Letter from Jeanne By: Julian Carter

Dear Shirley,

How are things in Long Beach? Life at the camp is very tough. The hardest thing about camp life is the un-unification of our family. At the mess halls, our family is split apart and eating separately. It makes me sad that our once strongly bonded family is now in shambles. After being charged with treason, father was disgraced. His honor was greatly affected by his imprisonment. When he came to Manzanar, he took up drinking. He has been making it from the appalling rice we are served from the kitchen. He doesn’t really leave the house much, mama brings him his meals. I think he feels disgraced from his imprisonment.

The food we are served is not just dismal, it is insulting. For example, one of the sides is soggy rice with a sweet fruit sauce. It’s insulting to my culture to prepare it in that manner. Another cause of great hardship is papa’s beatings of mama. He beats her when he’s frustrated, usually with his cane, although sometimes he gets crazy and beats her with his fists. He has been a little bit better about not beating her after Kiko hit him to get him to stop. The sand roams freely throughout the camp. It blows outside constantly, it even comes into the housing. Despite our efforts to keep the sand out, it gets in. I’ve taken up baton, it’s pretty fun. It is taught by one of the girls in camp. There was a riot in December. After the riot, conditions became a little bit better in camp. They are still despicable though, I hope I can leave soon. How have you been? What’s going on in Long Beach? Well I hope you’re doing well!

Sincerely, Jeanne Wakatsuki

Manzanar memorial

Credits:

Created with images by Moyan_Brenn - "Desert" • Unsplash - "jetty pier motion" • Sangre-La.com - "hy1185.JPG" • jericl cat - "Manzanar, a national historic site"

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