Monday, January 12, 2009

I Was a Cover Girl!

And a "Living Doll" To Boot!

When I was 7 years old, I made the cover of the News American's "Maryland Living" magazine (May 22, 1966). That's me standing to the far right in front of the Patterson Park Pagoda. Ola Walters and little Regina Paul flank me on the left.

The accompanying story was called "Hina Matsuri" (Japanese for "Doll Festival," an event traditionally held on March 3 - the third day of the third month) and it described this annual festival as it was celebrated by the Sakura Club - an organization of some 40 Japanese women married to ex-G.I.s living in Baltimore. (Sakura means "Cherry blossom" in Japanese.) My mom Kimi Arima of Kobayashi, Kyushu (the Japanese island most famous for a city called Nagasaki - perhaps you've heard of it?) was one of them, and she "dolled" me up in traditional garb for the occasion. She married my dad, John Davis of Dundalk, when he was stationed in Japan during the Korean War.

The article misspelled my name as "Ami" Davis (do I have to proof-read everything myself???), maybe intentionally to make a 7-year-old half-Japanese Dundalk gal sound more "exotic."

Here's the first page of the article. The picture shows my mom, Kimi Davis (bottom left) - incorrectly described as a "Kabuki dancer." Again, the News American made everything sound extra exotic. And I guess they didn't know that kabuki dancers are almost exclusively male - women having been banned from performing since a Shogunate edict in 1629!

My Mom - the Kabuki Dancer!

Here's the second page of the article:

And the parasol picture? That's me again, looking "inscrutably mysterious" in silhouette.

Here are the other photos accompanying the article, showing off some other Sakura Club kids.

Stephen Sypniewski and Kathy Beck, turning Japanese

Sakura Club kiddies watching an Ohinasan doll festival rehearsal

You can take the Sakura Club folks out of the exotic Far East and transplant them to mundane East Baltimore, but as the article says, we all remain "living dolls"!