Legacy of a Childhood Memory

MC40_MerritSignI grew up in a small interior town called Merritt. It happened to be one of the small towns where Japanese families were housed during the second world war. Of course, by the 1950′s, when I was in grade school, the Japanese kids were part of our classrooms.

The first I remember understanding that there was a “difference” between the Japanese people and the “English” was overhearing the debate raging about the pending marriage of a “white” boy and a Japanese girl.

He was the son of the local baker and she was the daughter of a seamstress. (my memory thinks – I was only about grade 4) They seemed very happy to me. He smiled at her a lot and his parents and her parents seemed to be friends.

I remember my mom defending this happy couples’ decision. She was outraged that there were some people who would glare at the couple or turn away when they walked by.

I know that they did marry and my wish is that they had a wonderful rich and happy life together.

I am eternally grateful to my mother who, through action and wise words, gave me a life long gift of the ability to honour diversity.

- Marilyn in BC