I Know We'll Meet Again - Transcripts

Correspondence and the forced dispersal of Japanese Canadians

Sumi Mototsune

Raymond, AB on May 16, 1942

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: c/o Mr. J. Maudsley
: Raymond, Alta.
: May 16/42
: Dear Joan;-
: Hi Joan!! Was I surprised to hear from you so soon!
: It’s so lonely and quiet here I keep thinking about you all the time and what you’re doing.
: Gosh, was I pleased to hear from you. I received your first letter on May 12, [&] then two days later, while I was in the garden, my sister brought home another one! I recognized your writing on the envelope and ripped it open & read it immediately. The way how I threw down my hoe to read it, my mother knew who the letter was from. I read your letters, I don’t know how many times. Next day, I happened to look in the envelope and the first letter was dated (or stamped) May 1, while the second, May 8. I don’t know how it happened, but I suppose it was because we haven’t been to town for ages.
: You’re wondering, no doubt, why you haven’t got word from me, but I’m writing to-night, which is the only night I could find spare time.
: How is your father, mother, Donalda and yourself? I hope you are all well. We are all feeling fine and gradually getting used to this Alberta surroundings. It’s not quite as bad as we first came out here to Raymond.
: We’ve had a very bad weather all this week. It has been raining, windy, rain and sleet, snowing & freezing. Yesterday and this morning I found a thick ice covering the surface of our water pail. Especially this morning, we were all shivering because we couldn’t start the fire. It certainly has been a very bad week, and we hope next week would be better. I hope you had a nice weather back in British Columbia.
: I am sorry to hear that you have not been feeling well, but staying home and getting rested up and relaxed would make you better, I hope. Well anyways, please take care of yourself.
: I hope your Social Studies test wasn’t too hard as you said it was. Boy am I lucky I didn’t have to write it!! But a “proffessional [sic] student” like you always say [sic] it’s hard and then the result – the highest mark in “Grade 9.” How are you getting along in French, English, Math, Science, etc?
: Gosh, but I wish I was together with you back in school. Do I wish to see the faithful “Queen Elizabeth High School” again, but it won’t be for quite a while.
: Yesterday and the day before, we have been in the garden planting some seeds. We planted some water mellons [sic], canteloupes [sic], potatoes, carrots, cabbages, beans, …. etc. It’s a pity you can’t come down & eat some of the things we have grown (if they growe well).
: The roads around here are terrible after it rains. No cars nor bycicles [sic] can ride on it. The earth gets soft and sticks onto the tires; therefore just skidding and slipping in one place. We can’t even walk on it ourselves, or else the mud sticks on to our shoes so much it gets too heavy to walk.
: There isn’t such a road in British Columbia even if you searched fore one. That’s true!
: Yesterday, while I was riding on a bike going to buy some eggs, I took a bad spill. My slack’s leg got caught on a hook or something that was sticking out and [there], I didn’t know it and was going full speed ahead. Bang!! we both fell, and a piece of my slacks got torn. I got several bruises, but not as bad as what yours was. I tried to get up, but I couldn’t for a minute. Then a car comes along towards heading my way, and somehow I managed to get up and drag the bike to one side of the road. A young man was in the car and he asked if I hurt myself badly. I just said I only got a few bruises which was nothing at all. I haven’t seen him since.
: Many cars pass in front of our house, and every one of them honks their horns. I don’t know why, but I guess it’s just a friendly way of passing instead of not honking.
: I heard there was a “May Day” this year. Did you go to it? We wanted to go to it, but was impossible. All that day, I was thinking about the school. — only have [sic] of the pupils present.
: It is a common sight to see the clothes-line only about the height of myself, while the clothes-line back in B.C. was higher than the roofs of our houses. I suppose it’s because the wind is too strong.
: There are no trees here in Alberta. Everywhere you look, just level plains of farming lands can be seen, while back in B.C: everywhere you look are trees and nothing but trees. Not one speck of the beautiful mountains can be seen either. We all miss our beautiful B.C. trees and mts.
: We left our cat and dog at home and are always wondering if they are still alive. We all think our dog would be dead because he always used to bark at many people and get stones thrown at. This is none of your affairs to look after, but I just wrote it in to fill up space.
: You must have had a good time riding home with Kirkbride. Afterall, any body would like to ride home with a companion who says funny things rather than a companion who isn’t interesting to talk with very much. He hasn’t got anybody to ride home with him now and you haven’t either, so what’s the matter riding home together? I think that’s swell.
: That was a tricky thing Betty did of taking pictures of you & Kirkbride. If you ever get hold that picture, will you please send one? (if you don’t mind.) We haven’t a camera yet, so are unable to take pictures, but if we do, I promise I’ll send it to you.
: The letter is getting long and boring you, no doubt, so I had better close now. Give my best regards to your mother, father, and sister. I think I’ve said everything what I have to say, so good-bye Joan, I am thinking of you all the time.
: With love,
: Your friend as ever,
: Sumi Mototsune
: P.S. You’re lucky to be decreasing in weight. I think I’m increasing.

Preferred Citation

Mototsune, Sumi. Correspondence from Sumi Mototsune to Joan Gillis. 16 May 1942. RBSC-ARC-1786-02-09. Joan Gillis fonds. University of British Columbia Library Rare Books and Special Collections, Vancouver, Canada.