Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Helen Amerman Manning Interview
Narrator: Helen Amerman Manning
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: SeaTac, Washington
Date: August 2, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-mhelen-01-0012

<Begin Segment 12>

AI: Well, now, during this time, in 1943, did you have much contact with people outside of Minidoka, outside of the project? In Twin Falls, for example? Did you, I was wondering if you had gone into town much, or...

HM: Oh, yeah, we went into town. We would go in on the bus Saturday afternoon, sometimes we would stay overnight in the hotel and come back Sunday afternoon. That was mainly so that we could have a good dinner. There was a restaurant in town where the main choices were chicken, fried chicken, and frog legs. And then there were the evening, Saturday night movies, which always included a Western, and then you took your chances on what would be the second movie. And we could do our shopping and have our hair done in the beauty shop and that sort of thing. And there were a number of the teachers who lived in town, in fact, I would guess that most of the staff lived in town. There were two men's dormitories and two women's. The women's dormitories, I think there was only one non-teacher who stayed there, so there were approximately nineteen teachers and one secretary. The men's dormitory also at first included Mr. Light and his wife, and his four boys slept in a -- what did they call it? -- a Silver Stream trailer that was parked beside the barracks. And there were other people from other departments in the men's dormitories. And mainly we'd stick together when we went into town, so aside from the people who actually lived in town, I didn't know anybody.

AI: Well, I was wondering what kind of reaction you got from townspeople, if any, when you went to shop, for example. And especially if you went with a group, was there any negative attitude?

HM: Well, I remember being told that after the evacuees were cleared so that they could into town and shop, they had a problem at first, because when the Issei would meet on the street, they would bow and hold up traffic. [Laughs] And so they had to warn the residents, "Look, you just cannot be as courteous as you would like to be when you're on the streets of Twin Falls." And no, as a Caucasian, I didn't experience anything. However, during the war, they had a hospital somewhere, not too far away, and they used to bring veterans from the -- or servicemen -- from the Pacific area down to Twin Falls to, for recreation. And a couple of times, I would be walking with a former student, who was a male, and that was very, very difficult for a veteran who'd been serving in the Pacific to see a white woman and a Japanese-looking male walking along. And there was nothing physical about it, but certainly an unpleasant atmosphere developed.

AI: And so the, was there some verbal harassment of the two of you?

HM: They wouldn't make it directly, but they'd make comments that we could hear. But I think both of us would recognize where these servicemen were coming from, and the reasons. So we just shrugged it off. I'm sure that it hurt, but there was understanding.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2003 Densho. All Rights Reserved.