The Treasure that is Keiko.

There she was, Keiko, walking towards us as we came out of the grocery store just off the food court at the Nagasaki train station. “Oh you, I wondered if you would come after you asked when we were leaving.” “I had to say a proper good bye.”

Charlie and I searched the tables at the back of the cathedral for something written in English so we could follow the Mass. Not that we didn’t know what was happening. Catholic means universal, so the Mass is basically the same wherever you attend. The readings and some prayers change throughout the seasons of the year.

We came across a box of headphones, and after just being at the Parkinsons congress where people were listening to simultaneous interpretation, and thought they would be helpful. As we discussed not seeing translation services in a church before, a woman approached and pointing to her ear said: “for hearing”. Oh, we should have known that. Charlie asked her about making a donation and as they talked I found a seat near the front of the long narrow church…

I already wrote about Michelle, the woman who translated the Bishop’s homily. We visited with her a few minutes, used the restroom and started to leave the church grounds when we saw Keiko, the woman by the headsets running towards us shouting “Charlie, Carol, I find you!” I got that she remembered our names but why she was running to find us was a mystery. As she caught her breath from her uphill run, she explained how as she waited for her bus she looked at the card Charlie handed her and saw we were from Oregon. Keiko had lived a year in Eugene, attending the University of Oregon in the second language learner program. She so wanted to talk with us that she asked to accompany us around Nagasaki. Who would think of turning down a free local guide. After lunch in an Italian restaurant, we walked to ground zero… where the bomb exploded. There is a statue there of a woman holding a burned child. Keiko and I stood side by side weeping at this sadness.”I am so sorry Keiko”. “War kills innocent people Carol.” She told me she often comes to this place.  She feels the breeze that comes through the tunnel of Japanese maple leaves covering the path. As an American, I did not know what to say to my Japanese friend. We shared the space in quiet reflection of the horror. “My mother was coming back to Nagasaki to go to work. She arrived after the bomb. She did not suffer from the direct blast, but from radiation after.

Keiko told me about her nursing career. She was a nurse for an agency that recorded the effects of the bomb on those who lived through it. Every two years these research subjects came to the clinic to be examined and to undergo various imaging procedures. Keiko had grown close to some of these people. There were getting to be less of them alive as the years went by.

I came around a corner in the museum to see Keiko looking at a picture of a person who had been burned by radiation. It was an ugly sight. Tears were rolling down Keiko’s cheeks. I invited her to join me in the cafe for a cold drink. As she regained her composure I asked how many times she had been to this museum. “I don’t know. I come here often, spending times in different places”. My heart hurt. “It’s good that you come. They need to be remembered. We can never forget this horrific event ”

I looked out the window of the train to see Keiko standing there, her appearance more of a 19-year-old girl than a 61-year-old woman. When the train pulled out she ran alongside waving, like in the old movies.

Goodbye goodbye!

We are now friends, this Japanese woman and this American from Oregon.

Published by Carol Clupny, author The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman's Remarkable Journey with Parkinson's Disease

I am a middle aged woman with Parkinson's Disease. When I was first diagnosed I spent a lot of time researching the disease. Seeing a video of a man in the advanced stages of the disease attempting to get out of his chair and then "freezing" as he tried to walk across the room got me off my butt and moving. Great adventures on the Camino de Santiago and with TEAM Pedaling for Parkinson's across IOWA, as well as the day to day adventures of life have lead me to writing. My first novel, a memoir, was published early 2019. It is called, you got it THE RIBBON OF ROAD AHEAD. Living with the degenerative neurological disease Parkinson's, ULTREIA is a word that guides me. I have chosen it as the name of my business ULTREIA BOOKS. It comes from Latin and old French and means "unfailing courage". In the old days, pilgrims would call "Ultreïa" to each other as encouragement "Go up, go further!" Nowadays we would say "You can do this thing". It takes courage to live with Parkinson's. May I face each day with unfailing courage. Ab Here is more about me; I was living an active lifestyle riding horses, hiking, climbing and snow skiing when at age fifty I was diagnosed with Parkinsons. Retiring from my career as a speech-language pathologist I decided to “take to the road” to battle the disease. My first steps, walking out her door to the mailbox, lead to trekking over 1000 miles of pilgrimage trails on the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain. A dusty bike discovered in the garage resulted in four rides on the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa with the Pedaling for Parkinsons Team. These adventures inspired me to write a memoir The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman’s Remarkable Journey with Parkinson’s Disease. I blogs about my everyday life as a middle-aged woman in the mid-stages of Parkinson’s disease. My honest, humorous, and casual narrative style brings the reader to an intimate understanding of my resilience and acceptance. My blog, sharing the name of my book ”The Ribbon of Road Ahead” can be found at After completing a Masters of Science in Speech Pathology from Eastern Washington University I received certification in School Leadership and Administration from Lewis and Clark College. I provided speech pathology services and later became a program director completing 32 years in the wide geographic expanse of eastern Oregon. Active in the Oregon Speech-Language and Hearing Association I received honors of the association and the presidential award for work on recruitment and retention of speech and hearing professionals. Il presented numerous papers and projects at local, state and regional professional conferences. I was appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski to two terms of the Oregon Board of Examiners of Speech Pathology and Audiology, the state’s licensing and consumer protection agency. Since my diagnosis in 2008, I has become active in the Parkinson’s community as an advocate, an Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation and support group facilitator for Parkinson's Resources of Oregon. I was appointed the regional patient representative for the Parkinson's Foundation’s Women with PD TALK study. In September of 2019 the Michael J Fox Foundation selected me to participate in the Parkinson’s Policy Forum in Washington DC. As an attendee at the World Parkinson Congress in 2016 in Portand, Oregon, I presnted a poster session examining the decision making process for patients considering deep brain stimulation. At the 2019 WPC in Kyoto, Japan I presented a poster on vision concerns of women with PD and lead small group discussions. Myr book The Ribbon of Road Ahead has provided many speaking opportunities for Carol. In 2019 and early 2020 she visited 24 support groups in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California to share her thoughts on living well with the disease. In addition, she has presented talks for The Center on Aging in San Francisco, Parkinson's Place in Las Vegas, Northwest Parkinson's Foundation in Richland WA and virtually through their HOPE online program. In late 2020 I rejuvenated her voice and narrated her book. It became available as an audio book in 2021. As part of this project I read stories over the airwaves on RadioParkies Australia with DJ Madonna and in Great Britain with DJ Johnny Parky. She and her husband Charlie have two adult sons. They live on a small hobby farm in eastern Oregon. Contact Information: Carol Clupny PO BOX 128, Hermiston, OR 97838 (541) 720-4256

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