Bachan's Life Sketch (made by Jodi and Amie)
Contributor: lyndahirst_1 Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Our Grandma, Yaeko Miyasaki Yamasaki, age 90, passed away on February 21st, 2016. She was born in Rexburg, Idaho to Kitaro and Mitsu Miyasaki on May 2, 1925. She was the eighth of eleven children.
Grandma’s family was close. Their nearest neighbors lived at least a quarter of a mile away, so Grandma played mostly with her brothers and sisters. She enjoyed the games that the boys played, basketball, baseball, and track. Grandma’s mother knew she was a tomboy and would ask, “Why don’t you learn how to sew,” but Grandma felt her sisters could do the sewing. Grandma’s parents loved to fish, and would take their family fishing most Sundays. They sometimes made it in to town to watch a movie. Grandma loved Shirley Temple, and saw most of her movies.
Grandma’s family did not attend church regularly. There was a reverend in the Buddhist faith who would come worship with them about once a month. Grandma remembers going to Primary at the LDS church with her friends. She said that she learned about the power of prayer at Primary, and began saying her own prayers secretly at night.
Grandma’s family owned a farm, so everyone had to work hard. Grandma’s jobs included feeding the chickens every morning and evening, and making sure the water trough was filled for the horses. The children would also work on their neighbors’ farms to earn money. Grandma described her mother as a hard worker who instilled the value of work in her children. Her motto was “Work never hurts anyone; it’s good for you.” Grandma’s mother never allowed her children to sleep in, or to skip their chores if they had a headache. Grandma felt her upbringing kept her from being idle. She was a hard worker all her life, and would never just sit still.
Grandma’s friends were important to her. In a personal history she wrote, she mentioned several friends by name. She talked about how exciting Valentine’s Day was to her. She loved passing out and receiving Valentine cards, and would go home and read the cards from her friends over and over.
Grandma attended elementary school in Hibbard, and Madison High School in Rexburg. She said she was not good at memorizing poems or spelling, but that math came easy for her. During the summers Grandma, her siblings, and the children of some of the other local Japanese families attended a Japanese school three miles away. Grandma remembers enjoying her lessons and the association with friends she had there. Her best friend was a girl named Violet. They were inseparable, and would hide treasures and pretend they were movie stars.
Grandma said that when she graduated from high school her sister, Shiz, was attending sewing school. She made a beautiful white chiffon dress with lace. There was a pearl necklace at a jewelery store downtown, but Grandma did not want to ask for it because it was expensive. A couple who were friends with the family heard she wanted it, and gave it to her as a graduation gift. Grandma remembers feeling like a princess that night.
After high school graduation she attended Rick’s College. Her mother wanted her to become a secretary. After one semester, Grandma found out her father had had a stroke and that half of his body was paralyzed. Her mother was diagnosed with cancer. All of her sisters were married, so Grandma decided to stop going to school to take care of her parents. Grandma’s mother died after about two years, in April of 1945.
Our Grandpa’s family lived about half a mile from Grandma’s home. He was Grandma’s older brother’s best friend. While Grandma was taking care of her dad, she began dating him. Grandma would put her father to bed, then they would go out at about 9:00 p.m . They talked about getting married, but Grandma had promised to take care of her dad for as long as he lived. In November of 1948, three years after her mother’s passing, Grandma’s father passed away.
Haruo Yamasaki and Yaeko Miyasaki were engaged on January 2, 1949, and set their wedding date for March 26, 1949, before farming season began. They were married in the Rexburg LDS Fourth Ward Church, and spent a short honeymoon in Salt Lake. One of Grandma’s first memories as a young wife was of using a new iron and scorching Grandpa’s only pair of dress pants.
Grandma and Grandpa soon found out they were expecting their first baby. Carol Lee was born on December 23, 1949, and was named for the beautiful carols of the Christmas season. Their second child, Diane Gail was born on October 19, 1951.
Grandma loved her life on the farm. There were pets for her children, and they could play outside all day while the adults worked. Grandma learned to sew, and would make most of her girls’ clothing. She liked to make matching outfits for special events and holidays, and continued that tradition with her grandchildren. She would sew dresses, pajamas, and bathing suits, and she always made us matching outfits for her family reunions. Some of our favorite clothes were the ones Grandma made for us.
After several years, Grandma and Grandpa decided to give up farming and move to Idaho Falls. They bought some apartment buildings, and Grandpa found a job selling insurance. Grandma would clean the apartments. While it was a difficult decision, Grandma always felt it was the right one. She did say she missed the farm, and that life was quieter and easier there.
Grandma and Grandpa joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and were later sealed in the Idaho Falls Temple on August 26, 1959. Grandma held many ward and stake positions. She and Grandpa served a church history mission in Salt Lake City. For eleven years she volunteered as a Pink Lady in the hospitals in Idaho Falls, and also served in their women’s auxiliary organization. In addition, she was a volunteer for the American Red Cross. She taught several oriental cooking classes for BYU Education Week. Her hobbies were arts & crafts, sewing, quilt making, gardening, and golfing.
Grandma loved watching sports on T.V. She followed BYU football, and her favorite NBA teams, the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns. She loved going out to eat, giving her grandkids money for souvenirs, taking the girls dress shopping, and packing a big box of snacks to take on family fishing trips. Grandma believed in getting exercise and eating greens with every meal. She liked music boxes, wind chimes, and having her hair done. Grandma did not like snakes. She loved decorating for holidays and cooking for people. She would always say funny things that made everyone laugh.
Grandma and Grandpa had many enjoyable years after Grandpa retired. They bought a condo in Mesa, Arizona, and traveled between it and their Idaho Falls home. They golfed almost every day, got together with their friends for game nights, visited their children and grandchildren, and traveled. Grandma spent a lot of time working on various projects. She made quilts and afghans for each of her grandchildren and worked on family history. In her later years, Grandma lost her eyesight, and was unable to do most of the things she enjoyed. She looked forward to the resurrection and the restoration of her vision.
Grandma has nine grandchildren and twenty-nine great-grandchildren. Her family has always been important to her. She loved to plan family gatherings and vacations, and to have everyone together. She went to a lot of effort to create opportunities. Grandma attended every important event, baptisms, graduations, weddings. She was a generous and thoughtful wife, mother, grandma, and great grandma, and we love her a lot.