The Principle Characters

Janice, Jan, Janny, Mom.

Born in Canada of Japanese-Canadian parents, Mom grew up in a post-WWII Toronto that was both accepting and overtly racist. She has two brothers and one sister, all younger than her. Her Mom always made sure that they were the neatest kids in school. She would pin a handkerchief to mom's skirt straps and comb her hair into ringlets. She and her two brothers (Ken and Raymond) and her younger sister (Elaine) grew up in downtown Toronto and moved to the suburbs in 1956, a tremendous accomplishment for a Japanese-Canadian family. There was always an underlying current of being ashamed of being a Japanese-Canadian, and the constant fear that someone would say something to the family. She knew there was something to be ashamed of, and to this day she feels shy about revealing her origins -- especially to people who the Japanese have been terrible to.

Mom was the first in her family to graduate from college and met Dad while training for the Foreign Service. Mom proposed when they were posted to different countries and she then quit her job to marry him. They made a life in Trinidad and moved after that to Japan. Going to Japan as a posting was cathartic to see that there could be a culture that existed beside one made up by Hollywood war movies. They had David at the end of the posting and moved back to Canada, where Andrea was born. In the next post, Argentina, Sarah became a surrogate daughter and lived with them in Ottawa while she finished high school.

Rheinholt, Albert, Al, Dad.

Dad was born in Quesnel, BC. He was adopted by Justina and Otto Nauman (friends of his biological mother) when he was a baby, and his father died soon after. They moved around and settled in Prince Rupert, BC where his mother married Mike Bucik.

Dad dreamt of leaving Prince Rupert and living a white picket fence life. He gave up the commercial fishing life (though it put him through college) and studied sociology because he hoped it would help him not define himself by his family's poverty.

Working his way through school, Dad finished in 1968 and entered the foreign service where he met Mom. After a six month courtship, they were married in Trinidad. Since then, they've lived in Tokyo, Argentina, Ottawa, New York City, Germany, Jamaica, and Buffalo.

Andrea, Andy, the younger sibling.

Mom first realized that she was pregnant with Andrea on Thanksgiving in 1976 when she was making turkey soup. The smell made her sick and the incident was a foreshadowing of Andrea's vegetarian leanings. Andrea was born stubborn, turning around and refusing to come out for five extra hours. She remains headstrong and independent, travelling most recently though Nepal and China.

David, the older sibling, first born son.

Dr. Morgan told Mom, flippantly, before David was born, "You wait and see, it's going to be a different world." When he was placed on her belly and looked up at her, she thought, "My god, the world has turned inside out." And she understood at last why women run into burning houses or lift up cars to save their babies.

David was quiet and didn't cry often, which worried Mom so much she took him to the doctor to make sure he was normal. He is still quiet, though that no longer worries Mom.

Sarah, "step-daughter," "foster daughter," "older sister".

Info about Sarah.

Supporting Cast