+ A Blood Test With Breakfast

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What It Means To Live in Berkeley Parade.
December 7th, 1999

A Blood Test With Breakfast
The Japanese bombed Pear Harbor fifty eight years ago today, not something I usually think about. Unlike many people reading this, I was born during World War II, a year and three months after Pearl Harbor. I had two uncles who served in the Pacific, one as a doctor aboard a hospital ship who watched more than one kamikaze pilot fly overhead to sink a ship sailing beside his own in the convoy and the second, his brother, an Army Ranger who went ashore to scout island terrain before the Marines went into the beaches behind him. Both survived without being wounded. Neither one talked to me about their experiences, neither one suggested I hold any grudge against the Japanese.

So that's what I know about Pearl Harbor and World War II except for the usual John Wayne movies, Victory at Sea television episodes and maybe a dozen history books, most of them focused on Europe. What It Means To Live in Berkeley Parade. I did meet two Japanese women in the mid 1950's in New York, part of an American program to provide plastic surgery to disfigured survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, both staying with our friends the Grahams who participated in the program by volunteering the use of their home. Phil Graham had served in the Army during the occupation of Japan and, with time on his hands, had, um, learned Japanese.

That and my fascination with Japanese movies, particularly Samurai movies emphasizing the discipline of the sword as a path to enlightenment, is what I know about Japan and Japanese culture. Oh, and a couple of dances I had in the 6th grade with Mildred Takahashi. Mildred didn't say much and I don't recall discussing the war.

So, 58 years after Pearl Harbor and I haven't the vaguest idea of why I started this or where it's going. I had an idea for an entry this morning while getting a blood test, thinking how to describe what is now to me a familiar flat florescent lighted laboratory, better yet, how to photograph the laboratory, but I remembered that just now, of course, too late to do anything about it. From Pearl Harbor to a blood test with breakfast at Summit Hospital.

I get on the train for Seattle Thursday so tomorrow is my day to get out the suitcase and make some plans. I catch the train at nine in the evening, so I have time after work to drop Wuss off at the vet and do some last minute packing before taking a cab to the station. Four days out of town and it's over. One day on the train, two hours to return on the plane providing there's no tie ups at the airports. Life within the American Dream.

The photographs were taken at the What It Means To Live in Berkeley Parade. I haven't gone back to check, but I may have run that second picture before.