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Naomi found out that the family had to move. At the time she didn’t understand, but as an adult she has seen the government letters ordering her family out of Slocan. As the family packed, Nomura-obasan, Saito-ojisan, Sachiko, and Nakayama-sensei came over. The minister led a service. By sitting on a box, Stephen accidentally cracked one of his mother’s records. The service continued, and the priest broke the communion wafer. Afterward, he said goodbye to everyone and went off to lead another service.
Father disappeared one day. People poured out of town on trains. One day, Naomi and her family left Slocan. No one told Naomi where they were going or where her father was.
Back in the present day, Naomi expects Aunt Emily and Stephen to arrive at Obasan’s soon. She feels exhausted with the effort of remembering the past, and more broadly with the burden of behaving politely, not staring, and trying to disappear. She thinks that by delving into the past, she is escaping the present, and vice versa.
She remembers talking to Aunt Emily in Granton after the conference first mentioned in Chapter 7. Naomi says that in 1945, families like hers had to choose between moving east of the Rockies and going to Japan. She knows that Kenji’s family went to Japan, where they suffered greatly. She is no longer in touch with anyone from Slocan.
On that night, she asked Aunt Emily if Mother and Grandma starved in Japan. They went for a walk, and Emily said she’d told Naomi all she could. She then changed the topic to Nakayama-sensei and his attempts to keep the community unified. She said no one in the family got their land back, even Uncle Dan, who was an intelligence officer in the Far East.
Naomi wondered if the efforts of letter-writers like Aunt Emily did any good.
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