Day 303 - Linda (4th person I approached)
October 30, 2014 - The second person I approached today, told me, in a rather shy and timid manner
“I’m sorry, I left the batteries for my hearing aid at home. What’s your problem?” I had to work really hard not to laugh; that's the kind of old man I want to be. I told her again, slower and a bit louder, what I’m doing, and she suggested perhaps another day might be better. I’ll carry this one with my for a while.
Linda seemed a little uncertain as to whether or not she would talk with me.
“I don’t really like having my picture taken,” she said. I explained why a photo to go with the story is important to me. She asked how long it would take, and I answered by asking how long she had.
“Twelve minutes,” said Linda checking the time. Perfect! I can do this in twelve minutes.
“I was born in Golden BC (British Columbia), in the interior,” she said. Linda is third generation Canadian, with her lineage going back to Japanese ancestors. After the bombing of Pearl Harbour during World War II, the majority of Vancouver’s Japanese immigrants, and those of Japanese descent where moved to internment camps. Many had to leave the province, told to go ‘east of the rockies’ as mandated by the Liberal Government of the day.
“My father was interned in Slocan, and then moved to Golden after the war was over. My mother was in Japan at the time on vacation. She wasn’t able to leave Japan for ten years,” said Linda. We talked a little bit about how difficult it was to know our government had treated people in that way.
“They were just as bad if not worse in Japan with POW’s (prisoners of war),” she said.
As the oldest child of five, Linda had to help out with her siblings.
“I have two sisters and two brothers. There’s eight years between all of us. Because of being the oldest, I definitely had to help out. We all got along fairly well. I was the boss,” she said, smiling.
“I did well in school. I always liked the sciences,” she told me. In Grade ten, Linda’s family moved from the quiet of Golden, to Burnaby, then just a suburb of Vancouver.
“My father was tired of the job he was doing, so we moved. I was so excited to be living in the city. Golden was a wonderful place to grow up, but at fifteen the city was perfect,” she said. Linda recalls her introduction to computers in high-school.
“Golden was good as a younger child, the freedom and the space. But the city offered other opportunities.”
After graduating from high-school, Linda went to BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology).
“I wanted to become a Medical Lab(oratory) Technologist. If I went to university, it would have taken four years. I was kind of over school. The program at BCIT was three years long,” she said. Linda started working in a lab right after completing her three year course.
“It’s much more than just conducting tests on blood samples, the same as it’s much more than drawing blood. The Medical Lab Tech is a little unknown. It’s not a well known position,” she said.
Throughout her career as a medical technologist, Linda moved into different roles within the laboratory.
“I was constantly upgrading my skills. Some of that required that I take other courses. A lot of it was learning on the job,” she said. When laboratories started to integrate computers and computer technology into the lab’s daily procedures, Linda was involved in the roll-out. She has stayed in the medical technology area ever since. She's involved in the computerization, technology integration and maintenance of systems within a number of medical laboratories.
“I was married, but I'm not any longer,” she tells me.
“I have four children, one daughter and three sons, ranging from twenty-nine down to twenty. I love having my children still living at home with me,” she says unreservedly. I asked if she is close with her own siblings still.
“We all live here, but everyone gets busy. I see some of them more than others. My mother has Sunday dinner every week. She calls everyone on Sunday to see who is going to make it, and then makes dinner. That’s usually when I’ll see them, if I can make it over for dinner,” she says.
I wondered if Linda has set any of those traditions for her own children.
“No. I don’t cook. I don’t do any of the cooking. I did it for twenty plus years. I work all day and when I get home, I don’t want to cook. My children do all of the cooking. They tend to be experimental, so you never know what will on the table for dinner on any night. But they are all exceptionally good cooks," she said.
Our time is almost up, and I ask to take Linda’s picture. I think she hoped I’d forget that part. Linda tells me she finds this project interesting.
“I’ve been thinking for some time of something similar, but not writing about strangers. I’d like to document the experiences of the older Japanese community here in Vancouver. To find out their stories. To keep the stories alive and passed along to younger generations. It’s hard though. My father doesn’t want to really talk about it. There are things that happened that some don’t want to remember.” I encouraged Linda to do it. I sincerely hope she does. #notastranger