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Mitsu ko Hira izu m i Lightning-play- that yesterday was in the east, is in the west today. IN THE DAYS that followed the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, my maternal grandmother dug several trenches near her tiny farm cabin on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Into them she poured the minutiae of her 50 years jewelry, dishes, tea service, scrolls, books written in the Kanji: things Japanese. All of this she covered with shovelfuls of earth. Today I see her, a small solitary woman, first bent over her shovel, then standing to rest her back. Maybe looking for a few moments at the green-blue Pacific, looking west. Or maybe west and a few compass points north, looking across Abalone Cove; but more or less west. The view there, from high up on the hill, even after the hard years farming, must have been something wonderful. If you’ve ever driven from San Pedro, around the Peninsula, past Frank Lloyd Wright’s church and toward Marineland, you will know what I mean. After she had finished burying her possessions did she draw a map or trust her memory? she burned all of her family photographs. Then, with part of her past buried, and part burned, she packed her clothes and closed up the house. Already, my grandfather, an Issei truck-farmer, had been taken to the San Pedro Jail. Within days he would travel, in a railroad car filled with mostly old Japanese men, north then west toward Bismark, North Dakota. The shades on the car were drawn. Bewildered, my grandmother would follow her sons north, to Strathmore where they would continue farming on leased land. Since it was more than 50 miles from the coastline, they would not be arrested. Jeanne Kiyomi Goka teaches English at St. Michael’s Academy in Austin. This piece was written in collaboration with her husband, Louis Dubose. Mitsuko Hiraizumi is an artist living in Austin. So they had been led to believe. Before the first harvest, all were traveling to the War Relocation Agency camp at Poston, Arizona. There my grandfather was reunited with his family. It could not have been as harsh as Bismark; actually Poston was considered the best of the eight WRA-run camps. A sad distinction. Back in Southern California, somewhere between the first frightening visits by FBI agents and my grandfather’s incarceration, my grandmother had hidden a flashlight on her farm. This, she sincerely believed, explained her husband’s year-long separation from his family and the confiscation of their $3,000 savings account in the Sumitomo Branch Bank .at Los Angeles. Someone, she was sure, had discovered the flashlight. Three generations of Japanese Americans left their homes to sit out the war in places like Poston and Manzanar in the desert of Arizona and California. For the Sansei, it was not as hard. My mother remembers lines of buses. With my father she carried three suitcases and my older sister, then one year old. Arriving at Manzanar, they were greeted by armed guards and dust. All were assigned to barracks, where each family member was allotted space measured by the distance between two overhead rafters. For a family of three, that meant twelve feet for three iron cots and straw mattresses. What is remembered today about the Japanese Internment is the violation of an entire people’s human rights. My mother remembers the everyday indignities: a woman’s common latrine with twelve stark toilets standing along the wall, common showers, compromises with privacy required while living with only a sheet dividing a family of three from a family of five, the 1920 navyissue clothing that dwarfed the diminutive Japanese. At Manzanar, on the $16-a-month salary that my father earned as a supply clerk in the camp, my family began by catalogue a lifetime relationship with Sears & Roebuck. For all of this, my parents never forgave Franklin Roosevelt and his party. They have voted Republican in every election since 1944, when they found a sponsor to sign for their release. No one ever returned to the farm on the Peninsula: all that was past. My grandfather’s savings, $3,000, were returned without interest -in 1967, ten years after his death. The Palos Verdes Peninsula, geologists claim, is crumbling into the Pacific. The buckling state highway that clings to the coastline there proves that they are at least partly right. Perhaps, on some sunny California afternoon, my grandmother’s treasures will be disgorged down along the rocky beach. Should that happen, I innocently hope that whoever finds them is a Japanese. She will gather everything into a box, take it home, and slowly clean away 43 years of accumulated sadness. And maybe understand. East Dallas Printing Company Full Service Union Printing 211 S. Peak Dallas, Tx 75226 Accumulated Sadness by Jeanne Kiyomi Goka 10 DECEMBER 6, 1985