Monday, November 25, 2013

Susan Fujita of Choppers has died

We were sorry to learn today from Leslie Maeda, Susan Fujita's daughter, of the death of her mother:

"Susan passed away peacefully at the age of 73 years young on November 17th, 2013 following a short, but courageous battle with lung cancer. Susan was born to Ichiro and Nobuko Hayashida on Bainbridge Island and graduated from Bainbridge Island High School in 1958. She then went on to pursue a lifelong passion of cosmetology. As co-owner of Choppers hair salon in Madison Park for over 30 years, she met many interesting people and made many friends. Even when she was very ill, she didn’t want to stop working because she enjoyed her clients so much.

She met the love of her life, Melvin Fujita, on a blind date and they were married November 15, 1964. Susan was an avid tennis player and was very close with her group of tennis friends; enjoying many lunches, laughs and travels with them. She loved sports and played volleyball on the JBC team for over 30 years and was a longtime season ticket holder for the Seahawks, Mariners and the Sonics. Susan loved to travel and her adventurous spirit led to many trips with family and friends to over 17 countries and every continent except Antarctica. Susan also enjoyed gardening, cooking, theatre, and entertaining at the Hansville beach house. True to her generous spirit, Susan annually volunteered for the Forgotten Children’s Fund around the holidays.

Susan is survived by her husband Melvin Fujita, and her siblings Tomiko (Hank) Egashira, Hisako (James) Matsudaira, Yasuko Mito, Hiroshi (Loretta) Hayashida, and Judy Hayashida.  Susan also leaves behind her two daughters, Tiffanie Fujita and Lezlie (Dean) Maeda, and her grandson, Oliver Maeda. She was predeceased by her parents Ichiro and Nobuko Hayashida, brother in law Henry Mito, and granddaughter Abigail Maeda. Susan’s warm and caring spirit will be deeply missed by all who were blessed enough to have their hearts touched by her. There are no words to describe the enormous void that will be felt by her family and her extensive circle of friends.

Remembrances can be made to the American Cancer Society."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Neighborhood hit with extensive tagging

As we've reported in the past, tagging is an ongoing problem in the neighborhood, but the scale of last night's vandalism is perhaps unprecedented.  Community Council member Bob Edmiston reported in an email this morning that he counted 40 separate graffiti incidents in the "flat" area of Madison Park, principally in alleys between E. Lee Street to the south and the Edgewater Apartments (E. McGilvra Street) to the north. Garage doors were the principal targets.

Those who have experienced vandalism of their property are urged to report the incident to the police, which is easily on on-line here: Seattle Police CORP.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happening in November

Our newly renovated neighborhood fire station, located at 633 32nd Avenue E., will be holding a re-dedication and open house on Saturday, November 16, from 11 am until 1 pm.  Two years worth of rehabilitation work has, presumably, rectified the seismically-unsound nature of the structure. Fire Station #34 has been in its present location (just behind the Arboretum Court building on the South side of E. Madison Street) since the early 1900's.

As part of the Extraordinary Neighbors Series sponsored by the Madison Park Community Council, lifelong Madison Park resident Jane Powell Thomas will be on deck this Wednesday evening, November 13, to lead a discussion of the history of the neighborhood.  

She brings a wealth of knowledge to the task, having directly participated in much of that history. She is the author of Madison Park Remembered, an affectionate look at some of the houses and families that have graced the neighborhood over the years.  The event begins at 7:30 pm at Park Shore (1630 43rd Avenue E.).

The Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption on Capitol Hill is again taking holiday orders for baklava, spanakopita, kourambiedes and other Greek delicacies for early-December pickup at the Church (1804 13th Avenue).  Details here. There will also be a Bite of Greece event at the Church on December 6 and 7 (free admission).

FInally, this just in: "Cafe Flora is celebrating its 22nd annual Vegetarian Thanksgiving and has created a special four-course menu influenced by the local fall bounty. All courses offer vegan and gluten-free options and a four-course kids menu is available.

Cafe Flora will be open Thanksgiving Day from 1:30-6:45 p.m. Four-courses are $50 for adults and $25 for children, excluding tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and can be made at 206.325.9100. Cafe Flora is located in Madison Valley at 2901 E. Madison St. Seattle, WA 98112."

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Mary Henry: 90 years and going strong

This is a shout out to Madison Park resident Mary Henry, who today, we are reliably informed, is celebrating her 90th birthday.  Her friends tell us that she is far too modest to make a big deal about it, but that doesn't stop us from taking note.

Mary wears her nine decades well. She's a spry and intrepid walker (you can see her ambling around the 'hood many days), and if we hadn't been told, we wouldn't have believed her life began during the Roaring '20s.

Mary, a former Seattle Public Schools librarian, is actively involved in the community, most recently being the instigator of the Madison Park Tree Walk. Her civic efforts include archivist of the Epiphany Church, contributor to website HistoryLink, and board member of both the Seattle Education Foundation and the Association of King County Historical Organizations. In her role as a historian, Mary for many years edited the Black Heritage Society Newsletter and was author of the book, Tribute: Seattle Public Places Named for Black People.

Mary also plays a central role in the the book, Pearl's Secret: A Black Man's Search for His White Family," written by her son, Neil Henry, Dean Emeritus of the University of California-Berkeley School of Journalism. The book tells the compelling story of Mary's family, which traces its descent from the post-Civil War union of a white former plantation overseer, Arthur Beaumont, and a freed slave, Laura Brumley. The "Pearl" of the book's title was their daughter and Mary Henry's grandmother.

"My family's experiences, like those of most black people in America, have mirrored the stresses and strains of our nation's racial history, from slavery to Jim Crow to the integration of the 1960s and on into the complex world of multiculturalism that seems to define the present," Neil Henry writes.  

When Mary moved to Seattle there were only 40,000 blacks living in the town, few of whom were in professional roles. Mary and her doctor husband, John Robert Henry, Jr., would see their share of discrimination here but also be part of a sweeping post-war generational change. As their son Neil notes in discussing his family's experience, "Our lives reflect the kind of unusual but significant progress made by advantaged black Americans over the generations since slavery, despite the hazards of racism and discrimination." Mary and her husband raised four children, one becoming a lawyer and two following their mother into education.  Their story is a big part of Pearl's Secret.

In doing our research on Mary we came across a Seattle Times article where the writer, Jerry Large, noted that Mary came from "that generation of black people for which dignity was paramount," adding "her bearing and her language are gracious and graceful."  To that we can attest.

Happy Birthday, Mary!