Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Too Young to Fight

Memories of our Youth during World War II

Stoddart Publishing 1999
compiled by Priscilla Galloway

A collection from some of Canada's best-loved writers of children's literature. The contributors were children and teenagers during World War II.

Joy Kogawa, author of Obasan writes of experiences with her family at the detention camp in Slocan, British Columbia. Taken from their home in Vancouver to "relocation" camps in the interior of the province. Rounded up as "enemies", Japanese Canadians from up and down B.C. were housed temporarily inside the horticultural barns at Hastings Park in Vancouver before being sent to the camps.

"When we first arrived, we didn't have enough food. All that first morning, Mama, Tim, and I waddled through the forest on our haunches, like three ducks, picking dandelion leaves. Then back home at our newspaper-lined hut, Mama burnt sticks, making ashes, then ash water, in which she soaked the leaves overnight to get the bitterness out of them."

Roch Carrier describes rationing. "To control the consumption of gasoline, sugar, butter, meat, and flour, the government issued coupons to present to the merchants. Without coupons it was impossible to buy those goods."

I remember a bit of this ... collecting stuff to take to school ... drippings from cooking fatty meats were collected in tin cans. We joked about bringing our "fat cans" to school. My mum canned summer fruits without sugar. I think she tried saccharine. It was horrid, and we didn't eat it.

There are stories from eleven writers here. At this time each year in mid November, we read them again and remember.

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