A Rowher roomie: Small world connection to Japanese relocation camp
SOME STORIES JUST develop a life of their own.
The account of my Arkie Road Trip to see the WWII Japanese Internment Camps at Rowher and Jerome has spawned many calls and comments.
The most recent was a in large envelope from friend Parker Westbrook, now of Little Rock, who keeps up with things in his hometown via “The Leader.”
Parker saw our article and photos, then sent me a photo of himself and a young Japanese man, taken in 1943. They were roommates at Chillicothe College, a well-known but football teamless business school in northern Missouri.
The roommate’s name was Jimmy Itsumi Hayashi who had grown up at Lodi, Calif. His family had been relocated to Rowher in our nation’s panic after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The children of those relocated Japanese could go off to college, but only in the ‘interior’ states such as Missouri.
So in this small, small world, a guy from Nashville goes off to college and gets someone from the relocation camps as a roommate.
While at the school, Parker’s roommate met a coed, Alice Wada, another California Japanese citizen who had come to college from a relocation camp in Nebraska. Jimmy and Alice later married. Parker says the last he heard of them, Jimmy was a CPA and they were living in St. Louis.
The skills Parker gained from Chillicothe and later at a business school in Chicago, opened the doors for him, at the ripe age of 22, to be invited to manage the office of the late Congressman Boyd Tackett from Nashville. When Congressman Tackett returned home to run for governor, Parker stayed in Washington, D.C., and had an illustrious career as the right hand for several Capitol luminaries including Sen. David Pryor and Sen. J.W. Fulbright.
A footnote: Parker mentions studying Latin at Nashville High School. Unlike his sister, the late Lucille Westbrook, the foreign language was hard for Parker to learn. So he and a couple of other boys took shorthand and typing classes in order to boost their grades high enough to get their diplomas from NHS. The shorthand and typing were also vital to him being asked to go to Washington, D.C., he says.
I AM MORE WORRIED that the M&Ms manufacturing plant might be closed than I am about a meteorite zipping in from the sky and bonking me on the cabeza. Even so, I keep an eye peeled toward outer space when I am in the great outdoors without a helmet.
I saw an article online last week noting that in the written history of mankind there had only been one known fatality attributed to a falling star. And it was only a cow in Trujillo, Venezuela, on Oct. 18, 1972. Poor Bossy.
Other than that, the only other known thing on this planet ever to have been hit by a meteorite was a used Chevrolet sedan in Peekskill, N.Y., on Oct. 9, 1992. It dang near tore up the rear end of the car. But Chevys are tough enough to survive a collision with a meteorite, Gary Dan always says.
THE GOOD EARTH.
My side yard jonquils are poking up. And the nearby flowering quince already has a bunch of those glorious red flowers.
This is the Almighty’s reminder that even though there are cold gray days remaining, there will be spring.
Next: Carolina jasmine? Then pollen.
GETTING HIS CHANCE. Monday, Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss., will introduce our town’s Todd Cooley as the new football head coach of the Delta Statesmen.
Todd was a great QB for the Scrappers and for the Arkansas Tech Wonderboys. Son of Don and Lynn Cooley.
I’ve been to Cleveland, Todd. Not much there except the Chinese Baptist Church. Todd’s dad will also be glad to learn that there is a golf course on campus.
HOW CAN YOU smile and be sad at the same time? Well, one way is to think of Charlie Eudy who died this past weekend. In one way we had already lost Charlie to Alzheimer’s. How ironic that the disease would rob us of someone so witty and cheerful!
In his later years, after ending his career with Weyerhaeuser, Charlie was very devoted to Methodist church work. An impressive guy. He and his wife, Shirley, and their children made many crosscountry campground trips with my parents and younger siblings.
Peace to his family and thanks to the Almighty for putting such people among us.
PUNS AND adult truths from my piano friend at Fellowship: Why do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?
HE SAID: ““Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies — or else? The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.” Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
SHE SAID: “Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door.” Emily Dickinson, poet
DO YOU READ THIS COLUMN ONLINE? If so, leave a comment for me and I’ll keep your name out of next week’s Court Docket. Or, insert it with the crime of your choice.
SWEET DREAMS, Baby