Raymond’s Brain: My Baachan #18, Salt Spring Island

A personal history by Raymond Nakamura


In 1924, my Baachan and the family moved to Salt Spring Island on the recommendation of Mr Horrow, a friend from when Shinkichi worked at a railway tie mill.

This image is based on the family’s first photo taken in 1928. The baby who looks like he could use a diaper change is my father, George, or Hichiro, which means seventh kid. Only five children, however, are in the picture. Two of the older girls were still in Japan with the Yanagihara family. When they eventually returned to Canada to rejoin the family, their papers said their last name was Yanagihara, resulting in some delay at their re-entry.

My baachan was busy looking after the children, and helping with the vegetable farm and selling moonshine. Shinkichi also worked in a mill and running a laundry. While logging, he also found a cascara tree, which he was able to sell to a company interested in its supposed laxative properties. They made enough money to buy a Model T Ford. People didn’t get enough fibre back then I guess.

In the mid 1930s, Shinkichi became ill with throat cancer. He had to be fed through a hold in his torso. He went back to Japan where he died in 1938.


Republished from Raymond’s Brain.

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