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I Needed that Little White Baby Seal ...

When I entered the first grade, I had just been speaking English for about a year, just since I left my OBaachan with my adoptive parents. I was attending a Department of Defense school in Japan at Grant Heights. I did not know the other children. The other children were Americans and always had been, even those that looked Asian. My teacher was even Asian, but she spoke like an American.

Fran-First Grade Grant Heights

The only memory I have of this first grade class was this cute little stuffed white baby seal that the teacher had.

Little White Baby Seal

Each day, the seal would be given to a different child and the seal would sit on that child's desk for the day. The teacher selected the child who would hold the seal for the day. Every day I went to school hoping it would be my day. I don't even remember a reason why a child might have "earned" the privilege to have the seal on his or her desk. I only remember that, despite my daily hope, the seal never sat on my desk.

When I was eight years old, I left Japan for the first time and was heading to the United States. My first flight. My first time to America. We flew into Anchorage Airport just a few short months after the 1964 9.2 earthquake. The tarmac was frozen and slippery. The airport building was still wrapped in tarp and few services were offered. But a little gift shop was open and I spied a little stuffed white baby seal. Without really knowing why, I wanted that seal. I asked my parents for it. No. I asked again. No. I begged for it. I left Alaska empty-handed.

Years later, while walking along the boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California, I saw a little stuffed white baby seal. I was 29. I bought it.

I think that I may have spent a good bit of my life energy running around collecting little stuffed white baby seals in the form of certificates, badges, awards, trophies, ribbons, accolades, etc. I worked hard to be the best at everything I did because of need. This can be very tiring.



I have discovered that I can do anything I want, just because I want to do it, not because I NEED to do it. I have lots of little stuffed white baby seals now. I don't need anymore.

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