Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
Longtime fans of San Diego theater will recognize her name. For years, Linda Castro was one of our leading lights and award-winners. She moved away almost a decade ago. Since we no longer wear opposing theatrical hats, she has become a dear and trusted friend.
I wish I could have met her mother, Adriann.
In 1942, when Adriann heard about the forced Japanese American relocation to Poston, Arizona, she went there to volunteer. "She was very young," says Linda, "and was mainly working as a secretary and assistant but did fill in at the ESL classes on occasion, which was the story she liked to tell most."
What made Adriann drop everything and rush to a prison camp in one of the world's most blistering deserts? She just did, instinctively. No second thoughts.
After the war, she met and married Jose Castro, a highly decorated US Air Force Sergeant. "Never one to sit still, once her five children were all in school, she did volunteer work in a hospital and worked as secretary to the wing commander for 15 years. She wrote for and edited the base newspaper and self-published short stories and poems.
"She loved to share good things with the community."
Early last Friday morning, as the shuttle Endeavor flew overhead, Adriann passed away in her sleep. She was 87.
"She sang and danced and organized variety shows for the troops at the base," Linda remembers. "She loved a good show, but was often more behind the scenes organizing them, including several regional Indian festivals in Palm Springs - all volunteer work. She won awards from the tribal leaders for her hard work and commitment.
"Even at the brink of the Void, she was putting together ideas for a newspaper column for the Palm Springs Desert Sun: 'Ask the Pros' - so people could write in with various questions and get them answered by a professional." Her list included: editor, banker, polo player, doctor, lawyer, race car driver, professional athletes from all sports, mechanic, golfer, actor, historian, pharmacist, BBQ chef.
"HA! She cracked me up! She often got the paper and TV crews out to things that made good human interest stories. So I promised her I'd send the 'Ask the Pros' idea to the editor. She would have liked that.
"Adriann was a writer and lover of words," says Linda. She kept a collection of her favorite writings. One was a poem from the Poston Relocation Camp.
An Evacuee's Prayer
- Give me, dear Lord, the strength to take
- Whatever comes my way,
- And keep me, Lord, from blowing up
- In spite of what they say.
- Give me a sense of humor, Lord
- And teach me how to smile
- Though forced to trudge the hardest trail
- For many a weary mile.
- And then, if I can safely pass
- Through all this time of stress,
- I pray, dear Lord, that you will keep
- Me free of bitterness.
— Author unknown