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Hunkering down :: Hurrricane Ike

We're "sheltering in place" while we wait to see what Hurricane Ike is going to do, so I thought I would share a blog entry I started writing a few months ago but didn't finish.

While I was doing some genealogical research several months ago, I found the ship's record from my mom's journey from Japan to the Port of San Francisco. I also found a photo of the ship on which she traveled:


Her journey was in 1952, but there's a good bit of information about the ship's history online. In reading about the ship, I was interested to find this:

"In November 1951, upon expiration of APL's charter, she was taken into the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS), reinstated on the Naval Vessel Register and placed in service as a civilian-manned Navy transport. USNS General W. H. Gordon (T-AP-117) departed San Francisco in December 1951 on the first of many trans-Pacific voyages in support of Korean War operations."

According to this, my mom and her fellow shipmates (Asian -- the majority of them Japanese -- wives of American servicemen) were some of the first civilians to travel on the vessel. My mom, a newlywed married less than a year, left Yokohama with my dad in December 1951 and arrived at the port of San Francisco on January 8, 1952. And after 56 years, if anybody asks her what she thought of the journey, she'll tell them how much she hated being on the ship. I never understood why, but I can imagine that some of it might have been unpleasant and uncomfortable. She was a few weeks from having been married a full year and she was 2 months pregnant with my older sister. Prior to being able to leave Japan with my dad, she had to undergo an extensive background check; she had to have letters of reference from Americans in Japan. She had to undergo a complete physical, including a mental health history, and her family history had to be checked for anything that might indicate her potential to be a spy. My dad kept all the documents in a file and it was unquestionably thorough -- and though I can frame it in the context of post-war sentiments, I was slightly insulted to see some of what she had to go through. It would be almost 34 years before she would see Japan again.

Soon, I'll share more about the trip I took with her to Japan in June 1985.


I am out of state currently but keeping fingers crossed. Stay safe as you hunker down!

keep safe...I was actually thinking about you as I was watching about the storm...thank you for the interesting history.

Stay safe!

Oh, goodness!! Stay safe!

Janet, you and your family have been in my prayers! I hope all is well. Please blog on what it was like to go through Ike if you would when you get a chance. I imagine you are without electricity right now. Love, Kim

Still praying for you sweetie! ((hugs))

Y'all are in Spring, right? Dunno if you have power or not, but the worst seems to be over for the Houston area . . . our local station has been patching through KHOU on and off all day, and it looks like y'all got smacked hard.

*fingers crossed* that you are ok!

Hope that you and your family made it through Ike okay!

I love the posts that you have been sharing with family history. It is fascinating and educational all at the same time. Thank you for allowing us to share.

I hope you are safe and sound. I really enjoy hearing your family-history posts.

I saw the picture of a military ship and thought I mistakenly landed on a different blog.

But I was fascinated the story of your mother's screening before she could board that boat. Looking at the photo again, I really felt the gap between the hardware of gcernments and the software of our lives.

stay safe, Dear Janet! I've been thinking of you and praying for the safety of you all.
i have a lot to get caught up with your blog - your entries are so fascinating!
love and hugs,

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