More tributes to Art and Betty Shibayama
I cherish the many times I've spent with Betty and Shiba looking for matsutake!! We've done it so many times and how I remember the people whom they've made so happy with the irresistible aroma of matsutake from Colorado. As Claude remind us..."It's in our genes!! At very critical times when Dad, Mom and Paul needed family, Betty and Shiba were there unselfishly caring and giving...that is not an easy thing to do and when I needed help& love to recover from the auto accident, they were there as well as my other brothers and sisters. I am eternally indebted to all of them for their love and support. We have been blessed with family members as Betty and Shiba.
- Ruth Hidaka
The one best word to describe Betty and Art is considerate.
Betty is my younger sister but I am sure when people first met us, they thought she the older because of her demeanor. I was always busy having fun. Betty was eleven when Diana was born. She helped Mom a lot! One way was washing diapers by hand. No washing machines in camp.
Mom always asked why do you girls, Betty and I, always fight? The boys don't fight. As soon as Betty married Art, the fighting stopped. (must have been Art's good influence!) I think of Betty as my best friend. I don't feel right if I don't talk to her at least once a week.
Art and Betty were married less than a year when they were going on a trip and they invited me along. Imagine newlyweds! I didn't think anything of intruding then but I've thought a lot about it since.
We are very fortunate Art and Betty took such good care of Mom and Dad. Art treated them as his own parents. Often times when we are together, we speak of Mom and Dad and never an unkind word is said. In fact, there is a lot of laughter.
Is it any wonder Bekki and Brian are so great?
I love you both dearly. Have a great anniversary and many more!
- Flora Hidaka
Auntie Betty & Uncle Shiba,
I am sorry that I am not able to attend your Golden Anniversary Party. As I'm sure you remember, its a bit difficult to travel with a toddler that just cannot be contained! Lisa, Jack and I wish you all our best and hope that you are able to enjoy your events.
I have very fond memories of your days in Chicago. Living on Magnolia street and in the same building as Obachan and Ogichan afforded me the luxury of spending much time with Bekki and Brian when we were little. What I will always remember are the movies, baseball games, auto shows, Ice Capades, etc. that you always invited me to join. I can remember piling into the White Chevy Impala, driving to the far south side of the city and smelling the stock yards. As a child, that kind of thing can bring you special joy. As an adult with a child who is yet to be "potty trained," an oh too familiar reality! I don't really remember the specifics of the events so much, but what I do remember is the warmth and security I felt with your family doing all those fun things.
Looking back, I realize now, that I was as rambunctious and energetic as Jackson. Inviting such a hyperactive child along must have increased your stress by an order of magnitude - I was not an easy child! You invited me along not only to provide company for Bekki and Brian and not only to alleviate some stress for my parents, but you did this because family was so important to you. Because I was family, you wanted me to share in the things you wanted to introduce to your own kids. The love of baseball, the appreciation for cinema, etc.
What I will take away from you, both, are a passion for life and the importance of family. I hope that I am able to share with Jackson as much as you have shared with me.
Thank you and congratulations!!!
Most of my memories of Art and Betty are of
course at Harry's Shell and
Shiba's Shell. When I turned 16, I got my first job outside of farms at
Harry's Shell. I still remember Terri's note that was attached to my first
paycheck: "Harry will be paying you $1.45/hour until you gain more
experience." I was deserving of only minimum wage because I didn't have any
experience with cars whatsoever. In fact, on my first day of work, I
remember being so nervous that when someone called and asked for Harry, I
panicked and looked for Harry until I found him sitting down in the men's
room. With my voice trembling, I said "Mr. Kaneko, someone wants to talk
with you on the phone." He replied in his usual stoic manner, "Tell him
that I'm defecating."
When I met Art for the first time, I remember
the embarrassment I felt when
I was changing the oil on a car and spilled the oil all over my neatly
pressed Shell shirt. I was so proud to have a shirt with my name on it. My
mother was never able to get the huge oil stain off. As a young skinny
teenager, I remember being impressed with Art's huge forearms and work
ethic. Art and Harry are my first true role models.
Art's first impression of me must be comical. Nonetheless, he and Betty
hired me to work at Shiba's Shell. I'll never forget the cakes that Betty
used to make for us; what an amazing baker. Art always treated me with
respect and after I turned 21, I used to take Harry and Art to one of my
friend's nightclubs in Japan Town, San Francisco.
As a teenager, I remember being surprised that
Art could speak Spanish to
Spanish-speaking customers so fluently. He told me back in the 1970s that
he had spent the first 13 years of his life in Peru. I learned years later
of the incarceration of Japanese Peruvians and other Latin Americans in
Crystal City, Texas. His story has become a central lesson in several
publications I have developed at Stanford University. I have shared his
story with teachers and students across the United States and in ten
countries in Asia as well.
Art and Betty: Thank you for all you have done for me. I wish that I could
join you today in your 50th anniversary celebration. I'll treasure our
friendship forever. My heartfelt congratulations.
- Gary Mukai
My memories of Betty and Art go back over 50
years during the period that they were dating. The
patience, caring and compassion that they have displayed
throughout their lives were evidenced then as I reflect
back. I must have been a terrible nuisance to their
courtship because the image arises of them sitting comfortably on
the sofa in Morita Ojichan and Obachans living room and me
(probably five or six years old) weaseling my way in between them
or crawling on Uncle Arts shoulders. I dont
ever recall them telling me to get lost. They were always
very indulgent and let me play and interrupt their more important
In the 1950s our large extended family was living at my parents six-flat apartment building at 1020 N. Clark Street in Chicago with the Anchor Club (a Nisei bar that often became raucous and rowdy, especially on the weekends) and a Filipino-owned barbershop (also with questionable activities on the weekends). Despite these distractions, we were happy as a family, we five Kanekos in the second floor apartment with Kaneko Ojichan, bringing in Japanese produce from his farm in Argos, Indiana on the weekends. Uncle Harry Kaneko was also living with us for a short while. In the other second-floor apartment was a bustling household of Morita Ojichan and Obachan, Morita Hi-Ojichan, Aunties Flora, Betty (both working) and Diana and Uncle Jr., who had returned from the American military occupation in Japan and having access to the G.I. Bill enrolled at Northwestern Universitys dental college. Later Auntie Fumiko and Uncle Sei arrived with Bob (Mitsuru) and David (Yukio) and lived above us. Also, we were frequently visited by Ojichan and Obachan's church friends and medical doctors from Okayama. On the weekends other Morita and Kaneko family members converged and backyard barbeques and baseball games were the norm. At that time I remember hearing about but never witnessed Uncle Arts spectacular feats as a top-placed softball pitcher. Auntie Betty would join our romps on the back porch, where we pretended to have a restaurant and pulled scraps from the kitchen to feed our clientele (the younger Nii children).
Im sure most everyone else will remember the anticipated birth of Bekki, who was the first of a second wave of cousins in her age bracket. I recall a very pregnant Auntie Betty trudging through the snow to visit the Morita household from her apartment. Who could forget waiting and waiting for Uncle Art to escort Auntie Betty to her surprise baby shower? Of course, we didnt know at the time that she had gone into labor and was at the hospital delivering as we waited for her to arrive!
During the time that Ojichan and Obachan were living in the same apartment building as Auntie Betty and Uncle Art, they were always treated with such kindness and thoughtfulness. I guess this was the beginning of their close relationship with the Shibayamas, and they continued to visit for long periods of time when the Shibayama family moved to California. Ill always appreciate their generosity of spirit and the way they cared for our grandparents.
In 1984 when Miwa was born in Kyoto, Betty and Art were visiting Japan and staying with Donna and Tom. I came out of the hospital, and we also stayed a few weeks with the Tamakis overlapping with the Shibayamas. Miwa was a fortunate baby, having a half dozen adults taking care of her. We spoiled and carried her. Bath time was an interesting production. Id take her into the ofuro bath and emerge wrapped in a towel. She was immediately wiped down, powdered and quickly diapered and dressed with an assembly line of adults involved. After days of visiting temples and shrines, we took Betty and Art to the production studio for the chambara-style samurai films in the Kyoto suburbs. The traditional houses and streets lined with shops, the enormous castle gate, etc. was reminiscent of the TV movies like Mito-ko-mon that Art liked so much. I think they must have enjoyed that day tremendously.
When I think of Art and Betty, their extreme patience, kindness, good natured generosity, integrity and deep faith come to mind. This carries through to their commitment to family members, to friends, to the larger community, and to the work that has consumed their lives in their later years. Who would have thought that this quiet, unassuming couple would create such a stir on a national scale? They have been an inspiration to us all proving that we shouldnt allow injustices to go unnoticed, unacknowledged and unresolved. Yet on a daily basis there is always care and love for those who are fortunate enough to be near them. May you both have many more years of joy together with each other, and with your family and friends.
Cherie Kaneko Ikemiya
My heartiest congratulations to you two for fifty years of wedded bliss. Ive always told Paul that I thought you two were two of the nicest people. You were always pleasant, thoughtful, sharing and helpful, and fun too!!
Cant begin to tell you how much I appreciated your coming over to stay with me while Paul was in the hospital, and then after his death. Would never have known what to do without your help for I was in a daze. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
There are many more instances of your goodness but this was uppermost in my mind.
I've been called a mama's boy by some people, or at least one person in particular sitting out there right now (Diana)... and I admit that years ago when I was visiting Auntie Betty and Uncle Shiba I did miss my mother. I remember standing at their bedroom door crying and they brought me to bed with them. After that I always felt comforted that if something should ever happen to my parents, Betty and Shiba would take care of me.
TO "BABY" AND HER HUSBAND
The Muse of poetry is no where near as this little ditty will attest.
An Anniversary of gold, is something to behold.
Betty and Art dont fit the mold, of a type called old.
When told that redress was on hold, they were not sold
and in fact became really quite bold.
In the end, what will unfold
the JLAs wont be left in the cold.
We pray the courts, their rights will uphold,
That justice reigns and libertys bell, will not go untolled.
My little sister and her husband have definitely blossomed. The one sibling that we called "baby" the longest and Shiba really do not have the time to grow old. They are an inspiration to watch as they battle the injustices inflicted on the Japanese-Latin Americans The nurturing of their own children as well as their care of our parents in their golden years have been another amazing display of the inherent goodness in their souls. Im sure our parents would agree that they were so lucky to have had such kind, loving and generous people around them. Were so extremely grateful and thank them so very much. They have set and are setting such fine examples, even though they are younger than me, theirs will be a very hard act to follow. In fact for me, it will be an exercise in futility.
Happy 50th Anniversary, Betty and Shiba and best wishes for many more.
Owing a significant part of my culture to the Shibayama family, I would like to take this moment to thank them. Until very recently, I wasnt aware of the profound effect they have had on my life. After debating with an English Literature professor not too long ago, he commented that my understanding of Western Fantasy Literature was profound, considering my lack of a Christian upbringing (he supposed I spent many years in Sunday school as a child). A thorough understanding of recurring Christian motifs, especially redemption and grace, in Western Fantasy Literature is often deemed paramount to fully appreciate this genre. The professor was surprised, but I wasnt. You see, when I was about nine years old in Nova Scotia, Auntie Betty and Uncle Art sent me box sets of The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia--wonderful stories that continue to haunt me. My Aunt and Uncles generosity was also compounded by subscribing our family to the Christian, inspirational magazine, Guideposts. And, as a young child, reading these magazines opened the lock on some of the ideas Western fantasy works attempt to convey. Im not certain my Aunt and Uncle were aware of the effect their presents would have on me, but I attribute a great deal of my taste in and understanding of Western literature to them.
Perhaps, though, I owe an even greater debt of gratitude to my Aunt and Uncle for trying to make the world a more humane place to live. Without them, I would not have known about the internment of Japanese-Latin Americans. After watching Hidden Internment: The Art Shibayama Story, Im not sure how anyone can morally deny redress to my Uncle and the other Japanese-Latin Americans who were similarly interned. I would like to thank both of my glamourous movie star relatives for helping to educate and raise awareness about an issue that has been omitted from most North American History textbooks.
Finally, I would like to thank my Aunt and Uncle for being wonderful parents and for allowing me to play with Bekki and Brian, whom have influenced me greatly as well. After all, it was Bekkis influence that made me a fan of the Jackson Five at the age of four. To this day, everybody I know rolls their eyes whenever I blast "ABC" on my stereo. And now that my Expos have left to Washington, I seem to have developed a soft spot for the Cubs, undoubtedly a result of spending time listening to and reading Brians concerns. I know my Aunt and Uncle are wonderful, caring parents because while Bekki and Brian were visiting Toronto their parents would call me daily to ensure Brian wasnt influencing me to frequent strip clubs with him. However, at the time, I felt it incumbent upon me to mention, "But well be breaking Bekkis heart if we dont." In fact, Brian confided in me later that Bekki, while sleeping at night, was yelling, "Its all your fault, Brian!" Anyway, as the late Mr. Adams once wrote, "Its all absolutely, devastatingly true--except for the bits that are lies."
Congratulations to Auntie and Uncle on your Golden Anniversary. May your future be filled with joy!
All the best,
At the age of five, I was the Ring Bearer (No, not Frodo) for Art & Bettys wedding. Uncle Harry and Aunt Terry were married previous to Art & Bettys wedding. My cousin Mark Kaneko was their Ring Bearer. And if anyone remembers the wedding, Mark had a lot of fun during the ceremony. He was crawling and running all over the altar. My mom was embarrassed
with his actions. So, for Art & Bettys Wedding, my mom told me to behave or else she would break my toys over my butt. And, dont think my mom would not have follow through with her threat. I had a lot of broken toys. Ha, ha! During the wedding I wasnt nervous, but I was scared. Do you know how hard it is for a rambunctious five year old to behave? I did everything I was told to do. I wouldnt move even though I knew I was supposed to sit down after giving Art the rings. Art had to tell me to sit down. You know how it is. Your mind tells you one thing but your legs do not respond. I was so relieved when the wedding was over. Now I could act like a typical five year old.
Uncle Art was always so nice to me as a kid. I know he didnt have to do the things he did with me. If there was a baseball game to go to, he would take me (even if they were Sox games). All the night games he would take me to, I would fall asleep usually by the fifth inning. And of course, he would take me home, missing the rest of the game. I still fall asleep by the fifth inning. Some things just dont change.
Thanks for being such wonderful Aunt and Uncle. Happy Anniversary!
Dear Betty and Shiba:
Happy 50th anniversary!!
Because I was only 4 years old when you married, I dont recall much about your wedding, although Im sure that its safe to say that Kevin, Stirling, and I were model children and extremely well behaved during the wedding and reception
Overall, that is far less important than the other things I remember about the two of you through the balance of those 50 years .
Mostly, I remember how youve always been unselfishly there for us (and for other members of the family) when we all needed that support most. Personally, I know that I could never have gotten through those tough times without your physical/emotional presence, patience, and unwavering support.
Betty, you are one of the most nurturing and caring people I know. You freely and unselfishly give of yourself and your time in ways that astound me and in ways that make me wish that I were more like you. Shiba, your patience with your in-laws and support of your wife during family crises is beyond belief. The fact that your support comes in the form of a package comprised of the two of you speaks volumes to your own relationship and marriage and about the commitment and love for each other that allows that to happen. Not many couples can point to that. A 50th wedding anniversary is but a milestone what you so obviously mean to each other is what we are really celebrating today.
It is for these reasons that I am truly sorry that I will not be present your 50th wedding anniversary celebration. You have been a very important piece of my life from a very early age, but especially as I have approached middle age and needed support in sometimes the worst way. Youve been there for me in ways unimaginable, and for that you will always be very, very special. Youve also provided a personal benchmark of what a husband and wife should be for each other. I know that your relationship, like any other that has achieved this significant milestone, may have its own unique peccadilloes and scars, but youre an inspiration to those of us who have yet so far to go in our personal journeys.
Have a great celebration. I hope that you know how truly special you are to me.
With much love, your nephew,
Happy Anniversary, Betty and Shiba! It is no wonder that you two have arrived at this significant anniversary of your marriage, you are both the most loving, caring individuals I have ever met. You not only have shown love and caring for each other but for everyone who has had the good fortune to be counted as your friend or relative. Certainly, looking back over the past forty eight years, since my association with the Morita clan, I remember how you truly welcomed me warmly and supported Jr. and me in countless ways.
I recall with gratitude the wedding shower you held for me at your home at which time you and the family gave Jr. and me, all the necessities for setting up housekeeping, many of the utensils which I still use on a daily basis.
The recollection of your assistance of this new mother in giving baby Mark his first bath and being squirted by his pee, still elicits a smile. You have been so gracious and generous of your time and energies and wisdom in regard to child rearing, having had Bekki not long before our venture into parenthood and also because you had all those nieces and nephews around. I knew where to go for the answers when the babies arrived. How reassuring it was to have you baby sit Mark when I was in the hospital delivering Julie or Mark and Julie together when I was hospitalized for a month and so many other times while you were on Magnolia Street.
You guided us in the purchase of our first new car .a Ford Galaxy at Kaiwell Walker Ford and you were always available to answer all of our dumb questions about auto maintenance and on occasion repaired the car for us. Even as recently as a month ago, Jr. was on the phone with you about an auto problem. You would think that by now we would have learned a few things about automobiles besides how to drive them.
In our usual impulsive manner, we decided to move into this house on a Sunday in August not realizing that it was our 10th wedding anniversary. To our amazement, you prepared a celebratory dinner for us and all the males who helped us move, including an anniversary cake at your then home at 5859 N. Magnolia. How thoughtful!
Since your move to California, we have observed the incredible dedication, devotion, patience and love with which you have cared for Mother Morita, Mother Shibayama, Fusa, Flora, Terrie and Harry Kaneko. You two are truly amazing.
Now in your retirement, when you could be spending all of your time on the golf course, youve taken on the quest of Redress for the Japanese from Latin America with sacrifice, courage, dedication and tenacity. Youve labored long and hard on this and developed leadership skills, public speaking skills, campaigning skills, legal knowledge and other skills you never knew you had. How incredible!
I wont discuss your parenting skills, Im sure Bekki and Brian will tell you, all I can say is GREAT JOB!
Enjoy this wonderful celebration and know that my thoughts and prayers are for your good health and happiness in all the days ahead and for the time to relax and enjoy the fruits of all your labors. Many, many thanks for all your kindness.
Dear Art & Betty,
50 years of friendship.
This is a grand opportunity to share and thank you both for a wonderful friendship. Our relationship has been built in love, faith and trust which goes back over 50 years. I even remember the birth of Bekki and Brian in Chicago giving them their first bath. I had the privilege of holding Bekki in the incubator at Wesley Memorial Hospital. Those were joyful moments.
We have truly traveled a long journey since then experiencing our move from Chicago to San Jose starting a new life. I can recall many challenges as we continued to build our lives in California. We purchased our first house and then the service station and all the challenges that followed. We did manage to survive helping each other. We even found time to enroll in ballroom dancing for several years and then we decided to take up golfing as well.
Remember, Betty, when you and I decided to enroll in Auto Mechanics for Women through West Valley College. We thought we would be more useful at the station but soon learned our new talents did not meet our husbands standard so we never were given a chance to show them what we learned. But, we learned the names of auto parts and their functions. Betty, you and I changed tires and maybe a hose in class. That was fun.
But our friendship goes far beyond all this. I admired you both for your thoughtfulness and kind support when Harry was diagnosed with cancer. All the challenges I experienced you both were always there to support me. How often you appeared at my door with food and to see how we were doing at the moment when I needed someone. There are so many memories but I can share only a few. You knew when I was so tired and Art you offered to drive Harry to UCSF for his weekly chemo so I was able to rest.
When Harry had to have surgery at UCSF you both offered to drive us to San Francisco and never left my side. You remained with me throughout the week. How can I ever forget that moment being so grateful of your presence. That is a true friendship.Another and the most significant moment was the last night of Harrys life. I was struggling to get Harry in the kitchen chair with wheels so I could push him from the bedroom to the car so I could take him to the hospital. Obviously, it was a difficult chore but I was determined when once again you both appeared at my door with tofu. How I welcomed your presence and support. As you both assisted me in getting Harry into the car. You both followed me to Mission Oaks Hospital. The staff at the hospital was expecting me to transport him in an ambulance, but I wanted to take him myself because in my heart I knew it would be the last trip.
You both were with me to the bitter end and I shall never forget your kindness and I thank you for the memories.
May God continue to bless you both for many more happy years.
I have known Betty and Shiba for an incomparably long timealmost as long as I have been alive. As I gaze upon my youth from the vantage point of age, I realize children take everything for granted. They are too busy learningtrying to adaptto stop and reflect, and despite the fact I used to spend an inordinate amount of time wondering why I had such old parents as I did, I didnt question why I had that particular person for a sister or that individual for a brother-in-law.
Fifty year anniversaries are good for that kind of contemplation about your brothers and sisters. You can look over your own lifetime and the lives of the people whose marriage you are celebrating and wonder what it all means in the larger scheme of things and what their marriage means to you.
I was told many times by countless relatives that Betty used to have to baby-sit me in Minidoka. This fact I do not recall. It was largely my grandfather I remember watching over me during my childhood in Chicago when my mother was away at work, and I was not grateful for his company. If my parents were old, he was ancient.
In my early childhood, what I remember about Betty is mixed up with my memories of Flora because they were still living at home on Maple Street in Chicago when I was about 8 years old. Both of them worked at Travelers Insurance, and I would remember waking to their bustle and music as they prepared for work in the morning. I especially remember listening to one of them sing along to a song on the radio, and there was happiness in that voice. Perhaps it was Bettys voice. I remember feeling happy to be waking up just then--just before my sisters would leave for their exciting adventures away from home.
Flora and Betty would have been in their late teens, early twenties back then. Everything is a bit of a blur. I remember their loud card parties and their membership in a Nisei girls club, the Philos.
Theirs was a mysterious world of words I didnt understand. What the heck did Philos mean? What was pinochle? Whats a meld, not to mention a trump? Why were Mae, Amy, Betty, Hatsumi, and Masako always screaming and laughing over cards? Why were they telling me I couldnt go to see the film, Barefoot Contessa?
Sometimes my sisters and their friends would make recordings at the local arcade on Clark Street. I remember being rather fascinated with one 45 that Flora brought home of Chattanooga Choo Choo. Up until then, I didnt know people like my sisters could cut records. The record was placed in the sleeve of a red leather record album Betty and Flora used to collect their favorite songs, I Apologize by Billy Eckstein, Stranger in Paradise by Tony Martin and Tangerine by Vaughn Monroe. I had a difficult time relating to the sentiments expressed by the singers on those records, and I wondered about my sisters interests and the great autonomy they possessed compared to me. Flora and Betty were always going places and doing fascinating things while I watched with curiosity and envy.
During Betty and Floras many absences, I would ease open the record album that sat on the shelf of our large wooden combination radio and phonograph set and carefully turn each sleeve over and read the labels in an attempt to understand just what it was about the music and those recording artists that appealed to them. Maybe if I could figure out their tastes, I could get a clue to just exactly who my sisters were and what they were about.
Now, when I think about those times, I realize my siblings, who were practically strangers to me, were striving to stake out an identity in hostile terrain called post war America. But just like their white American counterparts, my sisters identified with their country through its song.
Between the card games, Flora and Bettys boy friends would come and go. I never considered any one of them had the remotest possibility of altering the landscape of my existence. But I should have thought differently when a new addition to their record collection appeared one day, thrust into a sleeve without any explanation. When I took the record out to play, I recognized it was a recording of songs not in English but Japanese. I could hardly make out the words except for the lead phrase that said, "Naku jainai."
What the heck was this? Who was singing the songs? Later I found out that Shiba, Bettys fiancé, had cut the record for her as gift on his departure for the army. He was telling Betty in song "Not to Cry."
"Fiance," "blue diamonds," "army," "furloughs," "Fort Sheridan," "Peru." What did those words mean to me? Not much to a kid.
After Betty and Shibas marriage, I started hearing more complicated terminology about "kidnappings," "mother and Fusa in jail," "labour camps," "Crystal City," "Seabrook Farms," "denied citizenship," "couldnt vote," "going up to Canada," and "denied redress."
However, once the fog broke over my own identity, I was able to start to consider what Shibas life was about. It should have been obvious to me, as a kid, that any man who would cut a record for his fiancée was a bit different from the rest of the crowd who hovered near my sisters door.
But--and Im a bit chagrined to admit it-- it was only until I was in my fifties that I began to understand just how different Shiba was from the rest of the Nisei crowd.
Not surprisingly, I think just about the time I started to figure out the meaning of those words associated with Shiba, America started to figure it out as well. So Im not the only one who is a bit slow to learn.
It is true that my brother-in-law was a great athlete, a singer, an expert mechanic, a linguist, but there were other qualities I didnt fully appreciate until I heard he was taking a stand against the American government. And I think you might agree with me when I assert you need context to take the measure of a life.
Looking back, I see Betty had excellent taste in music and even better taste in men. Shiba is a quiet guy with an intellect. Hes a standup person thats not afraid to say he wont settle for a crumb from America when the whole loaf is available, and he doesnt shy away from telling the truth about her conduct in Latin America either.
Two voices of my past, first, the cheerful feminine one I heard one bright morning in Chicago and second, the masculine voice that softly beckoned "I have a story to tell about America," combine into an unforgettable hymn of courage, love, generosity and perseverance that has enriched my life without acknowledgement until today.
Thank you, Betty and Shiba, for your lives, your marriage and your song.
- Diana Cole
The only reason I refer to them as Betty
and Shiba rather than Shiba and Betty is
my wife refers to them .
And I guess Diana always says Bettys name first because she knew Betty first. But thats OK
because Shiba and I understands all about whos first, and besides we have lots of fun referring to the two of them as those Morita women.
In fact, Shiba and I have practically everything in common. Hes a master mechanic and a
great ball player who can pitch, and I dont know a socket wrench from a Phillips screwdriver and cant hit a high curve ball worth a darn. But were both married to Morita womenso thats what counts.
Well, shucks. One of the worst things about trying to write a tribute is trying to talk
about the folks youre writing about without blathering on about yourself. But the truth is you
can only know others in relation to how well you know yourself, Its kinda like looking into a mirror to straighten your tie, I guess, and only being able see yourself because in your mind you see all the people you love standing next to you .
Or its like taking a picture of something grand like a waterfall and needing to have a person in
the picture to give the whole thing perspective. And the truly great people in our livesthe people we
loveare those that help us to see ourselves better. And Betty and Shiba (Au, shucks, there I did it again. Sorry Shiba.) And Shiba and Betty are the greatest .
Their kindness and warmth mean the world to memuch more than these words can say.
We all know what Shiba has had to go through and still endures; and I know well what Betty
and her baby sister, my wife, have gone though. But when we pull those old photos out of the trunk and think back on all the moments that make up a lifetime, its not the suffering but the kindness we remember mostwhether its Shiba telling me how to unscrew the bed frame when Diana and I were first married and packing for the first of our many moves, or the simple, quiet comfort of Betty and Shibas hospitality when Diana and I took our 2-year-old son for the first time to visit them in San Jose--traveling down the coast by train back inwell, a few years ago, anyway.
Do I have a lot more wonderful stories about Betty and Shiba to tell? Indeed I do. But I
dont have to for the simplest of all reasonsand that reason goes like this:
Like many of lifes little wise sayings, the one that reminds us that we pick our friends but
not our family isnt really true at all. For we do pick our relatives as surely we pick our wives (or as
Shiba and I both know, as our wives pick us); and it was, I think, more than just a bit of good fortune
that I picked Betty and Shiba when Diana, the youngest of those Morita women, picked me.
Thank you, Betty and Shiba, for a wonderful life.
-- Wayne Cole
Tributes, communications to and from family members: Junior, Dorothy