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Mysteries solved

My mom spent the week here and shared some things with me that helped answer some questions I've had for decades now.

I didn't grow up with my grandparents. My mom left Japan when she married my Dad in 1951. I never got to meet my grandmother and she died in 1959. While I was growing up, my mom never shared much about her family in Japan. The little I knew was about my grandfather Kokichi who died when my mom was about 13. She adored her father and felt his loss deeply.


During her visit here, my mom opened up about her own mom. She'd been holding and looking at the sock I'm knitting and told me that her mom was a knitter and "could knit anything." My mom, however, resented her mother's handmade things. She said she would have preferred something purchased in a store over my grandmother's handiwork. She dislked the handknit mittens the most, but she also remembers her mom knitting gloves and socks.


My grandmother was practical, stern, and demanding. She wanted my mom to learn to sew, knit and do well in school. Athough my mom agreed to learn to sew and attend dressmaking school, she stubbornly refused to learn to knit. I never thought there might be a reason I was interested in knitting or that it was a part of my heritage.

I sent my mom home with my handknit socks. And I think she'll actually wear them.

Self-striping socks


A beautiful story - and the pic of you & mum is gorgeous. x

Incredible images and words. I think it is wonderful that you shared some time and memories with your Mother. It must mean even more knowing the shape she was in not so long ago. Amazing!

What a lovely and touching story. I cherish those moments when family members talk about the family from their perspective. Every conversation fills in a hole.

I love reading others' family stories, the things that make us all the people we are, and the things that don't get talked about and then get brought out into the light... to further our understanding and growth... beautiful story and lovely photographs. I love the traditional japanese clothing, it is so beautiful... and what a cool connection you now know you have to your grandmother. OH and some great socks too.

That's a wonderful story - thank you for sharing! And I think she'll wear the socks, too! (She better, 'cos they're great.)

Very, very cool. :)

Beautiful story and pictures.

My Mom passed away before I started knitting. But I've been an artist since I "was a kid". Mom always said she has wished I knew my Grandmother because she was the creative one in the family. She did just about every needleart, plus she liked to paint. She always said I got that side of my from my Grandma!

I love the photos you share of your family. And, such an interesting story. I think a lot of women of our mothers' generation had a similar reaction to hand knitting.

Janet, those pictures are so awesome! I actually can see you in them. Thanks for sharing such sweet memories. You are smart to ask all these questions now, while your mom is doing so well. Family history is so important.

What a beautiful peek into your life. This is one of the most enjoyable entries I've ever read on the blogs.

Thanks for sharing, Janet.

Nice, thanks for sharing your story. Interesting background!

Thanks for sharing the story and the fabulous pictures! My grandmother also "made" my mom and aunt wear handknit socks (knee socks with a Catholic school uniform). Apparently, sock yarn then didn't quite have the stretching memory it does now, so the socks didn't stay up well. My mom says she hated the handknit socks. She did learn to knit, but did not try socks until the past couple of years. All the beautiful new sock yarns convinced her to try, and from her success, I gave it a try.

Great socks you gave your Mom! I bet she will love wearing them.

Trick or treat!!! ;-)

Beautiful, touching, and special story and photos, Janet. I love the recent photo of you and your Mom - you both are so beautiful! What a wonderful connection to find that your Grandmother was a knitter. Maybe your Mom will be inspired....

It must be part of the Asian culture to keep memories and stories private. I never knew much about my Dad's childhood in China - I always wanted to know more, but he died unexpectedly over 22 years ago. I think that it was painful for him because he left China at 10, leaving his Mom and sister behind and NEVER heard from them again. I don't keep much from my girls.

I'm so happy that your Mom shared with you and hopefully, you'll have many more of those opportunities.


Great entry. I'm really glad you had that time and opportunity to learn about your heritage. Interesting connections!

Wonderful photos and such a touching story between you and your mom. You are so lucky you have her to talk too... and can find out so much about her, and her past... your heritage.

What a touching entry. Thank you! I'm curious - who is the child in the background of the picture of your mother and grandmother?