In Memorium: My Mother − Kiyoko Kakinami Cloyd Nov. 2, 1929 – Sept. 17, 2011
Kiyoko Kakinami Cloyd, born in 1929 in Suzhou (Soochow, China). Her mother was mixed-race / heritage of the aristocratic Wu Culture of Suzhou (Soochow), China who’s father was an Austrian missionary in China.
Kiyoko’s father was a Japanese national, working for the Imperial Japanese Manchurian Railroad project at the time. After Japan invaded Suzhou, the family fled to Manchuria first, then to Japan. From Osaka to Tokyo in war time and during the US / Allied Occupation of Japan, my mother lost many relatives and loved ones from the daily and nightly U.S. chemical firebombings for over a year. One of her older sisters died in the Atomic bomb of Hiroshima. Her other half-sister was a comfort woman for the imperial Japanese army in Korea and committed suicide during the Occupation. Many of her friends met American soldiers during the Occupation of Japan. Kiyoko met my father in 1953 in Yokota and Tachikawa near the Air Force Bases in the Tokyo area. After anguished waiting, not being able to marry due to American law, finally they were able to marry–even though they had to wait more years for Kiyoko to come to the U.S. with her new husband and her son (myself) because of U.S. limitations on Japanese war brides coming to the U.S. In 1962, my mother and father, and I– a seven-year old, moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. My father and mother divorced when I was in my 20s. My mother was a rebellious, strong, sensitive, wise woman, a survivor. A mother who protected me from so much in Japan and the U.S. amidst her own loneliness and will to live a fun life. She had many tribulations in many lands. She died in Albuquerque on September 17, 2011 due to neglect at an elder care facility. I work to atone for my shortcomings as a son, and to honor her life. My book is the beginning of my atonement.