Port Alberni to Hastings Park

My Mother’s family were from Port Alberni, and had to get rid of their stuff in order to be shipped-off to Hastings Park. The adults built a huge bonfire, and burned books and possessions deemed ‘too Japanese’. Though she could feel the fear from the adults, she just took all the uncertainty in her stride. Nobody knew the duration or even the whereabouts of their destination for sure. Families were split up as the men were arrested and sent to work camps. My mom arrived at Hastings Park with her Mom and two sisters. They were given a horse stall to sleep in, with the manure and straw still fresh, and they were provided with a few coarse grey wool blankets. She never ever talked about it when we were growing up, but later would tell us stories of how, because she was 12 and one of the oldest, she would be recruited to crawl under the chain link fence and buy popsicles at the Chinese grocery store across Renfrew Street. Later, she would like to recount that my Dad, being only 18, was also at Hastings Park, and gave out the spoons at mealtime. We would joke that they could have met then. She didn’t remember him at all. but remembers the man who stood beside the piles of white bread with runny strawberry jam.

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