‘From the Rockies to the Seas’

–       They’re still there.

Dad says, nodding at a dry cleaner’s near the Oak Bay Junction. The sign reads: Established in 1946.

–       It belonged to a Japanese family before they took them away.

He’s talking about the Japanese Canadian internment during the Second World War.

–       It was an excuse for some people to steal their boats and property. They got it all for practically nothing. They became millionaires from it.

He says,

–       None of them ever came back to Victoria or Salt Spring Island.

Some returned to BC though.

–       Uncle Oli had the Cannery at North Pacific. He hired them all back.

Says Dad.

–       Him and his son, Jerry, both spoke Japanese.

In those days, they didn’t have refrigeration so they had to can right away.

–       There was nine canneries on the river.

Oli went to work at the North Pacific when he was sixteen. The owner made him his protégé and gave him a partnership. When he died, he left the Cannery to Oli.

–       That was the last Cannery on the Skeena River.

Oli turned it into a museum.

On Thursday at four o’clock, I put my computer on Dad’s lap for his weekly Skype date with Kristin in Japan.

–       At his funeral, there was a whole line up of Japanese people.

He says, telling her about Oli.

–       Very interesting to meet them. They all bow to each other.

Kristin tells him about her life in Japan.

Dad remembers Pat Tanaka.

–       She was the most beautiful little girl in the world when I was in Grade One. She was just like a Kewpie doll.

He says.

–       My eyes would go like saucers when I saw her.

Dad asked her cousin, John, if she was around. When John told her what Dad had said, she replied,

–       I don’t really remember him but he must have been a handsome, young boy.

Dad is happy after he Skypes Kristin.

–       She’s found her niche.

He says.

–       Children were always her forte.

He’s proud of her.

–       When am I stryping with Kristin next?

He asks.

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About Morbid Optimist

My name is Katryna Mary Brooke Ormiston. I am 35 years old and after living in Vancouver for a decade, I am returning home to my 81 year old father’s hobby farm on Vancouver Island to care for him in the final stages of his life. This blog is to document my journey, process my experiences along the way and hopefully share and feel connected to a community beyond the three and a half acres I find myself on. A message in a bottle in the cyber-sea.
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One Response to ‘From the Rockies to the Seas’

  1. dawn stofer says:

    I have so enjoyed your observations. The Oak Bay Junction! …
    All the comments, your father’s stories, the dialogue, so reminds me of my experience with my dad. I suppose my cartoon has been my way of documenting him…though he is not here to enjoy it. Keep going! The vignettes are lovely. Your writing is honest.

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