Roots


March 12th we had the privilege of driving to Fukuoka to see an exhibit at the Seinan University Archives on 79 Missionaries,highlighting all the missionaries who have taught at the school in the over 100 years of its existence. That was of great interest to us since my father founded the University Department of the school shortly after my birth. (The school as such had existed for quite a few years before that, but hadn’t gone beyond High School. It now goes from Middle School through Graduate Studies.) Of great interest was the large poster they had with names, faces, and dates of the missionaries. It was interesting that they were missing pictures of some of the missionaries whom I knew personally, and some of the pictures were frankly unflattering. It was also of interest that the dates they posted were the dates those missionaries actually taught at the school, rather than their years of missionary service. I think I’ll get them to check their records, because it was my understanding that my mother had taught in the High School some while I was quite small, but only the years she taught after I was an adult were listed. That said, the overall exhibit was quite moving, covering as it did the period of WWII as well as the riotous times of the 1960s. (One missionary chancellor actually died of a heart attack while he was blocked into his office by student demonstrators.)
We were pleased to hear that the biography of my father is scheduled to be released next year. The English manuscript is essentially complete, but it will need to be translated into Japanese for simultaneous publication, and that is no small task. I’m glad I wasn’t asked to do it! The Chief Archivist was thrilled to hear that we have many pictures of my parents, particularly, as well as other missionaries, and it is quite possible some of those will find their way into the book.
I told the Archivist that the exhibit reminded me of the way I was introduced several years ago by the head of Nagasaki Rehabilitation College, where I teach. A new part-time teacher was there, and the school head said, “This is Garrott. He’s nothing much, but his father was really remarkable.” I laughed at the time, and still do, but I also agree completely!
We don’t choose our ancestors, or our other relatives, for that matter, and I have been marvelously, graciously blessed in that department, and I am deeply grateful.

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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1 Response to Roots

  1. Alice Garrott Hooker says:

    Our mother taught off and on from early years after our arrival in October, 1947 – Bible classes in the University division after the junior college went 4-year, and in the high school for many years. We used to help her grade exams for her English Conversation classes (60 students!) when I was in high school. The years they list for her (’69-’77) are confusing, because our parents lived in Kokura from ’63-’73, and she taught some at Seinan Jo Gakuin during that 10 year period. They returned to Fukuoka in ’73 for Daddy to concentrate on his seminary teaching (he’d actually done some “commuting” previously), at which point he was “drafted” to again become Chancellor at Seinan.

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