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  • Barbara, your story brought back an almost forgotten memory. When I was a little girl, 8 to 10, my family lived on an asparagus farm in a company-provided house. It was during the last days of World War II. I even remember the day the announcement came that the war was over. We could hear whistles blowing at the Betteravia sugar factory a couple of miles away, and automobile horns honking from down the road and on the highway a mile across the fields. My mother and all of us children ran outside screaming with joy, "The war is over! The war is over!"

    A few weeks or months later, I don't have a clear memory of just how long it was, the company moved some barracks-looking buildings out next to both the horse barn and the vegetable packing barn. We played house in them for a while. Then one day a family of Japanese descent, returned internees I imagine now, moved into one of the houses. We called them Tom and Grace, though I never knew if those were their real names. One day I found Grace in the horse corral looking for mushrooms. It was such a novel and interesting idea to me, but of course now I know it was the perfect place to grow them.

    Grace prepared a Japanese dinner and brought it to us. I'm sure she was properly thanked, for my mother was a graceful, kind woman. I don't remember that we ever returned the favor or tendered an invitation to be good friends. It is a sadness to me that I don't know, that I can't remember, because I would feel so much better about it if only I knew.
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