Michael G. Malaghan
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald
Editor’s note: We continue Michael G. Malaghan’s serialized historical novel, “Picture Bride — A Family Saga,” based on the Japanese immigrant experience. Malaghan’s trilogy takes readers from turn-of-the-20th-century-Japan to Hawai‘i in the picture bride era; the Islands during World War II, highlighted by the exploits of the Nisei soldiers; and beyond.
The novel, which is now available as a printed softcover book, opens with 12-year-old Haru-chan, fleeing her home in Amakusa, Kyüshü, for Hiroshima, where she becomes the picture bride of a Buddhist priest in Hawai‘i.
Author Michael Malaghan is a retired businessman who divides his time between Hawai‘i, Florida and Japan.
The constant winds buffeting Mauna Kea had died down. Hushed murmurs washed over the lawn as hundreds of mourners, including many Filipinos, stood outside Waimea’s Buddhist mission. Inside, another 200 bereaved community members jammed into the pews and aisles. All eyes faced the open coffin, which sat front and center on the altar. From the altar’s left window, a pillow-sized stream of the day’s last sunrays shone brightly over Yumi, lying on her mother’s chest, both wrapped in white cotton. Mayo’s arms, wrapped in gauze, held her child one last time and forever after. No one asked why the shrouds violated custom by covering their faces.
With sweat trickling down her back, Haru sat in the front right pew, next to the center aisle. Feeling fatigued for the first time that day, she fought off the drowsiness by digging her nails into her palms. Mayo’s surviving children sat next to her, looking bewildered in little black yukata that had been borrowed from friends. Without Haru’s prompting, Auntie Sachi, sitting on their other side, had already told them, “You will stay with me until Daddy is better.” Squeezed into the pew was Uno, whom Haru had personally escorted when informed that he had arrived unexpectedly.
On the pew opposite Haru sat Dr. Tebbits, Wellington Carter and the Reverend Adams. Carter had called Tebbits and Adams. “We need to show that Bilkerton does not represent us,” he told them.
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