A Deep Appreciation for the Relationships of Father Figures and Sons

I’d like to thank The Times for publishing Duane Noriyuki’s three-part series (Oct. 24-26) about returning to his family home to garden with his father. For all of us who would agree that “the words that fathers and sons speak to each other are never quite right,” his story is a cheering reminder that understanding and reconciliation are possible even when words fail us.

I thought it might interest readers who enjoyed the series to know that Duane Noriyuki is a father figure not only to his two daughters, but to a growing number of boys incarcerated at Central Juvenile Hall in East L.A. He teaches a writing class there as a volunteer to boys, ages 16 to 18, many of whom are facing life sentences in adult prison. I’ve visited his class many times and I suspect he must hold some sort of record for the least words spoken by a teacher in a classroom--yet the results are extraordinary.

These boys love him and his quiet way, and they write their hearts out for him. Perhaps, if we’re lucky, Duane will share with us their struggles with words, understanding and reconciliation.

In the meantime, I’m going to try speaking less to see if it makes me as articulate as he is.





Thanks for writing this for us to enjoy.


In our case, I am talking about my mom, 83, and myself, 60, who read and gained much from the articles. My dad passed away this January at 88 after more than three years in a convalescent hospital where he received good care and we visited him daily up to the last day.

I am an only child and have three kids and some grandkids. It isn’t easy being a parent, and, looking back, you always could have done things differently or better but there were reasons why you couldn’t have. . . . So we make the best of each day and prayerfully do our best.