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-01-0039

<Begin Segment 39>

AI: Well, so you had said that you and Tak moved to Carlisle because he was transferred and --

KK: Yes.

AI: And what was that like when you got there?

KK: Well, it was so funny, when I got out of the train in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, I saw a line of buggies and men with beards and black hats, and I thought, "I knew there was gas rationing, but I didn't realize it was that severe." And then I learned that they were Amish people and, and that was, you hear there were these people that were all, they had, they were different from the other people, just like we were supposed to be. But that was my first impression.

The other impression, I lived in Carlisle. We found a place. And Molly Pitcher, who supplied, she fought with the (men) in the Revolutionary War, she supplied water. I remember it was Molly Pitcher who did that. And, and she was from Carlisle. They were having a ceremony to (her), the statue of Molly Pitcher (was) at their grave, a public (gravesite). And they were bronzing her. They had bronzed her and they were having a ceremony to celebrate the re-bronzing of Molly Pitcher. And this woman, who was a missionary from Japan, who, I don't know how I got to know her, but she befriended me. She said, "I want you to come as an honored guest and sit at the front row when we have this ceremony." Here I was sitting as an honored guest at this old cemetery out of the 1700s, the late 1700s. And I thought there was such an irony in this. [Laughs] That would never happen in Yakima, Washington or in Wapato.

GN: Did you sense a difference between the Midwest and East Coast --

KK: Yes.

GN: -- reception of Japanese Americans versus the West Coast?

KK: Oh, yes. I think so. I don't think, there may have been people who questioned it, but they, they, the general atmosphere was quite a bit different. And of course, you didn't see everybody, but the general-, the thing, the other interesting thing that happened in Louisville was the need for workers in the defense factories. And I thought, well, Louisville had a lot of defense factories, and I would go to the, the wartime -- whatever, the (federal) defense (employment project was called), and tell them about all these people in camp that need to (find jobs), that they probably could hire. And I got this blank look. And they said, "Thank you for this information." And I think nothing came out of it, but I, I don't know how, I don't think the man really understood or, and he was, probably (thought) was, a very strange Japanese woman coming in and telling me that there were a lot of people from camps that could help with the wartime defense action. And so, these are the little idiosyncrasies that happened while, when you leave camp and, lots of experiences.

<End Segment 39> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.