A Justice Site
Getting yanked out of baptism and First Communion didn't get me out of the Academy. I still spent many a weekendthere, grounded, humbled, wondering why we all had to be banished from our homes. This was all so stupid!
Some of us had no one at home to take care of us. One of the Sisters "adopted" the little Japanese girl. She was always there on weekends when I was. She lived there because her father was in the army. Or the navy or the marines? Who knows? He was fighting in the war, so he had to leave the little Japanese girl in the academy.
Oh, my God, you don't suppose he did that to save her from Manzanar or one of those other camps? I never thought of that before. I maybe just assumed her mother was dead. Why didn't the little Japanese girl live in one of those camps. Wait. What year was it? 1943. Yes, there were camps then. They wouldn't, would they?
YES, they would. But what if your daddy was fighting for the U.S., and your mother really was dead? Would they send you to camp alone?? Or would your father try to save you from the camp by putting you in the convent?
I don't know why, but I don't remember playing with or befriending the little Japanese girl. I don't remember being frieds with anyone, even Claire, apart from our "follow the leader" escapade. I spent most of my time in the Virgin' grotto alone, working assiduously on my little papyrus leaves. The vine covered grotto smelled fresh and was protective, but the Virgin never appeared, or talked to me, or even had a minor casual chat with me. She just watched over the grotto, as she would have in the chapel, and the nuns left me to my own devices and desires. Maybe the convent was so "alone," after all, maybe I sought out the quiet and privacy the Virgin afforded. But that insight was half a century away in the early years of the Second World War. What did I do? Search out safe places everywhere I went? In the grotto no one intruded. The place was safe.
Even though I didn't really "know" the little Japanese girl, I felt sorry for yer. It was terrible that she didn't have a mother and that her father was so far away and in danger. One of the younger sisters must have shared those bad feelings because every weekend that I spent on the campus, she spent ages backcombing the little girl's hair to make it fluff out. I understood that. I liked that she tried to add a little happiness to the little girl's life.
I had asked for a PERMANENT. They had big shiny machines with lots and lots of electric wires hanging down. They sat you in a special chair, and they put your hair in curlers that they hooked up to the machine. After you cooked for a while, your hair came out all curly. But Mother wouldn't let me do it. She said I was too young. She put my hair in French braids instead. At least that was better than the Buster Brown that wasn't really better than the little Japanese girl's hair.
Was that the same year I asked Mother for bangs, and she answered with an emphatic NO? She was thinking of my Buster Brown bangs; but I was thinking of soft bangs that would go with my French braids. . . . .
Campus Layout at Academy of the Holy Angels
Images of Manzanar
Pascagoula and Mother's Victory Garden
My Theory of Everything - Chapter 4
Mirror Sites: CSUDH - Habermas - UWP
Latest Update: June 22, 2006
From My Theory of Everything, by Jeanne Curran, in collaboration with Everybody.
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