by Robert Ito
After I made a request to a business associate for a donation to the upcoming JACL Picnic, he asked me – why do I care? Very legitimate question which took me a little bit by surprise since we both volunteer our time on various community projects and he knows that I’ve been helping for years with the Picnic.
So, why do I care? The images seen here are six of the reasons. They are six photos taken in the early days at Silver Strand and one of them was taken in 1956 which means the JACL Picnic’s have been going on for at least 60 years. These photos brings back so many great memories. One of the few times during the year that all the Ito & Horiye family clan would be able to gather together, eating, playing and just enjoying ourselves along with so many other friends and community people.
Those memories of my father helping with the setup of the booth, the unloading of the 25# and 50# bags of rice and carrying them through the sand to the raffle to the raffle prize area, the free sodas, the games and then to see the smiles all day on everyone’s faces. As I think about Wendy Maruyama’s ‘Tag Project’, I can’t help but remember how Mas Hironaka and my father enjoyed giving out ‘Tags’ to all the non-Japanese at the picnic in order to get the free sodas. I always thought it was a little discriminatory but never questioned it.
So, for me, helping to continue and carry on a 60+ year community tradition, that brings families and friends together annually (without the ‘Tags’) is why I care.
BTW, I got the donation.
See you at the Picnic on June 29th.