My dad told me he would often visit the local grocery and visit with the produce manager who happened to be Japanese. The time frame was early World War II. My parents had recently moved from Oklahoma to southern California and was living in an area of Los Angeles known as Boyle Heights. On one of his shopping trips to the grocer my dad walked in to notice the Japanese gentleman was missing. My dad asked the store owner where the produce manager was and the owner said the produce manager has disappeared. Hasn’t been to work for a week or two.
My mom would sometimes walk to the store for eggs and milk and kept noticing a house she often passed by where a Japanese family lived. After several trips down the same walking route she noticed lights were always on, nothing seemed to be out of place, and surmised the family had suddenly left with no notice to the nearby neighbors. Little did they know the Japanese individuals were suddenly taken away and sent to internment camps. Done so by the federal government as a precaution and viewed as potential enemies of the state. Even though they were second and third generation Americans. Japanese families and individuals taken from their homes and businesses. Taken to camps all over the western United States. Then when finally released most lost their homes and businesses.
The interesting thing or sad thing was very few Japanese people would ever talk of this. I had a college professor, who was Japanese, almost always affable and smiling, later I had discovered was taken with his family early during WWII and first sent to Santa Anita race track and temporarily lived in the horse paddocks with his parents and later sent to various internment camps. Never once did he speak of this horrific experience.
Japanese kids and teachers at my middle school and high school never ever mentioned this fact. Kenny Takahashi and his brother never spoke of it. Coach Kobiashi never mentioned this experience. My across the street neighbor, who seemed to be the model American citizen, never uttered a word.
When briefly living in Sacramento, California, It was mentioned by co-workers an internment camp had been located on the fringes of the town. When I was living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, an older lady mentioned she knew of an abandon camp there in Santa Fe.
Here is some reading:
The Train to Crystal City: FDR’s Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America’s Only Family Internment Camp During World War II Paperback – January 5, 2016.
They Called Us Enemy– July 16, 2019 They-Called-Enemy-George-Takei A stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei’s childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II.
What a dark period in America’s history. God forgive us for we sometimes know not what we do. Amen.