Tom left this morning for his annual trip to Yokosuka, Japan. Every year he teaches a class there for work. I had lost track of how many years he’s been doing these trips to Japan until I saw this picture of Jesse at about age two wearing the tiny kimono Daddy brought him. This might have been the first trip.
Every year Tom would bring back gifts –just little things like jewelry (for me), small toys, key chains, plum wine, hot sauce and marinades, rubbery green candy, and t-shirts, lots of t-shirts. Happy memories, those returns from Japan. Every little memory like that gives me a sharp pang now, those precious ordinary things that we took for granted.
There were a couple of years, when Jesse was in his late teens, that he walked around looking like a ragamuffin. Finances were tight during that time and he just would not ask us for money for clothes and didn’t care much about clothes anyway. He was homeschooling so he wasn’t worried about fashion. He had his job at Zero’s but he spent all his money on gadgets, tools, used computer parts, refurbished smart phones, and Raspberry Pi, these mini-computer kits that he thought were the coolest thing ever. So Tom would bring him six or eight new t-shirts from Japan where he got some great bargains. Jesse rarely asked for anything, at least after the age of 12 or so, but he always seemed delighted with whatever we, or anyone, gave him.
He did love t-shirts. After getting his first phone repair job, feeling a little more flush with funds, he spiffed up his wardrobe a bit. He loved a website called 6DOLLARSHIRTS.com. All t-shirts are six bucks or you can order ten for $50.00, which Jesse did on several occasions. The nerdier the better. Some of his favorites said ‘Merica, Totally Koalafied (with a picture of a koala), It’s Not Rocket Surgery, and various ones featuring Tesla. I wish I could remember more of them.