Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The Last One To Go
I saw the following on the wall of the Marine Biological Laboratory's library when I was in Woods Hole last week. It was written by Katsuma Dan who was a Japanese cell biologist and embryologist. He studied at the MBL, married a scientific collaborator Jean Clark, and maintained lasting ties to the laboratory at Woods Hole.
Dan returned to Japan in the late 1930s and worked at the Misaki Marine Biological Station in Morioso Bay. He and his students maintained a remarkable degree of scientific productivity during World War II. Near the end of the war the Japanese Navy took over the Misaki Marine Station and converted it into a base for miniature submarines. Although displaced, Dan and his students set up a crude laboratory nearby and continued their work. At the end of the war Dan posted a hand-written note on the door of Misaki (which I photographed and inserted above), addressed to advancing America forces, in which he said: “... you can destroy the weapons and the war instruments but save the civil equipments for the Japanese students. When you are through with your job here notify to the university and let us come back to our scientific home.” The note was signed, “The last one to go.”
It is a remarkable note in that the Misaki Marine Station was spared. I found his appeal poignant. He simply wanted to return to studying the cells and embryos that interested him. I think about how lucky I have had it to work at a place where the only complaints over the last few years have been budgetary. I've had every opportunity to work in peace and with great people.
I'm glad too that in recovery I finally made it into the rooms of Al-Anon. I wasn't the last one to go. I am convinced that I went when God knew it was time for me to be there. I am so grateful for that.