EndNotes

The Japanese-American legacy

« Ken Kato, far left, front row, and Dave Heyamoto, in suit jacket and tie, second from right in second row, pose for their second-grade class photo at Lincoln School, on Fifth Avenue on Spokane’s lower South Hill, in 1957. (The school is no longer there.) Only Japanese was spoken in Kato’s home so when he arrived at Lincoln in the first grade “the bell would ring for the change of classes, but I figured that was the bell to go home, so I went home.” The principal finally said, “You can’t go home.” He learned English quickly after that. “You pick it up real fast because you’re a kid.” (Photo courtesy of Dave Heyamoto)
« Ken Kato, far left, front row, and Dave Heyamoto, in suit jacket and tie, second from right in second row, pose for their second-grade class photo at Lincoln School, on Fifth Avenue on Spokane’s lower South Hill, in 1957. (The school is no longer there.) Only Japanese was spoken in Kato’s home so when he arrived at Lincoln in the first grade “the bell would ring for the change of classes, but I figured that was the bell to go home, so I went home.” The principal finally said, “You can’t go home.” He learned English quickly after that. “You pick it up real fast because you’re a kid.” (Photo courtesy of Dave Heyamoto)

My Sunday story about two Japanese-American men who grew up in downtown Spokane in the 1950s reminded me once again how much we were taught as children about life by the adults around us, not just by our parents, but all the adults we knew well.

The two men, Dave Heyamoto and Ken Kato, grew up to be great successes in Spokane. But both have remained humble, kind and respectful. They credit their parents, of course, but also the other men and women in their low-income neighborhood who looked out for them. And they were especially grateful to their teachers at Lincoln School, which was located at Fifth and Browne in Spokane before being torn down. (This picture was taken there in 1957; Kato is in the first row, far left. Heyamoto in second row in suit jacket and tie).

"We had really good teachers," Kato said. "They wanted to be there." The famous Henry B. Adams quote that  "a teacher affects eternity. He can never tell where his influence stops" could also be said of the best adults in our children's lives.

(Photo courtesy of Dave Heyamoto)




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