Memory of Hope: A Reunion of Long-Lost Friends

Born in a Japanese internment camp, Midori Hall had long had a persistent memory that involved a trio of young boys and a cart full of fruit. But what did the memory mean?

My name is Midori Hall; I live in Gilbert, Arizona. I was born in the Gila River Japanese Internment Camp in August of 1942.

I am at the Chandler Museum which featured people who were taken to the Gila River Japanese Internment Camp in 1942, and this is significant to me because my family was in camp there, and it was at one of the exhibits at the Chandler Museum where I met Tom Koseki, who was also interned in the Gila Camp, and he was seven years old when his family was taken there.

It was at the dedication of the Nozomi Park in January of 2017, where Tom spoke all about his memories of his experience at the camp. It was afterwards that I introduced myself to him. I told him that my family was in the Gila Camp, but also in the Canal Camp, and he said he was also there and that we were probably neighbors, and that's where our friendship began.

In our discussion of memories, Tom leaned back in his wheelchair and said, "I'll never forget those pomegranates," and I looked at Tom and I said, "Tom! I have a pomegranate memory!" And so I told him the memory of seeing three boys coming from the desert, pushing a cart and some red fruit in it. There's an older boy pushing the cart and two younger on either side of the cart, laughing and having such a great time.

And then Tom looked at me and he put his arms on my shoulders and said, "Midori, that was me and my two friends."

The week after I met Tom and we share the pomegranate stories, I wanted to draw a picture of what I remembered, this picture that I've had in mind since I was about two years old. And so I'm not an artist, but I got a piece of paper and a pencil and I drew what I remembered seeing.

When I showed this picture to Tom, I asked him, I said, "Which boy do you think is you?" And he said, "That one, right there," and I thought so too. When my husband took a picture of this—it was in a glass frame—there were two lights behind Tom and me, and when my husband took the picture, the reflection on my hand and on part of Tom's picture was the shape of a heart, which was a reflection of the lights that were behind us.

The joy and the bond that we have developed is truly amazing. God had his hand in this whole story about the pomegranates and Tom and I meeting. There was such joy; it was a thrill. We cried and hugged.

For me, it was a confirmation that what I had in my mind all these years was a reality, and I believe that God had a plan for both Tom and me to meet after 72 years. I believe that I was meant to be there when these three boys were coming from the desert with this fruit. He had a plan, and the plan was, 72 years later, for us to meet.

And it was a closure. I didn't know why I had this memory in my mind that was so vivid. There had to be a reason and it became a reality when Tom and I met. So Tom is my new friend that is actually my old friend. It just took us 72 years to meet.

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