Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Robert Coombs Interview
Narrator: Robert Coombs Andrews
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: SeaTac, Washington
Date: August 2, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-crobert-01-0025

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AI: Well then, moving on to 1944 then, as you had mentioned earlier, more and more families were able to relocate outside of Minidoka. And then the population of the school was reducing. And so, you were looking at possibly moving on, that -- you weren't actually asked to resign, but you were looking at leaving the camp. So, could you tell me about that time, as you were preparing to leave and then finally leaving?

RC: Well, some of the teachers had left -- single teachers. And I realized that the population of the school was going down (...) with relocation. And one of the teachers had left to be married, up in the Palouse country, and -- Gladys Gilbertson was her name. And she had written to me. And I had always wanted a collie dog. And they had raised, were raising a batch of collie puppies. And she wanted (...) to know when I was going to leave. And I indicated that I was going to probably leave towards the end of October. And I wanted to be home in November. It was election time and I wanted to be home to vote. So I put in my resignation and it was accepted. And took the bus up to where she lived up on the farm, outside of, I call it the Palouse country. And I spent two wonderful weeks with them, and getting acquainted with my collie puppy. They built a crate for him. And they took me to, oh, where is, where is Washington State? Pullman, they took me to Pullman and put me and my dog on the train. [Laughs] He in the baggage car and me in a passenger car. I changed in Seattle and took the train down to Davis and was met by my oldest brother. My pup and I arrived home, much to the joy of my mother. And (...) that the people in my church were waiting for me to come home and talk about where I had been. They were interested because my mother had talked with the women's association about my experiences, and her visit. And then I, I was going to give up teaching.

AI: Why was that?

RC: Well, what could have been better, what I was doing? Was my, somehow, thought process. And I, I went to work in San Francisco. And then I decided I wanted to go back home to be with my family. And my twin was still working at McClellan Air Force Base. I went out and took a test and they put me to work right away in the payroll office. And I worked until Mr. Burkhard called me. He says, "Your name is going to the board of education tonight. You've got a job at Sutter Junior High. And I said, "Well, I wasn't going back to teaching." "Well," he says, "you are." So I did. And it was, it was a wonderful experience. In three years I was counseling, I guess, four-fifths of the time. And then it was an old, old school that had been built in the late 1890s and it (...)... we had been told that they were going to have to build a new one. So I ended up in the new building and worked until '78, when I retired, but I was full-time counselor then.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 2003 Densho. All Rights Reserved.