Gone Fishing

October 14, 2012 by Admin

The following is based on an interview and written from the narrator’s point of view.

 

By Yvonne Nimnitch

An artist, my father painted scenery on fabric, scenes both small and large.

A woodcutter by trade, he immigrated from Hiroshima, Japan, in 1909 to Monterey, California.

A very stern man, he made sure nothing was wasted, nothing was uneaten, and no time was wasted.  My father was a proud man.

When the war came, and the move to the prison camp was imminent, my father gathered his friends and went on a camping trip for the last time.

They fished, they ate, and they sang old Japanese songs by the fire.

My father got up early the next morning and took out his boat without his friends and never returned.

From his friends, I heard, my father caught the biggest fish, laughed and sang wholeheartedly.

A good swimmer . . . my father disappeared.

Did he drown?

Did he swim far away from America?

My mother, without time to grieve and with her four adult children, took what she could carry and was forcibly taken to Gila, Arizona, prison camp.

I missed my father, his wooden pole and shiny hooks.

Would he ever return and swim us back to safety?

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More Stories by Yvonne Nimnicht

Newly Wed
Yakudoshi
My Dad

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In the aftermath of World War II, more than 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry – roughly two-thirds of whom were American citizens – were released from forced imprisonment in U.S. concentration camps. But released to return where, after being taken from their homes along the West Coast? When they were finally allowed to leave the internment camps, they faced a new challenge: How do you resume a life so interrupted.
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