Nicole is known as “Nikki” to her friends, although she answers to either name. She was born in Wisconsin and spent her early childhood there. However, at age 15 she left and went to live with an older brother in the Chicago area.
In the late 1950’s she met Kei Yei Shinsato, who courted her to at “many wonderful restaurants and places of entertainment – just everywhere”, she says. He won her heart with his thoughtful ways. They married on Valentine’s Day, 1959. Their first home was on the North Side of Chicago, about two blocks from Wrigley Field. She remembers hearing loud cheering from the stadium when the Chicago Cubs were playing baseball, but she was never able to attend any of the games during the time she lived there.
The years that followed gave them seven children, so she stayed very busy in her role of mother and wife. Her husband never wanted her to get a job. He often told her that he was the breadwinner in the family, she had plenty to do at home, and he wanted it to stay that way. However, one day she decided to “test” him to see if he really meant it, so she got a real estate license, planning to sell a little property as an outside activity. He soon found out about it and that was the end of her real estate career! Nikki’s seven children are five boys and two girls. Four sons live in California, in Scotts Valley, Sacramento, Santa Clara and Salinas.
Sadly, one son died from Melanoma at the age of 49. One daughter lives in Alameda, California, and another lives in Georgia. In 1963 the family moved from Chicago to San Jose, where her husband took an electrical engineering position at the Raytheon Company. Six years later they moved to Santa Cruz, purchasing a manufactured home in Shangri-la Estates on 38th Ave.
Nikki’s husband died in 2002, after 43 years of marriage. She continued to live in her home until last year when she decided it was best that she sell it. She loved this home – it was within walking distance to the beach and local shopping. With no immediate place to move after the sale, she stayed in a motel for a month or so until an apartment opened up here at La Posada in July 2019.
While living here in California, one of the highlights of her life was being given free tickets to a Chicago Bulls game, by promoter Jeff Schultz. She and her daughter LeAnn traveled back to the Midwest and thoroughly enjoyed the royal treatment given to them by Mr. Schultz, while sitting in front row seats for a Bulls game!
Nikki loves to dance and you might see her doing just that when we have guest musicians in the lounge or activities room. She has made many friends here and enjoys the camaraderie.