“He just disappeared,” George said to the Yakima Herald. “It was just a mystery.”
Fellows would eventually realize Tom had been sent to an incarceration camp along with more than 110,000 other Japanese Americans.
Tom and his family were forced to relocate to the Portland Assembly Center before being imprisoned at Heart Mountain in Wyoming.
“My mother would cry every night before falling asleep. They lost practically everything they had,” Tom said.
Fellows would later forget about Tom who never did return to Yakima Valley. It wasn’t until a school reunion in 2002 that George began wondering what happened to his friend. Tom did not attend the reunion, so George went looking for him.
He didn’t have much success until he randomly approached a Japanese American couple in a restaurant in San Diego and asked for advice on how to find Tom. The couple put him in touch with a local Japanese Association which agreed to post a message on an electronic bulletin board.
Tom’s contact information was eventually passed on to George and the two began communicating. Then one day George paid a surprise visit and knocked on Tom’s door at his home in Reno.
“I said, ‘Tom, it’s George Fellows.’ We reached out, shook hands and hugged each other. I did not know how Tom would react but he bore no animosity or grudges.”
You can read about their reunion and the lives George & Tom lead after middle school in the Yakima Herald.