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-01-0032

<Begin Segment 32>

AI: Because in, you had gotten there in September of '42, then you had a Christmas there, actually.

KK: Yes. Yes. It was a very memorable Christmas. I remem-, we had a singing group, I recall, and we gave a concert, a Christmas concert. And my sister, Marjorie, my younger sister, Marjorie, had a very good voice. In fact, she had taken voice training, and she sang "O Holy Night," I remember. And that song still has so much meaning. And I can just picture when, that evening, when it was a very cold and windy evening, and I could see people coming in with their heavy pea coats and clothing, and the songs that we sang. And I also remember on Christmas Eve when we, when they had individual Christmas Eve dances at the mess hall. And the people in our block had a, had a dance Christmas Eve, and it hadn't snowed. It was still, it felt like it was going to snow, but it hadn't snowed. And "White Christmas" was popular that year, and when we got... the dance was over around eleven o'clock, and we went outside and here it was, the snow was beginning to fall. And those are the kinds of memories that you have. And so "White Christmas" means a lot, "O Holy Night" means a lot, and some of the songs that were popular in those days still has a great deal of meaning. And, the kind of, the outpouring of gifts from the outside through the churches for the residents of the camp, especially for children. And there are a couple of things I recall that, I had friends in Seattle who sent me her skis, saying, "We don't, we have gas rationing, and I can't go skiing." So she sent me skis. We didn't have much snow there, but... and she sent me a box of holly knowing that I would not have holly. And these are the kinds of things that you remember. And I don't know whether I even thanked them properly.

I remember reading a letter from a little girl who had written to, to I think the minister of the church saying, "In our church" -- from New Mexico, saying, "we wanted to send something for the children in camp, but we don't have very much money and the only thing I could do was to have some chickens." And so her father had caught some chickens and sold them or did something. And so she wanted to send something to the children. And those are the kinds of outpouring that came from all over the... and here, again, where you felt that nobody cared. The outpouring assured us that there was, there was a lot of concern and caring throughout the nation. And I think these are the little things that sustain you.

I recall that the same -- I was advisor to a high school girls' group called Hijinks, and we went out caroling. And we went to the, to the guard towers where people were, the soldiers were stationed to guard us. And I can see the, I can just picture how cold it was and the frost glistening on the barbed wire and our singing songs. And I could -- we thought we were being smart. [Laughs] But, and this poor voice that was almost choking with tears said, "Well, thank you." And how lonely he must have been up there. Those are the kinds of memories you have about Christmas.

<End Segment 32> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.