The Bill Moulton family had a dream come true this summer when Yuko Yamashita Murakami from Japan, their 1970 A.F.S. student, returned to the U.S. for her first visit in 41 years.
The trip became a reality when the Moulton's daughter, Lyn, was scheduled to teach HAZMAT classes for two weeks at Camp Foster Marine Base on the island of Okinawa. Lyn extended her stay to fly to the island of Honshu and spend time with the Murakami family. At the end of her stay Yuko accompanied Lyn to the U.S.
Tuesday, July 24, at midnight, Donna, her daughter and son-in-law, Shelley and Kim Willer met Yuko at the Des Moines Airport. "it was an exciting, thrilling time for each of us after so many years."
Bill and Donna Moulton with YukoYamashita Murakami in their Toledo home recently. They hosted Yuko as an AFS?Foreign Exchange student in 1970-71.
After an overnight stay in the Willer home in Ankeny and enjoying a family brunch, Donna and Yuko drove home to Toledo where her American "Dad," Bill, was waiting.
"What a reunion it was! Even though it was a very short stay we managed to include a variety of activities. Touring around Toledo, Tama and especially the South Tama High School, brought back a lot of fond memories for Yuko. The very best moments were spent in conversation, reminiscing the year when Yuko lived with us," according to Bill and Donna Moulton.
A joyful afternoon spent with a small gathering of friends from the past was a highlight. Anne Michael, a teacher, Mary Roan, a 1970 A.F.S. Committee member, Mary Doyle, Verlene Horbach and Cathy Campbell Currier, family, friends, all of whom brought back a flood of memories with a lot of laughs.
A dream came true for Yuko to join her American "Mom", her American sisters and their daughters on the Moulton's customary summertime Women's Weekend. The comment was always made in the past, "How we wished Yuko was with us" and this year it came true for each of us. This summer, the destination was Chicago and Yuko got to experience loads of laughter and fun making memories.
Upon her return to Japan, she sent a letter saying, "The days spent with all of you are still sparkling in my heart!" She also requests the annual Women's Weekend be held next summer in Japan.