how much community spirit & generosity is so evident in almost everyone I meet. This whole experience is asking us to sacrifice now to help the greater community. That's pretty wonderful. Thanks for letting me share.