I'm going to visit Keiko in the morning. That's my grandmother. I don't call her grandmother or any other term used for a grandmother. I call her by her name, because that's what she wanted. She's Japanese and fascinating. She bar-tended until she was about 76 at a bar in Fort Bragg. The military base. When she'd get off at like 1 a.m. she'd go to bingo and then come home at about 6 a.m. My grandmother is more bad-ass than I've ever been. She still goes to bingo several times a week, but she comes home closer to 2 a.m now that she's 82.
So I am looking SO forward to going over to see her tomorrow. That means some amazeballs cooking. Goyza coming my way!! Since she's gotten older and my grandfather (without a doubt my favorite person that ever lived) has been gone for 14 years now she's been letting fly some stories from back in the day. Scandalous stories. Amazing stories. Heartbreaking stories. I remember sitting at the dining room table and she looked down the table at me, my sister, and my mom and she said "I should have married___" (she may have said Koji? It was a random Japanese man's name). At first I laughed, then I realized that she really regrets the path she took in life.
Keiko grew up in War World II Japan. She was just a teenager. She just recently told me about how she never got to finish school because she had to go work in a factory. She didn't know what she was helping to build, it was a secret. She just had one component she helped make. More than likely it was bombs (my speculation). On the way to and from work she had to run and duck and hide behind buildings because there was very common (like nearly daily) attacks from planes flying overhead.
|Not pulling ass.|
After the war all the Japanese men were haggard, poor, dirty, skinny so they weren't really getting a lot of ladies. Then the Korean war started and Americans were in Japan at the different military bases. In swoops a dashing American soldier that offered Keiko both the promise of living in a country that wasn't in economic despair and a shell of it's former glory and financial security. So she married my grandfather. She didn't love him. He gave her a way out and she gave him 2 children and a home. I know my grandfather loved her dearly. Not just because he had her name tattooed on her arm and not just because he told me. I knew because you just knew it. He stood by her while she had a not-so-secret boyfriend for years and years. She
stood by him when in their early years he was an alcoholic and,
I don't know my grandfather as that man. He passed away when I was 14 and it's a loss I still feel to this day. I can't think about him without tearing up. Talking about him is worse. I knew a kind and cuddly man that struggled for years with quitting smoking. When Keiko told me all these different stories in the past couple of years it's hard for me to put the 2 totally different personalities together as one person. So for me, I hold the perfect specimen of a grandfather close and the other man- the stranger- he's just a blurry character in stories.
I think realizing that Keiko really regretted her path in life is what made me become so introspective in regards to my own. It took some time, but I know now that I am on the exact path I should be on. I know I married the man that I was supposed to. I know that I'm supposed to have a family with him. I know I'm supposed to be with him always. I don't know where we're meant to live, where I live now doesn't feel like home, but I'm off to a good start.