It was in the middle 1940s when I was living in Washington, D.C. I had relocated there from the concentration camp in Poston, Arizona, and was staying with my brother, who had recently married. After living with my brother and his wife for six months, my brother was transferred to another city, so I had to find a place for myself.
One night, I dreamed of a white marble fountain encasing a small sprinkler in the middle. There was a small patch of lawn in front of the fountain, which was well-kept. In my dream, I walked around the corner, and at the corner of the next block was a small two-story apartment building with living quarters on top and a grocery store at the bottom.
I answered an ad in the local paper asking for a “mother’s helper” with a telephone number but no specific address. I called that number and the lady who advertised was a Nisei. She and her husband owned a small grocery store. They needed assistance mainly to help care for their 5-year-old son, cook meals and do other household chores.
After the telephone interview, I was hired right on the spot. She gave me her address and, lo and behold, it was the grocery store right around the corner from the white fountain that I had dreamed about! I cannot tell you what a weird and almost frightening feeling it was when I saw the white fountain when I got off on the bus.
The 5-year-old boy and I learned to love each other and he was absolutely no trouble in the least. The lady and her husband were so kind to me and treated me as a younger sister. We were like one happy family. There, of course, was a lot of work for me because I took the boy to and from kindergarten and cared for him, did the laundry, cooked the meals, etc. The grocery business was doing well since it was in a residential area and it was very handy for the people living there to do their grocery shopping. They were also able to purchase the necessary drug store items.
The couple worked long hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. They rested on Sundays but also included me in their activities when I was not with my friends. It was my home for over two years. I was sorry to leave these wonderful people.
I wonder — what would Sigmund Freud say of my dream?
After my family and I returned to San Diego in 1947, I kept in touch with this family for several years. Even after almost 70 years, I think about them, which prompted me to write this article.
Beautiful memories are like “friends” of the past.
Maggie Ishino is a Rafu typist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.