Monday, May 23, 2011

Farewell to the Hayashi Family By Elizabeth Horner

Friends, acquaintances, peers met at Sweet 101 Coffee House Sunday, May 22, to say farewell to Misato and Chihiro (daughters), and Yukari (widow), family of Shuji “Shu” Hayashi, the President and CEO of Greenville Technology, Inc. before he passed away on September 1, 2010 following a 2- month battle with cancer. His family will be returning to Japan on June 14 but took the time to thank “everyone who made our lives in the United States enjoyable”. The family is departing after one of the children, Misato, graduates from Greenville Senior High School on June 4. I have met the Hayashi family only a few times but even just watching Mrs. Yukari Hayashi at a distance, she exudes great warmth, kindness, and confidence as a person in many ways.

A while back, my family hosted several foreign exchange students for several years that attended the Greenville Senior High School. One of them is Hideaki “Hide” Suzuki from Japan. Although he struggled with his English, he adjusted easily and made friends because like Yukari Hayashi, he was gracious, kind, and confident --- and it showed in many of his non-verbal communications.

Saying goodbye to the Hayashi Family reminded me also of an old poem I wrote many years ago which I lost when my computer crashed. Recently, I found it in Kelsey Timmerman’s blog, “Touron Talk”. Kelsey is a local author who back then, travelled the world in backpack. With foreign exchange students living at our house and with me actively participating in the Dayton World A’Fair annual events, which by the way is going on this weekend as I write this article, I got very interested in different cultures. I thought it was neat what Kelsey was doing. Kelsey wrote in May 2006, “most people are great people and I never cease to be surprised at the hospitality and kindness that people all over the world display…. The most important thing is to be a good person. If you smile and treat people with respect, no matter how far you leave home behind --- you will always be greeted with open arms”. Kelsey’s account of his experiences and my mom’s, who was born in the Philippines, inspired me to write this poem when I was 11 years old which I sent to Kelsey. With very minor tweaking, I would like to dedicate the poem to the Hayashi family as we bid them farewell.

The language of your heart - By Elizabeth Horner
Composed in May 2006

Whether it’s New York, Paris or Tokyo
The spoken language may not be the same
But our hearts speak the same language
One of love and pain

No matter where you travel
Or who it is you meet
We all know the joys of victory
And the lessons of defeat

But if we judge by our hearts
And not by our native tongue
All around the world --- you will see
The same songs are being sung

The language of the heart
That is understood everywhere
It is one of kind deeds and love
Understanding, patience, and care

Trust and believe in that language
And it will help you go far
To another country
Or to the farthest star

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