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Manzanar

After celebrating at Bishop bowling alley the night before, the next morning was slow goings. 

First stop, Schat’s Bakery luckily right next door!  Famous Schat’s Bakery!!!!  It is a destination must when traveling in the Owens Valley!!!  I drrreeeeam of Schat’s fresh bread!!!  My family always requests the award winning chili cheeze bread!!!!  I always buy 3 loaves.  One for me, one for my sister + one to freeze!!!!!  No joke!!  Here is Jeff squinting into the high desert sunlight, clutching onto a bottle of water to rehydrate himself from the previous night, haha!

Stacks + stacks of so many variations of delicioso carb sensations!!!!!  Chili cheeze bread, olive loaf bread, sheepherder’s bread, sourdough bread, five grain bread, garlic cheeze bread….

 

That’s a leaked picture, y’all.  This is because after I took this photo, an employee said to me, “No photos allowed, please.”.  Oh, girl!!!  Like it was the pentagon or something!  So enjoy this official piece of documentation everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff wanted sandwiches for breakfast – go figure.  I didn’t want sandwiches at Schat’s because it’s crazy busy, crowded + loud.  I looked on the ever-faithful Yelp + found amazing reviews for Raymond’s Deli!

Look no more!  Let me just say that this place is a GOLD MINE!!!!!  Rock n’ Roll Deli!!!!  HUGE, inventive menu, video games, pinball machines + super cool dudes behind the counter!  But, wait!  That’s not all!

 

Crazy, sensational sandwiches from the sandwich gods that were insanely amazing!!!!  After we were done eating, I walked up to the tattooed guy who was the chef + said, “I just want to let you know that those were the best sandwiches my husband + I have EVER had!”.  And that is the solid truth!!!  He was PSYCHED!!!  Plus, there was a great mix of young people + wizened, tiny old people + tourists eating at Raymond’s.  Good sign.  I would literally go back to Bishop to try every single sandwich on their menu!

 

 

Bellies happily full, we wandered down Main St. to the Mountain Light Gallery.  Galen Rowell + his wife Barbara were two of the most prolific outdoor photographers during their lifetime.  They tragically died in a plane crash on their way home from a photography workshop in Alaska.  Jeff + I would love to own a breathtaking print one day.  Please go visit even if you’re short on time.  It’s a large + very well curated gallery.

 

 

Bishop was their home base.  And rightly so.

 

 

 

 

The mood turned somber on the drive south to Los Angeles.  Jeff drove me to Manzanar, one of the 10 Japanese Internment camps in the United States.  I’ve always wanted to go, but have never had the chance.  The wooden guard tower near the entrance is a stark introduction leading visitors into the camp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The interpretive center is built inside the old auditorium of the camp.  It is a great place to take anyone who wants to learn about the injustice placed upon the Japanese community, the personal + financial losses they experienced + could never regain.  I always remember this famous picture when I think of the Japanese as they were tagged like pieces of baggage + awaited instructions for which camp they would be assigned to:

 

Oh, it always makes me cry.  She looks so afraid + confused.  When the Japanese arrived in Manzanar, some of the barracks were just being finished.  Dust blew into the homes through cracks + holes, there were multiple families living in one barrack, with no privacy.  The extreme temperatures, straw mattresses + inedible food at the mess halls, endless lines – not to mention communal toilets built with no partitions, where people were so close to one another, that you would be touching the person on the toilet next to you – made life very uncomfortable for the typically private Japanese.

This is a reproduction of a Manzanar barrack.  Later, as time went by, the Japanese personalized, took pride + beautified their barracks + gardens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is amazing what the Manzanar community created to make their quality of life bearable in such a bleak, harsh landscape, under such horrible circumstances.

 

 

 

The Manzanar cemetery is marked by it’s famous monument which reads in Japanese, “Soul Consoling Tower”.

The back of the monument says, “Erected by the Manzanar Japanese, August 1943”.

 

Everyone should visit Manzanar.  It is a reminder of an embarrassing part of American history that should never be repeated.  This country should never forget the humiliation + loss that was placed on one group of people, solely because of their race.

 

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6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Adrianna Benjamin #

    Wow, I’d never seen that photograph before of the garden at Manzanar, it’s really pretty.

    Thanks for sharing it. Hope you guys had a safe trip back to LA.

    February 10, 2012
    • Thanks!!!! Yes, we had a slow trip back to LA. I slept the entire ride – thank god for Jeff!!!! Can’t wait to meet Solomon!!!!

      February 13, 2012
  2. mom #

    Your photos of Manzanar were beautiful. I am so grateful you wrote about it. My in-laws, husband and sisterin-law were there but they refused to talk about their lives to me. All they said were how fun and easy life. I didn’t get that story at all.
    They had learned not to talk the life there due to the retaliation from the Americans.
    But after 70 some years later the people who are alive and memories of the life at Manzaner starting to talk abut the life. It was so undignified, painful, lost of prides and personal shames.
    Thanks Shelli,
    mommy,

    February 10, 2012
  3. kengo kenny ''papi'' nishino #

    yep, indeed the japanese/Americans, were ostracized during WWII, unfortunately perps losing
    there home’s, my uncle lost his farm in OC to peeps he thought were his friends,…Wrong…but that was so long ago, but hopefully not forgotten,…WOW, Nanook, we have 2 take a Road Trip
    2 Bishop, i wanna try all the Sands. @ Raymonds as well, yuummmm, again ur photo skills R freak’in amazing, keep up the Eye-of-the-Tiger, peace, cheers, luv U, papi
    ps: is that jeffrey standing in front of Schats with a glass of vino, ain’t it a li’l early, hehe,..LOL!!!

    February 18, 2012
  4. alex hopp #

    thanks for the post you might want to check out this recent work about the internment camps- it’s done by a prof at my school and is really moving.
    http://wendymaruyama.com/home.html

    February 20, 2012
    • oh woah! that’s amazing!!! what could be more demeaning than being tagged like an object + not a human being?

      February 22, 2012

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