Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Gene Akutsu Interview
Narrator: Gene Akutsu
Interviewers: Larry Hashima (primary), Stephen Fugita (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: July 25, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-agene-01-0033

<Begin Segment 33>

LH: So you also had mentioned that your mom really made an effort to go out to McNeil Island to see both you and your, your brother. Can you describe what those meetings were like? I mean, her coming out there and how she had to...

GA: Yeah we... they would call us out by name and we'll go down and go to the administration area. As procedure, go down, go through the metal detector and go to the administration and they would have a room, a long table with a partition that stood up maybe I would say, twelve, fourteen, eighteen inches high, about a foot apart, and the guard would be sitting on the end so that they would, they could see if anything was being passed over. And once a month we'd get a visitation of about half-hour or so and we try to do as much talking as we could. We just strictly talk to our own, not talking to that person or that person, but talk to whoever came to see you, which was mainly my mother. In appreciation, we'd better pay attention because, heck, that was a lot of work in order to get themselves to making their way all the way out to the place, up to McNeil Island, because they had no way of making it unless they go down to the bus depot. And just to get down to the bus depot, they had to catch the trolley or the streetcar or whatever they had in that town, go down to the bus depot and then go all the way down to Steilacoom and that's a day's work just to make it out there. And how she did it, I don't know, just determination.

LH: And was she able to see both you and your brother at the same time or did she have to do separate visits?

GA: Just one visitor per prisoner.

LH: So she would have to come by once --

GA: Either/or.

LH: Either/or, so she would have to come by one time to see your brother first and then next time see you.

GA: Yeah, that right.

<End Segment 33> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.