I Know We'll Meet Again - Transcripts

Correspondence and the forced dispersal of Japanese Canadians

Tadashi Nagamori

Headingly, MB; Lorette, MB; Dryden, ON on 1942-1944

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: P.O. Box 23
Letter 1
: Headingly, Man.
: July 5 /42
: Dear Joan,
: Well here I am, back in B.C. to talk with you (I hope I was.).
: Thanks for your kind and most welcome letter, I received it on the 2nd.
: I intended on writing sooner but since we’re kinda late in thinning the bees I just couldn’t find time to write. This is one letter I had enough ambition to walk four miles to get it.
: I couldn’t walk or ride a bike on this sticky road so I took the C.P.R which runs right through Headingly.
: I was sure glad you understood my letter and besides I was wondering if you still remember me because it was a long time since we seen each other.
: Gosh I hate to be outside now, the mosquitos are buzzing outside like the bee buzzing around its hive. Ooo that one bit me in the forehead. I’ll get revenge with him yet. Oh. That reminds me, have you ever seen a
: “firefly,” If you like I'll send you one. If I could grab hold of one. Oh boy, they sure give off light for the size of itself.
: “Roses,” there are millions of it here. Joan its a swell time to come and see me now. The roses are in full bloom, the oaks, ash, poplar, ect. [sic] are just loaded with bright green leaves.
: When we first came ot the prairie everything just didn’t look right.
: This here country right now isn’t too bad at all specially if your [sic] here Gosh if I had enough money now I’ll pay your fair [sic] in. There are hundreds of horse-back riders here. Gosh I sure like that, do you?
: About 10 days ago we were moved from Headingly to a place called West Winnipeg, which is about 5 miles south of where we use to live. This is between two tracks the C.P.R + G. N.R. It’s a good thing we have trees around our house because we have lots of strong wind here.
: Talking about sunburn Gosh you ought to see me, I’m darker than a n----- seen in a dark, since I started on the [beet?].
: Gosh I hope the sun don’t burn you up too much. What I think would be good when your [sic] picking strawberries are those wide brim hat [sic].
: Sure, I’ll tell Yoshiyaki that. I like to see and talk to him now but we’re both busy. I have written one to him just the day I sent you one I think, but he never wrote to me since. I know his dad’s in a pretty bad health now.
: Sure I’ll write to you as long as we’re apart.
: I know you were a swell letter-writer, I heard you were one of the best in QEHS. Before I forget Joan, I like to a picture of yourself so I won’t get so lonesome here.
: Well it’s getting on to 12 so I guess I’ll sign off here. Hoping to hear from you soon. Bye.
: I remain
: Yours sincerely
: Tad.
: P.S. Please give me best regards to Kirky (Booo)
: P.O. Box 23
Letter 2
: Headingly Man.
: Aug. 3, /42
: Dear Joan--
: Many thanks for your most welcome letter. I received it with greatest pleasure on the 24th. Every letter we’re getting now is cencored [sic] and just to send a letter 30 miles it takes over a week, because every letter we write goes back to B.C. to be cencored [sic].
: Thanks for the compliment of my letter I didn’t know I write such a letter myself Gee but I sure adore your heavenly letter
: To-day we have just finished our thinning and at last I’ve found time to scribble few lines
: We have had one terrible weather for a spell One afternoon the thermometre [sic] climbed over 100° then that evening we had a painfull rain and wind storm. But now the weather have seemed to have settled down.
: The strawberries and cherries are very scarce out here. The price we pay for a lb. of cherry here is 25 cents. I wonder how the farms are like now. I heard the government have
: sent [mind-nites?] over to take our place on the farm.
: The government is now planning on sending more Japanese from the coast for the harvest here. Even the farmers now are getting called up, they are taking mens to about 37.
: To tell you the truth, the most I’ve earned in a single day was $10.00 for hoing 3 1/3 acres. There are five of us looking after 60 acres.
: Boy I bet you raked up fat dough in picking strawberries I heard it was 40 cents a crate for picking and 40 cents for loose packing.
: The mosquitoes are quite bad yet - especially just before and after rain.
: It must have been a fair size mosquitoes to bite right-throw [through] your underthing. Yes it does get you sore when it gets that fore, doesn’t it.
: Oh yes we got a privilege to own a radio and a camera here. We had both radio and two cameras there but we had to leave it in the hands of the R.C.M.P. I believe the custodian is now looking after it. That radio wouldn’t be in any use here I don’t think because the dials are different here
: We have sent for our camera about two weeks ago but it still hasn’t arrived There both swell cameras too. One takes a card size picture and the other takes 1 1/4 x 1 3/4 picture They both had a nice leather case to it. We have bought one lately to take souvenir pictures and we have already taken 5 rolls of it. This is a bullet type camera that takes a picture size approx 1 3/4x 2 1/2. Soon as we get these rolls developed and if it turns out O.K. I’ll send it.
: Gosh I’m just waiting for your glamorous picture. Boy but I’ll bet you had a good laugh at my school-day pictures We’ve got piles of those old school pictures too.
: Dancing would be fun with you Joan, if I know how to dance. My brother took a lesson at [Lallas Moors?] in Vancouver late last Autumn. He tried to teach me then but I wasn’t crazy over it so I couldn’t quite get to dance. Gee but I’d like to know how now.
: One trouble is we haven’t any radio yet.
: Your [sic] more up to date in show than I am, the last time I seen one was almost
: three month [sic] ago when we were stationed at the Immigration Hall. We stayed at this place for about a week and we sure used it went to a show almost every day I think every picture Vancouver gets comes over a month or two later here in Winnipeg.
: Do you like the Hawaiian Guitar. This is one instrument I wanted to learn for a long time. Gee I’d like to start in on it this winter. Can you play any instrument? I’d like to have some kind of a music around. Gee I bet you just love singing. I like to have you here just to sing for me. I can play a mouthorgan, this is what I learned when I was a small kid.
: This song (“I like New York in June, How about you?”)
: I think I could remember Judy Garland sing this in the show called (“Babe on Broadway”)
: You asked me what the last two pages in your letter reminded you of. The closest I could get to it is. The one you Love. No I can’t think of anything else.
: Gosh I sure do enjoy the Union steamship. I’ve been on one of these This was on a B.+A. picnic to Bowen Island. It sure is nice along the coast -- isn’t it.
: Right here you see nothing but a wide piece of land with few houses here and there.
: When I think of the B.C. I really don’t feel like staying here for the next minute.
: About that firefly I was going to send you. Gee I’m sorry I promised you but it doesn’t seem to be flying around now. Gosh but I should have saved one for you before. I just went out to look for one but all I could see is the stars. And boy the moon is out nice and bright.
: Joan you write a swell letter. I’m just wondering why I can’t write any better than this.
: Your letters getting more and more interesting and I’m glad you like writing to me too. Well I guess I better close here for its past midnight. Bye.
: Yours As Ever
: Tad
: P.S. Hoping to hear from you soon I’ll be expecting your picture at the same time
: I hope you didn’t mind my poor grammar and cross-outs ect. [sic]
: About that drawing, I aint much of a drawer but if you can stand it to have it around I’ll try and do one for you.
: P.O. Box 23
Letter 3
: Headingly Man.
: Oct. 4, /42
: Dear Joan:
: Please forgive me for not writing any sooner. To tell you the truth this is the first chance I got to write after I got home from threshing. I’ll promise you I’ll write sooner the next time. Gee why but come to think of it its almost two month ago I wrote to you isn’t it.
: Well anyway how are you and the rest? All in the best road of health I hope. As for me I’m just swell, beside I’ve gained five pounds since we came out here.
: We’ve had some nice cold weather out here for a while. The first sight of Jack Frost was seen on the 23rd of Aug. After that we had some cold days for about two wks. Once I went for the milk to our neighbors in the evening nearing 7:30 and the thermometer reading 30 degrees. Boy! But was I surprised to see this Gee whiz and the first snow flury [sic] came
: down on the 23rd of Sept. It snowed a little for 3 days in succession. On the last day we had a blizzard for just five minute. It just came and went like a lightning. I was sure surprised how the cold weather comes around here, but now the hot weather seem to have came back again. I guess this is what they call Indian summer. How’s the weather back there I suppose you haven’t met up with Jack frost yet have you?
: We have just started on our beet harvest about a week ago. Boy I found this job really miserable specially when your shaking the dirt off. The only thing the owner does at harvest is come along with a tractor and loosen the beet out of the heavy gumbo soil. Then we go up 2 rows a piece throwing 8 rows of beets into one row shaking the dirt off at the same time. Then we go back up the row topping it this time soon as we make a pile of beets we throw the leaves over it in
: case it freezes before them come to collect. To topp [sic] this sugar beet we use a heavy knife with a curved hoot at the end to pick it up. This we could only do about 1/2 acre a day or less. To every ton of beets topped we get $1.25 to 8 tons of beet topped and to anything over 8 tons an acre we get 1.00 per ton.
: I suppose you’ve heard or read about the mon eclipse on the 25th of Aug. Boy! That was really clearly seen. The sky was clear and besides the moon was in full then.
: Talking about radio. About a week ago my brother bought a brand new portable radio. It can be brought to any place and we played. We’re using battery now. Its made for both battery and electric.
: At least I’ve got one picture of myself thats not too bad. I had it taken on a Millionar’s Farm while I was threshing there. I’m gonna get coupla reprints of this one so in the next correspondence you can expect it. So please try and
: get one of yourself for me will you
: By the way Joan I’d like to read some of your wonderful poems can you write one just for me? I’ll be waiting for it.
: By the way you haven’t heard about Oki’s dad have you? He passed away on the 28 of Aug. Gosh that sure was a shock to all of us here.
: Well I guess this is all I can write this time so I’ll close here. Bye for now.
: As Ever
: Tad
: Here is a drawing I have done this afternoon. It took me an hour and a half to draw and paint this. This ain’t nothing wonderful but since I drew it I thought I might as well send it to you.
: P.S. please write soon I’ll be waiting
: Lorette
Letter 4
: Manitoba
: Jan 9, 1943
: Dear Joan --
: Hellow Joan, It’s been quite a while since I heard from you last isn’t it.
: Well anyways I resolved to answer every letter sooner, especially yours.
: Here’s another year, greeting us with Luck and Happiness. I hope.
: First of all I guess I’ll tell you of our transfer into Lorette. This was made in the middle of November. We moved out of Headingly because of our poor living quarter. Right now we have all the convenience although the post office is three miles away.
: Our boss (Joe Gregorior) has a farm of his own, has a dairy, and runs a general store, and above all he owns about 17 children. He just lives across the highway from us, and the school is about same distance away.
: This highway which runs between us in the NO12, or some peoples call it the Dawson Rd
: How’s the weather like back in good old B.C. now? Have you had any snow yet?
: Right here we have an average of 8 inches. Some places like along the edge of the brush or fence the snow is banked about 2 ft. The highway in this country is banked up quite high so soon as the powder snow lands it is blown by a puff of wind, and the speed of the traffic.
: The toughest day we had out here was about 30 degrees below with a wind that almost tore our skins apart from our bones. This day me and my dad went out a mile to get beet leaves for our boss’s cattle. The beet leaves were stuck tight together so we needed a pick to separate them from the ground. My dad had 1 1/2 inches of icycle [sic] on his mustach when we came back with a load.
: If you stand out in this weather for an hour you’ll be chilled right through your marrow.
: Boy but the river was really well for a coupla weeks last year for skating. This Seine
: River was a playground for almost every one around here, on Sundays specially. Last year was my first year on ice and I made out pretty good one day I tried out my speed and proved to go 9 miles in 3/4 hr. this is nothing to what most does [sic].
: Most of the Japanese sugar beet workers have now gone to the [???] work camp or to Ontario to cut pulp wood and few have landed swell jobs in Winnipeg. My eldest brother has gone to Ontario to cut pulp wood but just a day before Christmas he broke his ribs and he is now at Fort William.
: Most of the girls here have work in Winnipeg doing house-work, working in hat-factories and even few of them are smart enough to work as a stenographer.
: I’ve got some more to write but since its getting to [sic] long I think I’ll cut off here.
: Darn this evacuee business I’m getting tired of it can’t seem to get settled.
: Well anyways here’s sending you--
: Best Wishes and Luck for /43
: Write soon please
: Always
: Tad
: Lorette Manitoba
Letter 5
: Feb. 14 /43
: [doodle of two hearts impaled by an arrow]
: Dear Joan:
: Hellow Joan, thanks for the very welcome letter I received on the 1st of Feb.
: How are you and the rest All fine and dandy and I hope you didn’t catch a cold during the sub-zero weather you had out there. I was glad to hear you had received my letter on your birthday and besides it was on my sisters birthday I sent it.
: I hear it went down as long as 45 degrees below in the North Fraser Valley. Is that true? I suppose you have coupla foot of snow there now. My friend in the interior of B.C. says they had 3 ft of snow, but out here we only have 18 in. average.
: In places there are about 5 ft of snow frozen hard enough to keep us up. One of our boss’s son [sic] recently went trucking up in Alaska and he says its 80 degrees below there. Boy the fuel cost went sky high these days hasn’t it This winter sure
: fooled many citizens. I heard in the prairies they’re burning their own houses for fuel. There’s so much snow there the roads are all blocked up. Quite a few highways in Manitoba are blocked up. The peoples around here says this highway’s about the last to get blocked. There are snow plughs working on the highways but it doen’t do much good because the wind out there are too strong it blows the snow around 30-40 feet up in the air.
: My brother came from Fort William. He is perfectly well now and at present he is in Winnipeg looking for more profitable job [sic]. The fellas that went to Ontario to cut pulp wood says the trees there are no bigger than a raspberry cane. My brother brought home a piece of birch bark to write letters on It’s almost as smooth and thin as an ordinary writing sheet. He had about foot square of it. He says, Ontario quite similar to B.C. of course there are no
: high mountains.
: 'Lorette Village' as they call it is a French settlement. The people living in this district are almost all French. The most outstanding building here is the Catholic church about 1 1/2 times the size of the Lutheran church at Annivial[?]. Theres a nun’s school, Public school with high school, 3 general store one with Post Office, Hall, Hotel, 2 garage and a pool room. In this town are six Japanese families one of them being our neighbor back home. The Manitoba Sugar Beet 60 intends to put 10 more families in this Area. We live 3 miles away from the Village.
: But our boss owns a small general store so we don’t have to cycle in for our groceries There’s a small school right across my place that holds about 50 pupil Theres one 23 year old teacher teaching 40 pupils, grades 1 to 10. It is exactly 50 miles from Lorette to Newton Siding Our boss owns 16 kids The eldest about 25 He lost 4
: He expects to get another soon. Theres only nine home now and the eldest is only 16. Our neighbor just across the river from us has a family of 13 and majority of them are girls. They all say the French have a big family. They all seem to be friendly towards us at least they have no hatred towards us. Is this true about Glen that he’s a student of the University of Washington? And about the barge balloon they’ve got up around Vancouver? Have you seen it yet?
: Is this true about Glen that he’s a student of the University of Washington? And about the barge balloon they’ve got up around Vancouver? Have you seen it yet?
: Last night the Japanese Girls in Winnipeg held a party at the I.W.A.
: Well this is about all I can think of so I’ll close here
: Always
: Tad
: P.S. I’ll be waiting for your swell picture
: [doodle of two hearts impaled by an arrow]
: Lorette Manitoba
Letter 6
: April 11 /43
: Dear Joan:
: Hellow there, Many thanks for the most welcome letter I received quite awhile ago and Gosh!
: Was I glad to see a snapshot of yourself enclosed. Thanks a lot, Believe it or not I’ve got two snapshot of you now
: The other one was taken in your victory garden last year.
: The weather we’re having these days isn’t too bad The snow is practically all gone making things look more like Spring The Seine River has expanded 15 times its
: width because this river hasn’t much of a bank This water has reached within 15 feet of our house. They say last year it was the worst since 1910 on this river The wheat fields are a sight now huge patches of water here and there deep enough to hold a couple on a light dinghy
: Maybe you have heard this In the middle of March we had a blizzard for 3 consecutive days 60 hrs. Behind our house the drift came as high as 9 ft. Yosh says he had a drift 15 ft high behind their
: house
: How’s the good old B.C. like these days more like summer than spring I suppose.
: During the last week of March we have done some skating on the rivers and fields.
: To date we’ve only had few drops of rain which came just recently.
: Last Friday I happened to meet up with Yosh in the bus. For a while there I was puzzled there I couldn’t recognize him right away. He had a glass on which I’ve first-seen him with, and besides he has grown a lot fatter. He and I went in to see a show It was of this
: title “Spring-time in the Rockies” It was a nice show in technicolor.
: I heard from Yosh that you and few other girls an boys are comming [sic] over to see him this summer Is this on the level?
: Since the last time I heard from you I have made over half a dozen toy planes I’ve made this as my hobby from now. I sold few to our boss He says, he never seen anyone make a better toy plan He said there were few that were worth about 3-4 dollars length are only a foot long.
: In the last letter you asked me if I’ve been to Newton Siding I haven’t been there once since we came over I like to tho’ it’s pretty hard to get the permit.
: Any time we hop on a bus we are questions if we got our permit.
: I’m enclosing a snap-shot which was taken almost a year ago I’m sorry but this is the only one I got of myself My height is I am a little shorter than Yosh.
: Always
: Tad
: P.S. I hope you haven’t passed out by my picture
: c/o Dryden Paper Co.
Letter 7
: Camp 29,
: Dryden Ontario,
: Jan 16, /44
: Dear Joan:
: Hellow honey, I’m really sorry for this terrible long delay. The reason why I didn’t answer you letter sooner was because I was way up north of Winnipeg working in a lime quarry, and the fellas at home forgot to send the letter up to me till two month later. After this long delay I felt kind of shy writing back, and it came hard and harder for me to write. But since you encouraged me this Christmas to write I am sincerely glad to do so.
: By the way I received your Christmas Card on the 28 and I really loved it just as much as I love you. I sent one to you on the 20th I hope you received it because the mail only go out once or twice a wk at this camp.
: Well how is the climate like back there in B.C. this winter. I guess its mild there too. Over here it only went as low as 30 below yet and usually it goes 50 below. I heard in part of Saskachewan it rained on the Christmas day. Right now we have foot and couple inches of snow. In Winnipeg I heard they
: have only about inch of snow.
: Its almost 2 month since we came to work here. I am here to work another two month but I don’t know how I can stand it here. I believe you like to hear a little about over here in Ontario. So far we have only been 100 miles into Ontario so I really haven’t much to tell, but I could say we came across hundreds of small lakes. The trees around here only average 50-60 ft. mostly all evergreen. I haven’t noticed any high mountains yet, but where ever you go is a hill. I like to send some pictures to you of this camp and scenery but it is almost impossible to get films now.
: To tell you the truth I think British Columbia is the best place to live and enjoy scenery.
: I hope i was in the interior of B.C. now where you can come over now and then to see me. Gee but won’t we have lot of fun then Well anyways I’ll hope there’ll be a day when we get together in a near future and have a good time and a good talk with you.
: Well here’s hoping I'll be hearing from you soon. Till then Cheerio! Honey
: Friend
: Tad.