Densho Digital Archive
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Title: Emery Brooks Andrews Interview
Narrator: Emery Brooks Andrews
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 24, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-aemery-01-0012

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: So this is interesting. So in addition, again, thinking about Twin Falls, of the town and what was going on, so there was your family, sympathetic to the Japanese, but in addition, your, your home also became a place where many Japanese Americans would not only visit but stay as a hostel. And also you had three or four young Japanese American men staying there working in Twin Falls. So it really became a center for, in some ways, the community, right in the middle of Twin Falls. What did the house look like? How large was the house? What, what was the characteristics of this place? Was it just in a regular neighborhood or what -- talk about that a little bit.

EBA: Well, first of all, I'm sure that all the people that were coming and going from our house, I'm sure we were thought of as the center of subversion in Twin Falls. But they tended to be larger houses with an upstairs, probably four bedrooms or five bedroom, I don't know how many bedrooms in some of these houses, but I remember they were being larger houses that would accommodate some permanent residents as well as our family. And the boys that stayed with us, they didn't have their own separate bedroom but they were, tended to be housed in, in maybe one bedroom and so the rest of the family, the rest of us could have our own living quarters also. So I'm sure it was the center of, of subversion to, in many eyes in Twin Falls.

TI: And you mentioned that in one month you had over two hundred visitors --

EBA: Yes.

TI: -- to this place?

EBA: Right.

TI: And so is that, over the course of the year, pretty common, people coming in and out and...

EBA: We had, see, my dad said that he, whether we had an average of, I think it was167 people each month transitioning in and out of our house, visiting, whatever reason they were there. It was just a constant state of coming and going in our house.

TI: And this was more than just the Japanese Baptist Church group. This was a much larger...

EBA: I mean, a much larger, yeah, Japanese community and I think there may have been a few Caucasians that were transitioning to maybe, to work in the camp or maybe teachers or something. But it wasn't necessarily just, no, it wasn't just Japanese Baptists. It was a ministry to the, all, the whole Japanese community at large. And so I'm sure we had Buddhists and Roman Catholics and so forth moving in and out of there.

TI: Because I'm trying to get a sense of the type of people. And earlier I interviewed Gordon Hirabayashi.

EBA: Yes.

TI: And one of his roles he played, he was actually at one point living, during the war, in Spokane but helping people relocate. So would he be kind of an example of the type of person that would probably come in and in working with people in Minidoka, perhaps stay with your parents? Is that the type of --

EBA: That's possible. Yes, right. But to, for some of the families that, or people that were able to leave the camp, apparently there was some sort of transition period where they could come and live or stay at the house while the paperwork is being done or whatever they needed to be, to have in hand in order to be legitimately outside the camp. It was kind of a safe house, I'm sure, for some people.

TI: Were there any, can you recall any incidents with your neighbors? As all this was going on, how did your neighbors react to all this?

EBA: Well, I did have my playmates among the Caucasian children in the neighborhood, two or three. But I remember one of my playmates, his father... I think he had been, at some point, in the, fighting in the war and was home again. I don't know if he was wounded or what, but I remember I got the feeling from him that it's okay to play with his son, but don't try to go beyond that as far as developing any relationship between him and my family. It was, I mean, even at school, at grade school, it was school as usual. But I remember some of the teachers, all female teachers, I remember they were, they had a sense of, of, that what we were doing was right and honorable. It wasn't that they were prejudiced in any way in their feeing toward me or to my family.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.