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-01-0009

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GA: And one of the highlights was we had our -- the Fourth of July they had nothing -- but to have something, some kind of a party, so they had a, they had a Fourth of July race, and we ran around the racetrack. And hurriedly our group put up a relay team -- as well as all the other groups -- and we ran a relay. And I don't mean to be bragging, but we came out first. [Laughs] That's one of the highlights, there, that was some fun. But there was many of the heartaches, too, that came along with it. Some of the food they fed us were, I've never heard of cow tongues but they fed us cow tongues and numerous other things. Liver, I didn't care for but they, they fed us quite a bit of those things in those days and it was a matter of either eating it or going to starve. And me being raised through the Depression, I learned to eat anything, if it tastes bad, just don't breathe and just chew it and swallow, and that's how basically I got through without starving.

LH: So besides the food, what were some of the other hardships that you had to endure while you were at Puyallup?

GA: Hardships, well, other than the daily chores of all sorts of things that we had to do, there wasn't what you called hardship as it was. But I know that my brother had tried to set up a, food -- shuttling food to the people who were bedridden. They didn't have any, any means to give food to the people who were old, invalid, bedridden and so he tried to set up a -- and he did set up -- a tray, tray group of girls that would deliver food to each, each person that was disabled, and, which was, I thought a good thing. But young as I was, I don't know... I can't remember much other than the good times, you have a tendency to kinda forget about the bad times and remember the good. So until September when we're... final evacuation into Hunt, Idaho, this time was spent just putting in your hours in the evening, play around a little bit, and that's about it.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.