Lily of the Ages: My Mother's Kimono

Last week, my daughter Violet had an opportunity to dress up in a Kimono that has been in my family for over 70 years. Originally sewn in Kyoto, the kimono was made for my mother Hiroko before she was born. Along with other Japanese, my grandparents had settled in Manchuria, China and started a family. When the war started, my grandparents and their 5 children age 2 to 9 were forced into exile and had to leave behind everything. Any possessions that were valuable would have been confiscated, so my grandmother sewed a backpack and hid the kimono inside the lining. It was her hope that her youngest daughter, who was 2, would be able to wear the kimono as her older sisters had. It took 3 years for my family to make it back to Japan, and the kimono has been worn by every girl in our family since. Clothing can carry much sentiment and because of my grandmother's perseverance, this is now an important and happy family tradition.

My mother, Hiroko, 1940
Me, 1983

My daughter, Violet, 2010

My mom and Violet today

My grandparents, Shizue and Osamu Katakura and their children, 1940

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