“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

Friends are PRECIOUS. A friend’s husband told me, “Maggie, you don’t have an immediate family (a husband and children), but you have wonderful friends.”

It is indeed wonderful to note that I have attended five weddings of my girlfriends, almost 60 years ago from today and then years later, those girlfriends’ daughters’ weddings.

The first was in September 1947 in San Diego. The second in March 1956 in San Francisco. The third in September 1956 in San Francisco. (I don’t recall the dates of the three previous daughters’ weddings.) The fourth, my sister’s, in October 1961 and my niece’s in February 1993. The fifth, December 1969 and her daughter’s in December 2013. The fifth became my sister-in-law.

My friends with whom I have had a lasting friendship:

  • Friends in Las Vegas since 1931
  • A friend in Sacramento since 1943
  • A friend in Virginia since 1944
  • A couple in Oregon since 1953 (and their children)
  • A couple in Fresno since 1953 (and their children)
  • A friend in Montebello since 1953 (and her children)
  • A friend in Costa Mesa since 1969 (and her children)
  • A friend in Alhambra since 1970
  • A friend in Japan since 1978
  • A friend in Los Angeles since the early 1980s
  • A friend in Los Angeles since the 1980s (and their son)
  • A couple in New York since 2007

I have one friend who lives in San Diego and will be 92 in December. She lived next door to me when I was born. She is the only survivor of her family. We still keep in touch with each other by telephone and/or mail.

I have been living in Los Angeles since 1967 and have made friends at Union Church, where I have been a member since November 1967, and that is almost 48 years.

It is a MUST to include my co-workers at The Rafu Shimpo, who are dear friends as well and always there to assist me in all matters, work-wise and personal.

I firmly believe that to have a friend is to be a friend. I feel it is most important to acknowledge and return kindness given by friends as well as family. I do not hesitate to write “thank you” notes even to my immediate family.

Neighbors can become dear friends, which was true in the past. For over 10 years I had two wonderful Nisei neighbors, but they have passed away and are sorely missed. There is now a bachelor living in the very front apartment, a mother and son living next door, and a family of three living in the upstairs apartment, and that is that. I rarely see them. They have an entirely different schedule than I.

I don’t mean to appear bigoted, but being a Nisei, I sincerely believe that it is much more enjoyable having Nisei neighbors since there is a cultural similarity. One is able to socialize more readily, such as taking one-day trips scheduled by a Japanese American organization, attending Japanese movies or attending Japanese functions.

It is even enjoyable to visit with one another as well as share lunch or dinner in each other’s apartment or dine out, which was done in previous years with my Nisei neighbors. With one of my Japanese neighbors, we dined out every Tuesday evening at various restaurants. This is another nostalgic memory I have.

Friends keep us from being lonely or bored and are always there when needed in joy and grief. That is the true meaning of friendship — being there for each other under all circumstances.

What a Friend we have in Jesus, Who never forsakes us and is always with us.


Maggie Ishino is a Rafu typist and can be reached at Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *