SENIOR MOMENTS: Our Trip to See the Endeavour

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By PHIL SHIGEKUNI

Last Saturday, Harold Kameya, our San Fernando Valley JACL program co-chair, planned an enjoyable trip to Exposition Park to see the Endeavour Exhibit. I had not been in the area for many years.

After the war our family resettled in the Seinan area west of the park close to Normandie and 37th Place. We were well acquainted with the park with its museums. During the season, my late father, Tunney, and I would walk over to the Coliseum to see the second half of football games. (They would open the gates at half-time.)

Before the war, our family lived with my grandmother and her husband, Dr. Miyamoto, on 36th Place just east of Normandie. A half-block farther east was the Senshin Buddhist Church and beyond that was 37th Street Elementary School, where my sister and I attended. After Pearl Harbor I remember as an 8-year-old looking up 36th Place seeing all the household and personal goods to be sold laid out in front of the homes of JA families.  To this day, rummage sales bring back unpleasant memories of those stressful times. Our family boarded the bus to Santa Anita at the Centenary Methodist Church on the corner of Normandie and 35th Street.

But, back to the Endeavour. Getting to the park we took the MetroLink from North Hollywood. What a deal — the fare was $1.50 and for seniors, 25 cents. For this amount we could go all the way to Union Station downtown. Our first stop was Universal City, then Hollywood Boulevar. For another 25 cents we bought a transfer, which we used at 27th Street to get to Exposition Park. The purchasing of the fare card from the computer-like dispenser was a bit involved, but was very efficient. You get a credit card-sized card, which you simply use to touch the turnstile, which allows you through. It’s called the TAP system.

I remember a few months ago reading a Rafu article about a Jane Matsumoto, who was retiring from MetroLink. She is credited with devising the system. I met Jane a few years ago and I tried to contact her before writing this column, but unfortunately she was out of town. Jane, if you read this column, let me congratulate you on devising this very efficient system.

The Endeavour was housed in a building adjacent to the museum. The exhibit began in the museum, which housed well laid out exhibits on ecology and other scientific areas. Admission was $2. Detailed descriptions of the Endeavour’s construction and space history were awe-inspiring.

I was amazed at the number of missions carried out by the Endeavour. Pictures of each of the missions along with the multi-racial, gender-inclusive crews covered an entire wall.

All 23 of us had a great time. Since we seldom venture into this part of town, someone in our group commented it made him feel like a tourist. We will have to take our grandkids on this trip on their next visit.

Phil Shigekuni writes from San Fernando Valley and can be contacted at [email protected] The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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