Opening Day

Opening Day
December 2018

This is a memory quilt I made for my brother-in-law Ryan as a remembrance of his Dad who passed away in early September. Hide (pronounced ‘hee-day’) loved fishing, and it was a hobby that he and Ryan shared. Each Spring, they would travel from Southern California to the eastern Sierra Nevada to participate in the opening of fishing season on the last Saturday in April.

Hide was a Japanese American citizen. In June of 1942 at the age of 16, he was incarcerated in the Manzanar War Relocation Center, a remote, military-style camp located in California’s Owens Valley, in the foothills of the Eastern Sierra. At night, Hide would sneak out of the guarded encampment to fish in the pristine mountain lakes, rivers and streams just outside the camp’s boundaries. Being interned, he didn’t have access to a fishing pole and reel. He had to make due with a stick and string with hand-made lures and hooks. In late 1944, Hide left Manzanar to join theĀ 442nd Regimental Combat Team, an Army unit comprised of Japanese Americans from Hawaii and the mainland United States.

Hide’s love of fishing in the pristine lakes, rivers and streams of the Eastern Sierra called him back to the Owens Valley each year. From the late 1940’s, Hide never missed an Opening Day. Ryan joined his Dad on these yearly trips, and he himself has not missed an Opening Day with his Dad for the past 42 years.

I chose to do this as a medallion quilt. The center fish design was from a tee-shirt, while most of the remaining fabrics were from three of Hide’s casual dress shirts. The fish in the four corners of the fourth border were from his pillowcase. I purchased the cream, dark blue and grey fabric to provide contrast to all the printed fabrics, and I also purchased the fishing lure fabric (in beige) to complement the fishing lure fabric taken from one of the shirts. In my final border, I wound these two fishing lure fabrics to represent Hide and Ryan: it is meant to be symbolic of how a parent and child’s life travel along separate paths, but always intersect, staying connected throughout life’s journey.