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I REMEMBER THE LITTLE GIRL

I REMEMBER THE LITTLE GIRL BMWs shine on the lot, row after row, reflecting the blinding summer sun of Pinedale, California. Their windows blink back stories of 4,792 Japanese Americans interned on this same lot seventy-eight years ago. I remember a black and white was taken of a little girl with two suitcases standing amid crowds in this former lumber town. I can hear her chatter, excited to go to camp. Would there be log cabins or tents? Swims in a big pool? Campfires with songs and marshmallow roasting? Lots of other children to play with? I can picture her crestfallen eyes, her fading smile as she stares at tar paper shacks on dry, barren ground, nothing left of any sugar pines. Where was she from? Oregon? Washington? What did she leave behind? Family farm? Friends? Pets? Dolls? What did she manage to stuff into her tiny suitcases? How did she survive the sweltering July heat of 110 degrees with only black tar paper to protect her? Where was she taken after Pinedale with other dispossessed, bled of their livelihoods, packed like dried fish onto busses? Tule Lake? Poston? Gila River? Shacks gone, customers stroll through the BMWs. Can they remember this was an assembly center for Japanese Americans? Do they even know? I remember the little girl. I remember for them. -Jennifer Fenn This poem was inspired a California State University, Fresno lecture on the history of Pinedale by David Rodriguez, followed by research on encyclopedia.densho.org. Published in Song of the San Joaquin, Summer 2020.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020




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Date: 12/4/2020 2:49:00 PM
You truly carried me along with this memory story, Jennifer. And I love the way your question created a discourse with me, the reader, giving this poem an immediacy, bringing the history forward lest we forget it HAS been done again, as with the immigrant children torn from their parents. Beautifully written & stark.
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Jennifer Fenn
Date: 12/4/2020 7:46:00 PM
Thank you for letting me know I have the ability to create poems that carry people along and create discourse with my reader. This compliment made my evening! Thank you Sally!
Date: 11/8/2020 10:59:00 AM
An America where Japanese-Americans went to concentration camps - and lost everything - but German-Americans did not! An America Joe Biden faces today! Aloha! Rico
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Date: 11/8/2020 3:16:00 AM
Sad how some behave, pathetic sometimes...
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