A Better Career through the Study of History

A person who is capable of critical thinking, creative problem solving and technological and communication skills has a far greater chance of being employed today than someone without those skills. The ability to think broadly and read and write clearly can provide better positions in all branches of society.

Public elementary and high schools can develop those skills in their students through an education in history where critical thinking and research are emphasized in addition to memorizing facts.

Studies show that through historical research students become critical thinkers who can absorb and evaluate information and articulate their feelings. These skills in turn create better performance in other skills like math, science and economics, which altogether improve one’s chances to advance in life.

I am offering my readers a small but important part of history: an eyewitness account of the conditions of life in Japanese concentration camps for women and children during World War II in the Pacific. My new book, Rising from the Shadow of the Sun, A Story of Love, Survival and Joy is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble in print and electronic versions. Check it out!

Until next time,




Childhood Memories of a Japanese Concentration Camp

People sometimes ask me what I remember of those four years in the camps. “Surely,” they say, “a five-year-old is old enough to remember things.” But no matter how hard I think, there are only a few moments, a few occasions that I do remember. Mamma kept Paula and me away from all the scary things, all the cruelties that took place on a daily basis.

The moments I remember had to do with intense fright, jubilant joy or physical pain.

The first one: a soldier pierced the bamboo fence right next to my face with his bayonet. I screamed for Mamma. I was four.

Number two: one of the old men that were transported into our camp during the last months of the war gave me a little brown metal truck, like a Dinky toy. Oh joy! A real truck! I can remember the place on the square where we stood when he gave that truck to me, smiled and walked away. I was five.

Number three: when the lights went out in our little room one night because of curfew and I, on the top bunk, had just undressed my doll, bed bugs crawled out of her clothes and onto my body. Mamma gave me a rag to kill them with. It was during the final months of the war and because of edema in her legs she could no longer climb on the bunk bed to help me. In the dark of the night I could not find all of them. The following morning I was covered in welts.

This incident came with a lasting memory of the smell of dead bed bugs. Three years later, the copper front door bell at my grandmother’s house in the Netherlands had an identical smell. Twenty eight years later, when we lived in California, I smelled dead bed bugs in the supermarket and discovered cilantro. It took years to get accustomed to the taste and smell and use it in cooking

Do you have any memories, good or bad, of your childhood years? Did you know what a dead bed bug smells like?  Leave me a comment!

Until next time,