Title: Letter from a nisei man, 10/18/1943, (denshopd-p155-00012)
Densho ID: denshopd-p155-00012

c/o Seidman & Seidman
502 City Hall Bldg.
Rockford, Illinois

October 18, 1943

Dear Ken,

After I saw and heard what liberties you had taken with my letter, I was just waiting to hear from you so that I could tell you off. I guess you must have sensed that and held off answering until I cooled off. Well, I have, and all is forgiven. If just one youngster has taken my sage words of wisdom to heart, then it will have done some good, and yours is the credit.

It was so good to hear from you, Ken. It is just so good to know that your interest in us means more to you than just a job at which you can get enough to feed the children. I realize this when you say that sometimes you think that working in a job where you would be in more personal contact with the people would be more interesting. I realize it too, when you take time out from your busy days to drop me a line in swell writing. If I could write as well, I'd write all of my personal letters too, but as it is, I try to type them all so that the unlucky recipients can at least read them, if not understand them.

My mother sends me the Irrigator so that I do get the news that makes John's paper. From that, and from soldiers stationed at near-by Camp Grant who return from furloughs spent at Hunt, I gather that the place isn't the place it was six months ago. Physically, yes, it would be the same, except for the vegetation, and other slight improvements that may have been made. However, it is the people that make up a town, even a temporary town like Hunt, and I'm afraid that most of my friends have departed to greener fields. I'd know a few of the younger kids, and many of the Issei, but would be without friends of my own age.

The more I think of it, deep down in my heart and mind, I feel that the Japanese have something to be thankful for in the evacuation from the coast and the subsequent relocation. I'm speaking of the younger folks who were through with school, of course. For the Issei and the youngsters, the solution to the problems of relocation are not nearly so easy. They are the ones who have suffered most, or will suffer the most. They just don't realize it yet. They still think that after the steam is off, they can go back to their homes on the coat, and pick up where they left off. That's all a lot of hooey.

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Going back to the coast will be relocation just as much, if not more, as coming east. Very few have the means to go back, and once back, would have nothing to do. For the present, the centers are temporary refuges -- I hope and pray that they are temporary, that more and more, the Issei will venture out into the various mid-western communities and rehabilitate themselves. It is difficult for them, I know, but the longer they wait, the more difficult it will be.

My folks are there yet, so it seems that I should start this kind of talk at home first, but haven't broached the problem there yet. All of which affects my convictions not a bit.

But for the young people, this has been a glorious opportunity. True, most of us feel that after the war, when the soldiers come back, we will be the first to be laid off. Yet, that in itself is a challenge. If we can make good, and can survive the post-war era of readjustment, that will be our triumph. Right now, our work and efforts are welcome because of the man-power shortage, but after the war is the real test of the success of relocation. Rather, the success of the nisei in selling themselves on the merit of their personalities and accomplishments. I've got my fingers crossed, and will work extra hard, for myself, yes, selfish of me, but for the whole lot of us, too.

These cool crisp fall days are the best days of the year, I think. Football, so typically American -- more so than baseball, I think -- is in the air, and on Friday mornings, we at the office place out dollars with the bookie on the hopes of winning 15 or 20 to one on the "U-Pick'em" cards. Then, the boss wants a bet. The darned guy gets more kick out of taking away a dollar from us on a football wager than he does out of making five thousand bucks a day on the stock market. When he wins, he swaggers around, waving and flaunting the "bucks" in our faces. (Spotted him 35 points on the Notre-Dame Wisconsin game last week and won.) Next week, I've got a bet with him that says that Michigan will beat Minnesota. We had a regular office pool for the world series, and the boss won two times out of five. I won one. Wish I could see a game. The only college here is Rockford College -- a girls' school. And all around here, close but just far enough away so that I can't make a Saturday afternoon game, are Chicago, Evanston, Madison, all with their college teams and games.

All of this nonsense is part of the relief of getting away from a year's confinement. Wouldn't be able to make the bets on the 16 bucks a month that you pay.

I told you of the thousands of trees that are here, making this the Forest City. Well, those thousands of trees have all shed their millions of leaves, and they are all over the ground. Very few people bother to rake up the leaves -- the task would be endless and futile. We had our rain weekly during the heat of summer, and suppose that we can look forward to a nice cold winter. People have put up their storm windows and doors -- something I'd never heard of on the coast. Life is so much the same everywhere, and yet so different in little details. Like storm windows, and soft water service, tornado and lightning insurance, unheard of things back home.

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The season for chinks and Mallards has opened here, and I suppose that you too will be shining up and priming your old ramrod and shotgun. Will soon hit the fields on your Sundays in quest of wild fowl. To supplement your meat coupons -- if you can get the shells.

Incidentally, we are both doing ok. Were still trying to get settled, but outside of that, we're up and around and still smiling. We miss our friends -- we are still the only ones here from Hunt, practically, anyway.

Who is there now in the north end of the second wing? Jimmie? Mits? Give them my regards. Also a "hello" to Mr. Mann, Mr. Bigelow, and Mr. Glenn and Mr. Sprinkel. I guess they're about the only ones I know who are still there.

Word from you will always be welcome, Ken. When the time and the mood coincide, drop me a line again.


[Signed]: Tats

Have moved twice since that old address. Please write in care of the office.

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