30 Years Plus Two Days Ago Today

The time was 1988, just before the Internet happened to us. Numerous people already had computers of sorts, but nobody was incessantly connected to and talking with (and at) everybody else. And certainly few could have foreseen the arrival of social media and other aspects of the Internet that would be brought to us by technology and the never-ending quest for wealth.

The place was a lodge in Snoqualmie, at which I was attending a gathering of the American Translators Association in connection with the conference they were holding in Seattle. After breakfast, we gathered in a room and were greeted by the sight of a US Navy color guard bringing in the colors at the opening ceremony. We all rose and I heard the person on my right say to me “リゼ君、我が海軍だよ” (Lise, it’s our navy!”)

There have been very few people who addressed me or could address me that way in Japanese. Don Cyril Gorham, who was seated to my right, was one. Living on different continents throughout the decades of my translation career, I only had a few direct encounters with Don. All of them reinforced the impression that I could never aspire to attain his level; a true gentleman, remembered in this age when some seem to have forgotten the value of acting decently.

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