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Another story of the long ago little YMCA dojo here, just a few miles away.....
"Father Joe" was here, and while he didn't officiate at our marriage I think he was instrumental in its eventual occurence though he probably was unaware.... kind of interesting, come to think of it, since he was a clergyperson and part of their usual duties for most of them is performing marriage ceremonies.
Whoa! This is getting way too mysterious and not a real reflection of what Father Joe was like!
An ikkyu from California showed up at our little YMCA dojo, it probably was indeed listed in the nationwide Federation List at the time, and introduced himself. He had been sent on loan to the Norwalk affiliate of the company he worked for. He had definite preferences about the type of Aikido he wished to work on and I have to say he had a definite influence on the development of the dojo, and curiously enough, on my own personal destiny.
( The old love songs of the fifties or so had often been about "destiny" but here in the seventies who would have known
that a couple of years later I would have met my husband, at the same Y.... but later for that)
One day he mentioned an interest in "street fighting" and at the time I thought it a bit odd for an Episcopal priest. I had been raised in the Episcopal church, although once I went to college I was involved in student activities among people of various denominations and world religions, but didn't attend church services there. (It could have been because it was the Age of Inquiry, the 1960's) But I digress....
Well, I have just given a few hints of the subtle mystery of Father Joe, although the impression he gave was far from mysterious. I guess it's fair to summarize that he liked practical Aikido, since he finally admitted he would not have come back if I had taught "beach ball" one more class. (I had been using a small beach ball to teach my students a bit of the mechanics of wrist and elbow rotation in ikkyo, nikyo , sankyo, kotegaeshi and even used it to demonstrate kaiten nage....)
I don't remember asking him to teach a class, but maybe the thought never occurred to me because he was already giving great feedback and input into whatever the class was doing, and yesterday, decades later I found out he went on to become sandan and Francis on the Alhambra website in the Joseph Miller, Aikidoka eulogy said that Joe was a true shihan. I'm sad to know he passed away, but happy to read that Father Joe not only became yudansha but went on to influence many more people in a positive way!
My aforementioned husband, whom I met in 1980 at the Y needs the computer, so the story of the trip to Boston Father Joe invited me and one of my assistants will have to wait until another time and with it the story of my observing the building of the New New England Aikikai and how it may have led to me marrying my neighbor, who is a carpenter. Strange, how things work out.... and as a line from one of my favorite movies goes, "strange and rather wonderful..."