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The Pangs of Family Separation
Digital History ID 8


Annotation: Family members were often left behind as husbands were in search of a better life for their families in America. A wife conveys to her husband the pain and loneliness of separation.

Document: Right after we were wed, Husband, you set out on a journey.
How was I to tell you how I felt?
Wandering around a foreign country, when will you ever come home?

I beg of you, after you depart, to come back soon,
Our separation will be only a flash of time;
I only wish that you would have good fortune,
In three years you would be home again.
Also, I beg of you that your heart won’t change,
That you keep your heart and mind on taking care of your family;
Each month or month and a half send a letter home,
In two or three years my wish is to welcome you home.

Source: Quoted in Ronald Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore (Boston, 1989), 42

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