tomorrow& tomorrow

4/6 Debbeからお祖母ちゃんのメッセージ

 ポートランドのセルウッドで、セレクトショップ〈Tilde〉を営むDebbe Hamadaさんから、いつもの元気なセール案内と、スペイン風邪にも収容所生活にも負けなかったお祖母ちゃんの話が届いた。

 セールス案内は、他と同じ様にお店は閉じているけれど、オンラインショップは頑張っているし、ビッグセールも予定していますよ!みんな、どんなセールになるかわからないと思います。私も何が入荷するかわからないんだから——、などというお茶目な内容だった。下が原文。

Hello friends! We miss seeing your faces and hope you are all holding up well. Like most non-essential retail shops our brick & mortar shop is temporarily closed. If you miss shopping with us, don't despair, we are still selling online! All our shipping is free and, as always, there is no charge to gift wrap. For a little excitement, we are going to run a different online sale each week. You'll never know what's coming, cause we don't either! Starting right now, all our handbags & backpacks are 30% off! Read on to the bottom to learn a little about my amazing Grandma Maki who lived through the Spanish Flu and was quite an influence on my life.

 Debbeのお祖母ちゃんの名前はMaki Hamada。下の写真で右側に立っている女性が彼女で、両親と妹と一緒に写っている。カリフォルニアで日系アメリカ人として生まれた彼女は、8歳のときに、母親と一緒に農場労働者のために料理を担当していた(8歳で!)。そして母娘でスペイン風邪にかかった。何日も生死の間をさまよい、幸運にも二人とも回復し、また料理を続けることができた。

Debbesfamily

 お祖母ちゃんが生まれたのは1910年。有色の女性として大学に入り卒業し終えた。当時のことを考えれば驚異的な出来事だった。

 第二次世界大戦になるとお祖母ちゃんの一家(子供、夫、両親)はすべてを失い、コロラド州にあるアメリカ人収容所に入れられた。キャンプで長年過ごした後、解放され、ニューヨークに移された。

 スペイン風邪のときも、収容所に入れられたときも、何もかも失っても、彼女の見透しはいつも前向きだった。いろいろなことに耐えながら、歌を歌い、ゲームを作ってDebbeをはじめ孫たちを楽しませた。

 Debbeは最後にこう結んでいた。私の素晴らしいお祖母ちゃんはもういないけれど、彼女の幸せなエネルギーは毎日感じる。だから思う。現在の状況は、コミュニティを助けるために今を犠牲にすることを私たちに求めているけど、それは本当に素晴らしいことだと。

 下が原文。

 My grandmother, Maki Hamada, lived to be 96 years old. (In the picture above she is with her parents & sister probably in the late 1920's. Maki is standing on the right.) I was fortunate to be very close with my grandmother (as she was with all her grandchildren), I was in my 40's when she died and I've thought of her often this last month.

 She was 8 years old when she & her mother came down with the Spanish Flu. My grandfather was away working, and she & her mom cooked for farm workers (can you imagine doing that at age 8?), they both shared a bed. Grandma would tell me their fevers were both so high that they went in and out of consciousness for days. Her father heard they were ill and came home. They were so fortunate, they recovered and continued cooking those meals.

 As a Japanese American woman, born in 1910 in California, she went to college and was just a few credits shy of graduating. Nevertheless, quite astounding given that she was a woman of color in the 1920's. Afterwards, she met her husband & had 2 kids, my dad & uncle. During WWII, she and her entire family (children, husband & parents) lost everything and were put into Amache, an American internment camp in Colorado. That's Maki above, in Amache, with my father & uncle. After many years in the camps, they were released and moved to NY as did many Japanese Americans (the east coast Japanese Americans were not put into camps). Amazingly, her outlook was always positive. She told me she was the 'entertainment director' on the train to the camps. Windows blacked out, she sang songs and made up games.That was my grandma, she loved people, enjoyed helping others and was always talking while gesticulating wildly! She was big with the arm movements and underlining words (ah, the things we remember).

 The Spanish Flu and the camps were just a part of her vast history. Though these extreme events definitely shaped her life in some ways (she hoarded toilet paper, cereal & orange juice until the end) she rolled with so many life changes and rebounded with a smile. We all loved her so as she was a pure pleasure to spend time with. I know she felt anxiety, that's one of our family trademarks, but she endured as I know all of us will during this unprecedented pandemic.

 Though my amazing Grandma Maki is now gone, I can feel her happy energy with me daily. I bet we all have someone like Maki in our lives that inspire us do more and be more. Heartening today is how much community spirit & generosity is so evident in almost everyone I meet. This whole experience is asking us to sacrifice now to help the greater community. That's pretty wonderful. Thanks for letting me share.

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