MY FIRST MARRIAGE, 1956 – 1984 I married Chieko Fukushima in 1957 and divorced her in 1988. I married Muriel Mellow in the same year. What happened? I still think that it is best to be left alone, untold. Pierre Trudeau wrote in his MEMOIRS 1993) “Anyone who has gone through the break-up of marriage ……….. will understand why I choose to write no more about the matter.” However, I also feel that it has to be dealt with to make me honest and complete.
An easiest way to explain what happened is, like St. Augustine, to make it all my fault and say, “I got tired of my faithful and good wife of 26 years, fell deeply in love with another person.” But this explanation is completely unacceptable on two accounts. I don’t feel that I was so irresponsible. It was not all my fault. Secondly, I am now married to an absolutely wonderful person. To make the whole affairs my fault will insult Muriel. I would never do that. I now have an incredibly good marriage. Also, it must be said that Chieko was a good person. It is not right to make her less than a good person. So like Trudeau, it is best not to analyze it nor mention it any further.
I chose to deal with it by quoting three poems. Chieko’s and my daughter Evelyn’s were written on our 25th Anniversary of my first marriage. The other one was by me at the time of separation. I post my daughter’s first.
Happy Anniversary! by Evelyn Mitsui, 1981
A silver kiss for a
Mommy and Daddy,
I love you.
It takes a whole life time
to find out what you are
Would life be easier together?
Let the tears run down
for the good time
and the bad
‘cause you can cry when
your happy like
when you are sad.
Laughter is rapturous.
Life is for you and me
Momma, will you come back
With an olive branch?
This land below is for you and me.
Daddy – Mother Gaea will never change
– Mother Gaea will never change
Stand high! Fight! Left! Right! Left! Right!
You took on the world.
(I think you won the war.)
But Mother Gaea will never change.
Daddy, your squirming worm grew to be a fine butterfly
and now knows how to fly.
This dove is up to fly.
But Daddy the skies are yours.
Threat no more, the war is won.
Papa, your world is our world
And the skies are but one.
I AM NOT COMING TO GENEVA WITH YOU
By Chieko Fukushima, 1981
No, I’m not coming with you to Geneva.
You will enjoy your study leave
Five and twenty years of
started with our honeymoon
It was my first air trip, too.
Waiting and sitting,
A bit of you in between.
Accompanying you was my career
waiting, smiling and listening.
To Vancouver for a decade of
to teas, to suppers, conferences, ordination,
to weddings, to church meetings
on the trip to be interviewed to accompany you
to Paris’ winter,
to seven short years of Africa, then
four long years of Switzerland,
to many countries in between.
Helped with Sunday Schools,
women’s groups, seniors, youths,
mothers and babies, young adults,
Our long waited baby came!
Then, less accompanying but more
sewing, knitting, staying behind,
Then driving here, driving there,
east-end to west end
to dance lessons,
Northe to South, Camps & PTA’s.
got rid of furniture,
packed and unpacked,
Hobby courses of
cane chair weaving
Doing those things filled my time.
We experienced coup d’etat,
met a king, a prime minister
Saw suffering, saw joy
more suspense & poignant than
the war memories of my childhood.
Visitors came from East
” ” ” West
” ” ” North
” ” ” South,
Visitors passing through
each with fascinating stories.
I accompanied you,
trying to be proud of being supportive.
I even believed in it.
Our life was full, wasn’t it? Was it?
though it is not that it wasn’t enough,
but of different kind
As if it always belonged to
I was a spectator,
“I was there”
I would have been a spectator
All my life, just watching, waiting.
Oh, yes, I did my bit in Africa.
But I was not the commissioned me.
They liked what I did
because it was unexpected.
And, I had to face it
during those long four years.
Yes, so that I can
really turn to face you and say
“Here I am, I’m your partner,
I want to be with you,
I want to share my life with you.”
Not a trip to Geneva accompanying you,
but your patience to watch
a middle age student struggle
and to wait for me to be really me
Is a biggest silver gift
to celebrate proudly our quarter of
a century together.
– I wrote these lines in 1984 just before Chieko and I separated.
We had the well,
that had given us clean, cool, and delicious water
for a quarter of a century.
We had to change the pump from time to time,
wait for murkey water to clear after heavy rains.
But good water it gave most of the time.
You wanted to find out what”s in it
on the bottom.
Why? I said. We had to, you said.
We emptied the whole thing.
What a mess!
Junk, dead animals, muck of all sorts.
I could no longer drink of it.
I could not bear the though of it.
I had to give it up.
So I did.
My last name, “Mitsui” stands for Japanese word for “three wells.” The night before we separated, we went to hear a concert by Gordon Lightfoot. We cried throughout. I hardly remember what I heard.