Mercy Elementary School, c 1970?

Mercy Elementary School, c 1970?

My mother taught 2nd grade at this old school, set up and run by the Department of Defense at Camp Mercy, Okinawa. I remember walking to school as a kid, occasionally through barbed wire during late-Vietnam War protests.


  1. I attend Mercy Elem two different times, three grades 2nd, 5th and half of sixth before going stateside, late sixties early seventies. Soon as I saw the picture, I started remembering the layout of the school. It looks like this photo is taken at/near/close by the kindergarden where my little sister went. To the right was a big open grassy area with the gym in the back next to the highway. I also remember the big playground area on the north-side? Please print more.

  2. Terry, I think you’re right about the position from which this photo was taken. I’m slowly going through more photos and will post them when I get the chance.

    • Andrew, what was your mother’s name? I went to 2nd or 3rd grade at Mercy in 1963 – 64.

  3. Do you remember the dog pound that was there at Mercy?
    Would you believe there was even a hospital there. I should know because I was born in it! The fact that it became a dogpound and disappeared seems cosmically unsurprising.

    • It WAS a hospital, my brother was born in it, we still tease him about being born in a quanset hut, and he’s 52 years old! I can’t wait to show him the picture of it! Shortly after, the hospital was built, and my mom had a baby in it that died. she is buried in that cemetary where the ships are…I don’t remember much about it now, I was 11 0r 12, but some of Ernie Pyle’s men were buried there too, but not Ernie Pyle himself. A dog pound,huh? that’s sad. How many military dependents traveled places, had pets and were forced to leave them behind. I still cry over the dog I left in Bangkok in 67. I loved Missy so much, but my parents wouldn’t let me bring her back.

      • Carol, sorry for you and your mom’s loss. My mom had a miscarriage there as well in the late 50’s. My boy scout troop spent a weekend at Ie Shima, walked to the top of the pinnnacle, saw the Ernie Pyle monument. We lived off base and always adopted a stray mongrol brown dog that we called “brownie.”

    • There was a veterinary hospital at Mercy. That might be why it was perceived to be a “dog pound” as they likely sheltered animals there too.

  4. Hey Andrew, I had Ms? Betty Shim……..? for 2nd grade and Miss Enzie for 5th and 6th. Do you remember either of these teachers? After Mercy, I went to Machinato/Naha Elem, then Eisenhower Elem before going back to Mercy. (random order memory) I also went to Christ the King at Ginowan City? for kindergarten and 1st grade. Alot of time in those buses. I remember driving over “sweet river” twice a day when I went to Mach/Naha and Eisenhower. Oh by the way, can you post any class pictures you might have?

  5. Hi Terry,

    Unfortunately I don’t remember them…I think I went a few years after you, from K – 4; my 1st grade teacher was Ms. Long, my 2nd grade teacher was Ms. Drennan, and 4th grade teacher Mr. Spokas (I’m drawing a blank on 3rd grade). I went to Makiminato (earlier Machinato) for 5-7. Naha Air Station was turned over to the Japanese Self Defense Forces by the time that happened.

    The ‘sweet river’ if I recall was Aja River, and it was a euphemism – it was anything but sweet, given all the sewage dumped into it.

    I don’t have any class pictures, or really any significantly different pictures of Mercy. I’ll have to see the next time I’m in Okinawa whether my parents still have extra hanging about in their storage.

  6. Hey Andrew,

    I think there was a small px on the same block? as the kindergarden, sort of parallel with the quonset hut classrooms? I remember my father on the weekends would take me there in the morning for a donut. Then we would go further down to the sea wall where I would tease those puffer(fugu) fish with my fishing pole. I also remember the most amazing moonset/rise? just above the horizon of the ocean.
    I have never been back but will someday. My mom is Okinawan and I lived the first eleven years of my life there.
    I tell people that growing up there was like being on one huge military base. We used to go to a zenzai place in Ginowan City. I think it was close to christ the king international school and the southern entrance to mcas. Anyways it was the best zenzai.

    • I remember a laundromat on the same side of Camp Mercy Elementary School. It had a soda and candy vending machine along with a cigarette machine too. Like you said, there’s a small PX (Shopette) with a single self-service gas pump.

  7. I was stationed on Oki 3 times–2 USAF & the last tour was Army. I do remember Camp Mercy very well. Does anyone remember nearby Camp Boone ? It was very similar to Camp Mercy but used by the Army for various support activities. RASP academy was there too.
    Over my 3 times on the island I watched it change quite a lot, mostly to the good. I left the last time just prior to the Japanese ordering the switch to the wrong side of the road. Glad I missed that. I never attended school on Oki, but my daughter did (born Camp Kue 1966)–she attended M&K elementry just inside Kadena AB gate 3, and then Zukeran elementry (74–77) We do miss the island, JimL

    • Jim LeVangie –

      I recall Camp Boone very well. I went to kindergarden there. My dad was director of the Camp Boone Auto and Boat Shop on a hill overlooking Highway 1. He built his sailboat there. You can see some pictures here:

    • I’m afraid I don’t remember where Camp Boone was, exactly, though I do remember the name. On my last visit, I learned that the Camp Kue hospital is being relocated (I’m not sure to where). Zukeran Elementary is still there and doesn’t appear to have changed much in the last 20 or 30 years.

    • Jim,
      I was stationed at Camp Boone (Army then) from July 1967 to June 1968 and I liked the island very much. The quonset huts weren’t much to live in but I did enjoy the view. Did someone change the name from Ojana? I have tried to find it on Google Earth with no luck. Everything has changed so much since then that I can’t even find any of the old land marks.

      • If you search for “Ginowan City Okinawa” in Google Maps and then zoom in to the border between Ginowan and Urasoe city, you’ll see Ojana. It’s where Road #34 (running E/W) intersects with Highway #58, formerly Highway #1. Camp Boone was right across from where that intersection hits.

  8. Andrew –

    Camp Boone was almost exactly one mile south of Jimmy’s Bakery on the west side of highway 1. The “Sweet River” described the southern edge of Camp Boone. I recall the Auto/Boat shop on the high point of the camp, the kindergarden was just northwest of that, and there was a gun club shooting range on the East China Sea beach side. A truck-driving road course was also on the camp… a perfect place to race go-karts! I don’t recall any buildings other than quonset huts and some large shed-type structures. It was a very small place, really.

  9. Thanks for the photograph. I too went to Mercy Elementary School, and my first grade teacher’s name was Miss Chan – I still have the class picture. I was born at Camp Kue army hospital, and I understand that the hospital is no longer there or has been moved. Please, if you have any more photographs…

  10. Hi Mike (and all who are interested) – Camp Kue (now Camp Lester) is still there, although now split in half with the other part returned to Okinawa; the hospital remains but is due to be moved soon, from what I understand. It has to be positively ancient by now.

    Unfortunately the other photos I have are pretty degraded, and at the moment, not even available to me. But I’ll post more if something pops up.

    I find it interesting that we all seem to remember our teachers…I had Ms. Kagimoto (Kindergarten), Ms. Long (1st grade), Ms. Drennan (2nd), Ms. Lew (?) for 3rd, and Mr. Spokas for fourth. And then I had to go Makiminato for middle school.

  11. WOW! I can’t believe I came across this site!!! I too went to Camp Boone and had Ms. Kagimoto or was it Koyanagi(1967) for kindergarten. I can’t recall any other teacher. Also went to Sukeran elementary (now called Zukeran?), but don’t remember any teachers. We left after 4th grade, and I’ve only gone back to visit relatives once (about 20 years ago); it looks a lot like Hawaii now. If anyone has photos to post, that would be awesome!!!

  12. Hi Terry,

    Thanks for stopping by. You and I had the same kindergarten teacher (Ms. Kagimoto), though this was at Camp Mercy a some years later. We’ll try to post more photos later at some point.

  13. My Mom taught school at Camp Boone I recall the Kagimoto name I just did some photos on facebook of kindergarten

    I grad Kubasaki 1970

  14. For some reason, thought I’d search Camp Boone. I went there in ’68? Then to Machinato I think I was there for maybe K-2 I have some pics that I can dig out and send to you.

  15. Hi Kevin – Thanks for stopping by. It seems there’s still a lot of interest in seeing the ‘old Okinawa.’ If you have photos that can be added to this, I’m sure that everyone would love it. Thanks -Andrew

  16. Hi,

    I also went to Mercy Elem for a short time. I remember Ms. Drennan, but I think I had her for 3rd grade–a combined class of 2nd and 3rd graders (my younger sister was also in the class). I then went to Zukeran Elem. and then to Pacific Middle School.

    Today, I was just wandering around Kitamae (in Chatan-chou), trying to find our old house.

    Mary Ann

    • I went to sixth grade at Mercy in 1963. Teacher was Mrs. Harrington. The quansit hut were so hot, it was unbearable. I also remember going to Ft. Buckner to the movies. The ceiling had those tiny lights in it. They always reminded me of stars. Heck you could go to the movie for 25 cents and have money for the consession stand.

  17. I went to junior high and high school on Okinawa between 1966 and 1971, knew the Mercy area well. Today its all gone, but one lone Q hut which is on a side street just to the north of Jimmy’s Bakery and across from the BMW dealership, its the last one from the old base and I think was one of the old elementary buildings, rightfully so it sells American antiques

    Ron Thomas
    Kubasaki High School 71

    • Ron as a high school person, in Okinawa did you or anyone you know of or knew Polly Eulitte.
      Where she is, what happened to her where is she now, Please! can you help. Mother was Hawiiwan father a retired Marine. They lived outside Kadena across the bridge but memory doesn’t remember names from that long ago for housing area.Can you help or any ideas? Thanks Dale

  18. It looks like the picture was taken south (left) of the basket ball courts that served as a playground. I lived across the street up on the hill and we would come down and play in the fields and in what looked to me like old artillery craters that had trees growing around them then. There was also an army surplus store on Mercy, I bought quite a bit of old WWII vintage packs and webbing gear for boy scouts. I was in a troop based on Machinato. This was in 1966. Bought old library books too, several of which I found in my parents attic last year when my father passed away. Great pictures. I don’t have any of Mercy myself. I think it was the year I attended Kubisaki Jr. High that I got my Kodak Instamatic and started taking pictures myself. I have plenty from Camp Hansen Jr. High in 68.

  19. I went to 5th grade at Mercy. The pictures sure brought back good memories . I also remember the protest by the locals. My father was in the Airforce and was stationed at Naha. We lived about half way between Naha and Kadena in a village called Ojana. I remember playing Little league baseball for the Mashinato knights.

    • what year did you go to mercy?

      • Terry, I went there from about 1971? to 1976, when it closed. At which point I transferred to Makiminato, and then after a few years to Kubasaki High School.

    • We left to colorado in 72 in the middle of 6th grade.
      Did you have those embroidered team jackets that alot of the kids had? I played for the sukiran rams. Played little league by toyland, but don’t remember the team. I think those protests by the locals in front of the school were not anti war/vietnam, but folks that worked on the bases that were demanding certain work wages, conditions…

      • Now that I think about it, I think 74 or 75 is when Mercy shut down, so that must have been my last year there.

        I didn’t play any sports, so no jackets for me!

        I guess that those protests had a lot to do with local issues, as you say, but those were the times too. I remember in 1976 or 77 being prevented from leaving Kadena AFB because of a massive rally outside of Gate 1, causing me to miss a flight out of Naha for a trip to Guam.

  20. I lived off base at Camp Boone in 1962. As a child I loved walking out on the coral at low tide and seeing all the sea life caught in pools of water. Used to buy firecrackers at Franks Toy Land. Later moved to Fort Buckner. I will never forget going to Kadena Air base and watching the marines in full combat gear boarding planes for Vietnam..Jan 1967..

    • I lived in Camp Boone down by the rice paddies in 62-4, then briefly on base in Futenma, later Ojana, then finally just outside the back gate of MCAS. Graduated from Kubasaki in ’70, went to Naha Elementary & K-9. I’ll always remember Mercy because of Frank’s Toyland and also because I took judo lessons there from the Keller boys. We all paid a man who came around Camp Boone to ride his horse.

  21. I guess my memories of Camp Mercy are from a slightly different time frame than most of these. The first family experience with it was as a hospital since my Dad had to spend some time there being treated for hepatitis, somewhere around 1949-50 (I was an infant).

    I was bused to it (as Camp Mercy Junior High) from our home in Kadena Circle, then from our quarters in Futema military housing for 7th grade, then 8th grade. I can’t recall whether there were any elementary classes there at that time.

    Ninth grade was at Kubasaki High in Naha, then in the new Kubasaki High in the Sukiran area (spelling from that time).

    Memories from Camp Mercy Junior High — the sound of the driving rains on the quonset huts – the teachers could not be heard during extreme rain or winds, so they wrote assignments on the chalkboards for us to work on during class — lining up for salt tablets when it would get very hot — Field Days where we competed with each other for ribbons in various events — Math with Mr. Ige (I think that was his name) where we worked hard to understand the numbers and fractions he spoke with an “oriental” accent during our lessons. In the way of young teenagers, we never seemed to stop chuckling over “tree turds,” or “tree forts,” and other such items. Thank goodness we all got older and a bit more mature — eventually.

    I also recall an English teacher (although I don’t recall her name), whose hair had gone prematurely white in her early 20s. If I recall correctly, it was after she found out her parents had died, or a similar tragedy. She was a wonderful teacher, so I regret that I can’t recall her name.

    We left the island in 1965, so the changes you guys speak of are totally new to me. I loved it there and absolutely hated returning Stateside when it was time for Dad to move on with his career.

    • I had to take a “special” speech class because I was pronouncing th as duh. Does anyone else remember or admit they were in those classes. I remember some had issues with “s…” I think part of the charm of Mercy is that how many people stateside can say that they went to a school of quonset huts that used to be an army hospital after ww2. I remember the navy grey electric fans that were on the walls that were hung upside down. That some what fascinated me. All the years of being bused and thinking for a long time that everyone changed schools every year and had to make new friends.

      • I do remember the electric fans! It’s for this reason that I still have a sentimental fondness for those old-style fans whenever I’m searching for a new one.

      • We lived in Okinawa 66-68. My dad worked at Camp Kue hospital. I had my tonsils out there.

        I remember Camp Mercy Elementary. I had Ms. Roberts for 1st and Ms. Cornet for 2nd. I remember Fess Parker from Daniel Boone coming to visit the school. And I remember speech classes for “s”. Silly Sammy Snake slithered through the grass. I only have fond memories of Okinawa.

      • I remember Mercy Elementary. My fourth grade teacher was Ms. Ramirez. That was the mid 60s. I started at Christ the King School than transferred to Mercy so I could go to school with my friends.

  22. Does anybody remember Mrs. Mosier 6th grade at Mercy Elementary?

    • Kathy, that name sounds vaguely familiar. About what years was she there?

    • Kathy:

      I believe I was in your class. We planted vegetables in wooden crates, if I recall, and made a bulletin board of the crusades. We had to memorize poetry too, if I recall correctly. I can still recite several I memorized. Our quonset hut was on the second row back from the b-ball courts.


      • Keith,
        My name is Steve H and I lived a couple doors up from you. This is what I remember. Your Dad was a scout leader and you would set up a MASH like compound in your backyard with camo netting, etc. More importantly, your sister Melanie was my first love and I was crushed when you moved stateside. I’m an anesthesiologist in AZ now. Hi to Mel! Oh, you were a bit of a bully in your adolescence but I’m sure you’re a sweet guy now. Forty six years, unbelievable!

      • Steve:

        Yeah, you are speaking about when we were on Kadena. Had the little black dog, Towser. Mel, went on to go to the Air Force Academy, fly tankers and is now a senior pilot for Delta. Lives in Seattle, retired USAF husband who is raising cattle, three kids. I am a petroleum geologist in Houston, Texas.

        If you are the Steve I recall, you had short blondish hair. There was one other boy who lived down below us on the hill with red hair. The former guy and I played baseball against each other. You had the two over the top coaches that I had for basketball. One tall older guy and a younger shorter protege’. They were Vince Lombardi worshipers. We both filled the catcher positions on our respective teams. I was on the Indians I can’t recall what team you were on. I recall a close play at home plate where you had me cold but the ball fell from your mit. We had some sleepovers at my house. I still have photos of those. The kid next door, Kip Vasbinder is in some of them. Didn’t know you had a crush on my little sister. That sounds like something from a movie…lol. Don’t recall being a bully, but do recall getting my ass kicked more than once by other kids on the bus over the music I chose to play or not play on my radio. I did let the dog run free on occasion which terrified the littler kids. Didn’t you help out with the haunted house one year? We built it under the camo net in the back yard. My dad was more of a scout driver, he didn’ t do any leading but did drive our Troop bus on a number of camping trips. He passed away about 5 years ago, preceeded by my mom by a few years.

      • Keith,
        Wow. Thx for the reply. Great to hear that you and Mel have thrived. Sorry to hear about your folks. My Dad is still kickin. He was the tower chief on Kadena and went on to be a controller in the FAA. Guess you don’t remember me as I did not play baseball but did have short blonde hair. We lived in those duplexes and we were two doors up from you. I had two much older sisters and my middle sis was a cheerleader at Kubasaki. Older sis drove a red Datsun 2000 Fairlady. Ring a bell? Actually Google Earthed our old base housing a while back. Yours was still there but not ours and a couple more at the end of the block. There’s a freeway where ours once stood. You were at least 2 or 3 years older than me and JK with the bully crack. To be sure, you were a badass though. I was impressed with your scouting adventures so I joined the cub scouts… for one day. Sailed through med school but couldn’t hack the cub scouts. We’re you still there when a fully loaded BUFF crashed on take off on Kadena? Shook that island like a 7.0. The secret SR-71’s flying overhead? My mom scolded me for talking about them. Ha! Bet you’ve visited some interesting places in your line of work. And Mel, an Airline Captain! Got such a warm feeling reading that. Guess I’ll be lookin for a short- haired, brunette, freckled 3rd grader when I visit my son in Seattle. We corresponded for a while after you left. Think you went to CA or TX? Did help with your haunted house! Remember a big blonde kid named Kip too. 35cent movies with my pops and the scoop and skillet. Good times on that famous island.

      • Steve: Yeah, I let Mel know I had heard from you and she remember you and then I realized you were not one of my friends, but hers, her age, so a bit younger than me. Said something about an emerald ring and looking for four leaf clovers…ring a bell? Yes, I looked at google earth for the same reason some time back and noticed not all the quarters were still there. They also put in some parking on the other side of the street. I could not even find our old house or the terrace we were on near Oyama below Futenma. Camp Mercy is long gone too. I might have been a bad ass to you, you were 5 years my Jr. but to be sure I was not. I did pick on Mel a lot, she claims it helped her get through the hazing at the USAFA…lol. I got he lifting weights before her Beast Summer, and she could do 4 pull ups to the other girl’s zero. She is till pretty fit, runs a lot to keep her weight down and staying trip for her flying. Yes,we were there when the 52 pancaked into the runway. Woke us up. Yeah, the SR-71s…when we were at Beale AFB in Calif, there were there but we werent’ supposed to see or hear them I guess.

        Brunette? How about white…both of us are. She stopped coloring hers. She has three kids, two boys and a girl. All in college now. We went to Calif, after Okinawa, then to Germany. My big sis and I went on to Munich for some college at a military dependent college there, then I matriculated back went on to grad school, worked for Phillips Pet. for a while, then tried my hand at law school, quit under threat of divorce, went into environmental work for 7-8 years and then back into petroleum. She divorced me anyway, hated Houston so took the kids back to Tulsa, where they both are. Daughter is a nurse, son was playing in a sony label band till the band broke up. He isn’t sure what he wants to do, but has a wife and two kids, so he better decide soon. lol Mel can be located on facebook Melaney Uehlin. Gig Harbor, Wa. She says she still has the ring…lol. Look her up, or drop me a line at keithhpatton at Hotmail and I’ll pass on her email address.


  23. Karen mentioned being in the ninth grade at Kubasaki Naha. We were in the same class Karen. 1957-58. Right?

    I just stumbled onto this web site and it sure brings back a lot of memories. Mercy was a hospital when I lived there. I lived accross the highway from the gate. There were some cement steps up the hill. We called the housing area OHC. I have photographs of Mercy 1956-58 but they are in storage at the moment. I will make them available soon if anyone is interested.

    Can anyone tell me how to find a map from that era, before they changed all the names? I am trying to get my bearings on the new maps but am confused after such a long time. Is the Okinawa Convention Center on the location of Mercy? Was Machinato south of Mercy? Anyone remember the Rycom teen club?

    • Ed,
      The Okinawa Convention Center is located approximately in the very back (oceanside) of what used to be Camp Mercy. The road leading to it from Highway 58 (which used to be Highway 1) is pretty much where the main gate to Camp Mercy was located. It’s all completely built over and part of the beachside area might be recovered land, however.

      Machinato (now Makiminato) is south of Mercy, closer to Naha.

      If I find an old USCAR-era map of Okinawa, I’ll be sure to post it. In the meantime I hope you are able to post your own photos one day – as you can see there’s a lot of interest out there!

    • Ed,
      I am looking for a picture of Mercy Hospital.
      My grandmother’s 19 yr old cousin was transported from the USS Callaghan (last destroyer hit by kamikaze) in late July 1945 to a hospital on Okinawa. I understand the field hosptials were Quonset huts situated on present day Ginowan City and known as Camp Mercy Hospital.
      Not sure he would have been at Mercy but would like to see what it would have looked liked.
      You mentioned having a picture to share with anyone who would be interested.
      My family would be so appreciative to see your photos.
      Thank you for your time,
      If you have anything that could possibly be

      • Hi Lisa.
        I finally got moved. I don’t think I can send a photo from this site. If you would email me I will scan and send photos to you.Sorry it took so long to get back to you. Ed.

      • Lisa– scroll up– there’s one in this very blog! They Identify it as something else, and then go on to say it used to be Mercy hospital! My brother was born in it! Carol Daniell.

  24. Thanks Andrew,
    I will be moving in about a month and unpack my photos. I will post them as soon as possible. I want to thank you for this web site. It certainly has brought back a lot of fond memories. My 2 1/2 years on Okinawa are some of my fondest memories. I arrived there on the Breckenridge in Nov. 1955 and left on the Gaffey in early 1958. Thank you again.

    • I sailed from Okinawa on the Gaffey in 1964…. have met more than a few that can identify with that ship!

  25. Hey Andrew,

    I know that Christ the King International School closed some years ago, are the buildings still there? and if they are, do you know what they are using them for? Also, I think just past the school was/is the gate to the futenma mcas southern gate?

    • Terry,

      I haven’t been around there in quite some time. I think I heard the buildings were demolished, though – probably for apartment buildings. I’m going back to Okinawa in November, and I’ll check it out.


      • Andrew,

        Thanks, that would be great. we lived in three different houses around maehara. Have a good trip.

    • Hello Terry,

      My name is Armando, graduated from CKIS in ’83. CKIS building is still there, right now it’s being used as Japanese School. Name of school has changed to Okinawa Catholic School (Catholic Okinawa Gakuen). After they closed CKIS majority of the students moved to Okinawa Christian School (used to be located on top of hill in Urasoe City). Okinawa Christian School became big and now they have moved to Yomitan Village, near Kadena AB.

      • Hey Armando,

        Thanks for the info. Just been nostalgic for the old neighborhood since my mom passed about a year ago. I went to CKIS for kindergarten and 1st grade. I remember the nuns, service every morning, grey uniforms…. Do you remember the music teacher? He used to tell us that there were big spiders in the closet and he would put us there if we didn’t behave. I plan on visiting in a few years. Are you a resident there? work? school?, service? We moved from Maehara to a house behind Jiro’s Bakery and Frank’s Toy Store in 71-72. Do you have any old pictures of the school you could post here?

      • Hi, Read my posting on the other site
        My name is Bill Furnish, I went to CKIS for the 2nd through 5th grades left okinawa after ther reversion in 73, the prinipal was sister Elizabeth, there was a brother John and a sister Teresa that I remember. The music teachers name was Mr. Gapud.Remeber his huge nostrils? He used to put his finger in it all the time,LOL we all learned to play the recorder. My two sisters Pat and Beverly went there too. also went to the same zensai shop! You ever eat seemoi’s the red dried plums? I remember they banned the red dye no.2 in em in like 72. Ever eat those like 5″ round rice cracker that were covered in salt? man this site brings back memories. I am 49 now, we left just around my 12th birthday. I live in washington St. now. I will write more later.I went to camp mercy for kindergarten.

    • I don’t remember music teachers name but I remeber he was Philipino, I rememeber some teachers like Mr. Diaz, Mr. Lozano, Mr. Sicam, Ms. Quinto.
      I live in Okinawa, been here since I was born (46 years). 1st and 2nd grade I attended OCS, from 3rd grade I went to CKS and graduated there. I work for U.S.Army in Torii Station as local national employee. Sorry I don’t have old pictures but you can’t visit CKSalumni website, you can see old pictures of CKS and might find your old buddies. web address is Once you register you’ll be able to see picture. Get your old memories back.

      Jiro Bakery and Frank’s Toy is still there, Salimar (House of 66 cents) next to Frank’s is still open.

      • hey Armando,

        What did they sell at salimar? My bus stop for mercy was in front of jiro’s for 5th and half of 6th grade. There were also some kids that lived at Ft Buckner housing across the street that caught the military issue bus there. We would slide down the steep grassy hillside in cardboard boxes and explore a couple of caves around there in the housing area that had a little bit of cyclone fencing around it. They used to show this films at school about not playing with old ww2 munitions, grenades… that people would find and accidently blow off a hand, not to touch orange phosphorous if you found some…, aside from that a magical time.

      • Salimar sold cloths, materials for making clothes and curtains. Roads has changed a bit, Ft. Buckner housing is gone but Ft. Buckner and slope is still there. Still a big issue here about grenades and bombs. Every year tons of bombs, grenades and bullets from WWII still found.

  26. Would be most grateful for a picture of Mercy Hospital.
    1945, our cousin was sent to a field hospital following the kamakaze attack on the USS Callaghan.
    Thank you,

    • Lisa.
      I have some photos of Mercy 1956-57. They are in storage at the moment but I will be getting them out in a couple weeks. I will notify you then if you are still interested.

    • Hi Lisa, you may have already seen this picture which is on the Okinawa Naval Hospital web site. I couldn’t find any other pictures of the old Mercy Hospital, although I’m sure they exist somewhere.

  27. just had another thought about the old mercy elem area. there was a boy scout (far east council) qounset hut building on the north side, adjacent to mercy. I went through cubs, started scouts on the island. then went to rocky mountain council in Colorado and finally got my eagle at inland empire council in southern california. I remember my troop going on a 50 mile hike during Christmas break. All of the leaders were servicemen, we rode in deuce and a half and five ton army trucks, practically all of our gear was Vietnam era army issue. We hiked to hedo point and I remember the generosity of the local farmers as we walked by. they would offer me fruits and what nots every once in a while and sleeping in pup tents on the beach.

    • I too went on a 50 mile hike on Okinawa and also attended Mercy in 5th grade with mr. Crittenden.
      We went south to suicide cliff and ended up in Yonabaru. Our troop number was 104
      I lived in awase and was bussed to Mercy but later was forced to attend Kadena Elementry when we moved on base. I liked Mercy and enjoyed beating everyone at tether ball and playing soccer.
      Later I attended camp kubasaki

      • I also remember having a garage band that played at the Kadena Youth Center we were woke up one Christmas Eve around midnight to meet a plane full of GI’s headed stateside from Vietnam with an unexpected layover at Kadena we played Christmas songs and the Rolling Stones and someone served cookies and kool-aide and the GI’s were very surprised that someone cared about them a few had tears in their eyes since they had been told not to expect a warm welcome home.

      • I was in Mr Critttenden’s class and read this month’s ago but it just hit me that I think I remember you in my class. You looked Hawaiian to me and you were bigger as if you could have played football already! Am I remembering you, Raymond Howard?

  28. Im looking for Polly Eulitte anyone know where she may be, please/

  29. I’m still and will always be looking for Polly Eulitte.
    We were going out when I was around stationed in Okinawa from 70 to 71.

    I need to find what hapened to her and or where she is now.

    If anyone is awhere please help me.

  30. I lived in Mercy from 1958-1973. I went to Mercy Elementary. In 5th grade, I raised the flag and lowered it every day. Then I went to Kubasaki Junior H.S. then to K-9 – then to Kubasaki H.S. But, unfortunately, we moved to the states 2 years before i graduated so i graduated with people i only knew a year or two.
    What a great picture of MY school. Brings back very vivid memories of my neighborhood and school. Thanks for bringing those memories back

  31. Polly eulitte, where are you I miss you and the times we shared.
    Please let me know where she’s gone or maybe where she’s moved.
    Can anyone help.
    She has to be around. I called her house and rang up a big bill.
    I need her I need to find her, Please. I have a picture but nothing to go on, someone please?

  32. POLLY……………………

    Where have you gone, what happened. I called you until I rang up a $400 dollar tab with my
    DAD and he said that, I have to work more if I want phone calls going, to Okinawa.
    Your Mother said you working three jobs since I’d left and I could never get through.
    I miss you very very much, you’ll always be the beacon on the light across the sea. I always be forever with you in my memories. I’ll keep your picture till I’m gone. But willl take it with me.

  33. I attended school in Okinawa from 1959 to 1965.
    Kindergarten thru 4th grade at Machinato Elem. School. And 5th and 6th grade at Mercy Elem.
    I remember well all of my teacher’s names and would Love to find classmates or my teachers!
    Kdgtn. teacher: Ms. Spring (she left mid year to become the Principal)
    1st grd.: Miss Brown
    2nd: Ms. Qualls
    3rd: Miss Daisy
    4th: Miss Diane or Carolyn Klebe- (I became a teacher because of you and taught 23 years…would love to hear from you, Ms. Klebe!)
    5th: Miss Yasumoto – She was from Hawaii and we performed a May Day festival for Mercy school.
    6th Mr. Crittenden He was from Boston.

    I lived across the street from Mercy Elementary in the Mercy housing area- on Half Moon Lane.
    I would have fun going around that entire neighborhood exploring with my friend, Sharon Stamm. The caves at the top of the hill, the weeds that had tunnels to climb through- fearing the habus as we scurried through. Taking walks through the rice paddies to get to the ocean- behind the Pepsi Cola Plant. And going to Jimmy’s Bakery. Yum! Wonderful memories I have growing up on Okinawa!

    • Melanie, thanks for stopping by. Jimmy’s is still there, as is the Pepsi plant – although it’s not really a Pepsi plant anymore. There are a few rice paddies behind the plant, but the area’s practically unrecognizable from new roads and buildings.

      I lived in Okinawa and went to Mercy and Makiminato later than you did, and unfortunately don’t recognize any of your teachers’ names.

    • Melanie, I lived across the street also. We left in early 1958. Were the steps still there up the hill directly across from the gate to Mercy? If so, our house was the first one at the top of the hill. Right beside the fence that separated the housing area from the village. Was that Futema airfield behind the housing?

      • ED- Wow, you must be older than I am…Is anyone ever? I’m pretty sure that Futema Airbase was not behind that area. I don’t know what was. I guess as a kid I never thought about it, although I did venture around by myself or with my friend a lot! You must’ve lived in that area of Mercer where the houses all looked similar, concrete with tile roofs I remember. I think they were part of earliest military housing. I lived in the area which sprawled before that, but walked through those houses to get to school- and yes I think there WERE steps. I’d forgotten about those stairs! Did you ever cross over into that village past your house? I’ve often thought of the time we were walking a long ways over that way and came across old stone walls in an old garden like area. It was like a Fantasy! There was a pond and we got some tadpoles.

    • I grew up in Mercy. I lived at P-53 Half Moon Lane. I lived there from 1958-1973. I don’t recall your name but please respond.

      • My brother, mother and I are arguing that we did not live on Half Moon Lane, but lived on Shady Lane! Perhaps my friend,Sharon, lived on Half Moon Ln. In Mercy housing area there was a hill with a main road going up it and our street was up that hill a ways and to the left. I’ve tried to find a map of the neighborhood but no luck. And on Google maps Its hard to find where things were back then as its changed so much with all the building since 1960- 65 and labels are Japanese.

      • if i recall, if you follow half moon lane it turns into shady lane.

  34. hello Andrew, I can’t get to the comments for the mercy elem picture

    • Terry,

      If you click on the word “Mercy” in red under the comments section you should be able to get to the post. The post is still there and comments are still open. However, note that I am now approving comments before they appear on the web site, so they won’t appear immediately.


      • Hey Andrew,

        Have you been to Okinawa since this string started and are you going to post any more pictures?

      • Terry, I haven’t made it over to Okinawa, and probably won’t as my parents just moved to Hawaii. Everything’s still boxed up and I’m not, unfortunately, expecting to post any pictures in the near future. Sorry! I welcome anyone else who have posted their own pictures to let us know where we can see them, and I’d be happy to pass the word along.

  35. Hey Andrew, Maybe you’ll be in a melancholy, nostalgic mood for Okinawa one day and post some more pics. No biggy, I can’t believe that this string has lasted for almost two years and 70 posts. I was the first post and maybe the last. I am planning on taking my wife to Okinawa one day, but it won’t be till I retire, hopefully in ten years. Good luck in academia. I think this string is nearing the end, twas fun.

    • Terry, thanks – I’m already nostalgic for Okinawa. Hope that you’ll be able to visit there with your wife some day. Agreed, twas fun.

      • Can anyone tell me where exactly Camp Boone kindergarten was? We were
        in Okinawa from 1967-1970 and my son went to kindergarten there……a
        very long bus ride from Camp Kue where we lived and where he went
        to first grade. I’d love to see pictures from that time period……the
        memories fade after awhile and most of my pictures are of my children.

  36. Well hell… we would have gone to school together. I went to Mercy Elementary for 4th and 5th grade, circa 1970-72. I’m a little fuzzy on exact years since we moved around so much but I CLEARLY remember turning 10 at that school.

    I didn’t live close enough to walk, I had to take the school bus. I also have a clear memory of passing through the protesters; one time it was so bad we had an armed Army Ranger on board instead of our regular “bus mother”.

    Finding your post here brought back a lot of memories. Thanks!!

    • do you have any school/class pictures you could post 70 – 71?

  37. I went to mercy around that time, about the same grade.I remember the “bus mothers”, they were usually high-schoolers from kubasaki( was that a paid job?). We brats were tough on some. The nice one’s would give up cupcakes
    every once in a while. I also remember an army band came to the school and played the theme song to the original hawaii five-o. I didn’t realize the tv shows on afn were 2-3 years old and even more, till we went to the states. There was this air force master sergeant who did the news broadcasts everyday. Many typhoons that would reek havoc on the wooden houses in the villages, water rationing, drinking putrid water from the army water buffaloes they towed around. Anyone else out there go to machinato-naha elem or eisenhower elem school?

  38. Where is everyone that was there then 70-71-72 the old sea wall the times friends crashed my bike, playing football in the barrack parking lot.

    Digging out of the mud when the jeep got stuck, using two ton an half’s because the first one got stuck.

    Hangin out with friends and long past love.

    It happened wasn’t anyone else remembering.

    Melting lead for water line repairs, while the Okinawans rioted outside the gate.

    Moving leaking rockets, SSgt Pomeroy?

    OB, Dowd, Kantor, Baker, ????

    Our TAD to Kwuang Ju Korea,

    Kadena AFB we could see the flight line from the Barracks and chow hall.

    Where have all the Metal processing specialist gone? Welders from that era.

    Has anyone gotten as sick as I have from the old days, Neuropathy, Ocular migraines, headaches, neverousness, Sleep Apnea, rashes, ect.

    Come on I know your out there,??? Polly was real. you guys were real.
    Where is everyone?

  39. It’s fun to have found this site, even though I’m an oldie, like Ed. I went to 3rd grade at Sukiran (that’s what it was called then) Had a wonderful teacher named Miss Vince who had a severe limp due to polio, that was around ’56. The next year Machinato Elem opened up, and I had some teacher I didn’t like, but I loved my 5th grade teacher who got married halfway through and ended up being Mrs Adair. 6th grade is kind of a blur for some reason. I do remember though, on our school bus we used to sing every day all the way to school and all the way home. I know it sounds weird, but we did. I rode on Bus 86. I remember that because we had a song about it. We lived at 726 McKinley Circle right by sugarloaf hill. There was a chainlink fence around it because of the danger of live explosives, well, also, it was off post. But there was all kinds of equipment driving all over it, building that stupid water tank that as long as we lived there, never was operational. And of course, the tractors and stuff were ALWAYS running over the bombs and exploding and killing somebody, but it was an Okinawan thing, and they just kept doing it. Some kids got through the fence anyway, but no one got hurt as far as I know. Friends that I remember were Virginia Ambergie A beautiful African American girl from 3rd grade. She’s the only person in that class I remember, but I thought she was so pretty, and she taught me a song about seagulls I remember to this day (I’m 63.) Karen Apple. Lizzie Oglesby. Davida Perry, Debbie Diffendorfer. Her birthday is July 7th, and to this day I never forget it. But I don’t know where the heck she is!
    and there was an interesting person in my 6th grade class, a very nice red headed girl named Anne Kennedy, who said her dad’s cousin, Jack, was going to be president of the United States! She was some kind of psychic or something, I believe… This is kind of long. Thanks for taking me back!

    • Hi, Carol!
      I’m doing some research for a project – large map of Makiminato/Machinato housing area. I’m trying to determine approximately when the Custard Cup changed to the Run-In Chef (or, perhaps vice-versa). You mentioned some of your friends, including Lizzie Oglesby. I know you posted this a couple of years ago and have probably already made contact, but she’s on Facebook (Elizabeth Oglesby) and I’m looking forward to meeting her as we are both going to be returning to Okinawa in October for a few weeks. You might get a kick out of the map; check it out! It’s on my website at The map is here:
      Thanks for “listening” and if you know anything more about the Custard Cup please let me know!
      Ya matta ne!

  40. I remembered a few more friends from the machinato neighborhood, this was in the late 50’s. My parents entertained a lot and kids were invited, and whenever there were fireworks over Naha, everybody congregated in our backyard, because we had the perfect vantage point, the best in the whole neighborhood, overlooking the city. It was beautiful. My friends were Ronny Luzania, who I ran into years later as an adult, rather his wife, she was a breast-feeding consultant in the hospital where I was an OB nurse and I saw her name tag. Kind of an unusual name, so the connection was made, and we got together again after all those years, Anne Bartz, Blackie the photographer’s son, who’s name escapes me, but I had a crush on him. Vincent fenequito, was another one. MY name was Carol Dickinson at the time. I loved going to the Teahouse of the August moon for a friend’s birthday party, they had a sweet set up for little girl’s birthdays where they had lunch and tea and learned some Japanese dances on the tatami mats with Fans and parasols, it was quite fun. I remember Nagagusico Castle which was not a very good zoo, but kind of a neat place to explore. I think the animals probably weren’t treated very well in retrospect, I remember some kind of snake all rolled up in a jar that looked like one of those big pickle jars, and that was where he lived… We went to Ishikawa a lot, they filmed a movie there with Jeff hunter I think that’s who it was, while we were there, don’t remember the title but it had the word “Hell” in it. We only went to Okuma once, that was the great place to vacay, but I never hear anybody talk about it now. My dad and I were out riding the waves, he was holding me because I wasn’t that old, and they were pretty big, because a typhoon was getting kind of closer, and we were WAYYYY out.. some person was on the beach frantically waving us in, so we came in. Seemed that the sharks were seen coming in with the waves and they were getting everybody out of the water, and we were the only ones left. Well, the typhoon got pretty close that night, and they told us to leave, and so we were driving in the storm home, but I think they should have let us stay, because it seemed pretty dangerous driving, my mom was freaking out and my dad kept telling her to shut up.

    • I just googled Jeffrey Hunter and the name of the movie that was
      filmed in Okinawa with him was “Hell to Eternity”. It said they used
      some of the 3rd Marine Division and Japanese extras trained by
      a WWII veteran as extras in the movie. Back then we called them
      Okinawans and not Japanese.

  41. These two sites off lots of 1960’s and earlier photos of Okinawa and out military facilities there. There are some of Camp Mercy.

  42. Carol,
    Gosh, this is so strange but I was thinking about Blackie the Photographer just awhile ago and of his son, Danny, who was my age. Their family lived in our neighborhood, Mercy, in the early 60’s. Danny was my age- I am 57, but he had brothers…older than he was I think. So I’m not sure if your crush was on Danny who was really cute, or one of the brothers ( I don’t remember them). A girl in my 6th grade class had a crush on Danny also! (I think that was his name!) Sharon Spencer was her name. I attended 6th grade at Mercy Elem. in the quanset huts. When were you in school there and what grades? So nice of you to bring back happy memories. Melanie

    • Melanie, I don’t remember Blackie’s son I had a crush on, but I’m 62, and he might even have been a year older, he wasn’t in my class. I just know he was cute, but it couldn’t have been Danny. I wasn’t at Mercy elem, it didn’t exist as a school at that time I was at Machinato for 4th 5th and 6th grades, 3rd was at Sukiran because they hadn’t opened Machinato yet. I understand they changed the spellings of all those schools. I also remember being terrified because some of the bigger boys were telling everybody the island was going to sink into the ocean. I lost sleep over it. Finally my mom told me not to worry they’d get a big ship and put us all on it if it happened so we wouldn’t drown, and it wouldn’t happen all at once, it would take a while, there would be plenty of time, so I felt better.

      • CAROL and MELANIE: Allen was the oldest, he will be 63 in November. I am Brad. Danny was the third oldest and Jerry is the youngest. And yes, Danny and Sharon were an item until they had their first argument.

        Rev. Spencer performed the eulogy at my father’s funeral here in Florida and that is where my brothers are. I trying to remember back since for most school years we were in Okinawa until 1966 and these great conversation are being very helpful.

        thanks again, brad. wbm2012 on

      • Hi Carol, Me again…I just was thinking about the years you said you were at Machinato. We must have been there together for at least a couple of years- even if I was am four years younger. Now I am 58, this month. I went to kindergarten at Machinato the year our family got to Okinawa in’59. I went to school there through 4th grade. You were one of the big kids there! I still remember the older kids singing the school’s song before a n important game (I thought then) or why would there be a song with our school’s name in it: “Cheer for Machinato, Blue and the Gold….. ThThTheses

      • Carol, Stopped printing my song there.I’ll try again: “Cheer for Machinato, Blue and the Gold. These are our Colors and we have the spirit that will always win…So cheer for mighty Warriors,on to vic-tor-y. Cheer for Machinato the Blue and Gold.

        Maybe the Cheer Leaders were singing it- or perhaps you were!
        Anyway I guess we were the Warriors there.

        Do you remember the cafeteria there? There was a big wall picture of soldiers pushing up a pole with the American flag (I think that’s a famous picture of IwaJima or?)

  43. I went to Mercy for 2nd and 3rd grade, ’70-’71, when we lived in Sunabe, then we moved on base and I went to Kadena Elementary for 4th and 5th. I don’t remember any of my teacher’s names, but I certainly remember the school – playing in the sand box, the nurse’s office, standing in line to get little cups of water during water rationing, etc.

  44. That’s right! It still sounds funny to me when people say Okinawa, Japan. Back then, they were two different places! Carol

    • this was for Ruth Minter

  45. hi….I have not read all of the messages, yet. But I would like to add my “two cents” as my father would say. I was born in Machinato, at Mercy Hospital in December of 1951 (before i believe it became the school.)

    I remember riding my bike there later, when the buildings were empty and then I attended classes in the different over sized quonset buildings.

    If you would like to follow a retrospective I have been putting together on my father Blackie the Photographer…..please visit and enter the keywords “wbm2012” or “BLACKIE SAN” or “Blackie’s Heart”.


    thanks, brad. (blackie’s second son)

  46. Your dad was so famous, Brad, and as a little kid, I’m not really sure why, but I’m sure he was a fabulous photographer. And I had a crush on your older brother, although a distant one… we girls would giggle and point and talk about how cute he was. Sorry, I don’t think I ever saw you, I’m sure you were cute, too! 50 years has rather taken the memories and blurred them a bit…

  47. To The Have Mercy Gang….and Carol ..I’m sure this is a rite of passage….but I couldn’t remember….where I went to school…..until I visited this chat room….which is a first in itself. (I will be 60 this year).

    Sometime between 1959-1962 (age 7) I do remember running the hills and caves with a very small group of kids and daring each other to do “dumb things” like kiss a girl….it was a brother and sister….that ran our little “rat pack”….but it was fun. (We were in one of the first civilian houses across from Camp Mercy.)

    The neighborhood grew very quickly…..and JoAnn Brotman and her parents were very close friends…..eventually we had a neighborhood pool with a Swing Set, that was like a carnival carriage ride…. that all the kids loved.

    George and Betty Ottoniger family was another group of kids. And Larry Krebs son of the This Week on Okinawa magazine publisher was a buddy. The Horwaths were in our neighborhood, and I an not sure where the Spencers, Bollingers, Land, and Bell families….lived but they were they were missionaries or military from Florida..

    Every four years, overseas dependents were required to spend a year back in the U.S……a strange but effective citizenship this gets a little confusing…..and I will figure out my age later……

    Born Dec. 1951
    1957 First grade…at Mercy Elementary…I think
    1958 Second grade……in the U.S.
    1959-1962 Third, Fourth & Fifth…..Machinato Elementary
    1962 6th Grade … the U.S.
    1963-1966 7th at Machinato,
    8th and 9th..Sukiran Jr. High…football, basketball, Latin
    1966-1967 10th Grade..Kubasaki High School…football,basketball, Latin
    1967-1969 in the U.S. graduated 1969.

    For you ladies….I WILL LET ALL MY BROTHERS KNOW…..they are missed.

    My father’s Blackie the Photograher ….retrospective project…at WBM2012 on youtube……. has some pretty good 1950s Okinawa sights and film….and keeps me pretty busy…..please come visit.

    Thanks Carol……for these Great memories, brad.

    • Sharon Spencer was in my 6th grade class and she liked your brother, Danny. So I remembered correctly! I also remember your house or where it was when walking around as a kid in Mercy housing area where we lived. Brad,you are a couple years older, and I may have been in your front yard one day when I was 5, with a group of kids. There was an out-building in the yard, and we were going up on the roof. Some kids were daring me to jump from the roof to the ground. And I finally did. I’ll never I couldn’t breathe and practically crawled home. It knocked the wind out of me, but I was ok after missing kindergarten that day and laying on the couch. Did you have a big yard with a small building, maybe a shed or playhouse? Didn’t you have a tall fence -you couldn’t see the house from the road. But somehow that day I got behind the fence with this “pak” of kids!

    • Also, my parents had met and knew of your Dad. My Dad was a Lutheran missionary and they knew “Bud” Spencer also. I think that’s what Dad called Sharon’s dad. Every year we had our family picture taken at Blackie the Photographer’s. They were black and white pictures of course, and for Christmas there was a picture of the island of Okinawa around the frame of it. It was so nice!
      Thank you for finding this place to share memories….

  48. Melanie……yes, yes, and yes.

    “There was an out-building in the yard, and we were going up on the roof. Some kids were daring me to jump from the roof to the ground. And I finally did. I’ll never I couldn’t breathe and practically crawled home. It knocked the wind out of me, but I was ok after missing kindergarten that day and laying on the couch. Di d you have a big yard with a small building, maybe a shed or playhouse? Didn’t you have a tall fence -you couldn’t see the house from the road.”

    The large playhouse was a storage unit downstairs with wooden
    stairs outside and led to an empty playroom upstairs with a wooden table inside. And that is where I wrote my first sentences as a young child or had
    to spend timeout. (And today my sentences usually skip words regularly)

    I think we had a small basketball court made of grass, and yes very tall fence all around. We were the second house on the incline from the main road and then the road went straight up a hill, with many houses and side streets to the left and right.

    Betty and George Ollinger lived up the street, and so did the Horwaths.
    Jo Ann Brotman lived down the street, her father was a “band leader at the Clubs on Base” and we use go to the American Legion/VFW Club on Sunday and listen to country/pop music on Sundays after Church.

    Rev. Spencer was my father’s life long friend, Susan was the oldest, then Joel, Sharon and Johnny. I remember going to visit a 7th Day Adventist Church, but I don’t remember to much about the Lutheran’s.

    Again, thanks for helping jog my memory….I have asthma, and my brain is slow to remember….I will be 60 in December.

    Please visit:…… “blackie-san” or wbm2012 (channel)

    • Hi Brad- I went home to FL for TG and told my brothers and sister, all younger than I, all about this great “Union St..”web sight -and they didn’t seem to care as much because they just don’t remember as much as I do! funny what 3 years or more does for memory when you are children. My Mom was Very interested. She is 80. She was surprised I recalled so much about Blackie the Photograper’s family, but then so am I! She told me that Blackie’s studio where we had our pictures made was very close to The Lutheran Service Center. This was not where Dad worked but where the kids in our family went to church as it was English speaking- actually operated by the military.
      Mom and Dad made many close friends at the Lutheran Service Center- some they kept throughout their lives!
      Anyway, you said you didn’t recall the Lutherans in Okinawa. So if you ever visit Okinawa again, I believe the Lutheran Service Center is still where it always was (near where your Dad had his studio, where we’d go annually for pictures).
      Do you remember the Plaza shopping area across the way from there?
      There was a bigger store called Rogers, and other shops.

      What is your email address?

      Carol, what is YOUR email address?

      I feel a lot of this reminiscing could be quite boring to some??

      Take Care-

    • Hi I just join this blog yesterday. I haven’t finished reading everyones comments, but I stopped here because you remembered the same things as I did. I lived in Okinawa from 1955-1961. Lived in Mercy just a couple of houses from Betty and George Ollinger. They lived sort of up the hill like on the right side. She was my best friend and we somehow lost contact. I have some school class pictures I would like to post soon so everyone can enjoy.

      • Hi Merle, my memory isn’t that great…..but George and Betty were good friend in Okinawa, George I believe is in Florida, where I and my brothers….Allen, Danny and Jerry are. Help me remember the neighborhood. thanks, brad. some of my father’s old films from Okinawa are at: ……thanks, brad.

      • Hi Brad, so surprise I got a reply so soon. This site brings back so much memories remembering Okinawa back then. I lived on the left side of the street. The white two story house with a paved driveway. Across from us was a duplex one story apartment. And next to us was a house all fenced you could not see the house from the road, it seem back than there was much trees and scrubs by the fence. The house was situated back from the fence. This was the road going up to George Ollingers. I remember George and Betty had a large yard. Their Mother was from Okinawa and father was from the states. I believe they had an older sister forgot her name and another brother too. I left Okinawa when I was 10. It amazes me how much I remember. I recall that Jimmy’s bakery was across the entrance to Mercy housing where we lived. I don’t recall the street I lived on do you? Remember the Bartley Bottling Company. I do remember your father “Blackie” as a photographer back then. He was at the party where they had carnival rides taking picture of the birthday party guest. Of course the kids were outside on the rides. I don’t recall the family name that hosted the party. I remember the rice paddles across the highway from Jimmy’s bakery where we use to go. Of course we got in trouble later on. I wondered why we were not suppose to go there. I remember going through a huge pipe to get to the paddles and we got stuck. Guess that was the last time we went there. Do you remember the bakery truck’s making there way through the streets to sell pastries. It was yummy! I recall them only using okinawan money then. I believe driving on the highway was on the right side still. Thanks for letting me know that George is in Florida and you are also there too along with your brothers. Nice. Have you kept in touch with George? How about Betty? What year did you leave Okinawa? I am enjoying the website of your father’s photo and movies. It is nice to see that your father’s legacy of love of Okinawa is still captured and shared with so many. Thanks for sharing and blessing us with these time pieces from the past to the present.

  49. I do remember the flag, with 48 states, and when Alaska was 49th, someone put a wad of tape or gum or something up in the corner and said that was Alaska; yeah dumb, but that’s what happened. I don’t recall a new flag in there until we got Hawaii, do you remember any of this, Melanie? I do remember being very impressed by a large picture of the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, it must have been there. I don’t remember a school song, and that’s funny because I was in the chorus. 50 years plays havoc with one’ memory!

  50. I was referring to a note I dont see now that Melanie wrote about the Machinato cafeteria…lol!

    • Its fun to try to remember the earliest times of our lives! I don’t remember every thing either of course, but do you remember that we had ice cream with our lunch on Fridays. It was called a Big-Dip. Ice cream on stick covered with a crunchy chocolate. Sometimes I observed my teacher in 4th grade, Miss Klebe, eating only an icecream for her whole lunch. She could do anything she wanted, I thought, because she was the teacher! Do you remember the saltwater and seaweed air on the playground as we were right near the ocean? There were 2 floors in the buildings. We didn’t wear pants back then so we’d hold our dresses or skirt tight as we walked up the stairs so no one could look under. ha My husband is 3 years younger and he doesn’t remember girls not wearing pants and only dresses. That rule

  51. must have changed(the girls having to wear dresses-skirts) within a couple years. Maybe it was late 60’s or 71 or 72? And it wasn’t just a Okinawa dress code right?

  52. And Carol, I do remember that Hawaii and Alaska had just become states when we got to Okinawa- or at least Hawaii had. Our plane had stopped over in Hawaii on the way to Okinawa. I do remember that there was talk that all the US flags would have to be burned because they were not right any more. They had to have 2 more stars!

  53. Funny you should mention those ice cream bars! I was going to mention them myself last night when I was reading your posts but I had surgery on my R shoulder a few days ago and I get tired of hunting and pecking with my left after awhile. Every Friday. And after i ate all the chocolate off, i’d dip it in my chocolate milk. I thought our lunches were very good. Yes, we were right by the water, weren’t we. wasn’t there a little island we could see right from our playground? Did you know any twins named Dalton? Janice and something similar.
    We always wore dresses, I had tons of them, my mom had look alike dresses made for her, my sister and I all the time.
    You came by plane? They were still shipping us even when we left. It was actually kind of fun.


  54. @Brad am watching your tribute to your dad, beautiful pics! not done yet, Will comment later! carol.

  55. Yes we came by plane from Japan where we had been living. Before that we had taken a ship to Japan! I believe that ship in now docked to tour it in Yokohama, Japan, a luxury liner. We were not military. This is so much fun to reminisce. Thanks, Carol! What year did you leave Okinawa?

    • Hi Melanie!
      It was 1960,I didn’t know there ws such a thing as a luxury liner in those days, the military did their best to make tne Brackenridge and the Patrick as comfy as possible for the dependants on the ride over on the troop transports. I understand they were converted battleships from the war or something we went over on the Brack, and I’m not sure which on we came back on , there was the Big Patrick and the Litlle Patrick and a couple of others, and I think we came back one one of the Patricks, but I understand the Brackenridge had the worst reputation for amenities. I thought it was fn, though, and I loved staring at the blue blue water. But now that I think about it, I can’t believe how often I was unsupervised out on the decks ALONE with NO RAILS, I recall being in places where there were just metal cables strung across instead of rails…I could have sat down with my legs dangling over the side of the ship with my arms restin on a cable… Maybe I was somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be. I was 7. I know I made my way into where the troops were somehow, and I made a friend with one I thought was Davy Crocket on TV. He brought me back where I belonged. I remember him talking with my parents. I guess they were thanking him for bringing me back. I haven’t thought of this since it happened! But I never told my parents about being where the cable was. I never even thought about it until now. They’re both in heaven now, so I guess they know!

  56. Carol,
    I don’t remember an island being in our sight. I just remember how big our playground was- between two buildings. And the military wired fence of course. I’ll always have a part of Okinawa in me. I grew up there.
    I hope your hand gets better quick.

    • I don’t think it was so much of an island as maybe a huge rock or something. But it had vegetation growing on it, so I guess that’s why I called it an island,lol.
      My hand is getting better, but it’s my shoulder that’s still having the problem…Ithought I was going in with a tear in my rotator cuff, but, it turned out that an old fall caused my collarbone to be rubbing up under where it wasn’t supposed to so they cut part of it off,which accounted for the big old incision in my shoulder I wasn’t expecting. Thing is, my doctor failed to inform me of this little detail until my SECOND post op visit when I asked him why my clavicle hurt so much, and then it was almost like he was thinking ‘oops, I KNEW there was something else” I didn’t even know it when I wrote my post about my surgery in here!

  57. Hi Andrew,

    Can I copy this picture of Mercy Elem?

    • Hi Darcy,

      You’re welcome to copy or circulate for personal or private use among friends or family.



      • thanks Andrew, nothing like old memories ….

  58. Melanie……I remember going to a Christian Center that had pool tables for
    recreation……and being raised Baptist I thought that was very innovative.

    Please visit “wbm2012” on youtube. And you will see some very nice films of early Okinawa. I am still trying identify all the Okinawan and American…….Reverends and Pastor and Ministers my father worked with.

    I think your mom would enjoy some of the videos on youtube… email for the projects is “”

    I created a 40 min DVD to celebrate what I called Vintage Okinawa in the early 1950’s with some trailers that I would be glad to forward to your Mother or you…..It is for personal use only and is title 2012 Okinawa 40th Anniversary Revision: “Images of Life and Rebirth” by Blackie The Photographer.

    take care, brad.

    • Correction: Okinawa 40th Anniversary Reversion: “Images of Life and Rebirth”…..wbm2012 at by “Blackie The Photographer”, and if Carol or Andrew would like a copy for personal use….just let me know. thanks, brad… spelling is terrible some days…(since this site is searchable…please forward addresses to

      • Correction Number 2: told you my thinking and spelling were
        terrible…..the email address is thanks, brad.

  59. I’m 48 this year, class of 83, so you must be class of 81 or class of 82. We just had a grand reunion last year at big hotel and alumnis from various ages where there. CKS is no longer, heard that they where going to tear it dow down. If you use Facebook you can search for “CKIS Okinawa” you’ll see list of friends and pictures of old CKS. hope it bring back your memories. Also you can watch it on ustream, or search for “CKIS GR 2011”

  60. Armando,
    I was born August of 1962 And graduated H.S. in 1980. I did not skip any grades either:).

  61. I attended Mercy Elementary School in 1964 for the 7th grade; it was the Quonset Hut School! My homeroom teacher was Mrs. Crawford who was also the science teacher (she was a nurse I think). Mrs. Darmer taught math and art, Mr. Hansen, geography and something else long forgotten. He had a habit of leaning his chair up against the blackboard and rocking back and forth. Mr. Evans taught English Comp and literature. We traveled between huts for classes. I got there a via school bus that traveled down old Highway 1 from my home in Isa Village, now a beatiful resort park area. I remember all the twins that attended this school, very many. I think a set were in my homeroom, Mary and Martha. I also remember the names of some of my classmates, Kathy Bates, Kathy Eden, Gary Evans, William Gaylord, Jon Boykin, and my very best 7th grade friend, Terrilyn Alfichi. What a crew!

  62. I use to go to Christ the King School & transferred to Mercy in about the mid-late 60s My teachers’ name was Ms. Ramirez. I also remember Mr. Burns who love to sing. Mr. Hill was our principal

  63. I too lived behind Ft Jiro bakery ’70 & ’71–up the hill on a dirt road. The bakery had the best tacos–yes, tacos. The taco shells were some sort of crispy puffed pastry. On the occasion of my sister’s birthday 1971, my parents sent me to the bakery to pick up a cake which they had ordered. While standing in line, a large healthy rat traversed the bottom of glass cake display case. Owing to the incongruity of the scene herein described–rats and birthday cakes–I returned home sans birthday cake. The family unanimously concurred. In late ’71 we moved to Kishaba Terrace. Okinawa was a unique experience for American school kids. What fun we had. I attended Sukiran High.

  64. I feel so old (I AM old) having enjoyed Okinawa as a child in the 50’s. I would love for my kids to have had the experiences we had growing up! I spent part of the 60’s in Bangkok and that was pretty great, too! They feel like they had the better experience living in one place all their lives, growing up with the same kids, mostly in the same house, I guess there’s something to be said for that stability, but I wouldn’t give up what we had for anything!

  65. Went to Mercy Elementary for 5 years, 68-73. If my memory isn’t playing tricks on me,…my teachers were in this order from 1st. Ms. Baker, Ms. Chiba. Ms. Schmale, Ms. Lynne, and Mr. Wood.

  66. Wow. What a small world this is. I too attended school at Mercy. Does anyone remember a teacher name Ms. Rouch? If so, than maybe we were in the same class. For some dumb reason the only person from my sixth grade class that I remember is a friend named Alma.
    During those days we all stood up and said our Pledge of Allegance first thing in the morning before the classes began. It’s a shame that the kids are not required to do that here in the US. I can almost see the eyes rolling that are reading this. But… it’s just my 2cents.

    What a time. Yep. This is a small world indeed.

  67. I found a couple of report cards from CKIS grade 3, 1969-1970. Mrs.Guerzon was my teacher, and my last year on Okinawa grade 5, 1972-1973. Mrs. Barbasa was my teacher. I lived on the street where the same apartment building that was there then is rundown looking and called the Heidi Apts. I remember buying firecrackers called 2-B bombs like 50 in a box they had a head like a match on them and you struck em on a matchbox and they would let out yellow smoke then blow up with a pop they would even work in water running around like a little boat till they blew up. I for some reason recently remembered the snack bar on Buckner was called the Custard Cup. In the mid 60’s you could get a small drink for a nickel, an soft custard cone for 10 cents and a burger for 25 cents. rollerskating was a quarter and I believe so was a movie. Does anyone remember being at the sukiran pool in like 1967. When I split my knee open on the drain grate in the kiddie pool and turned the water pink , they had to drain it and refill it? Just after my mom told me to quit jumping in the pool! Since when do 5 year olds listen. I still have the scar to this day. I remember my mom had her 36th birthday at either moon or Yaka beach. We brought two cases of coke. Remember when coke cans were steel and had no pull tab? Luckily our Toyota’s tool kit screwdriver was reversible. I opened all the cans with that and a rock. Anyone remember the kokusai ice skating rink? We used to go there all the time. I’m thinking of going back in a year or two. MEMORIES…………

  68. Bill: I remember the 2-B bombs, Yes they would motor along a puddle pretty nice. I went to Mercy in 66-67 and lived at the top of the terrace overlooking the Camp about the third house from the end of the road. We were just below Futenma. I crawled up through the Habu grass to the fence on day and we were just below the big geodesic radom ball. I used to go to Buckner on the green buses, buy some comiic books at the news stand then catch the matinee. I think the movies were $.25 and popcorn was $.10. I’d sit and read my comics then watch the movie. In scouts we collected the soda bottles that were delivered to your door like the milkman used to do, can’t remember the name of the bottling plant, though. The news paper was called The MorningStar. We also had eggs delivered to our door by pickup truck.
    Our yard was cut by locals with little hand scythes, they would squat and move around the yard cutting it by hand. We used the B-2s to blow up snails a lot. The big ravine to the south of our house was a the foot of Kakazu ridge scene of some of the fiercest fighting of the battle for the island.

  69. We had one of those gardeners too. My mom said in 64 the rate was $1.80 a day plus lunch. I started cub scouts but they never did anything. So I later became what was called a son of the V.F.W. I saw a picture of the VFW building now. It’s just an rundown empty concrete shell of it’s former self. Sad wan’t the big golfball as I called it across from the American legion hall by the back gate to Buckner?

  70. There were more than one radom on the island. When I was there, they uncovered a large cache of artillery ammunition, several thousand rounds, when they expanded the VFW parking lot. I believe they dug into a japanese ammo storage cave. I was in boy scouts based at Camp Machinato, we did a lot of camping and hiking, exploring the old battle fields. We camped on one old Jap landing strip down on the east coast, near the Pinnacle. Try as we might we could not drive tent pegs into the hard packed coral surface of the old strip. We also did a father and son camp trip to White Beach and road an old LVT out to some Island. Summer camp we spent at the Army training camp up north, it was like going to the Military academyor the Citadel, revelle at dawn stand to for flag raising, marching into the mess hall, sitting at attention till everyone was seated, then going through the mess line, sitting till EVERYONE was served, no eating, until the prayer was said, then we ate, stood to in formation for announcements, then marched back to our camps for chores until classes for various badges and stuff commenced.

  71. Mike, I was really happy to hear you were in contact with Lizzie Oglesby, I had tried to find her several times over the last couple of years. But the Elizabeth Oglesbys that come up on the search on FB don’t seem to be her. One I thought could be, but hasn’t responded. When you see her, please tell her I’ve been looking for her and my facebook name is Carol Dickinson Daniell, and I don’t think there could be any others with that name, and I live in San Antonio Texas. Have fun on Okinawa! I wish I could join you!

  72. Oh sorry, I mean Mick!!

    • I was a few years behind you. We owned a house on the terraced hill above Camp Mercy for my time there, 6th grade. Then moved on base to Kadena. I went to Kubasaki Jr. High on the east side of the island, I think it was on an old Navy Seaplane base. We had PE in two old quonset style aircraft hangers. 8th grade was at Camp Hansen. I used to go to Ft. Buckner every saturday to the matinee. Would ride the green shuttle bus that stopped infront of Mercy. Buy a couple of comic books pay for the movie and popcorn and read the comics till the movie started. A kid’s perfect saturday afternoon. I would not even spend a buck. Used the allowance money I got for polishing my dad’s boots and mowing the yard.

  73. I went to Mercy when it was a middle school…there 6 – 8th grades 1961 – 64 then freshman year at the new Kubasaki High in Sukiran. Lived in Futenma dependent housing after the family’s first 6 months was spent in a house dad had built in Onishi Heights (sp). Lived on the Rock ’60 – ’65 before we all returned to Ft. Bragg. Best to all – David Fernandez (

  74. Oh my goodness! Found another terrific site that made me remember how cool it was living on Okinawa. The pictures are what I remember the Rock to be. Recently connected with a friend whose dad was in the Air Force. It is through her that has peeked my interest! My stepfather, Primo Alfiche, was assigned to Machinato then with the 21st Base Post Office on Sukiran. We went to Mercy Intermediate in the early 60’s but left for Fort Lewis. My girlfriend and I used to hop on the bus and head to Ishikawa beach, Nago and Chinen Island when we were just 10 or 11 years old! We shopped at Maromi outdoor market. We took the bus from one end of the island to the other. Nobody bothered us military brats. I think I went to Naha Port but landed up at Mercy. Dad played golf when he wasn’t working and mom signed up for Japanese doll making classes. BTW, we helped build the Torii bridge on that pond. I think Mr. Tom Hansen or Mr. Ed Polsdofer guided us. It was weird with typhoons slamming against the Quonset huts! I lived off base in Oyama until we got base housing on Sukiran. Anybody remember the best hamburgers in Oyama somewhere (I forgot). Camp Kue was pretty nice (got all our shots there when we left for the States (ouch!). MCAB Futemna was above our house. Oh boy and those tombs within the hills behind the housing area were spooky for 10-11 year olds, let me tell you! Habu snakes; filling the tub up with water during typhoons and huge cans of Kirin and Orion beer were something else (mom loved those beers)! OH! and anybody remember Futemna Jane who used to walk along the highway? Okinawans protesting against the US forces and taking it out on us kids riding them funny looking buses they made us ride to Naha Port? Wow! Getting carried away remembering all this stuff! Looking to connect with Ruby Hamili, our dads knew each other. Have connected with the Kauupu family: Charles passed away–he was a famous and beloved Hawaiian chanter and historian. His sisters live in Molokai. The Rock had a lot of Hawaiian families: Hamili’s; Kauupu’s; Freitas; Satos’. I have connected with my best friend after nearly 50 years! Would also like to connect with Martha and Margaret Long, twins, who I remember told me they were from Lubbock TX. Patty Fair who was a cute blonde and nice. That’s it! Thanks for this fabulous website and all those folks remembering their stay on the Rock.

  75. Terrilynn: We lived on a dirt road on the last terrace directly above Mercy but below the Futenma Radome. Our house had a black cinderblock fence topped with two foot high white concrete interlocking loops or overlapping O’s. We had a hawaiian family that lived right across the road from us. They had a boy my age, his name was Ricky. His father managed the Ishikawa beach resort, so we always got pretty good treatment there. I recall on great big dinner at the beach resort, deep fried whole carp served family style.

  76. “oki’s”? Name used by GI’s refering to US kids w/years residence, unique (like us) dad serving unescorted tour with sudden duration unknown on and off island movements but mom working medical field your Kue Hospital mostly nights in delivery room about 1967 – 1972.

    Sister Myself & Brother attended Kue Elementary 68-70, we lived off post thru reversion but: Got Kue housing once, about 6 months worth, our off post knowledge even as a 2nd grader resulted in infamous firefight between Kue Kids and MP’s. Learning we knew “restricted” areas and were willing to buy smokes for elders, charging pennies for ourselves we were immediately popular. Even more so when elders learned we spent ours on fire works. When playground “tubee bomb” & “cracker balls” war MP mechanized response shoiwed on scene; all kids like trained soldiers simply shifted targets and adjusted fire. Like I said 6 months. Any memories???

    Our Homestead was in small community of less than 10 families in houses beneath the Bonanza Club.

    Yeah kikida felix the cat and housekeepers were cool. Along with 10 minutes of Water during summer rationing, getting tossed over fence and wire into angry crowds during riots, as buses which would pickup in am wouldnt stop in afternoon to drop us off. Karate kid mob action by local kids for american clothes, teased by classmates for japanese wear at school.

    Yeah ended up with my bamboo patrol base burned out by big kids after rioters took over theirs. Moved into a tomb after that, still tracked down but another tale and forever thankfull to i believe youngest of 6 blonde brothers rotating (more like disapearing, immediately snatched & sent stateside) soon after who saved my little brother and I.

    Yeah okinawa was still home for almost my entire first 3 years stateside. Yep played football coulkdnt surf so as 2nd haole boy in my elementary school 5-6 grade classes I hated Kailua for awhile.

    But before leaving Okinawa I was Airborne Qualified and knew the secret to betting on the habu snake and mongoose fights.

  77. About Scouts – Didnt campout at all my short tour den 222 camp kue but did visit GI’s transieting stateside through hospital. From incountry hospitals with occaisional sea medevac throuigh kue roof. Boy was that shocking experience sneaking off to visit mom not understanding she no longer worked on the top floor and riding down with fresh stat lost limb injuries. Returned to ward w/troop and then i think monthly returned to just talk to gi’s headed home.

    Prior to those base days i self trained to help win vietnam, then go take care of them pot smoking hippies back in the states. Got stoodup and staightened up regarding that by the GI’s. NOGO on second part, the rights to protest and be a coward they told me are part of the democratic package.

    ALL IN: ALL Men are created equal meant that kids of s vietnam had the same right to the education and opportunities afforded me by democracy as I did. And that democracy and its protection were the only reason for american boots on the ground over seas.

    Yeah so born germany, raised okinawa, think armed forces broadcast network had anything todo with my 16 years as a cavalry scout? From air cav troop, mech grd cav, then nbc recon. Huli Kaloi First to the Front.

  78. My twin sister and I attended Camp Mercy Elementary School in 1972. My 5th grade teacher was Mrs. Shumate, and my sister’s was Mr. Fulton. Best teachers ever in our educational “career”. 😀 I, too, remember those unforgettable bus rides to school…the antiquated wall fans, the stifling heat, and the wonderful Japanese candy! Does anyone know George Shepard (sp?)? He was a classmate I’ve thought of often. It’s nice to have found this site.

  79. Oh wow, what fun to read all these memories! I am attending a small reunion there this coming April, so for fun, I googled “Sam’s Anchor Inn” and “Frank’s Toyland”, and found this conversation!
    We lived first in Rycom, then Sunabe, then Parkside, and lastly Kishaba. My sister was born at Mercy in 1957; I was born at Camp Kue in 1958. We moved back to the States in 1971. Great to walk down this memory lane! Yes, I remember
    The custard cup
    Jiro’s bakery
    Frank’s toyland
    the huge golf ball (what was that?)
    habu grass
    Okuma – outdoor movies, comic books, bicycles built for 2!
    Buckner matinees for 25 cents!
    The shop “Rogers” in the plaza shopping center
    Kadena Carnival!
    Ischikawa Beach
    Felix gum
    M and K elementary
    I had Mrs. Patton for 6th grade at Sukiran who would always say “Greetings and Salutations!”
    I had Ms Beatta Harris for 4th grade
    I had Mrs Chalk for kindergarten or 1st grade maybe
    I lost track of 2 good friends: Anita Kuhnei and Lisa Thelan
    I had crushes on Brian Pogar and Paul Fairchild
    My good friend was Naomi Clinard
    My sister, good friend Cecelia (Christ the King school) and I will be there the second week in April. My daughter and her new husband are on a ’round-the-world trip and will meet us there.
    Paulette (Adkins) Rainie

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