Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Edith Watanabe Interview
Narrator: Edith Watanabe
Interviewer: Stacy Sakamoto
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: November 4, 1996
Densho ID: denshovh-wedith-01

<Begin Segment 1>

SS: Edith, tell me a little bit about where you were born, and what it was like growing up.

EW: Well, I was born in Seattle, and other than that I don't remember anything. We just have a picture that my mother is holding me, and I don't recall anything about Seattle.

SS: Did you grow up in Seattle? You moved?

EW: We moved up to Burlington, which is north, up north, about sixty miles north of Seattle, and I grew up there -- kindergarten through high school.

SS: Did you have a big family?

EW: Two brothers and two sisters.

SS: What was it like growing up there? It seems to me that it would be a fun place to grow up.

EW: It was. It was... we always said that we wished we could have raised our children in Burlington. But he would have -- my husband would have had to commute to Boeing, and we thought that that was quite a ways to go. But a small town is much better for children.

SS: What do you remember of your early family life? What did your parents do?

EW: Oh, my parents owned a laundry and we helped there. And we just, I had a good time.

SS: Did you work in the family business?

EW: Yes, uh-huh. I helped. Tried to mangle, they let me do that, the straight pieces, you know, handkerchiefs, and pillow cases, and things like that, that I couldn't, you know, burn or wrinkle up or anything. But we were expected to help, and we did.

SS: What do you remember about those early years? Was it, was it difficult financially? Did the family live comfortably? Tell me a little bit about that.

EW: You know, I think about it now, we were probably poor. But we didn't consider ourselves poor at that time. But, because I remember they kept all our money in a cigar box. And when Mother wanted us to buy something... liver was five cents a pound, and we had liver and onions. And hamburger was, you know, about five or ten. And we'd go shopping, take the money out of the cigar box. And life was simple, but good. But we didn't know that we were poor. We didn't think we were.

SS: What were your big luxuries back then when you were growing up? Was it getting candy, was it hamburger?

EW: Oh, my dad would come home from work, usually on Friday night he would come home, and he would stop at the corner drugstore and buy a bag of Society candy. And he'd bring it home and then we would enjoy that. I'll never forget that.

SS: Did you have any hobbies? Were there things that you liked to do as a young girl growing up?

EW: I loved sports. And I played tennis and baseball. And we roller-skated all over town with my friends. We had a lot of fun. That was, didn't cost anything. And at nighttime we'd play Annie-I-Over. I don't think kids play that now, I don't think they know how, but it is -- or we played squares or hopscotch. We just innovated our own games. We had a good time.

SS: What about music? Things like that?

EW: I was fortunate to be able to take piano lessons. Didn't have a piano of my own, but I practiced at my teacher's home and in exchange I cleaned her house.

SS: It sounds like you were a very busy young lady.

EW: I think so. Didn't have time to get in trouble.

SS: It sounds like those are very happy memories.

EW: They are. Uh-huh, uh-huh.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

SS: What, is there any one particular instance, or one particular memory, or family gathering that sticks in your mind?

EW: No, we used to have a lot of fun... there were a few Japanese families living up north, in Arlington and then in Bellingham, and we would get together maybe two or three times a year and have picnics. And we would go to Chuckanut, and right on the bay there and have our picnics on the beach. We had very good times there.

SS: What about your early friends? Are there some friends that you remember from your childhood that are still friends today?

EW: Yes, I have a girlfriend living in Hilo that I grew up with. She was one of the children of the only other Japanese family in Burlington. And so I knew her from when she was a child, and we grew up together. We saw each other in July this year.

SS: Are those friendships very important to you?

EW: They are. They are.

SS: Why?

EW: Well, because we had the same experiences, and we went to camp together, and had the same heartbreaks and joys together.

SS: What was it like growing up being one of the few Asian Americans in town?

EW: Well, I didn't experience very much racism, prejudice. We knew about everybody in town by name, and it was just a really nice place. Maybe occasionally there might be a bad experience, but I think I try to block them out of my mind now.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

SS: What were your parents like?

EW: They were hard-working. In Japan, my father was a principal in a school and my mother was a teacher. And then they had to come over here, and then to have a laundry, that must have been quite a comedown for them. But they never told us, expressed it in any way. And they just worked hard. I know that when we went to Tule Lake internment camp, at that time they weren't very old, but in our mind we thought they were. But, you know, it kind of breaks my heart now to think that when they were only like in their late fifties or early sixties, that we thought they were old, old fogies almost, you know. But now that we're at that age, we don't consider ourselves old. And I thought, well, gee, we really didn't treat them right. We should have seen that they could have done more and had more fun.

SS: What brought them to this country?

EW: Opportunity. Just a new way of life.

SS: Did they ever have any regrets, do you think? It must have been a very hard life for them, the responsibility of raising a family.

EW: Really, and not knowing much English. I'm certain that they knew a bit more English than many of the immigrants now, because they were in school over there. But I can't imagine how hard it must have been for them to come over here -- away from their parents and family -- and establish a new life. I don't know that I could do it.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

SS: When you were, when you were growing up there, you know, a teenager, a young adolescent, did you go out with boys? Was that something that was done then?

EW: I was in high school, and I was busy. I didn't have time. [Laughs] I don't think that at that time that we dated Caucasian boys. We were always in a group, and my friends weren't that crazy about boys. So we were into sports and church, or where we did things as a group, and not on dates.

SS: Did you have any other jobs, aside from cleaning your piano teacher's house? Tell me a little about that.

EW: After school, every summer, we would go out to the berry fields and pick strawberries and raspberries, and whatever. But we earned money then for our school clothes.

SS: Do you think kids these days work that hard?

EW: Well, berry picking is hard. You don't find many kids out in the berry fields now. But, and that's too bad, because we had a lot of fun doing it, too.

SS: Were there special things that you bought with the money? Do you remember a particular dress, or a bicycle perhaps?

EW: Oh, I remember a wild coat that looked like an Indian blanket, and I don't even know what possessed me to buy it. [Laughs] Oh, wow.

SS: How much did it cost? Did it cost you a whole summer's salary, or something?

EW: Well, when you pick berries, you only got 75 cents a crate. You didn't make much money, you know, maybe three dollars a day or something like that. So I can't remember how much it cost, but I can still see the awful colors in that coat.

SS: How old were you at the time?

EW: Oh, about thirteen I think. Thirteen, fourteen...

SS: Did you wear the coat a long time?

EW: I had to. [Laughs]

SS: Did it cost a lot of money? It sounds like it would have been a very expensive purchase.

EW: I think so.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

SS: Tell me a little bit about growing up with sisters and brothers. Seems to me that with five kids in the family you could, you could fight like cats and dogs. Did you get along well? Did you fight?

EW: Oh, probably did. I don't know. I remember my sister was a good seamstress. And if we wanted a new dress, well, she was willing to make it, but we would have to do her share of the housework, cooking, and cleaning, and everything. She had us under her thumb, when we wanted her to sew for us.

SS: Were you the littlest sister?

EW: Yes.

SS: Tell me a little bit about your siblings, their names and how old they were.

EW: Well, there's Harry, and he's retired and he now lives in Florida. And he was an attorney. And I'm very proud of him because he was appointed by Magnuson and Jackson to serve on the Veterans... claims, I think, adjudicator. And he was in D.C. for quite a while, until his retirement. And then I have a sister, Michiko, who now lives in Auburn. And she, I'm very proud of her, too. She was named the queen of Auburn's, "Good Ol' Days" this year when she reached her eightieth birthday. And then there's Miyoko who lives in Redmond. And she and I are pretty close. And she graduated from the U.W., too, an English major. And then I have a younger brother, Calvin, who lives on Mercer Island and he was at the university, he taught graduate school, social work. He's very bright and active in JACL.

SS: What was it like being the littlest?

EW: Well, I think I got picked on. But then I in turn picked on my younger brother. So, we had our pecking order.

SS: Were girls expected to do more of the housework in those days?

EW: Oh yes.

SS: What was that like?

EW: Well, it doesn't take long to, to clean house if you put your mind to it. I think half of it is thinking about doing it and hating it, than getting down and actually doing it.

SS: Was it a big house? Was it a fancy house?

EW: Well, we lived in several houses, one was rambler type. Didn't take long to clean. One was a two-story, and get the dirt and push it downstairs. [Laughs] My mother wasn't that particular because she worked in the laundry and all she wanted was to keep it neat, and we managed to do that. And we learned to cook because she was working, and if we wanted to have dinner we were expected to cook.

SS: It sounds as if your older siblings were sort of surrogate parents to the younger ones?

EW: I think so.

SS: What was that like? Do you have pleasant memories of your siblings?

EW: Yes, I do. We are close. And I don't know, I can't remember any bad times. We all went to work, out to work. My brother went up to Alaska during the summer for the fishing. And he was gone quite a bit.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

SS: What were you like as a kid? I can imagine that you didn't take much guff from anybody.

EW: I don't think I did either. But I put in my own share of work, but we all did. So, I don't know, I was allowed to have fun. When I finished my work I could do what I wanted.

SS: Did you ever get into any mischief?

EW: Oh boy, I remember a Halloween. That's why I laugh, because I read about when we were kids we used to do some terrible things, and kids don't do that now. We had a principal and oh, we just didn't care for him very much, so we dumped garbage on his porch and then run like everything. We just had a lot of fun.

SS: Did you ever get caught?

EW: No. [Laughs] I don't know if he ever knew who did it or anything, because we went to Sunday school, and church, and I don't think he would think that we would do anything bad like that. We thought it was fun.

SS: Did you ever regret doing that?

EW: Oh, no. No. [Laughs]

SS: What were you like as a little girl?

EW: I don't remember very much of that. Oh, I know, I had a doll, a beautiful doll, and one Christmastime we had a fire and I lost that doll. And then we had a flood in Burlington and we'd go in rowboats through the town. And I did get hit by a car. It was the wife of the theater owner. I have a scar in my head yet. But she treated me well after that, and really tried to make up for it.

SS: What happened? Were you on a bicycle, were you walking?

EW: No, I don't know what, how it happened. I never found out why. She was probably driving an old Ford, you know. [Laughs] I don't know how she did it.

SS: Did your family have a car back then?

EW: Yeah, we had quite a few different cars. I can't remember what kind. But they were... Whippets? I don't know. But that's when they had running boards, too.

SS: Did you ever learn how to drive back then?

EW: I did. And I'd get about 25 cents worth of gas, you know, one gallon of gas. And I learned how to drive.

SS: Do you miss the rural lifestyle?

EW: Well, I don't want to get too rural, you know, outhouse and all that stuff. But I kinda do, because we knew everybody in town. And it didn't take that much money to have fun. Maybe we went to a movie about once a month. And we had our church groups and picnics and played games. We didn't have all the distractions that kids have now. We didn't have TV, we had radio.

SS: Were you a good student?

EW: Yes, I think so. I really loved school. I had some great teachers. One in particular, my English teacher. And I think that's where I learned to enjoy books. And I can, oh, my spelling is pretty good.

SS: Did you have any favorite books or movie stars when you were growing up?

EW: Oh, that's when they had Fred MacMurray and Ray Milland, and Clark Gable, and they don't have any like them anymore. They're gone... oh, like Shirley Temple and Elizabeth Taylor, when she was young, nothing like what she is now. But they were my favorite.

SS: Did you hang movie posters in your house like a lot of teenagers?

EW: Probably, probably. Uh-huh, uh-huh. But I remember my father loved Western. And he would sneak off to the movies, maybe once a week. And maybe he might say, "Well, I'm going to the show." Well, if he did, well, if we wanted to go, he would take us. But I don't... it kind of, I don't know how he understood what was going on, but there's not that much plot in a Western film anyway. But he liked, liked them. That was his form of relaxation. And then, too, we had the other Japanese family living in Burlington -- my parents used to, they'd go visiting back and forth. And I could remember my father carrying me on his back and walking a few blocks to visit. They would, Mrs. Akita would always bring out her baking, cookies and cake and whatever. And it was always fun to go there.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

SS: It sounds as if you were very close to your parents.

EW: Uh-huh. Yeah.

SS: What are some of your fondest memories of them?

EW: Well, they, I think they were very good to our family after we were married -- do you want to go that far ahead? Because my husband was always good to them. And my mother, they liked him. And so they would baby-sit for us, maybe a couple of hours or something, we never asked them to baby-sit overnight or anything like that. But if I needed to do anything they were willing to help us.

SS: What were they like when you were growing up? They must have been very busy working. But your memory of being carried on your father's back, obviously that was very special.

EW: Oh, I picked out his gray hairs, too, on his head, and he would love to be pampered. And in the evening when he was tired, and he would be sitting, and we would kind of try to give him a little bit of attention.

SS: What was the typical family dinner like?

EW: Oh, hamburger and cabbage.

SS: Very American, not Japanese is it?

EW: Well, you put shoyu on it, though, and rice. And to this day we enjoy it.

SS: Do you have any regrets about your childhood, wishing that you could have grown up someplace else or done something else?

EW: No, it probably would have been nice if we had more money and could have done more things. But at that time we didn't know any differently so it didn't matter.

SS: When did you realize how much sacrifice your parents had gone through?

EW: I think it was after we left home and started our own families, that we sacrificed for our own kids, and then we thought, "Oh, boy -- they really did for us."

SS: Were you ever able to say, "Thank you," to them?

EW: Well, in later years my mother and father couldn't live alone. And so my husband -- we lived in a split level and he fixed an apartment for them in the basement. And they lived with us until my father died in a nursing home. And then my mother died in our home.

SS: That must have been a wonderful thing, to be with family.

EW: Yes. And I appreciate that fact that our children got to know them. And they have a better empathy with older people now. More so than their cousins, because they were able to see their needs and to meet them.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

SS: Let me ask you a couple of more questions about your childhood. You talked about working in the laundry, and that your parents would let you do mangling? Tell me a little bit about that.

EW: Well, a mangle was a long machine, quite a heavy thing, standing pretty tall. And it had a roll thing, and then you lay your item on the roll, and then pull down on the top and then run the item through. And it would come out, go over the top, and out here. And it was hot and I would get burned once in a while. But you know, at that age, if you feel that you're helping in some way it really makes you feel good.

SS: Were you very little? Were you a teenager?

EW: I was a teenager, uh-huh. I would go over to the laundry and ask if they needed help, and if they did, well then I would stay and help.

SS: Was it very close to your house?

EW: In a small town, maybe about two or three blocks. But I remember that I would always like to go home, or rather to the laundry, and tell them what I did at school that day. And I was so proud of the arithmetic and everything that I thought I was learning, and show them and tell them about it.

SS: Tell me a little bit, too, about the games that you'd play. Hopscotch I know, and you used a couple of other terms that I wasn't familiar with.

EW: Oh, Annie-I-Over? Well, you have a kind of like a house or a shed or something like that, a small building -- and throw a ball over it. And then, there, people would be on either, both sides of the building. And I can't remember now what we were expected to do, but it was fun at that time. And then, of course, we played hide-and-seek, there were a lot of places you could hide. And it was fun.

SS: It was cheap entertainment, too.

EW: It was cheap entertainment.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

SS: Let me ask you a little bit about the war. Where were you when the war broke out? And what do you remember about learning about the war breaking out?

EW: Well, you know, we didn't think too much about the war. We were, at that time we were going to -- my sister and I were going to business college in Mt. Vernon, which was four miles south of Burlington. And we would ride the bus, Greyhound bus, and went to business college and then come home. But one day, Pearl Harbor day, I guess, let me see... that was on Sunday. Monday we went to school -- rode the bus. And then when we went to the bus station to come home, we were told that we couldn't ride the bus. That there was a rule or something that no Japanese were allowed to ride.

SS: What did you think at the time?

EW: Oh, we were... we burst into tears. We were so upset, and you know, getting out of school about five o'clock and then walking home at that time -- four miles. But we started out, and fortunately a good man that we knew and who knew us in Burlington picked us up and brought us home. And he was very indignant, too, that that was happening to us.

SS: Did you talk about it with your parents, the Pearl Harbor?

EW: Yes.

SS: What was the discussion like? What did you talk about?

EW: Why, why did this happen? How? And, course, their loyalty at that time was America, of course. But their attitude was, "It can't be helped," that they had nothing to do with it. And they didn't, either, because they had been away from Japan for so many years that they didn't know what was going on over there politically. And so it was hard for them, too.

SS: At that time, was there any inkling that you would indeed end up paying the price, that Japanese Americans would?

EW: No, no, nothing like that.

SS: What did you think would happen at that time?

EW: We didn't think anything would happen to us. After all, we had lived in the town for, how many years, twenty-five, thirty years. Everybody knew us and we knew everybody, and we had never done anything wrong. So that we didn't think that anything would happen to us in such a small town.

SS: At that time, what were your dreams? You were going to business school.

EW: Well, I wanted to be a secretary, something.

SS: Meet a nice guy and get married?

EW: Probably. I did go to the University of Washington for one year after high school. But I didn't like being away from home. So I went to business college which was closer.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

SS: When did life begin to change? When was there some inkling that the family might have to be uprooted, that the war indeed would affect your life in Burlington?

EW: Okay, when my younger brother was, at that time, was in grade school, and he played in the band, he played the trumpet. And he was told that he could not play in the concert because we were supposed to be under curfew. And we thought that was pretty stupid, as did everybody else. So the teacher said, "Well, if I come after him, pick him up and bring him home, would that be all right?" So he was allowed to do that, but we thought, "Oh, this is getting crazy," you know.

SS: What happened next? Things didn't get better did it?

EW: No, no. Then the people in the town began to get a little bit... their prejudice would come out. And stores, one store in particular wouldn't allow us to shop there. And so little by little it came out.

SS: What were you thinking at the time? You were old enough to understand all this.

EW: Oh, I was really upset. And my sisters and brother... and how could this be happening here? We were born here, and what have we done? So, it was very traumatic.

SS: How did you cope with those, that discrimination? Did you just put on a stiff upper lip and go on?

EW: Probably. But we found out who our true friends were. And so I think that's how we learned to cope.

SS: Were there any particular instances that you still remember, that hurt?

EW: Well, I didn't have too many of those, to be truthful. We continued to go to school, people would, we got rides, people would drive us there. We carried on as normally as we could and not knowing what was going to happen. And the friends who befriended us continued to do so. And we didn't know what was going to happen.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

SS: What happened after that?

EW: Then when the decree came out that we were to be evacuated, then we just went about getting our things together. And our dog, we had a dog and had to leave him with friends, and our car. And, of course, people didn't want to buy anything. Our laundry, my father just left it. The machinery in there, he took the loss. And the house, just, we had to leave that.

SS: What was your reaction to that decree? Do you remember? Did you come home from school and did your parents break the news to you?

EW: Oh no, we heard it, we read it in the paper and we heard in on the radio. So we kept busy trying to get our furniture stored and taken care of. And our dog, and our car, whoever we could leave them with. Not knowing when we would -- when and if ever we would return.

SS: How much time did you actually have to make preparations?

EW: Let's see, we didn't have that long, maybe one month if that long.

SS: Must have been an agonizing, heartbreaking month.

EW: It was.

SS: What was the hardest part of all of that?

EW: I think saying, "Good-bye" to our friends. You know, and not knowing if you would ever see them again.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

SS: Tell me a little bit about going to Tule Lake.

EW: That was horrible. [Laughs] The train came by and stopped. You were allowed to carry, take only what you could carry. And we didn't know what the conditions were there, and what -- were we to do our own cooking and whatever. So we took a few dishes, and a few pans and linen, and boarded the (train). And I can remember one family from Bellingham -- and there was no mother in the family, and she had passed away, and so the father had the children. And they boarded the train and nothing was in carton boxes. It was awfully hard to see that. They were trying to do the best that they could. It was a scene that you never forget.

SS: Did you take some of your prized possessions with you? What are some of the things that you remember taking?

EW: Oh, it's hard to remember now. I really can't remember.

SS: What was the train ride like? Was it long?

EW: Well, from Burlington to Tule Lake... it was long. And I think they took out every train that they had in the yards, you know. And we weren't allowed to look out the window, they pulled the shades down. Oh, it was pretty bad.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

SS: What was it like when you finally got there?

EW: Oh... I had never been to California, in the first place, and where they took us was in the desert and flat mountains or hills, I think. And to see all the barracks -- army-style barracks -- and dirt and sand, nothing beautiful at all. And to be dumped off there like we were cattle. I remember my younger brother... it was hard for him because he had never been around that many Japanese Americans. And so, it was quite a traumatic thing for him.

SS: That's right, some of your other siblings, your older siblings were probably professionals at that point.

EW: Well, my sister, oldest one, had married in November of the year, Pearl Harbor, '41. And so she had her own family, her husband, and then her first son was born in Tule Lake. And so all that -- my brother was in the army, had been drafted. And so all we had left at home was my sister and brother, and my parents.

SS: Did you stay together as a family at camp?

EW: Yes, uh-huh.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

SS: Tell me a little about what your, your living quarters were like, and what life was like.

EW: Well, I don't know the dimensions, but not very large, you know, the barracks. And just, the walls were just one board so you could hear everything, you know. And we did the best we could, we hung sheets up for partitions and tried to make it as homey as possible.

SS: What was a typical day like for you at camp?

EW: Well, I was fortunate, my sister and I to be able to work in the administration building because we had gone to business college. And so we would get up and go to the mess hall -- we had the latrines where the shower rooms were -- and went to the mess hall for breakfast. And mess hall for lunch and dinner. I don't have any, I don't have happy memories of the camp, because at that time I was engaged and so I didn't have much social life there.

SS: At the time did you think it would just be a matter of weeks or a month perhaps?

EW: No, no. We had no idea. We thought years. We were thinking in terms of years.

SS: What did it do to your parents, this experience of going to camp?

EW: Well, for the first time they were able to just, not have to work. [Laughs] That would be the only good thing about it for them, that they were able to... but I think, for people who were used to working hard every day, it must have been difficult for them, not to have anything to do constructively.

SS: What are some of the images that stick in your mind from that time at camp?

EW: Well, I became ill, they gave us shots, of typhoid and all of that. And I became ill and I went to the hospital that they had rigged up. And the people there were, probably, well, I think there were some doctors there and nurses, but the equipment and the supplies they had were very minimal. And so then I was diagnosed, well, maybe it was psychological. And so, that's when my fiance tried to get me out of camp.

SS: How did your siblings manage under those conditions?

EW: Well, my older sister, the English major, taught school there. My younger brother, I guess he had fun playing.

SS: It seems to me that camp was sort of a real equalizer, lawyers, doctors, laborers, everyone was sort of in the same boat. Is that what it was like?

EW: I think so. In fact, this other family that lived in Burlington, he, I can't remember ever seeing him do any cooking at home, you know, his wife did it all. But when he went to camp he took on the job as cook. Oh wow. [Laughs] But the food was terrible. You can't...

SS: How did you manage to keep your spirits up? Who in the family was the real optimist?

EW: I don't think anybody was. We didn't have anything like that. Maybe my younger brother. But all I wanted to do was to get out. I didn't know how this was happening to us, why it was. We hadn't done anything, we were born here. How they could do that to us, you know.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

SS: What was the worst part of it? Was it the living conditions, the physical constraints, the barriers?

EW: Well, you had guards up in the towers, and guns pointing in to us. And walking through the mud when it rained, and it was, and going to the latrines and showering, doing laundry in the main laundry place. We didn't have any water in the barracks and so any time you wanted water or whatever, you had to go to the latrine.

SS: Was it the kind of conditions where it was sort of every person for himself or herself?

EW: Yes, right, right.

SS: What was that like?

EW: Well, with what you were able to take to camp, if you were lucky and you took the right things, well, you were well off. But if you didn't... I know we could order through the catalog, like "Monkey Wards" or Sears catalog, people did that.

SS: Were there certain things at camp that made life bearable?

EW: Well, being with my family, I guess... I think the people were self-sufficient, everything we had, we had to do for ourselves. And people tried to make life in the camp bearable by having parties and dances and things like that. But I didn't do much of that because I was engaged and I thought, well, I shouldn't be dating and I shouldn't be, you know. When I look back on it now, that's kind of dumb.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

SS: Is it hard to talk about camp now? Is it hard to remember about it?

EW: Well, I know that I hated it, and I was bitter. I think that most of the people were. I think everyone felt the same -- because we were loyal Americans and my fiance was in the army, my brother was in the army, and my husband's brother... you know, how can you justify that, taking them into the service, and then having us put in camps.

SS: Did your parents ever say, "Maybe we made a mistake coming to this country"?

EW: No, never, never. I think the word was, "It can't be helped." And we go, and obey, and gaman, "You put up with it."

SS: Was that easy to accept as a young woman, listening to your elders say that?

EW: No, no. But what could we have done? There was nothing we could have done. Some people had the foresight maybe, or were financially able to move inland to the Midwest, because... but we weren't able to.

SS: How did you manage to make life bearable for you? Was it just thinking of your fiance and thinking, someday...

EW: Yes, someday. Someday we'll get through this and... and then I had other friends who were in the same position, too. And we were able to, if my friend, she received her letter from her fiance then we would tell each other, and we'd say, "Oh boy, maybe it'll happen, that we can get out." And she was the first one to be able to leave camp, and I was the second one.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

SS: Have you told your children or grandchildren about this experience, or is it something that's kind of private?

EW: Well, we don't like to tell them if they don't want -- if they want to know, they'll ask. But I don't want to dwell on it, you know. Because it's something that you... I think you try to forget as much as you can.

SS: Do you have many friends from those days at camp? It seems to me that you probably met Japanese Americans from all over.

EW: We did.

SS: Do you still keep in touch with some of them?

EW: No, not from the camp itself. But from after we were able to leave camp and move to Columbus, Ohio, where we were married, and then to Minneapolis, and that's where we met -- and have kept up our friendships.

SS: It sounds almost like once you left camp you closed that door.

EW: Yes, I think so. That's a chapter that I don't want to happen ever, ever again, to any group of people. It's wrong.


SS: Edith, is it important that your grandchildren know what you went through at camp?

EW: I think so. I think so, because there is very little of it in textbooks at school. I think they would have a greater appreciation of grandparents, that we're just not old fogies, that we had a life. And it wasn't always easy.

SS: Have any of the kids, the grandkids, ever asked about camp?

EW: Oh yes, uh-huh. In fact, each one as they come along into high school or whatever their later, junior high, then they have to write a report, and they choose that topic. And so, we kind of put together a packet to give them, and they can write their report. They each receive an A-plus or something on the paper because oftentimes, the teacher, it's new to them, too.

SS: For you, it's got to be gratifying that the kids are learning, and that they are learning about their grandparents.

EW: Oh yes. That we're not just that aged people or old fogies and that we never had a life, and that we didn't have fun, and we didn't experience...

SS: Have the kids ever said, "Gee, Grandma, I never realized that..." I mean, what kind of things would the kids tell you?

EW: Well, I think that's what they would say, that, "I never realized that you had hard times in your life. And that, look at you now, you lived through it." And they show us a lot of love, and respect.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

SS: How was it that you got out of camp? You were number two out of camp, tell me a little bit about how that came to be.

EW: When I became ill in camp they thought perhaps that I should leave because it was too hard for me. And so when my fiance heard about that, then he got the wheels rolling on his end of it and got the chaplain to write a letter and other people in his group, officers and whatever, and they were able to appeal. And the War Relocation Authority, WRA, then authorized a move for me.

SS: In all, how much time did you spend at camp? How old were you?

EW: Well, June, July, August. Maybe about two and a half months. Not very long, but long enough for me.

SS: What was your family's reaction when you got word that you were leaving? For them they were, they were losing a daughter.

EW: That's right, but you know, they were happy for me. And as I think about it now, they never showed that they didn't want me to go, they were happy for me.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

SS: Tell me about what it was like, your trip east.

EW: Oh, I don't know that I could do that again if you paid me a million dollars, you know, to go on that bus. They picked me up at the gate and I got on the old rickety bus to go to -- gee, where was it -- to board the train, maybe... I can't even remember now where that was. I was all alone, not knowing if I would ever see my family again. And yeah, that was pretty bad. And I got on the train and sat on my suitcase. The trains were packed because they had troops traveling. But no one ever gave me a bad time. They were, treated me well and I, just as though I was another passenger. And I didn't get any flak or anything. We were sitting in the aisles and about four or five people to the seat. I think they dragged out every car that they had in the yards, because they had velveteen seats, you know, that you see in the old movies, and old potbellied stoves. And, but I was happy to be on my way.

SS: What was it like when you eventually got to Ohio?

EW: Well, then my fiance met me and we were able to find housing, in a home, and had a room there. Then we were married in a chaplain's office. And that wasn't very fun either, because they had those swinging doors, and they went in and out... it was an office, and the phones ringing and everything. But he had two of his friends be witnesses, so we were married.

SS: A lot of little girls want big weddings, fancy wedding dresses and stuff. This wasn't one of those. Was that okay with you at the time?

EW: It was fine.

SS: How old were you at the time?

EW: Twenty-one. The legal age to be married in Ohio.

SS: How long did you live in Ohio? And what was life like as a young newlywed?

EW: Oh, well, he was able to come home every night and I couldn't do any... well, I think I did a little cooking there in the apartment. We went out with, to downtown High Street in Ohio -- a few blocks. We got along very well, and then he was, had to transfer to Minneapolis in November, I believe, so we were together only... let's see, September, October, November... two and one-half months before he got transferred. And then I followed him when he was able to find a place for me.

SS: Was Minneapolis home? Did that become home?

EW: Yes. We, I lived in a beautiful home on Lake of the Isles, and I worked, did housework there for a while until he found an apartment that we moved to. And I worked in the Donaldson's department store. Then we moved up and -- well, no, I think we, then my sister was able to come out. And we called and they were allowed to leave camp if they had a sponsor on the outside. And so she came out and, when Harvey was shipped overseas. Then she and I shared an apartment.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

SS: What was life like then during the war, I mean, in terms of how much money did you make? And was it enough to make ends meet?

EW: Well, when we were first married, I think my husband was, got an allotment of 21 dollars a month. So we lived on that for a few months until I could get a job.

SS: What could that buy? Could you buy enough food?

EW: Well, for our first Christmas dinner we had a bag full of Castle, White Castle hamburgers. They were a nickel a hamburger, and I think we bought about twenty of them. But you know, when you're in love and you're first married, anything is good, you know, we were together.

SS: Is that one of your fondest Christmas memories?

EW: I think so. When I talk about White Castle hamburgers, they say, "Oh yeah, I remember those." They were great.

SS: Were times tough then?

EW: Well, I guess they were. But we didn't... there were other people in the same boat, other couples away from their families and they were girls married to GIs, and all taking jobs that were available to them. And we would get together and we would try to make our own good times.

SS: What did your co-workers, neighbors think of you and Harvey as Japanese Americans?

EW: Minneapolis was a great place and they were very, very good to us. And we didn't run across any prejudice, you know, openly like that. Because they were aware of what was happening. There was the Military Intelligence School at Camp Savage, near Minneapolis and they knew about that school, and they welcomed us there. And my sister and I joined the USO, and then we belonged to the women's professional group and we could go to the "Y" and meet with them and had our good times with them.

SS: Did you eventually start a family in Minneapolis?

EW: Well, my husband was overseas for about three and half years, so, when he returned, then our daughter was born a year, year and a half later, something like that.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

SS: What was it like when he was overseas? Here you are, you're a young bride in a strange city, far from most of the family.

EW: Well, as I said, there were a few of us in the same boat, you know. And we would keep in contact. Whenever anybody received a letter or something we'd call each other and tell each other what they were doing and we were able to help each other emotionally. Every time somebody would say -- oh, at that time they had the point system, as time went on they could return and if they earned enough points then they could come home.

SS: These are the guys overseas?

EW: The GIs, uh-huh. Yeah. And so we would kinda say, "Well, they've earned so many points, and they're close to that and they can, they'll be coming home." And I had a close friend, especially, and we would say, "Well, they said, well, maybe they'll be able to come home." "Oh, if he can come home, maybe ours can come home." And that's how we kept our morale up.

SS: Did you worry about him a lot when he was overseas? I mean, this was wartime.

EW: Well, yes. I did. But then there was one time that I got really angry because I wasn't hearing from him. And there was quite a gap and I thought -- my imagination went wild, you know. And I even contacted the Red Cross to see if they could find out where he was and if he was okay. And I found out later that he was in Australia and having a good time -- [laughs] -- from the pictures. But, he said he was too busy, you know. But anyway...

SS: Did you write regularly?

EW: Oh I did. Every day.

SS: What would you tell him?

EW: Oh, well, just what I was doing every day, "Why aren't you writing?" But... we were able to get through that.

SS: How often would he able to come home?

EW: Well, when he was discharged, you mean?

SS: No, during his time overseas, or was he gone the full time?

EW: Oh, he was gone the full time.

SS: Were you ever thinking, "What will it be like when he comes home? Will I know this stranger?"

EW: I know, you wonder, but it wasn't like that. [Laughs]

SS: When did he eventually come home?

EW: Well, let's see, it's kind of hard to remember. We've been married for fifty-four years, you know, it's kind of hard to make your mind go back that far.

SS: Can you remember what it was like when you set eyes on him when he came home? Where was it? Was it at a train station?

EW: Gee, I don't remember. Isn't that terrible? I remember that when he, when we moved back to Seattle he was recalled to Korea, and he was gone thirteen months then. And we had two children by then, and he came home Easter Sunday morning, and it was snowing here. I didn't know he was going to come home, and here he came in a cab. Oh, that was wonderful.

SS: Kids must have been ecstatic.

EW: They were. Except that, our son was a baby when he left. He was just born in November, and then Harv got the recall notice. And then he was able to get an extension. He didn't have to report for ninety days, so he had that much time. So when Dick, the baby was about three months -- how, would he have been? November, December, January, oh, about two months -- when he had to leave. So that he didn't know him when he came back. And that was hard, hard for my husband.

SS: It must have been hard for your daughter, too, who was old enough to remember Dad.

EW: Oh yeah, yeah.

SS: What was it like being, I guess the term is now, a single parent? What was it like when he was overseas and you had two kids?

EW: Oh, my older brother lived with my parents nearby and they were a great support for me, emotionally, taking care of my needs. And I had wonderful neighbors who helped me through that time, and another neighbor who would baby-sit for me.

SS: Let me skip back a little bit, to World War II. He's overseas for three and a half years. Were you sort of hoping that the war would end, would that bring him home?

EW: Oh yes, we all were. And we, we just kept an ear to the news, and reading the papers and everything, hoping and praying for a quick end to the war.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

SS: When did you finally get word that the war had ended? Did he come home first or did the war end?

EW: No, the war ended.

SS: The war ended. Do you remember where you were when you got that word?

EW: Gee, I don't remember. I really don't remember. But I know that we were so thankful and did a lot of crying and everything on each other.

SS: Was it the kind of thing that -- was it like a weight being lifted, or...?

EW: Oh yes. We, well now, well, now we can really look forward to their coming home, that maybe this is the end of it.

SS: In the meantime, your parents and some siblings were still at camp?

EW: No, they were allowed -- maybe the next year after I had left -- to leave camp. And they went to Emmett, Idaho. And my parents worked in the hospital laundry there and so my younger brother graduated from high school there.

SS: Were they able to rebuild after the war?

EW: Rebuild?

SS: Their lives, their businesses, their homes?

EW: No, no. By that time they were much older, and they came back to Seattle, and my brother in the meantime, who had been in the service, was discharged, and he came back and established a home for them. And he went to his law practice. And they lived with him. And then we came back to Seattle and found a place.

SS: Have any of you ever gone back to the old family property in Burlington?

EW: Oh yes, uh-huh, we've gone back. Of course, it's, the house is gone and everything, but we still have friends there that I went to school with. And we like to go back and look. They say you can't go back home again, but then it's still old Main Street, it's the same, and the schools where we went. We like to go back.

SS: Do you ever wonder what life might have been like had you not been uprooted and gone to camp?

EW: Oh yes.

SS: Where do you think you would have been?

EW: I don't know. I've gone back to several class reunions, and a lot of them stayed there and farmed or whatever. And I thought, "Gee, I don't know what we would have done."

SS: It seems to me that you led a very adventurous life.

EW: More than I wanted. Or more than what I wanted, you know, the kind of life I would have wanted.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

SS: The war years and the years after, were they, were they very difficult also?

EW: Well, when we... you mean when we came back to Seattle?

SS: Uh-huh.

EW: There was a lot of discrimination, in housing, jobs.

SS: Had you expected that?

EW: I don't think I did. Not when, when our husbands, the men in our family had been in the service and had fought the war to show their loyalty. There was still discrimination, people had not gotten rid of it.

SS: How would you deal with that?

EW: It was pretty hard to try to find a house and when we went to the realtor, they would show us houses that were terrible dumps, you know, that you wouldn't be caught dead in. And I remember sitting in the car refusing to get out, to even look, because I said, "No." And I remember there was one realtor that, the salespeople left the office and didn't want to deal with us, except one man who said, "I will deal with you." But eventually the house that we did find, we did on our own by driving around. Found one that the man was working on and went out to talk with him. It was unfinished, but he said, yes, he would sell to us.

SS: What did a house cost in those days?

EW: Not much, $35,000, something like that, something that we could handle. But it was really refreshing that the builder and the owner would say, "No problem."

SS: You must have been very grateful to meet people like that.

EW: We were, uh-huh, and to find it on our own.

SS: How did you go about explaining this to your kids? I would think that your children probably picked up on this, children are very perceptive. How were you able to help them keep their self-respect when they hear things like this going on?

EW: Oh, I don't think it touches them that much in that way. Because they have already established themselves, you know, in their schools and their friends and so forth. So that I don't think that they have run into any difficulty.

SS: But when they were little and this was going on, did the kids understand what was going on at the time?

EW: Oh no, no.

SS: How were you able to keep your self-respect?

EW: I said to myself, my husband's in the service, he's overseas fighting a war. And he's giving his life for you, you know. And so that I felt proud, that I didn't have to kowtow to anybody.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

SS: Your family, tell me a little bit about the kids.

EW: They're wonderful, they're beautiful. We're just proud of them. We're thankful that we have such, of our children, our own children are so, such good parents, and their children, they're bringing them up right.

SS: Do you think your experiences -- the hardship that you endured as a child, the months at camp, being a single parent -- do you think that made you a better person or a better parent perhaps?

EW: Probably. Probably. We had to be tough, and we went through a lot. I can appreciate freedom. I don't think unless you have been under, lived under those conditions, you don't have an appreciation of freedom; being able to walk down the street, drive anywhere you want, go into a restaurant to eat, all of those things. So we shouldn't take our freedom lightly.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

SS: Edith, who were some of the friends in Minneapolis who sort of helped you get through the war while Harvey was overseas?

EW: Oh, let's see... well, my personal friends? Well, there was Grace Ohama. In fact, her husband and my husband went overseas together. They were in the same group. We're still good friends and our children, we had babies about the same time and they were christened together. And so we're still very close. Her husband passed away a few years ago, but she, we keep in touch with her.

SS: What sort of things would you do together as friends, to sort of pass the time, since you couldn't go out on dates, you were married women waiting for your husbands?

EW: Well, we would have picnics and go out for dinner and things like that.

SS: How much did dinner, or how much did a movie cost back then?

EW: Not much -- that we could afford to go to. I remember Minneapolis had a great -- in fact it's still there -- spaghetti place. In fact, we had a national reunion there a few years ago. And they opened up their restaurant to us, special to the military intelligence servicemen and all the people that went back to that convention, and they treated us very well -- gave us a spaghetti dinner and brought out the wine and whatever. I guess they knew that we had, during the wartime that we had gone there quite often.

SS: How did you support yourself during the war? Was he sending his checks to you? His checks came to you?

EW: Yes, but I worked at Donaldson's department store, and then I worked at the University of Minnesota bookstore.

SS: Was it hard work?

EW: No. I enjoyed it.

SS: What sort of stuff did you do there?

EW: Oh, I was a secretary. I did typing and all of that. And then it was in the engineering bookstore and when the beginning of the semester or whatever, then they'd come in and buy books and supplies, then we were, needed go out and wait on them and do the cashiering and so forth. So it was fun.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

SS: Did you know at that time that you would eventually want to move back to the Seattle area?

EW: No, no. We didn't look that far ahead. I think by that time we had learned that you can't -- because of what had happened to us, going to camp and so forth -- I think you just learned that you don't plan ahead that far.

SS: Did you sort of carry that philosophy then through for the rest of your...

EW: Probably, probably. We didn't know what was going to happen to us. I think maybe, living in Minneapolis, and we enjoyed the people and so forth, but the climate was pretty bad. The summers, and the humidity, and the mosquitoes, and the cold winters, they were pretty hard.

SS: But it sounds like you were still a little homesick for this area, too?

EW: Oh yes.

SS: And you went to a University of Washington football game. What was that like over there?

EW: I don't remember that. He must have gone with somebody else. [Laughs]

SS: When did you eventually decide to move back to Seattle? Was it your decision, his decision?

EW: No, mutual. We didn't, no one makes a decision alone. We talk about it and we either -- if we don't agree, then we don't do it. But it wasn't hard to not agree because my parents were out here and his parents were in California. And when I think about it now, he did sacrifice somewhat to come back up here rather than to go to California.

SS: When you eventually moved back here, he eventually went to work for Boeing. What did you do?

EW: I had two children, and then we had a third and a fourth. I was a stay-at-home mom.

SS: That's hard work.

EW: It's hard, yes. But I was active in school, PTA and church and things... I had enough to do. Until the last one was in school, then I -- oh, and then I, we took care of our granddaughter, our first granddaughter for about two years. I took care of her so her mother could work. Then I decided, "Well, I've had enough." So they, she was able to get another person to take care of our granddaughter, who was a wonderful woman, so I didn't have any regrets that I was not taking, doing the best thing for her.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

SS: Were you able to eventually do something for yourself, after working all these years, working so hard to raise a family? What did you do once the kids were out of the house?

EW: Oh, yay. [Laughs] I got a job with the Seattle School District and I worked, started out part-time and worked up to six hours, than a full-time job.

SS: What did you do for the district?

EW: I worked at Asa Mercer Junior High at that time, and I was there for twenty years.

SS: You must enjoy being around kids.

EW: I do, yeah. You know, each day is different, each hour is different, minute, when you're with kids. And I've always said that teachers and people who work with junior high kids deserve combat pay, because it's, it's hard.

SS: Do you ever look at these kids, or did you ever look at these kids over the course of your twenty years there, and say, "If they had gone through what I went through, they wouldn't be this unruly, they'd be more mature." Did you ever think that?

EW: No. I don't think I did. No.

SS: Did they ever ask you about this?

EW: They did, they did. Because at that time, they knew a little of what we had gone through. And their books didn't say much about it, it touched upon it. And then by that time, then there were other people who were coming into the schools and talking to the social studies classes.

SS: How do you feel when these kids ask you about this? Is it sort of an intrusion of privacy? It is an uncomfortable memory?

EW: No, no, not at all. I'm thankful and I'm glad that they want to know. That they are thinking about something that's more serious, other than these little teenage things, you know. No, I think it's gratifying.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

SS: Are you retired now? Do you still work?

EW: I work here. [Laughs] No, we're retired. My husband was semi-retired a few years before I did. And he kept after me, "When are you going to retire? When are you going to retire?" I thought, "Well, as long as I enjoy what I'm doing, I'm going to keep working. But then finally I said, "Okay -- I'll retire." And so, I haven't regretted it.

SS: It sounds as if you inherited that hard work ethic from your parents.

EW: I think so, yeah I did. And, yeah... but we have a wonderful family. Our children are great.

SS: Your parents must have been very proud of you, for being so strong and to raise a family by yourself while he was overseas?

EW: Well they helped, they helped me. So, you don't do things alone. I'm not that, I'm not as independent as I might, you might think I am, because I do rely on support. And I get it.

SS: Sounds as if family is very important in your life, I mean, that's a big priority.

EW: Yes.

SS: Do you think it was your experience, because of the war, because of camp that you sort of value family ties and support?

EW: Maybe, maybe so. When you ask me that I have to think, but I think that you are probably right there.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

SS: Looking back on the years now, before the war, during war and even after the war, do you have any regrets? Do you ever think, "I wish I could have done this," or, "I wish could have done that," or I wish I could have gone to...

EW: Well, if the war hadn't interrupted, you know, you wonder what kind of life you would have had. But maybe that experience toughened us. I don't know. But that gave us a deeper appreciation of what we have. And to vote -- especially tomorrow. I can't handle those people saying, "I don't vote," and, "It's not going to matter." And it does matter. I take my citizenship seriously.

SS: Did you ever feel at any point a feeling of betrayal, though? That you had done your part, that Harvey had done his part, but that the government...

EW: Well, when we hear now about things happening, that our President Roosevelt, at that time, knew about Pearl Harbor... and he knew ahead of time that this was going to happen, but he did nothing to stop that. He was told and he chose to put that aside.

SS: Are there any decisions you've made over the years, or things that you did that were influenced from your wartime experience?

EW: Things that I'm doing now?

SS: Things that you've done over the years, how you've viewed life, things that might have been influenced by the war?

EW: Well, I think that you can't put your faith in people. I have a faith in God. And it's unwavering. And unless you have a deeper faith that things are going to work out, I don't see how you can get through life on your own -- you can't. You have to have something to hold on to, and that's what I have, is my faith, because people let you down a lot of times.

SS: What lessons would you like to leave behind for your grandchildren or great-grandchildren?

EW: Well, my parents instilled in us the importance of education, and to work hard, and to be honest and to make an honest living. And I think that's what I'd like to pass on to them, that nothing comes free and easy. You need to put yourself into whatever you are doing. Be honest, you have no regrets then. And my father always said, "Don't bring shame on the family." And that's what I'd like to leave.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 30>

SS: Are you active in the local Japanese American community?

EW: Not that much, we belong to the White River JACL, because it's a smaller chapter and we know all the people in it, and enjoy their company. And, let's see, I'm active in the church. I don't know, we do quite a bit, in fact, we have done more traveling, and we've gone out on trips for missionary construction. And I was able to go to Fukuoka last year, and I went to Belgium the year before to help build. And my husband's been out on two more trips that I haven't gone on. But I think you have to do things like that to keep (feeling self-worth), you can't let yourself dig a hole and lie in it. You have to get out and do things.

SS: These trips are affiliated with your church?

EW: Yes. Uh-huh.

SS: Sounds like you give a lot back to the community.

EW: Well, I hope so. They've given us, and we need to give back, you can't live just for yourself. You need to give and help as much as you can.

SS: Is there anything else?

EW: I don't think so. I thank you for this time with me. I don't think my story is exciting or anything like that. But I do, I wish that it had been different, that we wouldn't have had those years taken away from us, that maybe things would have been different. I don't know. But it was a hard thing to go through. And I hope and pray that it won't happen again to any race or ethnic group of people. And I just get really angry when I read about people being harassed, and in my own little way, I try to say, "That's not right."

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.