On Sunday October 5, I celebrated the Seattle launch of Dash with 100 or so friends and fans. The event took place at the Nisei Veterans Memorial Hall, 1212 South King Street, with the able help of my daughter Quinn Wyatt and Nisei Veteran’s Committee board member, Debbie Kashino.
|Me, in vintage garb, with Debbie Kashino|
|Son-in-law Matt, Princess Esme, and Uber Party Planner, Quinn|
Secret Garden Bookshop not only lugged over a ton of books, they also donated a percentage of the afternoon’s book sales to the Nisei Veteran’s Foundation.
|Cookies from Sweet Themes Bakery|
A bit of background: when the Japanese-American vets returned after WWII, they were not allowed to join the segregated Veterans associations. In order to have a place to gather, they built their own hall. Now, with fewer and fewer WWII vets around, the Memorial Hall is a place of education about that slice of American history. If you are ever in the area, I would encourage you to visit and take in the powerful exhibits board members have assembled.
|Mitsi Shiraishi and her beloved dog, Chubby — inspirations for Dash|
I was so pleased that a good number of Mitsi Shiraishi’s family was present; Mitsi (and her dog, Chubby) was the inspiration for Dash.
|Judy Kusakabe, Mitsi’s step-daughter|
Other special guests included people who had been interned at Minidoka (including Louise Kashino, widow of Shiro Kashino, from whom my character Mitsi takes her last name); my 6th grade teacher, Mr. Steve Craig; and too many dear friends and family members to name.
A few days after the book launch, I received an email from Louise Kashino: I read DASH and poured over every sentence inasmuch as I was 16 when we were incarcerated on May, 1942. My family was assigned to Area D inside the Puyallup Fairgrounds, where our barrack among others was built inside the racing grounds. I don’t know who guided you through the whole incarceration, but you did an excellent job of describing the experiences for someone like me. I also relocated to Chicago and eventually returned to Seattle, so again, your description of the whole movement brought back many memories. Thank you for your accurate descriptions of our experience to give the general public an insight into what we experienced during our incarceration.
|Me talking about how Dash came to be|
Even though Dash has garnered two starred reviews, Louise’s endorsement means more than any other recognition I could receive. (Special thanks to Louis Fiset, who shared his carefully compiled map of Camp Harmony with me, a complete stranger.)
It was a deep privilege to write this book. And, to use a phrase I saw near Notre Dame, at a memorial to the French Jews sent away during WWII, “Pardonne n’Oub
lie Pas. . .” (Forgive but do not forget.)