"In Response to Executive Order 9066" by Dwight Okita

[Secondary Pre-Visit LESSON PLAN: Best Friends]

In Response to

Executive Order 9066:

All Americans of Japanese Descent

Must Report to Relocation Centers

Dear Sirs:

Of course I'll come. I've packed my galoshes

and three packets of tomato seeds. Denise calls them

love apples. My father says where we're going

they won't grow.

I am a fourteen-year-old girl with bad spelling

and a messy room. If it helps any, I will tell you

I have always felt funny using chopsticks

and my favorite food is hot dogs.

My best friend is a white girl named Denise-

we look at boys together. She sat in front of me

all through grade school because of our names:

O'Connor, Ozawa. I know the back of Denise's head very well.

I tell her she's going bald. She tells me I copy on tests.

We're best friends.

I saw Denise today in Geography class.

She was sitting on the other side of the room.

"You're trying to start a war," she said, "giving secrets

away to the Enemy. Why can't you keep your big

mouth shut?"

I didn't know what to say.

I gave her a packet of tomato seeds

and asked her to plant them for me, told her

when the first tomato ripened

she'd miss me.

Dwight Okita

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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Manzanar National Historic Site
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5001 Highway 395

Independence, CA 93526


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