Road Moments - Part I
My entire working life I dreamed of, one day, having the time to be on the open road and live the life of a part time vagabond and traveler of the American West. The last few years, I suppose one could say, I've been truly "living the dream". I thought it would be enjoyable to recap those years in terms of my personal experiences both as an exercise in re-living many of my trips and, perhaps, to stimulate my readers minds to visit some of the same places. I will recall my funniest moments, happiest moments, coldest moments, strangest, etc. This, my saddest moment, is the first post of the endeavor.
I was motivated to do this blog project while listening to the free book on Audible.com called "The Home Front: Life in America during WW2" (which I highly, highly recommend). Stories of Japanese Americans who were incarcerated at concentration camps (euphemistically called internment camps) all over America reminded me of the most crushing moment of my travels when I visited the Manzanar concentration camp off Highway 395 near the Eastern Sierra Nevada.
I have, perhaps like many others of us, experienced deep and profound injustice and loss in my life and as I walked around the camp I immersed myself in thinking about what life must have been for these people, torn from their homes, belongings sold or absconded, and the simple plain horror of that. The historical site, designated in 1992, has now built similar barracks and other features of the camp to help people, like me, fully comprehend the plight of those of Japanese ancestry in our country at the onset of World War II until 1945. It is a deeply touching and profound experience. As I meandered around on that typically windy and hot day I was overcome by sadness and frustration with our world and my country.
At the end of my visit I decided to check out the visitor center and bookstore. When I walked in I was surprised to find many families of Japanese ancestry in the Center. I spoke to the Rangers at the front desk and began wandering through the bookstore when I saw a young Japanese family, a mother , father and their small, perhaps 5 year old, son near one of the bookshelves. The father was stooped over explaining to his son that his grandfather had been held at Manazar. The little boy looked very confused and then softly said, "But, why Daddy, why?" The father simply looked away with tears in his eyes.
I was overwhelmed with sadness and grief and anger at the injustice. As I write this today I still am.
In the next few weeks (months?) I'll be listing some of my favorite memories of my life on the road. I hope you'll enjoy reading them as much as I will sharing them.
In the meantime, especially in today's political milieu, you might consider a visit to one of our great National Historical Monuments - Manzanar wouldn't be a bad place to start.
I've included some photos that I took that day. Since my photography is a bit better these days I need to go back and do it justice. In the meantime...
4/10/2018 02:53:26 pm
Hey Chris- thanks for checking it out- my next post is gonna be really weird! Ha! Take care, my brother.
4/8/2018 10:27:29 am
Nicely written and photographed article about a sad piece of American history. Thank you.
4/10/2018 02:54:01 pm
Thanks Steve. I appreciate the kind words.
4/8/2018 02:33:09 pm
Thank you. Had a similar experience in NY last summer - the FDR Museum and home in Hyde Park had a photo exhibit of the camps, taken by interned as well as folks like M. Bourke White along w some artifacts. It was brutal, yet difficult to look away. A good reminder.
4/10/2018 02:55:21 pm
Claudia, I have not been to Hyde Park...gotta put that on the list and of course Margaret was a remarkable chronicler. Thanks!
4/8/2018 02:55:10 pm
I had a hard time on Ellis Island in New York feeling the very heavy energy. I think the Ito family in Running Springs had family encamped.
4/10/2018 02:56:25 pm
Same here Darla. Like Ellis Island you can almost viscerally feel the pain here...it left a mark somehow. Thanks!
4/9/2018 07:14:21 am
Manzanar is a great Historic Site, and a very sobering place to experience. The Visitor Center is one of the best in the NPS system. Well thought-out, laid-out, and a wealth of information on an uncomfortable piece of our recent history.
4/10/2018 02:57:23 pm
Good description Tracy - you obviously know the place well. Thanks
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This will mostly be a journal of my travels. I may include other items that interest me. Feel free to join in.