Chapter 17: In which we discover priceless treasures 

Why would cousin Darin Daz Yamaga and I spend a week moving mountains of dusty, dirty, and endless junk?

To rescue priceless memories, reminders that where we come from forever defines who we are.

Holding grandma Kiyohara’s naturalization certificate, made me pause.

After emigrating to America, working as truck farmers, then being imprisoned in a “relocation camp” for being Japanese, for our beloved Bachan to take classes, study in English, and successfully become an American citizen as soon as it became legal for Japanese nationals to do so is a reminder that American citizenship was not a given for her.

Deep in a drawer covered with dust, Darin rescued a photo album of ‘lost’ photographs of the family in front of the house we’ve spent days cleaning.

Muscles sore, sinuses filled with dust, I kept thinking “I am too old for this stuff.”

And then I was reunited with the stuffed tiger doll of my childhood memories. Now virtually stripe-less, the tiger still has kind eyes and a gentle smile inviting me to play behind the sofa where the adults and big cousins can’t see us.

Sometimes you return back to where you started and find things really haven’t changed at all.

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