I Know We'll Meet Again - Transcripts

Correspondence and the forced dispersal of Japanese Canadians

Yoshio Nakamura

Magrath, AB on January 3, 1945

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: Jan. 3, 1945,
: Dear Joan -
: To-day is the 3rd of January. oh yes! May I wish you a Happy New Year? Did you have a White Xmas? I had a pretty nice Xmas–and New Years too.
: To-day is Wednesday and a half holiday in the afternoon at the store. I've been working in the store for over a month now and I like it very much.
: Gosh but I've been going to parties and shows and games so much that I have never slept earlier than 2:30 A.M. each night. Last night was the last one, I hope. We had a grand time at the parties though.
: Gosh! Joan, I'm sorry I did not send the parcel sooner. I have to go to work by 8 A.M. and after work at 6, I come home do bit of this and that; have supper and off we go.
: How are you getting along in school now. How does it feel to be a senior–the Undergrads. Gee! everytime I think of the school I sure sit and dream of what I might have done in the last year.
: I was going to write some more of the story? wasn't I. Well, here I start again on the 2nd half of the 1st Chapt.
: "The 7th of dec. was on a Sunday. On Monday I went to school wondering how I was going to go through the whole day as if nothing had happened and wondering
: how the teacher and other students would [red text: ?] react toward me. Most of my worries were over that 1st period. The bell rang for the 1st period and quietly we all went to the assigned rooms for Algebra. Our principal taught us that subject. When he came in I could see that he was under some sort of a strain, probably, I thought, as I was. When he got to the desk he looked toward me and said, jokingly. "How did the basketball game turn out?" Knowing that our high school team lost to another high school about 20 miles away; that last Friday evening. He asked me a few more questions and I answered with a laugh as best I could. I knew then that he was trying to ease the tension caused by this suddenly erupted chaos. Words cannot express what those few words did to me and others [red text: who] that were in the same [red text: position] boat as I was. The lesson went over in the usual pattern. For at least a month I went through lessons in a semi-strained way.
: After that life at school was swell for awhile. The reason why I say "For a while," is [red text: that] because in March all the boys like myself "the Japanese-Canadians" were called into a counselling room and were told that we were barred from further participation in the high school army cadet corps. In all my school career that was my first and worst heart-breaking experience. There were thirty of us in that room wondering why we were called here. We laughed and joked till the principal came in and conveyed to us the ill-news. You should have seen the expression on their faces; dumbfounded; and looked as if they were all asking the same question "Why do they have to do this to us?" Then sadly with bowed heads we silently listened. I couldn't imagine such an order coming from a ministry of Education. The Cadet Corps was one subject in the curriculum I loved very much. I liked that branch so much that I studied all the notes that were given me. We drilled and practised quite a lot. The Battalion was divided into units consisting of the First Aid Corps, Signal Corps, and Officer training Corp. All those wishing to become officers and noncoms
: were given tests based on what we had learned so far. Out of the cadets who wrote the exams five corporals were picked, of [red text: whom] which I was one. Later we became candidates for officers training. We studied map reading and other subjects which were essential. The whole course was very interesting. I can say very easily that the rest of the boys like myself liked that very much. The action of barring us from participation in the cadet corps put a brand on us in a way. When the rest of the students would be having corps practise we would be doing other things less interesting. Even if it was supposed to be interesting one [red text: could] cannot expect us to like it. Around about this time studying became less and less important to me and to a lot of others like myself. Long before the Easter holiday I hardly ever took my books home and did not prepare my lessons. The time came one April afternoon when we were told that we were going to Alberta. This was the sixteenth day of April 1942."
: Well Joan, I'll leave it at that for now. I still have a lot of mistakes and everything wrong with the grammar and punctuation and etc. so you'll have to sort of put it together like a puzzle. If you have time, Joan, I'd like very much if you would re-read the 1st and this last part and sort of fix it up; and tell me where I should fill in more and etc. Will you please? I do not intend this to be a story or an essay–I'd like to sort of have it like a long letter to a friend.
: This last Friday I met Sonny and Mae in Raymond for the first time in 3 years. Gee! but I was sure glad to see them; I mey Ally too. He came to see me yesterday again and we went to a show and talked after till after midnight.
: By the way Joan, where do Betty and Margie teach? Do you know their address. I sent a card to May Webb but as yet I have no answer. I heard that Dot Kan is still stationed in Calgary so I may see her. I sure wish I could see you, Betty and Margie soon. We may not recognize each other first but after all 3 years or more is a long time. Remember when Betty went past Calgary? Well, I never got the letter in time to know she was going past Calgary and did not know what time and date she'd pass so I couldn't go to Calgary. Gosh! but I sure wished I knew what date and time. I'll write again soon Joan so untill then solong
: As ever
: Yosh
: P.S. Send me some snaps of yourself Joan. Will you please?

Preferred Citation

Nakamura, Yoshio. Correspondence from Yoshio Nakamura to Joan Gillis. 3 January 1945. RBSC-ARC-1786-02-46. Joan Gillis fonds. University of British Columbia Library Rare Books and Special Collections, Vancouver, Canada.