Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Emery Brooks Andrews Interview
Narrator: Emery Brooks Andrews
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 24, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-aemery-01-0013

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TI: For you, and so you went from a situation in, before the war in Seattle with, with Japanese playmates. And then you are in Twin Falls where your playmates are now Caucasian. Did that feel different to you?

EBA: I don't think it felt different to me because we would always go in the camps, every weekend, sometimes during the week, too. And so I had that interaction with my playmates there. It is just that I had Caucasian playmates here and my Japanese playmates were over here. But I don't, I didn't think of it as being that unusual.

TI: Did you notice, I mean, when you were with the different groups, did you play the same games? Did you notice anything different in terms of your playing?

EBA: No, we played the same games. It wasn't anything different in games or anything like that. [Laughs]

TI: So let's talk about, you mentioned going into camp. How often did your family visit Minidoka?

EBA: I'm sure my father was probably there almost every day, but we went, as a family we would go every weekend to the camp there. And I have vivid memories of driving up the road to the guardhouse, to the gate there and seeing the barbed wire fence all stretching, it seemed like for miles around the camp, and the guard towers, soldiers in the guard towers with guns and so forth, always pointing in toward the camp, never out, out. But it was similar to "Camp Harmony" in that we would always have to stop. I mean, they knew us. Every weekend we'd come there. They knew my dad. But we always had to stop at the guard gate there and they would ask why are we there, what are we gonna do today. They had to search through all our, any bags or gifts or anything that we brought and it was just, it was just a puzzling time. These people behind the barbed wire were no different than I except my skin was colored, was different, but that's about it. But it was, it was always... we couldn't do anything publicly, it seems like, without some scrutiny or searching or question about what we were doing.

TI: And so after you, and so I'm assuming it's your father, your mother, two of your sisters --

EBA: Two sisters and myself, right.

TI: -- and you. After you got past the guard station, then what would usually happen?

EBA: I usually, usually went with my mother 'cause she had her Japanese friends that she wanted to visit and most often whomever we visited, they had children and we knew each other so we just played together, unless it was one of those horribly muddy, rainy days where the mud stuck to your shoes and so forth, or if it was one of those blustery, dusty days or snow covered, ice cold days, we would play inside, but otherwise we'd play outside. And Dad, I'm sure he had his own schedule of people he wanted to see and just doing his work of ministry as best he could.

TI: And how about your sisters? What would they, what were they --

EBA: Oh, they had their friends, too. Yeah, they were always glad to see their friends in the camp there. It was, it was a fracturing time for everybody, I think, but we tried to live life as usual as much as, as best we could. And maybe we tended to ignore anything else, or deny anything else that was unusual.

TI: And were there, you know, during these visits, would you ever... what type of things would you bring to the people who were in camp? I mean, were there things that were brought or delivered for people?

EBA: Usually, oftentimes items of food. Sometimes if we had a request from someone in the camp to buy an article of clothing or something from a store in Twin Falls, then we could purchase that for them and bring that into the camp also. It's just daily needs of sustenance and maybe a little frivolous thing now and then to, to cheer us up.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.