When my dad got orders for Japan in the early ’50s, he went ahead of the rest of the family. Mom had to get from Ohio to the Pacific Coast in order to sail to Japan.
The photo at left was taken when my mom, brother and sister were leaving my Uncle’s home in Michigan headed west. They drove 450 miles in one day and got to Fargo, North Dakota about 6:15 p.m. In a postcard to her folks, Mom said they stayed at a cabin for the night – the cost: $4. They traveled through Montana and went to Oregon in order to visit my great-grandmother for a short time. Then north to Seattle to Fort Lawton where they had to wait a few days before sailing to Japan on June 9, 1953.
The trip, aboard the USNS General Hugh J. Gaffey, would take 12 days – although by crossing the international date line, they lost a day. While on board, my sister tap danced in a Variety show and my brother – when not seasick – made friends. The ship carried 2400 troops – all on their way to Yokohama.
My parents were in Japan for two tours and while there, they drove the Nash that had been transported via ship with them. Sometimes they rode a train like the one pictured (left) and my siblings rode a bus (right) back and forth to school or on field trips.
While on their 2nd tour in Japan, my parents and brother all learned to fly courtesy of the Tachikawa Aero Club. They even “starred” in a short film promoting the Aero Club Family Plan. Back in the States and after I came along, my parents still flew every once in awhile. Here’s a picture of my Dad in ’72 getting ready to fly.
My parents had some very interesting adventures in the air and on land. I feel very blessed that not only do I have stories and pictures, but memories of when I accompanied them on some of their adventures!
Written for the 18th Edition of Smile for the Camera - Travel.