By HARRY K. HONDA
Were it not for my friend at our table at the Maryknoll Grand Reunion last Saturday, a photo which appeared in Horse’s Mouth column in the Rafu this week may have never seen print. It was another show of the “power of the press,” but this elicited flattering comments
Yas Tokita from Las Vegas, snapped the picture on Rafu Shimpo photographer Mario Reyes’s camera. Yas also happens to be a prewar Maryknoll School graduate, but the school was in Seattle.
The all-class reunion was held at the Quiet Cannon restaurant in Montebello and for the first time brought together Maryknollers of all ages.
A Maryknoller from Japan, Father José Hamel, (a.k.a. Brother Pierre who drove school buses in the’60s at the Hewitt Street compound before returning to Maryknoll Seminary to be ordained a priest in 1985) opened with a prayer as the three-course dinner was about to start. A little later, Kathleen McShea (Sister Kevin Maureen) music teacher at Maryknoll School, rendered the school song with friends a cappella.
In lieu of a guest speaker, emcee Geoffrey Yamamoto (‘66) and another alumni were yelling out numbers from the podium throughout the evening, calling graduates to pose for class pictures at the makeshift studio with Bobby Kunihiro (‘68) behind the lens.
Among the early graduates were Vincent Doi (‘26), whose daughter Maryknoll Sister Joanne Doi (‘70) from Berkeley was also present; Frank Shoda (‘29) and Theresa Yamamoto Kushi (‘29). Her daughter Marianne, who is morning anchor for NBC San Diego, also attended.
When our 1932 classmates (Dr. Henry Ema from St. Louis, Okuni Uyeda Yamamoto and Yoji Uyeda) were being escorted to the corner studio for a class picture, we passed the table to be greeted by the white-haired Michael Yamamoto (‘57). His brother Timothy (‘60) I met at the outdoor registration area. Ken Kasamatsu (‘60), now president of Pacific Commerce Bank, came by to say “hi.”
Offering an estimate about attendance, Karl Nobuyuki (‘59), onetime National JACL director and in retirement (now president of San Fernando Valley JCC in Pacoima) felt about 500 came. His 18-minute reunion video was a wistful way to close the evening.
Chairing the Grand Reunion was Shiz Morita (‘60), who came up with the idea a year ago. And Tina Fukunaga contributed much to this story.
Harry K. Honda, editor emeritus of the Pacific Citizen, is a member of Maryknoll class of 1932.