My father was one of the original importers of goods from Asia after WWll

July 13 2016

I grew up in the Bay Area during the 60s and 70s. It was very different then as there wasn't a Silicon Valley or a big highway system, or even a fancy Napa Valley. My dad's family had moved to California in the early 1940's for work and as soon as he graduated high school he went into the army. He was lucky since it was the end of the war and he was shipped out to Germany where things were finished rather than the pacific. He came back, went to Berkeley on the GI bill, graduated, married my mom who was 19, he was 25. He went to work for one of his fraternity brother's father who was selling scarves that he got from NYC. They were approached by a guy who knew nothing about the accessories industry to design a scarf that would be made in Japan and then imported to the U.S.. They created a scarf out of designs from postcards sold to tourists. It went to Japan and then back to U.S. It sold out in one day at the City of Paris Department Store mainly to the GIs in SF now returning from Korea. They continued to import silk scarves from Japan until it became too expensive and then knitwear from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and other Asian countries. They became the knock off artists, buying expensive designer sweaters, tweaking them and creating goods for the masses. After I recently interviewed my Dad who at 88 still gets up everyday and goes to work for a few hours, I searched eBay for the scarf with the postcards, I was rewarded recently with one which I will frame.
I love to sew and knit. I also needlepoint, crochet, embroider and quilt. I love being a "maker." I think this came from growing up with someone in the fashion industry as well as the lineage on my mother's side where my great grandfather was a tailor in Oakland in the early part of the 20th century and my grandmother taught me handwork. I have traveled to learn from skilled knitting teachers around the world. Handwork is something that gives me pleasure and has been an important facet of my life during difficult times. I always have a project with me. My 3 children, husband, family and friends all own work from my hands. It will be my legacy.
Today I am learning to row which I love since I grew up before Tile IX and didn't have the chance to do team sports. Read about it if you have never heard of it. I have practiced yoga for decades which brings me peace. I cook good food and enjoy having people gather at my table. I went back to school and got my BA and Masters while raising my family. My first career was as an RN in the O.R. when I was in my 20's. Now I am director of a small museum.
Come and visit the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum in Boston.

My final words for the listserve are never stop challenging yourself and learning. It provides you with a rich life and opportunities to meet interesting people and see the world. Learn to do something with your hands, it will be a lifelong skill that you will be glad you have. Be kind, polite and generous. If you have been fortunate to have opportunities, remember those that have not. Help to create a peaceful world without prejudice.

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