22 June 2018

Published June 20, 2018 by rochellewisoff

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As you read my story, you might be thinking the woman doesn’t know her geography. However the muse took me far from this Venice. Just think Thoreau. 😉

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


                                                                                                                       February 14, 1943

            Dear Diary,

            Last night I dreamt I was back at Venice beach with my baby brother when armed soldiers snatched him away. I woke up screaming.  

            This morning my mother smiled a smile that couldn’t hide her sorrow. “Happy birthday, Suzuka.”  

            For years my parents longed for another child. Mommy prayed for a son. Last year we celebrated Hiroshi’s arrival—my 14th birthday present—right before the ‘executive order.’

            Six months ago he died of pneumonia.

            Sun glints off the barbed wire fence as my classmates and I recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag.



One of my favorite books on the subject, The Red Kimono, was written by our own FF’r Jan Morrill.

141 comments on “22 June 2018

  • A lovely and heartrending story, Rochelle. I’ve been criticized for reblogging and calling to mind the concentration camps of WWII. I’ve been told the Nazi’s killed people and DT’s border patrol don’t. However, these critics don’t seem to know about the internment of the American Japanese during WWII. People should learn the history of their own country. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 7 people

    • Dear Suzanne,

      I’ve also been criticized for writing so many Holocaust remembrance stories. The Japanese internment camps were a blot on American history. Not to mention the US’s turning away of the MS St. Louis carrying 937 German Jewish refugees. We’ll keep writing and reblogging them, won’t we? Thank you.



      Liked by 3 people

  • I agree with Suzanne, Rochelle. People should learn and remember history. We also need to learn to empathize more. If more people did both, perhaps more would speak up and perhaps we would not continue to slide into another dark chapter in our history. Thank you for writing stories that do both. (All, if you haven’t read Rochelle’s books, in the beautiful way she teaches history and empathy in her flash fiction, she also does in her books.) Thank you for the compliment on The Red Kimono, my friend. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

  • Every nation has its dark deeds, and the Japanese internment camps were one of ours. I have often said that history is nothing more than the record of man’s inhumanity to man. If only we could learn from history–but we never do.

    Liked by 2 people

  • A horrid, horrid time in our history (thinking harsher words, but trying to stay clean). Works so well with current events that just completely sicken me!
    Great Write this week… Shalom, Jelli.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    As usual, you take history and bring it to life. It’s ironic (knowing you are always a step ahead) to have posted this particular one at this particular time… Seems the US has not learned a damn thing from some of the history…

    Beautifully done, my friend.

    Lotsa love,


    Liked by 2 people

  • Thanks for this, Rochelle. Well written and it’s important to remember the horrors of our history, as well as the celebrations otherwise we’ll keep repeating such atrocities.
    WE had internment camps in Australia for both people of German and Italian descent. My grandfather was a third generation Australian with German heritage. He was a Lutheran pastor during WWI and was under some surveillance. However, a Church member was interred. THere were accusations of receiving German radio transmissions out in the fields near the village of Marburg in Queensland. That said, I’ve heard that my Great Grandmother (a second generation Australian) used to tune into the German radio which sounds absolutely horrifying to me, but apparently she just wanted to hear both sides of what was happening and see around the propaganda and censorship machines.
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rowena,

      I wonder what would happen if people tried to understand each other rather than oppress the ones they fear? I didn’t know much about Australian history. Thank you for sharing a bit with me. Thank you re my story.



      Liked by 1 person

      • Rochelle, that’s so true. One of the problems with trying to understand people who are different to us better, is actually meeting them in the first place. It seems like people the world over like to live in their enclaves and not mix all that much. The irony of this is that many of us are a genetic mix ourselves and often with one race being oppressed or worse by the other. You have Jewish people who are German, Aboriginal people who also have English heritage. I sometimes wonder about this battle within…the battle of of genes. I suppose for many this fusion can be very difficult to get their head around.
        Best wishes,


  • Dear Rochelle
    You do a great job of bringing history to life, making us see those involved as real people who really suffered and died.
    I fear the reason we repeat history is because too few people stand up against evil. Well done to all those currently calling out the administration for this policy of separation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Penny,

      I can’t help shaking my head at the hysteria and crime against law abiding citizens because of their heritage. Shameful piece of history that shouldn’t be forgotten.
      Thank you for your affirming comments. Always appreciated.



      Liked by 1 person

      • The subject, only the subject!!! Oy vey, ambiguous language can be ambiguous, eh? 😉 Yes, all too timely, sadly, that atrocities are being done in the name of gaslighting and marginalization of people who are no less loveable and needy of their parents than anyone else. It is heartbreaking. Thank you for speaking up, as any of us who can, should. Toda, Na’ama

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Andrea,

      The date is coincidence (if you believe in it). Honestly, I wrote and scheduled this one about two to three weeks ago. Choosing the prompt and writing my story ahead keeps me (somewhat) sane. Started with googling Venice for any historical nuggets. One of the things that popped up was the Japanese Memorial in Venice Beach CA. A very black part of American history. I hope we’re not…
      Thank you for reading and leaving such an affirming comment.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Where’s the “Love” button when you need it? This is a tragic, yet wonderful piece, and timely too. The current goings on with children being separated from their families at the border make me think of dark times in our history and in other countries too. Thanks for reminding us of our previous mistakes. Hopefully we’ll learn from them eventually.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Eric,

      One has to wonder how current events will be written in the history books…or swept under the rug like the Japanese internment camps? Thank you for your affirming words.




  • Querida Rochelle,
    A moment in our history I was heartbreakingly aware of through a Japanese couple I knew who did art shows with me. They told their sad tales of their horrific experiences. Their mission was to retell them so as to never forget the injustices that were committed all in the name of so-called freedom. A stab to the heart during this very current separation of families going on as I write. Can prayer help? Sometimes, it seems futile. A very well-written story to arouse our emotions.
    Abrazos y Shalom,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Querida Isadora,

      I had no idea when I wrote and scheduled this story what current events would be. I only became aware of the Japanese internment camps in my adult years. It was never taught in history class. ¿¿¿Por que??? Gracias para tus palabras simpaticas, mi amiga.

      Shalom y abrazos,


      Liked by 1 person

  • Hi Rochelle, glad to be back. What do they say: those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it? A chilling reminder of some of the skeletons in the American closest. You’d think we’d have gotten past that sort of thing. Touching story, in any case. Have a good week.

    Liked by 1 person

  • You can only write about these things and hope that someone, somewhere picks it up, reads it and says “hey, so this happened once before then…?” And hopefully they can draw their own conclusions. I’m beginning to wonder about it, though. Very nicely done, as always, shining your light on a past that many people prefer should remain in darkness.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Times of war bring about a heartlessness that we would deplore in peacetime – and when similar acts happen in peacetime … well, then we know things have gone awry.
    It’s horrific, what happens to the innocent when a nation is scared, when it turns upon its own people because they aren’t ‘one of us’. Horrific and yet we do the same things time and time again, don’t we.? Don’t worry what others say, Rochelle – you write about important historical events with an empathetic eye and that is always worth reading. Very moving story

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn,

      Frankly I’m not too sure which it is these days…wartime or peacetime? Things ‘seemed’ to be more black and white during WWII, didn’t they? The more I read about the Japanese internment camps and personal testimonies I hear, the more I shake my head. Thank you for your lovely comments.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Brooke Foster W(T)F,

    The Red Kimono is indeed a great book. I have a signed copy and was blessed to hear Jan read most of it aloud in our writing group prior to publication. It has touch a lot of people in a positive way.

    I’m glad that Japanese Internment Center at Rohwer, AR has been turned into a historic site where people can come and learn about the attrocities the American government did to these innocent citizens strictly because of their heritage.

    Keep up the good work–one hand on the keyboard and the other firmly wrapped around of glass of fermented purple juice.

    P.S. – I noticed you didn’t slur your words one time in the entire story. Well done.

    Bruce Wanely

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Bruce Waning Wanely,

      I’ve considered the author of The Red Kimono to be one of my mentors since joining OWL. I’m still anxiously awaiting the sequel. Perhaps you could talk to Jan. 😉

      Keeping my purple fermented juice upright so I don’t slosh it on the keyboard is a challenge, you know.

      L’chaim (hic)

      Brooke Foster W(T)F

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lisa,

      The problem I had with history in school was the distance of the textbooks rendered it meaningless. I think it’s important to remember that the people involved were humans with emotions just like us. Thank you for such a lovely comment/compliment.



      Liked by 1 person

  • It is good to put a voice to the name, an unexpected use of the prompt. We all find something different that is what makes promp stories exciting. A touchingly sad story. The world has the opportunity to learn from past mistakes … as do we all.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Interesting, realistic history. I have a question~: I’ve just read something I’ve been wondering about. For dialogue, this woman says, always use ‘said’.. I’ve always been under the impression that excessive use of any word is bad. She argues that the reader’s imagination is allowed to kick in when he doesn’t get too much of an explanation of detail. https://medium.com/@elliemaryscott/4-rules-for-writing-fiction-you-can-ignore-d5760720ce3c

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Larry,

      I wasn’t prepared for the discussion this story has triggered. It is a dark place in our history, isn’t it?

      As for your question. I’ve heard this many times before. I try not to use ‘said’ in dialogue too often. I use it sparingly to show who’s doing the talking. But for the most part I will use “stage directions.” Such as “Havah shivered and snuggled against Arel. ‘Do you think Rachel will be all right?’ ” So we know Havah’s talking without needing said. In writing classes I was told that an occasional ‘said’ or ‘whispered’ are okay. So I pretty much ascribe to that. Writing is a balancing act. When I first started I had a lot of passive voice…she was going, he was walking fast…etc. I learned that anytime you can use an action verb it’s preferred. “He rushed.” However, after taking out all the passive ‘was’s’ in my manuscript, it became very stilted. I hope that helped.

      Thank you for coming by.



      Liked by 1 person

  • A sad and poignant tale. A slice of history I wasn’t aware of, and perhaps especially touching given what’s been going on around immigration into the US this week. Such a full and succinct story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sarah Ann,

      What’s going on today is very sad. I think we do well to remember this shameful part of history when innocent US citizens were incarcerated for their heritage. Thank you.




  • Nicely told again, Rochelle. It’s appalling how the powers that be have such selective memory. If I’m being generous perhaps it’s because they are not educated on the facts in the first place, which is why people need to keep writing and blogging about these episodes in history

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Michael,

      I’m not sure that we learn anything from history. Someone pointed out to me that the Japanese in the camps were citizens. The immigrants are not. So this makes it okay? At any rate, thank you for your comments on my story.




  • I was not aware of this piece of history. I don’t think we will ever learn as we always find something that separates us from one another *Sigh. As you mentioned, anyone Japanese was a threat after Pearl Harbour. Who do you know who to trust? Though the things we do to each other for safety and security is horrific.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Fatima,

      Perhaps if these folks who were loyal to the US and even fought in the war, were interviewed. or signed a loyalty statement rather than being corralled and treated like animals…We fear who and what we don’t understand, don’t we? (Not to say that some things and people shouldn’t be feared.) Thank you for reading and commenting. And thank you for the lovely photo.




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