9. On the Birthday of Miyoko

  Thank you very much for sending me a letter the other day. I was going to send you back a letter about my sad memories of the A-bomb disaster as soon as possible. However, I couldn't get it done because I am still working despite my age. I had an attack of anemia and felt dizzy about one week ago, maybe because of overwork. Therefore, I have been taking time to rest. I want to apologize for not responding to you earlier although I was intending to answer it all the time.

  How fast time flies! Twenty-six years have already passed since then. I can't forget that tragedy although I tried to. My family had lived in 2-chome, Yokogawa until the morning of August 6, 1945. My husband, a chief of an air-raid evacuation team, called out to the people in the neighborhood and headed together for Dobashi to demolish buildings for fire breaks. My eldest son, a third grader at a middle school, went to the Eastern Drill Ground to dig air -raid shelters as a mobilized student. On that morning, I said to my eldest daughter, Miyoko, who was a first grader at national elementary school, "Let's celebrate your birthday with red beans rice." August 6 was her eighth birthday. After hearing my words, she happily left home wearing her air-raid hood with a red and white flag. Even today I can still recall how she looked on that day. She was a student at Misasa National Elementary School. Upper graders were evacuated to the country in a group. The students under the fourth grade stayed in Hiroshima and were studying separately at different places. Miyoko was supposed to go to Yokogawa Youth Hall. How was I to know that several minutes after 8 o'clock, she would suffer such a tragedy? A B-29 hatefully dropped the A-bomb and killed countless people. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I was with my ten-month-old baby inside the house and narrowly escaped death. I desperately fled. I was worried about Miyoko and tried to head for Yokogawa to look for her. However, all the paths were blocked off from the debris of collapsed houses and I didn't know where I was. Black smoke sprang up here and there and I saw fire, so I couldn't go any farther. If I had been alone, I would have done anything to look for her. My baby was with me and I was afraid that the baby might die. So I gave up looking for Miyoko. Although my heart was left behind, we escaped toward Asa-gun where we were supposed to take refuge in case of an emergency. We finally arrived at the school in Furuichi.

  On the morning of August 7, I left Furuichi to look for my husband and children. However, I couldn't find anyone. Later in the afternoon, I found my husband and my eldest son among the survivors brought by a track. For a short time, we were overjoyed to see each other, but my husband, who was seriously burned over half of his body, died at the school that evening. After losing our house and my husband, we went to my uncle's house in Shiwa-cho, Kamo-gun, where my mother's parents lived. We stayed there for a while.

  In April of1950, we left there for Osaka. About one year later, my eldest son developed the A-bomb disease and became feeble. He was hospitalized at the national sanatorium for many years. However, he passed away at the age of 26 on March 29, 1954.

  I know it is no use saying but if only the A-bomb had not been dropped over us, we would not have suffered such a tragedy.

Written by Shigeko Oda (Sennari-cho, Toyonaka-shi, Osaka-fu)

Death in the Atomic boming :
Miyoko Oda (a first grader at Misasa National Elementary School)