Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Patricia August Laquessa Ryfle, 1931-2009


My friend Steve Ryfle's mom died last weekend. Steve is the author of Japan's Favorite Mon-star (The Unauthorized Biography of Godzilla), one of the best books out there about Godzilla. I wanted to write about her because she was such an amazing woman. But I didn't really know her well enough. Stuart Galbraith IV, author of another amazing book on Japanese monster movies, Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo!: The Incredible World of Japanese Fantasy Films, wrote a much better piece than I ever could (Stuart's latest book is Japanese Cinema). He gave me permission to use it on this page. So here it is:


Steve Ryfle's mother, Pat, died over the weekend. It didn't come as a surprise; she had been in poor health for a long time, and spent the last few weeks at a hospice, gradually fading away.

If writing about somebody else's mother seems unusual - those who were lucky enough to have known Pat will understand. She was like everyone's favorite eccentric aunt, at times a mom-away-from-Mom.

To the envy of many, Pat loved and supported Steve like few moms did, which made his tender caring of her as Pat's health declined all the more touching. She often accompanied Steve to Godzilla movie marathons at the American Cinematheque and in Little Tokyo. She went with him to see Blaxploitation movies, to mainstream movies, to comic book conventions, and helped out with book signings when Steve's Japan's Favorite Mon-Star was published. The funny thing was, she had fun. She actually really, really liked the damndest movies, dating back to when Steve, then just a boy, took his mom to see Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster. When Steve took Pat to the world premiere of one of the recent Godzilla movies in Hollywood, my wife and I were shocked to discover Pat on one of the network news shows here in Japan, being interviewed about the film. Appropriately, her comments were dubbed into Japanese, but Yukiyo remembers her saying "Godzilla's roar is kinda sexy."

Pat was genuinely and justly proud of her writer-son. In her old apartment, Steve's writing was prominently on display. On one wall she kept a Mother's Day tribute column he wrote for her years ago when Steve was writing for a local newspaper. On another she had a framed picture of Steve - it might have been the portrait of him used by the same paper - under which Pat had written, proudly, "My Son, the Author."

Pat was such a constant yet welcome presence that, eventually, Steve's friends often invited Pat as well as Steve and his wife, Joal, to parties and other occasions. (She was there at a 2001 wedding party Yukiyo and I held at Sam Woo's, ahead of our actual wedding in Japan.) Pat was genuinely fun to have around - she was sweetly eccentric, rather like Stan Laurel's childlike screen persona. At one party at Steve and Joal's first house, somebody was making a toast, and Pat noticed the middle-aged man next to her wasn't drinking.

"What's the matter? Are you an alcoholic or something?" she asked, quite innocently.

"Er, uh....well, yes - as a matter of fact, I am," he replied.

"Aw, gee - that's too bad," Pat said, with genuine sadness. "Can't you have just one?"

Another time Pat sent Steve and I to the market down the street to fetch her some "free doughnuts" she had seen. As we walked down the block, we wondered what exactly had she meant by "free doughnuts?" We found the doughnuts, which were selling for whatever the going rate for doughnuts was back then.

When we returned, Steve asked Pat, "What did you mean, "free doughnuts?' They weren't free."

"Oh," she said, "I meant free-standing."

All Steve and I could do was look at one another, nonplussed. But to Pat, it made perfect sense.

Boy, how I miss her.

42 comments:

Mysterion said...

Thank whatever gods may be we all had different - meaning "a variety of" moms. My mom was traditional - whatever THAT means. The mothers of my friends were all different - some really weird (read Xtian splinter group advocate). When someone else has a mom punch the "out clock" of life, then that was their pay stub. If they weren't part of my cargo cult, then I did no heavy lifting.

Sorry, but that's the way it is. When my mom punched her "out clock" of life, then sis and I just had her turned into 'white ashes' and planted her in the old family cemetery next to her mom & dad.

Mumon said...

Sorry for your loss.

Smoggyrob said...

Hi Steve:

Pat sounds like a great mom.

Rob

Anonymous said...

I have always appreciated 'moms away from mom'
many quite wonderful women have done the verb of mothering
(my own is the noun--she was messed up--still is--
I've learned to love her from a safe distance--and I am glad to be here (alive) and if it weren't for her (and my dad) I wouldn't be here so
THANKS MOM AND DAD

but also THANK YOU to other peoples moms who have mothered me!

Anonymous said...

God, how I wish the fucking bitch
had aborted me.

Anonymous said...

Haiku of The State

what do you do when
yo momma is guilty of
misprision of treason?

Joe Smith said...

When is the second coming of Jon Frum?

Anonymous said...

This is one of those times where it might be better just to shut the fuck up..

Anonymous said...

On a more positive note, The Ashes Cricket series has started and its shaping up to be a doozie, GO AUSTRALIA!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

g'day, mate
how are things down under?
upside down?

nervous system balance?

crikey!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about Pat.

Oh, and a question ...
why did you put Bill Clinton on the cover of your latest book?

Anonymous said...

The origins of Punk and Psychedelica:

Buddy Holly + James Brown + weird drugs
+ schizophrenic tendencies + crazy moms

Uku said...

Sorry for your loss, Brad and pals.

Anonymous said...

just seems like wrapping paper to me. get back to the zafu you little runt what can you teach me. hardcore zen indeed.

Anonymous said...

ah, sweet mystery of life!
sounds like a fun and funny person to have encountered, to have known!

crows are calling each other out in the tree outside my front door

really, there is only this moment

sounds like moments with Pat were very much like that

lively and living and then death and the collection of objects and things, papers and shoes, clothes and cooking utensils which all lose their gravitational center--the person who used them--and must find new places to set up their daily orbits
of usefulness.
nose to nose with the mystery of livingness, this once lively mind, this recently animated form; no longer breathing...
"nothing is destroyed, nothing is created"
what comes and goes, indeed
seems to me these tears, coming at the odd unanticipated times they do, match thankfulness: to mourn is equal to my fortune in having known this person

Anonymous said...

A little confusing what I just wrote above:

I did not know Pat Ryfle...
but recently someone I dearly loved died suddenly,
so my writing above smooshed these two together--someone else's loved one and my own

sorry if the thought wasn't clear

Anonymous said...

We are...

family.

Anonymous said...

cosa nostra?

Mysterion said...

O.K., it's FICTION:

Buddha's Wife is a remarkable re-creation of Yasodhara's life. It is very readable and engages readers in the complexity of issues many women have raised about Gotama the Buddha's life and practice. ~ Katherine Thanas
Abbot, Santa Cruz Zen Center

http://www.rdrpublishers.com/catalog/item/3014102/6885386.htm

Stephanie said...

"What's the matter? Are you an alcoholic or something?" she asked, quite innocently.

"Er, uh....well, yes - as a matter of fact, I am," he replied.

"Aw, gee - that's too bad," Pat said, with genuine sadness. "Can't you have just one?"


It is not my intent to speak ill of the dead, but I find this story neither charming nor cute. Naivete of this sort is not a positive or desirable trait. It is just ignorance cutesied up with a pink little bow on top. What is cute and appropriate in children is not so cute or appropriate in adults.

Her actions in this situation could have contributed to a relapse and many negative consequences for the recovering alcoholic to whom she spoke. I hope someone educated her about the folly of her words and her lack of understanding.

出会い said...

即ハメセレブは完全無料でご利用できる出会いコミュニティです。今までにない実績で、あなたの希望に合った人をお探しします。毎月考えられない豪華なイベントを開催しているので出会いを保障します

救援部 said...

夏真っ盛り!女の子は開放的な気分で一人Hしたくてウズウズしてるっ!貴方は女の子のオ○ニーを見て気分を高めてあげてネ!もちろん、お手伝いしてもオッケーだよ!さぁ、今すぐ救援部にアクセスしよっ

メル友 said...

プロフ作成記念に嬉しくなって写メも載せちゃいましたぁ。皆さん見てください。できればメールの方に感想なども欲しいなぁ!夏休みなので暇してます。natu.no.natuyasumi@docomo.ne.jp

素人 said...

最近流行りの素人ホスト!アナタも体験してみませんか?OLや人妻の女性たちは出張ホストサービスで男性を探し、疑似恋愛を求めているのです。ホスト希望の方なら容姿や年齢は一切不問!ご近所の女性を探して、高収入をゲットしよう

セレブラブ said...

毎月10万円を最低ラインとする謝礼を得て、セレブ女性に癒しを与える仕事があります。無料登録した後はメールアプローチを待つだけでもOK、あなたもセレブラブで欲求を満たしあう関係を作ってみませんか

出張ホスト said...

女性会員様増加につき、当サイトの出張ホストが不足中です。女性の自宅やホテルに出向き、欲望を満たすお手伝いをしてくれる男性アルバイトをただいま募集していますので、興味のある方はTOPページから無料登録をお願いいたします

家出 said...

最近様々なメディアで紹介されている家出掲示板では、全国各地のネットカフェ等を泊り歩いている家出少女のメッセージが多数書き込みされています。彼女たちはお金がないので掲示板で知り合った男性とすぐに遊びに行くようです。あなたも書き込みに返事を返してみませんか

モテる度チェッカー said...

あなたのモテ度数を診断できる、モテる度チェッカー!日頃モテモテでリア充のあなたもそうでないヒキニートの貴方も隠されたモテスキルを測定して今以上にモッテモテになること間違いなし

救援部 said...

オ○ニーライフのお手伝い、救援部でHな見せたがり女性からエロ写メ、ムービーをゲットしよう!近所の女の子なら実際に合ってHな事ができちゃうかも!?夏で開放的になっている女の子と遊んじゃおう

逆援助 said...

メル友募集のあそび場「ラブフリー」はみんなの出逢いを応援する全国版の逆援助コミュニティーです!女の子と真剣にお付き合いしたい方も、複数の女性と戯れたい方も今すぐ無料登録からどうぞ

倶楽部 said...

簡単にお小遣い稼ぎをしたい方必見、当サイト逆¥倶楽部では無料登録して女性の性の欲求に応えるだけのアルバイトです。初心者でもすぐに高収入の逆¥交際に興味をもたれた方はTOPページまでどうぞ。

プロフ公開 said...

サイト作成は初めてでぇす。プロフは友達も作ってたので私も頑張って作成しました。プロフもってる人はメル友になって見せ合いっこしませんか?メアドのせてるので連絡ください。love-friend0925@docomo.ne.jp

素人 said...

男性が主役の素人ホストでは、女性の体を癒してあげるだけで高額な謝礼がもらえます。欲求不満な人妻や、男性と出逢いが無い女性が当サイトで男性を求めていらっしゃいます。興味のある方はTOPページからどうぞ

家出 said...

これから家出したい少女や、現在家出中の娘とそんな娘と遊びたい人を繋げるSOS掲示板です。家庭内の問題などでやむなく家出している子が多数書き込みしています。女の子リストを見て彼女たちにメールを送ってみませんか

SM度チェッカー said...

あなたのSM度をかんたん診断、SM度チェッカーで隠された性癖をチェック!真面目なあの娘も夜はドS女王様、ツンデレなあの子も実はイジめて欲しい願望があるかも!?コンパや飲み会で盛り上がること間違いなしのおもしろツールでみんなと盛り上がろう

セフレ said...

男性なら一人くらいは作ってみたいセフレですが、実は女性もいつでもSEXしたいときにできる友達がほしいと思っているのです。そのような彼女たちの欲求を満たしてあげませんか

デリバリーホスト said...

女性向け風俗サイトで出張デリバリーホストをしてみませんか?時給2万円の高額アルバイトです。無料登録をしてあとは女性からの呼び出しを待つだけなので、お試し登録も歓迎です。興味をもたれた方は今すぐどうぞ。

プロフ完成 said...

メガネ買って嬉しかったから写メ更新しましたぁ!以外に似合うとか友達に言われて少し調子にのってます。みんなの意見も聞かせてください。携帯メアドのせておくので批判はできるだけ止めて欲しいglitter.princess@docomo.ne.jp

家出 said...

「家出してるんで、泊まるところないですか?」家出掲示板には毎日このような女の子からの書き込みがされています。彼女たちは家やホテルに泊まらせてあげたり、遊んであげるだけであなたに精一杯のお礼をしてくれるはずです

チェッカー said...

SM度チェッカーで隠された性癖をチェック!外見では分からない男女のSM指数をチェックして相性のいい相手を見つけ、SMプレイしてみよう!合コンや飲み会で盛り上がること間違いなしのおもしろツールをみんなとやってみよう

素人 said...

仕事に忙しい女性たちは素人ホストを自宅やホテルに呼び、癒しを求めていらっしゃいます。当サイトでは男性ホスト様の人員が不足しており、一日3~4人の女性の相手をするホストもおられます。興味を持たれた方は当サイトをぜひご覧ください

セフレ said...

女の子達のH告白、日々のマル秘映像や写真は要チェック!!今すぐ無料参加してアダルトSNSを始めよう!!うまくいけば恋人やセフレをゲット出来るかも知れないチャンス