Effective treatments for Hansen’s disease in the 1940s eventually led to the quarantine being lifted in 1969. Many of the residents took advantage of their newfound freedom to travel the world. Recalled Seki: “We took in the East Coast, went up to Vermont, went down to Washington. From there we came back. We went to Mexico one year, then took in Eastern Canada. We took in some National Parks ... Then the year before we went to Australia and New Zealand. Last year we went to China. For the last, let’s see, must be about four or five years, I think, we go to the Rose Bowl, take in the parade and everything. ... There’s Vegas ... losing money every time.”
It takes guts to open a brick-and-mortar bookstore in the days of instant online gratification, but in da Shop, local publisher Bess Press has found a way to allow fickle/loyal readers to have their cake and eat it, too.