The city of San Antonio, has recently completed the renovations of the home my grandparents Kimi Eizo and Miyoshi Jingu helped develop and subsequently lived in at the Japanese Sunken Tea Gardens in Texas.
l-r: Ruth (my mom), Grandma Miyoshi, Lillian, Rae, Jimmy, Kimi, Mabel and Helen Jingu on the bridge at the gardens
Historically the family has played an integral part in the development and growth of this landmark site for the city, overseeing the public gardens and running their tea business on these grounds.
I am proud to say I will be able to attend this opening ceremony with my daughter Aria on behalf of my late mother, Ruth, who was the second eldest of the eight Jingu children who lived and worked at the gardens. Our family is thrilled to be represented at this event by twenty family members and their children. 2nd and 3rd generation family members in attendance will represent 5 of the 8 original Jingu siblings. Myself and my cousin Pati were born in San Antonio and although residing elsewhere have always considered ourselves Texans at heart. We will be flying in from California, Washington, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and Wisconsin to gather together for this event. My one surviving aunt Mabel, now in her 80's will join us too with her children and grandchildren.
Sisters Mary and Ruth in the gardens c. 1920's
This will be the first time I will be seeing the interior of the home in which my mother lived throughout her childhood and young adult life before the family eviction at the start of WWII.
The gardens have always been the subject of many warm memories for our family. We grew up surrounded by stories told and retold by our mothers of the happy times in the tea gardens. My grandparents and all of my aunts and uncles took great pride in being part of the city of San Antonio living and working in these gardens. Their home in the midst of this beautiful garden setting was certainly a lovely haven in their early beginnings as Americans. It is therefore so meaningful that the family home has been recognized in such a wonderful way and restored for future generations to enjoy. As you can imagine emotions centered around this re-opening run high. We are all very grateful that the city of San Antonio and many loyal friends of the parks have raised over a million dollars in the restoration of the gardens and subsequently for the family home.
Dedication of this site to the Jingu family is open to the public on Saturday October 22, 2011. Everyone is invited to attend.