I recently read an article in Guideposts written by the beautiful Today Show Anchor Ann Curry. Beautiful? Let’s be honest… she’s gorgeous. Flawless even.
But I like her anyway.
I’ve always been a huge fan of this particular journalist – her grace, compassion, integrity, and intelligence set her apart.
In the article, Ann Curry talks about her parents and her career, among other things. There were quite a few things about the article that stood out in my mind – I even wrote a few of them down. Suffice to say, I came away an even bigger fan than I was before. I’ll link to the article below, because I really hope you’ll read it – it’s absolutely beautiful. But I wanted to share one part of Ann Curry’s story with you here on Self Help Daily. I’ve thought about her mother several times since reading her story and I’ve written a new favorite word, colorfully, on a piece of paper that now hangs near my computer desk: Gambaru.
Unless you’re Japanese or fluent in the language, you’re probably not familiar with this word. I’ll tell you in a moment what it means.
Ann Curry’s mother, Hiroe, was the daughter of a Japanese rice farmer. Bob Curry, Ann’s father, was a career Navy man who enlisted in the Navy right out of high school. After World War II, as part of the Allied occupation forces, Bob Curry was stationed in Japan.
The war left Hiroe’s family without seed to grow their crop, which obviously put them in a terrible predicament. At the age of 18 Hiroe had to take a job as a streetcar conductor. Guess who happened to be on her streetcar one day? You got it, the hero of our story, Bob Curry. According to Ann, her dad took that very streetcar every day until he worked up the nerve to ask Hiroe on a date.
His efforts paid off and they went out for noodles. They fell deeply and completely in love, but their road wasn’t paved with rose petals.
During this time, the Navy disapproved of marriages between American servicemen and Japanese women. Sadly, Bob Curry was shipped out of Japan. It took two years, but he managed to get sent back to Japan. You knew he wasn’t going to give up that easily, right?!
He later told his daughter that when he took Hiroe into his arms, he realized how painfully thin she had gotten. As it turned out she had tuberculosis and wasn’t even expected to live.
Bob Curry ingeniously used her healthy sister’s lung X rays to get clearance from Navy doctors, and married her anyway! Now that she was a U.S. military wife, she was able to get the medical care she needed. Hiroe went on to have 5 healthy children, including the oldest, Ann Curry.
Hiroe endured bombing raids and starvation during World War II. With the love of Bob Curry, she survived TB and lived to tell about it. She also had to overcome language barriers and even racism when she came to the United States. All of that is what makes the following (as well as the colorful word on my cork board) so special.
Ann Curry, thanks to financial struggles (five children on a serviceman’s income had to have been a challenge) and a mixed heritage (during a time when that wasn’t very common or smiled upon), knew a few things about adversity. Whenever she felt the sting of the challenges, Ann says that her mom always told her,“Gambaru.”
Gambaru is Japanese for “Never ever give up, even and especially when there’s no chance of winning.”
This story is more than just a love story, it’s a story of perseverance and it’s most definitely a story of Gambaru.
Credit: An Act of Faith by Ann Curry