I Know We'll Meet Again - Transcripts

Correspondence and the forced dispersal of Japanese Canadians

Yoshio Nakamura

Magrath, AB on July 20, 1943

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: Box 173, Magrath, Alta
: July 20/43.
: Dear Gang-
: I guess it's useless to start apologizing and making excuses for not writing these past centuries. I must have had a touch of laziness again. Well, may I begin to tell you all or nearly all that happened since I last wrote? O.K.? Swell.
: To begin with the last time I wrote was in March wasn't it? or was it before that. About that time we were all practising to put on a concert or "Club Review" as we called it, on the end of March.
: You know, something like the big concert we had in Q.E.? only it wasn't half so good.
: The surprising part of it was that they never had such a concert like this before in Magrath. We had a packed house both times. (We put it on 2 nights.) It was the greatest success Magrath has ever put on. School inspectors and other school teachers etc. commented on it very highly. They has such things as dancing displays, plays (short) tumbling (I gave them a sample of Q.E. tumbling) with 3 other boys; the school band (5 piece)
: songs by the glee club and a few other items. There was a dance after each performance (I mean at the end of each night.). That concert was the talk of the town for a month.
: We had pictures taken etc. I got hold of me print of myself on top of a pyramid and had it autographed by the other fellows I'll get hold of another and send it over. We had fun doing it too.
: All the time in between, we played badminton.
: A week after the concert we had Easter exams. Pretty fair tests. Only some dopey girls (excuse me) cheated and got caught. Boy, was there a row over it.
: Easter holidays came and I went to herd sheep about 60-70 miles from here. My boss has a couple of thousand head of sheep there. There were 3 of us boys and 2 men working there. It was lambing season so we were very busy. My boss couldn't get anybody to take my place so I had to stay away from school all May. I really was a shepherd of the hills then. I had to watch and take care of 1500 head of ewes and little lambs. The last week I was there I had to take the herd a few miles away from the other sheep so that they do not mix. I had to stay all by myself for a week.
: I had to cook by myself. I never saw a human being for 4 days. wow! what misery! Since it was better to leave the sheep outside of the corral, I had to watch them longer. The darn sheep head for all over the places as soon as it gets light and I do not stop till dark. I watched them all day and bring them back at night. I watch them till about 9-9:30 P.M. In the morning I have to get up between 4.30 A.M. and 5 A.M., catch a bite to eat and put some oranges etc. in my pocket for a mid-morning bite and off I go. I'll tell you now that I'll never do that again. I went there expecting to be home in 1 week but I had to stay 22 days! My boss sure was glad cause I stayed for him. If it was some grumpy old guy I might have left but he's been very good to us so I stayed for him. While I was there I found lots of pieces of petrified wood. If you'd like to see some I'll send some over. Let me know eh? I turned a combination of geologist and a herder. I found a number of pieces of petrified wood. Big and small; from 1 oz. to 15 lbs.
: So much for that. When I came home I found that the beets were awaiting me. Well for
: nearly a month I thinned beets ugh! what a job but was it a relief when we finished in June, about the 24th.
: I went back to school just before this and found out that I was recommended in all subjects. They said that I cannot receive my Senior Matric this year 'cause the credits are rather on the low side. That is, they took away so much that I'll have to go back another year. Same with Tom Tsukishima. I'm thinking of going back next year.
: Say, thanks for sending me the Q.E. Vue Joan, it sure was swell. To tell you the utmost truth I just about felt like crying when I read about the graduation and to think that I would have been there too. Gosh! I sure had a swell time while I attended good old, I mean new Q.E. Gosh! but I've finally lost hope of getting that Q.E. pin which I was supposed to have won. I wrote to "Stinky" but no response. I guess he decided that it was just a waste to send it to me eh?
: What are you all doing nowadays? Having fun? I hope so.
: Nearly everyday except Sundays and 1st of July, I've been working out on the prairies. Wow! is it ever hot! We hayed
: for a week in the blazing heat. It was 114° F at 6 P.M. so you can guess how hot it was at 1 or 2 P.M. Sweat just pours down in streams and water just flows nearly continuously down the hatch. I guess we drink a gallon or two of water each day. I've been mowing and raking hay these last few days and we start to hay again on Thursday.
: On the 24th of July a holiday for Magrath (It's birthday) us Evacuees play ball against the Local boys. We have formed a team and have practised every Sunday for about a month. We have fun tho'. Last Sunday after ball practise we had a wiener roast beside a canal and enjoyed it very much. The brains of a working boy drains and wanes fast so I'll close now before I lose all of my precious knowledge juice.
: So long-
: As ever
: Yoshio
: P.S. Hoping against hope that you were able to read the ink lines.

Preferred Citation

Nakamura, Yoshio. Correspondence from Yoshio Nakamura to Joan Gillis. 20 July 1943. RBSC-ARC-1786-02-39. Joan Gillis fonds. University of British Columbia Library Rare Books and Special Collections, Vancouver, Canada.