Monday, February 24, 2020

Kennedy School History Pub

Detained by My Country

Kennedy School - Kennedy School Theater

6 pm doors, 7 pm event

Free. First come, first served. Arrive early!

All ages welcome

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Qualifies for “Attend a McMenamins History-Sponsored Event” Experience Stamp.

Why not stay the night? Receive 15% off your hotel room that evening using the code HISTPUB or mention it when you call the hotel.

About Detained by My Country

Detained by My Country

Presented by Mitzi, Toby, and Kenneth Loftus

For Japanese Americans who lived in the West during World War II, the removal to prison camps in 1942 as decreed by Executive Order 9066 is an experience they will never forget. Mitzi Loftus was a child living in Hood River when her family was forced to leave their belongings and home and sent to Tule Lake Camp in northern California in 1942.

For this presentation, Toby and Kenneth Loftus will interview their mother, Mitzi, regarding her time spent at Tule Lake and Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Loftus will share related photographs from her personal collection and will detail her parents’ immigration story to the United States in 1904 and 1911. In addition to describing the forced removal from her home in Hood River, Mitzi will tell of her family’s movements through World War II and re-settlement in Oregon, with the attendant discrimination they experienced in the postwar years.

About the Speakers:

Mitzi Asai Loftus was born in Hood River, Oregon in 1932. Her parents emigrated from Japan and owned and operated fruit orchards in Hood River. She was in the fourth grade when World War II began and her family was sent to the Pinedale Assembly Center in Fresno, California and later to camps in Tule Lake, California, and Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Her father was swindled out of some of his land after he was sent to the camps. In April 1945, the family returned to Hood River where Loftus finished school. When she was in the ninth grade, she changed her name from Mitsuko to Mitzi. She attended the University of Oregon and studied education, then taught in Oregon schools for 47 years. Loftus also taught English in Japan on a Fulbright scholarship. She has written a book, Made in Japan and Settled in Oregon, about her family's history and experiences during World War II, and frequently gives presentations about the camps and her life as a Japanese-American in Oregon.

Ken Loftus is the second son of Mitzi. He enjoys surprising new acquaintances by disclosing that he is half Japanese-American. Ken is proud to also claim Norwegian and German in his background and pleased that his daughter Helena can add Greek to that mix. He lives, works, and plays (e.g. trombone, gardening, play-going) in Ashland with his wife, Melissa. They have enjoyed working on their McMenamin's Passports while simultaneously celebrating family events such as a wedding, graduation, Mitzi's 70th birthday, and recent 21st birthday in the family. Cosmic Tripsterhood is a ways off, but may get easier once McMenamin's spreads farther southward into the Rogue Valley.... “Unaccustomed as he is to public speaking,” he is happy to support Mitzi in spreading the word about her wartime experiences in the hopes we will not be forced to repeat this bit of history again.

Toby Asai Loftus supports his viola habit working high tech. He has performed in Newport Symphony over 15 years and performs occasionally in other orchestras and string quartets. He recently traveled twice to Japan with his mother and blogged extensively about those experiences. Outside work, music, and travel, he likes to spend his time fly fishing lakes and singing karaoke.

About Kennedy School History Pub

Kennedy School History Pub

These monthly, free events are open to everyone interested in Oregon and Pacific Northwest history. Co-sponsored by like-minded historical and civic organizations, we bring you experts, scholars, first-person experiencers and historians who expound on topics from Lewis and Clark to shipwrecks, hop growing to women pioneers and far, far beyond. It's like being back in the classroom - except this time you get to settle into comfortable seats and enjoy a drink or two with dinner while you listen and learn.

This event is eligible for a History Pub Stamp