Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Kara Kondo Interview
Narrator: Kara Kondo
Interviewers: Alice Ito (primary), Gail Nomura (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 7 & 8, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-kkara-01-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

GN: Was there, like, obviously, you went to an integrated school.

KK: Yes.

GN: Did you, did you have outside school contact with your non-Japanese American student friends?

KK: Not that much. I think that our neighbors, by and large, were Caucasian because we were scattered and so probably had more contact with our neighbors. And I had good relations with my, my schoolmates, but I don't think socially we participated, very much interaction. As teenagers, though, we had a lot of dances, among the Japanese. And although some of the parents frowned on it, I can remember putting, getting flatbed trucks together and having the phonograph and dancing at night in the moonlight. And those are kind of unique things that happened and were good memories. In those days you didn't have to worry about drinking. You didn't have to drink. Some might have smoked, but I don't recall anybody. And no drugs. And why the parents were so -- [laughs] -- objected so much, I know that the parents who were broad-minded, who allowed their kids to dance, and others who frowned upon it. I think there was some tension among the parents, but as far as the young people were concerned, it was just sort of a fun activity.

AI: How did your parents feel about the dances?

KK: Oh, they were very open-minded.

GN: So your, the Matsushita farm hosted these dances?

KK: No, because we were, for one thing, we didn't have any brothers. And I don't remember having great big trucks, either. So, we always had it at places that had big trucks and maybe electricity so that they could play the phonographs and lighting sometimes. Hook up some lights. But they were sort of unique activities that were just sort of identified, I don't know whether other groups around the Northwest -- Japanese groups around the Northwest -- ever did that. They were fun.

GN: What kind of songs did you...

KK: Well, you'll just have to go back to...

GN: Big band?

KK: You know, I could remember the ones that were more identified with evacuation days going back to the "White Christmas" at the first Christmas in camp. But I'm sure if I heard them I might know what they were.

GN: What did you wear?

KK: Hmm?

GN: What did you wear for the dances?

KK: We didn't wear pants. [Laughs] I'm sure we wore skirts. I can't, and then, of course, we graduated from, from on top of the flatbed truck dancing to having dances within, at the Association Hall. They permitted that occasionally. And then they went to public dance halls. We went to the Donald Dance Hall a lot after we were a little older. And, live band, and not everybody would go, but we would go to those, and there you intermingled with the Caucasians, but you had your own group.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.