Brick #1375 Wall Location Column: 102 Row: 28
February 4, 2011
Hatsume “Hattie” Kawaguchi – “Our Mom”
Our Mom was mother not only to her own family but took care of her parents, four of her siblings, a friend of the family and an elderly Issei couple during the most difficult time of our lives – during internment and for years after release from internment.
Being taken away from our farm with only our personal belongings and leaving everything else behind must have been very frightening not knowing what was going to happen to us. However with the thought of being let out of camp with no home to return to and no means of support must have been overwhelming.
With the sponsorship of a family in Glendive, Montana we were allowed early release, however we could not return to Seattle with the restrictions still in effect at the time. In order to survive day- to-day, Mom and her two sisters found jobs cleaning floors in a hospital and Dad as a laborer fixing rails for a railroad which in the winter frequently got to a frigid minus degrees. It wasn’t long before it was concluded this hard life in Glendive may not offer better life opportunities for the families.
After two years in Glendive – even while realizing the high risk of starting over farming - our extended family moved to Spokane. A life of hardship continued as restarting a livelihood of farming without farming equipment was a slow manual process. With sheer determination, the families were all kept together on the farm until such time each family could sustain themselves independently.
We may not have had many of the material things during this period, but Mom made sure we were provided daily with the basic things that really mattered, and through hard work and sacrifice made it possible for us three children to attend college. We will forever be reminded each year of the special holiday meals Mom prepared for us on New Year’s, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Mom, with your love, strength and importance of family, you gave to us all of the opportunities for a successful life. Your nine responsible, caring grandchildren and 11 enthusiastic, bright great-grandchildren are a testament of your achievement.
Your determination will always be an inspiration to us all.
Yaeko, Haruo, and Shuni