LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Seeking Former Los Angeles Japanese Shonien Children

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Dear Editor:

Many of those who were children residing in the prior Japanese Shonien in Los Angeles before World War ll may remember one of the ladies who took care of them as children of all ages. Her name was Mary Sumiko Wada. Mary began working for the Shonien after graduating Redlands High School in 1932. In past years I arranged a few memorable meetings between former Shonien children with my sister Mary.

Shonien, Los Angeles, circa 1925 (National Park Service)

Shonien, Los Angeles, circa 1925 (National Park Service)

Mary will be 100 years old this coming Christmas Eve. Over the last few years, her children have annually held a birthday card party for her. She has received hundreds of cards and reads every one of them. Last year she received 305 cards.

This letter is an attempt to try and contact former children or their families who lived in the Shonien and ask that they send a birthday card to her as a remembrance of her work she did at the Shonien as a “substitute” mother for so many boys and girls.

You may send the card to: Mrs. Mary Marumoto, 4268 Powderhorn Dr., San Diego, CA 92154.

Please include your full name and if you were using a Japanese name at the Shonien, please be sure to include it because she remembers most of the children by their Japanese names. Anyone else who wishes to mail her a card is welcome to do so. Mary is very happy to receive your cards and reads every card that she has received over the years in all shapes and sizes!!

On behalf of my sister Mary, I extend her best wishes to the former Shonien children. She has never forgotten you since her days at the Shonien and throughout the later 100 years of her life.

Robert M. Wada

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