After 40 years of business my husband, Tom, decided to retire. That is no “small deal” especially when you own your own business and it is your name on the door and the reputation that you have spent a lifetime building, the security of your employees and all of their families.
His focus was on selling the firm to a company that would have the same value system that he had nurtured all those years. Even during the recession, while the company shrunk to 1/3 it’s size there was not a single layoff that did not give him sleepless nights. But a suitable firm had decided to merge their company with his and retirement was looming.
During that same time, I had decided, after much consideration, to submit my art piece “Sisters” to Pasadena to be presented to their Japanese Sister City, Mishima. This piece had taken 5 years to complete and was very near and dear to my own heart. Probably the most personal piece that I have ever made. The poem it contains was written by me, with my own sister as my muse.
Pasadena decided it was the gift they wanted to present to celebrate 60 years as Sister Cities and they had a delegation that would be traveling to Mishima to present the gift personally. It was a short time span but we needed to transport the piece to Pasadena, where it would be presented to Mayor Tornek, vice mayor Gene Masuda and the entire city council in a televised council meeting.
Newly retired, Tom, and I drove the art piece to Pasadena. We were spending the day in Pasadena visiting the beautiful Huntington Library. I am not comfortable publicly speaking and I was trying to keep myself from thinking about what was ahead for me that evening.
My cell phone rang. It was my son. “What are you doing? Are you excited?” chat, chat. Hang up and shortly after my phone rings again and it is my other son. “Where are you? Oh…I just goggled the Library…it looks lovely….” I am laughingly describing the scene I am watching, monks in saffron robes taking photos of themselves and each other with their I Pads. Laughing and hiding amongst the trees. Something that seemed like an oxymoron!
But it’s time to leave and I visit the entry/exit displays before heading for the door. Where is Tom? Finally I see him sitting at a table talking to two men. But wait…I recognize that man…and I recognize the other man! My sons!!!!! Unbeknownst to either Tom or I they had boarded a plane on Mother’s day night and flown to Pasadena and rented a car to be there to support me! All the questions on the phone were guiding them to where we were so that they could surprise us. It worked!! I burst out crying right then and there. I was so surprised and proud and touched. The previous day I had missed Mother’s day spent with them and now here they were giving me the greatest gift they could have given me.
Pasadena is a beautiful city and has the most lovely city hall that I have ever seen.
We were met by the Mayor’s assistant, Ronda Stone, and given a personal tour of the entire building and grounds. Because it is such a beautiful setting many couples choose it as the backdrop for their wedding photos. On Sunday we had to dodge and veer as to not photo bomb photo sessions taking place, while limousines sat bumper to bumper in the turn around in front of the building. I really don’t know how the photographers could avoid getting other couples in their own photos.
But now it’s time for me to leave my art in their hands. They will have it professionally packed so that it can be flown to Japan where I will see it again at the presentation to Mishima.
My sons have time to have a celebration dinner with us and then they will drive back to LAX and fly home again. These few hours are hours that I will hold in my memory, dear to my heart my entire life. I will always be grateful for the experience and the family I had there to share it with me.