Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Letter From Camp Harmony

"Dear Norma -
Life here's starting to improve a little, particularly the food. We've still got an awful lot of bread, potatoes, canned stewed tomatoes and Vienna sausages, but at least now there are a few fresh vegetables and a little rice. The local grocers have caught on to our plight pretty quick; every day there are lines of folks at the barbed wire buying extra food and snacks from the merchants.

Our camp newsletter's been full of speculation about our "real" home for the duration of the war. Most folks seem to think we're going to a place called Tulelake in northern California. But now we hear the Army's saying that camp is getting full, so it might be somewhere else. But no one knows for certain.

In the meantime, we're making do here in Puyallup. There are 7,000 of us in the camp. It's divided into four areas - you need a pass to go from one part of Camp Harmony to another. Each area has its own barracks and mess halls. Of course we all remember going to the Puyallup Fair here in summers past; it's funny now to see the barracks wedged in under the roller coaster.
Each barrack is 20 by 100 feet, made of wood. The flooring's laid directly on the ground, and the roofs are tarpaper. Every family gets a room, with thin wood dividing walls.

We're making the best of things, of course. Some wag named one of our mess halls "Blanc's Cafe" after that fancy Maison Blanc French restaurant in Seattle. We've also had a dance. No orchestra, but everybody brought their radios and turned the music up to full volume!

Aunt Michiko is still pretty glum. She wouldn't dance even though I tried to get her out on the floor. Jack's as angry and restless as ever, he gets really sore whenever he reads about the military action in the paper. I can imagine how frustrating it must be for a 20-year-old right now to be missing out on a chance to lick the Axis, but Michiko and I have told him over and over again that rules are rules. If the services won't take Japanese (or in his case, half-Japanese) men, he just has to respect that decision. But it's so hard for him.

Of course I'll let you know as soon as we find out where we're going. For now, as always, keep your chin up and keep 'em flying!

Love, Uncle Orren.


Anonymous said...

It really is quite ridiculous. The Axis are German too but half-German people are allowed to join the service (the woman I know is in the Coast Guard--and her father was born in Germany). How inconsistent!

Rosalind Sinclair said...

Yes, it seems completely unfair!