Memphis Fast Fiction Home
24.12.2011
conundrum
Valibus

I later found out that there were only five Japanese in Memphis when America entered the war.

As a girl, I thought my family were the only ones, unique in our little world.

At our family bakery, my parents employed a black woman named Martha.

I often wondered if I was experiencing a silver of how she lived in the days after Pearl Harbor, as everyone’s eyes turned to watch me and whispers were always at my back.

I never got the chance to ask about the conundrum, though. She quit the morning the two uniformed policemen were posted to guard our store.

A few weeks later those men were replaced by Federal agents, then one day those agents arrived with guns and a car and told us to pack our things and go with them.

My father didn’t speak English, so my mother was the one that asked them about the bakery. Who would look after it, how would we pay our bills?

They didn’t say anything as they put us in the car.

It was nearly three years before we saw our bakery again.

But, by then, the bakery wasn’t ours any more.

My mother never baked again.

Memphis Note
When Pearl Harbor happened, there were only five people of Japanese descent in Memphis. A family of three, and two men. The family ran a bakery on Madison that was closed when they were all forced to move into internment camps. I don’t know if it ever reopened.