I Call to Remembrance: Toyo Suyemoto's Years of Internment

By Toyo Suyemoto,; Susan B. Richardson | Go to book overview

19
WEIGHED IN THE BALANCE

Throughout the turmoil of the registration, ordinary activities continued, even as the temperatures dropped below thirty degrees. Church groups sponsored meetings for their youth groups. The camp hospital appealed to all the residents to return any prescription bottles they might be keeping, since new ones could not be ordered. High school seniors contemplating college after graduation met periodically in each other’s barracks to talk of their future; they kept in touch with friends who had preceded them to col­ leges outside. The schools remained in session, and I kept busy with teach­ ing. A memo went out from Superintendent of Schools LeGrande Noble to parents that the yearly promotion system in the high school was being changed to the semester schedule as of the coming summer.

As spring came to Topaz, the confusion and turmoil over the loyalty reg­ istration subsided and animosities faded. The sunlight became a degree warmer, the air softer, and the sky a more intense blue after the long gray winter. But there was nothing green and alive in the earth. One evening, while I was trying to put a wide-awake, still exuberant Kay to bed after his bath, I overheard Father remark on what might now be sprouting and visi­ ble in the Berkeley yard. As I glanced over my shoulder, holding on to my squirming child, who was distracted by what he could see in this room that had no partitions, I saw Mother nod in reply, “So ne (that is so), the peren­ nials along the fence should be coming up (the Japanese term she used meant ‘returning to life’), and the boke no hana (the flowering quince) must be scarlet again.” That garden was miles away; here there was, in abundance, the stifling dust.

Long before this season, an American friend, a former schoolmate in Sacramento, had sent me a package of woolen fabrics. Between the layers she had tucked a brown, lumpy bulb. Father planted the bulb behind the barracks close to the wall to protect it from the rough winds. Now, each day

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I Call to Remembrance: Toyo Suyemoto's Years of Internment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Editor's Preface xi
  • Note on the Drawings xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • Author's Preface 5
  • 1 - Berkeley 9
  • 2 - 15432 16
  • 3 - Morning of Departure 22
  • 4 - Growing Up in Nihonmachi 29
  • 5 - Intake at Tanforan 37
  • 6 - Tanforan Days 44
  • 7 - Tanforan High School 51
  • 8 - Kay's Illness 55
  • 9 - Another Move 68
  • 10 - Entry into Topaz 74
  • 11 - Settling in 79
  • 12 - As 1942 Ended 87
  • 13 - Block 4-8-E 96
  • 14 - Schooling in Topaz 106
  • 15 - Topaz Public Library 112
  • 16 - Sensei 120
  • 17 - Into Another Year 133
  • 18 - Registration for Loyalty 141
  • 19 - Weighed in the Balance 149
  • 20 - We Be Brethren 160
  • 21 - In the Length of Days 167
  • 22 - The Dust before the Wind 179
  • 23 - The Dispersal 186
  • 24 - Tree of the People (Topaz Community) 196
  • Afterword 205
  • References 207
  • About the Editor 209
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