Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pen Pals

I love learning about my family history.   In this case, there are two reasons why.  One-I get to know more about my dad and his life before I came along, and two-in an instance like this, I may be able to help my dad find a long lost friend.
So my guest blogger today is my dad-Robert.    I would love for you to let him know what you think:)

When I was still in high school, sometime after the end of WW 2, I had a pen pal in Hilo, Hawaii.  Her name was Elsie Ryusaki.  She had two brothers who had served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Europe.  She even sent me a shoulder patch of the famed regiment which I still have and cherish.  We corresponded for a couple of years - she went on to the University Of Hawaii and I  joined the U.S. Navy.  Our paths parted.

Just recently I was reminiscing and I wondered, "Where is Elsie Ryusake?"

My son in law did a little searching on the Internet using the name Ryusaki and he came across an obituary for George Ryusaki.  This obituary listed a sister of George's named Elsie Yamamoto and from that point I picked up the trail.Doing a bit of searching on my own I came across an Elsie Yamamoto, aged 81 (just about right) who lives in Honoka'a, not far from Hilo. However, when I tried that name in directory assistance for Honoka'a, it came back with 'name not found'. 

Is this the end of the trail?"

For my dad’s sake, I hope not.  Here’s to finding long lost friends…


  1. OH! I hope he finds her! What a cool story.

    Do you know anyone in Hawaii that can do a more thorough search? The founder of my company lives in Hawaii part of the year (I work with his son). I could always ask him to check, too.

  2. I say keep trying. It would be so great to find her. I kind of feel like my blogging buddies are my version of pen pals.

  3. Thanks Melissa!-that would be great! What would be even greater is if they'd ask you to go to Hawaii yourself-you'd probably need to be there for several weeks too:)

    I agree with you Kim-with the amount of information available via the internet these days it's possible to do things like find old friends.

    I'm so excited when I hear from you guys-because you are my blogging buddy "pen pals" :)

    As an added bit of interest-I am pretty sure that the shirt my dad is wearing in the photo was given to him by Elsie. He was a country boy living in Oregon, so it must have been a pretty exciting and exotic gift to receive.

  4. I don't think it's the end of the trail, it just took a turn your Dad has to find. I'll bet that Elsie would love to hear from her old pal, and I hope you'll post this story as its chapters unfold ... We'd love to hear more!

  5. Thanks Joanne!

    It's so fun that we are all rooting for a reunion!

    I will keep everyone posted.

  6. hey i like your blog!!!

    feel free to visit mine =)


    love the vargas girl header!

  7. It is never over until you give up. Cheers to a happy reunion.

  8. Thanks Tina!
    I know my dad will be encouraged reading all these kind comments:)

  9. Gives me chills. I hope she is still there.

  10. For my dad's sake, I hope so too:)

    Thank you for stopping by!

  11. I must be getting ahead of myself because I am already back for more. Happy Tuesday.

  12. Happy Tuesday to you too! And I'm glad you stopped by again:)