Yes, I had a Japanese family (short-lived) created by war, and I have my real family. We all have that, and probably multiple other families. Only one is of blood, and we are born into it. No choices are given here. All our other families are created by events we may or may not have control over. My experiences in Okinawa were all events I had little influence over. As I’ve recounted in past papers, they were: The capture of the soldiers, the drive to the compound, my being assigned to create an outdoor warehouse, and being able to select a few prisoners to help build and run it. These were all things that came my way. I was simply a pawn on the chessboard of life.
I love my blood family. They individually and together gave me much of who I am even to this day. Yes, eight of us lived in tight quarters. It was the Army that gave me my own bed. Sharing one bathroom/toilet is no small challenge, but we had no choice, and we made it work. Clothes, of course, were handed down and often shared. We discarded nothing.
My mother was “love” itself, and I feel warmth and love when I think of her. She loved to dance, and every Friday evening, she did that at the Odesa Club gatherings where Russian was spoken. She came to the U.S. at 13 from a small village near Odesa, Ukraine. She had 12 brothers and one sister; she slept on the stove in the kitchen as a child.
My father was a cabinet maker who learned his trade in another small village near Odesa, Ukraine. They met in the U.S. before the 1st World War. My father labored for the WPA during the depression. He was a silent and very good man who loved my mother and his children.
I cared for them all and became a street fighter responsible for protecting my family and friends. I was cared for as best they could all do. My Japanese family cared for me, my friends cared for me, and my blood family cared for me. It should come as no surprise that I do my best to care for others.