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and only man able to conduct the séance. A decade later, Jim and Jeanne Houston tag-teamed on a book that was to become the most lasting literary legacy of each of them. Farewell to Manzanar was a memoir about Jeanne’s childhood experience as a Japanese-American detainee in the Manzanar internment camp during World War II, one of the first literary accounts to emerge from that shameful episode. Farewell to Manzanar was adapted into a television movie and was adopted into school curricula all over California and the U.S. (The Houstons would later go on to establish the Pacific Rim Film Festival, an annual event in Santa Cruz that cross-pollinated the BINDED TO THE COMMUNITY Wallace Baine's new cultures of California, book is published by Soquel's Wellstone Books. Hawaii and other Pacific lands through films.) <25 Manzanar was where the Houstons’ story intersects with about the lure of California and the the Coonertys’. The day in 1973 that mythology of its history. Jim and Jeanne Houston introduced It was inside this house where I Manzanar at a previously scheduled sat many times enthralled by Jim’s book signing was also the day that telling of the Donner Party story and Neal and Candy Coonerty were its offshoots. These times with Jim publicly introduced as the new and Jeanne were peak experiences owners of Bookshop Santa Cruz. for me. Though he was almost thirty years older, I saw a commonality between the two of us. Jim had been born in San Francisco, but his parents were both Southerners. I had been born and raised in the South and had moved west as a young man. We shared a certain temperament that Jeanne recognized as Southern, an introverted nature and a joy in seeing metaphorical connections across geography and history that expressed itself in storytelling. I had come to California for a better life, albeit under circumstances laughably less grim and dramatic than anyone from Patty Reed’s generation. Sitting in the Houstons’ den was to me like sitting among the ghosts of old California with the one
Excerpted from ‘A Light in the Midst of Darkness’ by Wallace Baine. Reprinted with permission. ©2016 Wellstone Books.
Author Wallace Baine will discuss A Light in the Midst of Darkness, Santa Cruz literary history and the role of independent bookstores in the 21st century this Saturday at 2 p.m. at Wellstone Center in the Redwoods, 858 Amigo Road in Soquel. He will be joined by Wellstone Books publisher Steve Kettmann, Bookshop Santa Cruz’s Neal Coonerty and Casey Coonerty, and GT editor Steve Palopoli. The event is free.