Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Process part 2

Part 2
The pinkie ball.
Rubber, pink, resilient, $1.95.

So, the story goes like this, as told by Grandpa Jack: I was riding in a truck driving on an irrigation canal (at Gila River Canal Camp). It turned over and I broke my hands. Since then, I squeeze the ball to help heal my hands. If this didn’t happen, I would have had to join the Army like my brother Tsuk (Tsukasa Tanaka was a member of 100th Inf. BN, served in Italy and returned with an Italian wife, Maria).

This story stuck with me. And there it stayed until I recalled it after his death in 2007. So, if my grandparents can be seen as ‘typical’ of their generation, I was able to hear one story about the war years from only one of four grandfolks. Which begs a question, I know three people who didn’t pass on their experiences, of the other roughly 116,000 people how many didn’t say anything to their children and grand children?


Damaris said...

cool blog. I put up your pic and yourn link on my blog

AKent said...

I feel exactly the same way about my family and the stories that I don't know about the Japanese internment. I am working on a lecture for a continuing education course in Pocatello, ID on the Mindoka Internment - I was asked to speak because I had family that was interned from Seattle and family that was able to just keep right on farming in Pocatello. Apparently that means that I should know a lot more than I actually do. And as I work to tell my family's story I have uncovered some amazing tales, like German POWs being put to work on our Japanese farm or visits to the camp by those local Japanese that were not interned, and I wonder what the stories are like that I will never hear. I am saddened to realize that the event was made so unimportant, and until I grew older I knew so little about it, that I missed so many opportunities to ask questions to those who are no longer with us. And now I shake my head at the nisei that I talk to that glance to the side and look down and tell you to talk to some professor that is researching the camp to get my information - when they are the information. Why don't they talk? Is it weird mixed feelings because they were not interned? A strange idea planted so long ago that they would be disloyal to even discuss it? Do they feel unworthy or unequal. Or maybe they have more confidence than I can ever imagine. I need to know it, almost for personal validation. They don't need to discuss it. They did what they did. They took in young camp children so they could go to school and be out of the camps for a while, they came up with jobs so others could leave camp too. They made food and took it on their visits to the camps. They did what was right, even when everything else was wrong.