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Essay by
  • Sonya Dalton
in response to
Essay by Emiko Noguchi Herold

To view Seabrook Farms simply as a corporate entity that used migrant workers for cheap labor overlooks crucial aspects of the experience that residents had growing up there. This aspect is the sense of community and camaraderie that was often said to be shared by workers and their families. For many who grew up on Seabrook Farms, the quality of life was not necessarily bad, despite the less-than-ideal living situation. To overlook the happy memories of those who lived at Seabrook Farms would do injustice to those who treasured these past moments.

To former resident Emiko Noguchi Herold, her most distinct memories are of family and school life at Seabrook, her happiest associations. She mentions checking out books from a mobile library with her aunt, waiting for her mother to pick her up in her work uniform after school, and describes the delicious food her family made when they got together. Her memories are deeply entrenched within images of her family and she describes it all so vividly that one cannot help but feel the same rush of happiness she does when thinking about her childhood. Despite the relocation and a social climate that actively worked against Japanese Americans, she was able to create an abundance of positive experiences in her youth through the strong emotional attachment she had with her family. This stability and happiness arose from her close relationship with her relatives and the obvious love and support they had for each other throughout her childhood. For some, the true Seabrook experience is not reduced to facts and statistics, but rather includes the lasting, fond impressions of the people who made up the Seabrook community.