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By Deems Tsutakawa For The North American Post

Like most people when young, I took many things for granted. Lately, however, I find myself thinking and remembering my parents. Of the four siblings in our household, I was by far the most troublesome child. Unappreciative, self-centered, loud, and cocky about sum up my youth. When I think about Mom and Dad these days, the thing that I remember so vividly is the fact that they always worked hard and had a sense of purpose about their daily, monthly, and yearly activities. This was the typical mindset of all the Issei and Nisei as nothing was given to them. As a matter of fact, everything they ever had was literally stolen from them by the US government using Executive Order 9066. When World War II ended, my parents had very little with which to make ends meet. Dad went to college on the GI Bill and on graduating with a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Washington, he secured a job teaching art.

Although my siblings and I had the classic Asian American upbringing of meat and rice, we were taught to value money. If there was something we wanted, we had to earn the money to get it rather than just spending Dad’s dough. I am thankful for this learned value of not being overly spoiled. The peculiar thing about my childhood is that it always seemed like Mom and Dad were working on something. They enjoyed their lives as best as possible but not from golfing, bowling, or attending football games. They worked for and obtained quality foods, clothing, artworks, and friendships throughout their lives. All the while, it seems like I played in the streets, played in nightclubs, and acted like tomorrow just didn’t matter. 

Reflecting back, I don’t regret my life but by and by, I seem to have a deeper appreciation of all the time, effort, and sacrifices our parents made so we could have a better life than the previous generations.