Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Seichi Hayashida Interview
Narrator: Seichi Hayashida
Interviewers: Alice Ito (primary), Sheri Nakashima (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: August 21, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-hseichi-01-0022

<Begin Segment 22>

AI: Well, you told us quite a bit about the background, and leading up to the Pinedale assembly center, and describing what life was like in the center and some of your feelings about it. Now I'd like to ask you to go back to that time when you found out you would be leaving Pinedale. What were you told? How did you prepare for leaving Pinedale?

SH: They said that you would be sent to Camp Minidoka on a certain day.

AI: Oh, excuse me, was that Minidoka, or Tule Lake?

SH: Tule... yeah, I'm talking, you're...

AI: When you left Pinedale?

SH: Oh, when I left Pinedale. Pinedale... oh, from Pinedale was to Tule Lake, I almost skipped that. We knew that Tule Lake was in northern California. So we knew that it was going to be, climate was going to be different. But Tule Lake got hot in the summertime, even, as north, as far north as it was. It's right close, it's only 15 miles inside the California border from Oregon. The winters were severe. And the summer was hot, compared for, for people from the Northwest it was quite a contrast in the climate.

AI: What was the trip like from Pinedale to Tule Lake, do you remember that?

SH: You know, I don't really remember so much about the trip, but it was by train.

AI: Another train.

SH: Another train, yes. But I don't remember too much about that, how long it took or...

AI: Do you remember arriving in Tule Lake? What that was like?

SH: Yes, we were told to go to certain apartments. Course, they just drove their army trucks and went over there. I had, I had, I hadn't acquired too much in Pinedale because we were there only a couple of months. But by the time we were ready to leave Tule Lake, I had quite a bit.

AI: So, when you left Pinedale, you only had a few things...

SH: Yeah, and...

AI: You got on the train, went, arrived at Tule. When was that? Was that in summer of '42?

SH: Let's see, have to stop and think. Yes, it was in '42. It was towards fall of '42 that we moved to Tule Lake. And I spent the winter there in Tule Lake. Cold country... you say California, you think all of California isn't that cold, but it was cold in the wintertime. It was really cold.

AI: What were --

SH: Much colder than we were used to in Bellevue in the wintertime. That farther south, you go all the way across Oregon south, and get into California, but the winter was colder there.

SN: How cold was it?

SH: Below zero.

SN: Can you describe what a typical winter day looked like?

SH: Oh, cold, bleak, windy, wind used to blow a lot... sandstorms. They didn't have lawns, they didn't have green grass, it was fine sand. It would blow. It wasn't the... you think of sand of being light colored. The sand there was darker colored. Got into everything. It would come in through the cracks. Forever dusting and shaking stuff, clothing out, because of the dust. I don't know how people live in that country. They were populated there. It hasn't changed much, from the time I recall it. 'Cause I, oh recent as, it's been five or six years ago, went down to California. And on the way home, I said -- I think I told my wife -- I said, "Let's go back through." And I can, it's an unusual... it's a long ways to go. But we were in Reno, when we could have gone straight from Reno to home, to Idaho. Had to cut, from Reno had to go towards California, got into California, Reno's right on the California border close to it. Then drove north through eastern California, and went into Oregon and came back. But I drove right by the old... you could recognize, I could recognize right, 'cause there's a mountain there, "Abalone Mountain," they call that. So you could see that, so you knew it was there. But there's no sign of anything. There's no sign saying that this is the site of the former... I thought they were going to do that, and maybe they have since then. But you look off to the left, highway, I remember the highway, and that's where it was because of the mountain being there. That's the only reason you could tell where it was.

SN: So you described the sand, and what the color it was and how dry it was. Was that, and how hot it was. Like, what was the temperature in the summertime?

SH: At Tule Lake?

SN: Uh-huh.

SH: Tule Lake, the temperature got up to a hundred.

SN: So, you're talking about extremes of a hundred degrees when it's sunny down to below zero...

SH: Below zero.

SN: the wintertime. Did it snow?

SH: Yes, it snowed. Yeah, it snowed. And, it snowed in Minidoka. Minidoka snowed more than it does here, I think.

AI: Before we move on to Minidoka, would you describe what the conditions were like at the Tule Lake Camp? What were the living quarters like that you had?

SH: They were just like the camps in Pinedale, and the future camps in Minidoka. They were just patterned after the army barracks.

AI: And, did you have --

SH: Wooden.

AI: -- and you also had cots, just in one --

SH: Yes, we had cots. No running water, cots.

AI: In Tule Lake, were you there also with your mother and your two sisters? You stayed together?

SH: Yes. But in Tule Lake, before we left, I got married in Tule Lake.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.