Camp memories

1. Sad The saddest event in camp was Frank's memorial service.

By that time in 1945, we in high school had a pretty good idea of what was going on in the world. Frank's death was of such proportions that the blatant racism of Hood River people really focused. The rest of the world and its biases didn't count much until Frank's service. I thought that Hood River was a major part of my life. It began to diminish in importance, until now it is now a nice place to be from but "I really don't want to live there."

Unfortunately, my genes tell me that I'm most in balance with nature in Hood River. I feel it when I go there from the airport in Portland. The drive down the Columbia Gorge settles my conflicts and I'm one with Nature. I try to forgive and in most respects, I believe that I have. Katchie keeps telling me, "You've got to forget. Life is easier that way." Each time I'm in Pine Grove, Odell or on Erhck's Hill, I try to determine which part of my ambivalence is the truest. Maybe I'll find out this time.

2. Basically, I believe that a teen-ager (one that did not have the draft on his neck too strongly) could not be too unhappy or sad in Minidoka. That's one of the reasons I think my version of Block 37 Minidoka Revisited will be so much fun to write.

3. Happy. I don't know for sure where it was, but it was probably in Minidoka since I didn't date anyone at the age of 15 (Tule Lake). I can't remember anything quite as eventful and happy as my date with Ayako Toki to a dance in a distant block. I still remember it as almost ethereal. We had a tremendous understanding, I firmly believe, in spite of the fact that we did not talk to each other as teen-agers normally do on telephones (or cell phones now).

We'd play friendly games of ping pong once in a while and I was sure not to embarrass her too much. (I did have a few killer smashes that few people could stop.) No one can measure up in a relationship that created so much high comfort, teen-age respect, and affection as I felt with Ayako. We talked small talk and we knew that we meant every word. There was much that was unspoken, nearly like the unarticulated terms of love that the Japanese are so good at.

Walking back from the dance on that dusty road to her block is etched in moon dust and gold.

The Camps: Tule Lake, Minidoka

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