Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace

I am normally 100% behind any 'field trip' O.G. comes up with, but this one? Hm. I wasn't really down. She wanted to go to Santa Anita Race Track - they happened to be having a Japan Family Day, with food and booths - quite timely considering the disaster in Japan right now. However that's not why we were going. No - she wanted to go back and see the horse stables she was forced to live in when she was interned during the war.
An important part of history? Yes. But it enrages me that that even happened to her. It was where she was taken when they pulled her out of college over 70 years ago. (recap here) She's been reflecting a lot on the past lately, I think this is just another piece of her life puzzle for her. So off we went.

The Japan Family Day had food booths, crafts and games, a pretty typical 'fair' event. We had an appointment for this tour of the stables - apparently O.G. had been in talks with the Operations office and we got a private van to take us around.

I have to say it was pretty interesting. There is a whole facility back there, horses, stables, people - almost like a small town.

The driver was well informed and gave a great tour but he was more interested in what O.G. had to say. Ever prepared - she had brought along pictures of the place from way back in 1942! I admit - it was fascinating. She and the driver talked about the conditions she was forced to live in and the lack of privacy and basic rights.

He went out of his way to drive her to the exact locations she remembered - being locked in and looking out onto Huntington Drive, sure now there's shopping mall, but back then - nothing. They were just held prisoner there. She was just 21 years old.

We saw where Seabiscuit lived - a highlight for O.G. since she loved that movie. Then we went to the Receiving Barn for the horses which back then they used as showers for the Japanese-American people. O.G. recalled hating that area - again, lack of privacy.

These people were American citizens, born and raised here - yet this happened. Amazing. Although it made me sad it was good to see her recall those times, good or bad - and my kids got to see it, which they probably wouldn't otherwise.

To cap off the day on a brighter note...we gambled of course! O.G. wasn't about to leave unless she could place a bet on a horse. I can't believe they let kids in here, I'm used to Vegas where they're not allowed anywhere near gambling.

As you can see in this pic everyone was very excited - O.G. jumped up to see if her horse was in the lead and the Baby climbed up for a better look. But lucky me... I WON! My horse came in first! WHOOHOO that's $6, baby!

So yeah, my kids learned about their history from O.G. but she also taught them about gambling. Shh. An informative day to say the least.

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11 Comments:

Blogger Robin said...

OG is an amazingly strong woman. What a great memory for your children!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 4:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Toya said...

What an amazing adventure..what an amazing legacy for you and your children to hear these stores and all the others from her lips. What a great memory for you and your boys. On a another note... next time bet $20 and buy her that darn place :).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 4:41:00 PM  
Blogger caninecologne said...

That's great your grandmother is still alive. she's been through so much and is such a strong lady.

she's living history and for your sons to see firsthand where she stayed is really amazing.

thanks for sharing the story.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 5:09:00 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

What an incredible woman! Good/bad, I'm glad you and your children were able to be there with her through this and learn about her life back then. Sureal to know that happened here in the U.S.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 5:48:00 PM  
Blogger Jodi said...

Amazing story, even though admittedly, it did make me cry a little. What a wonderful gift that O.G. is to you and your family and that you are to her. Besides the very personal family story here, I think a lot of your readers may learn a little history too. And that they can take their kids gambling! Whee!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 8:16:00 PM  
Anonymous poppy said...

Thanks for sharing this story with us. I only learned about my own grandmother's war experience recently. Like your grandmother, she's been reflecting on the past a lot.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger Nanette said...

So amazing, Jenn, and understandably a bit heartbreaking.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger Margie said...

You're a good granddaughter. Hugs to OG and to you. I don't know how to bet on horses. Got any tips, balla?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 5:08:00 AM  
Blogger Lorena said...

While it's hard to recount the past, I think it was good the boys got to hear their great-grandmother's story. I've talked to my grandmother about WWII -- she was in the Philippines then -- and while it's hard for her to tell the story and for me to hear it, it's an important part of our family's history.

And my grandma would have LOVED to play the ponies with OG -- she goes to the Del Mar Racetrack regularly during the racing season and she never comes back with less money than she left with. Of course, she won't share the secret of her good luck!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 8:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Woodsy said...

You and your children are creating such priceless memories with O.G! I love it!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 12:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Ally said...

Wow, what an amazing day. :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 5:19:00 PM  

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