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-01-0014

<Begin Segment 14>

TI: While you were in there, did you ever get to eat in the mess hall?

EBA: Oh, yes, yes.

TI: And how was, what was that like?

EBA: It was noisy and large as I recall, to me, anyway. But it was a, it was time in which the breakdown of the Japanese family began. Because when the dinner bell rang, wherever you were, you just went to the mess hall. And mostly you would gather with your friends and there wasn't so much the continuation of the family unit because everybody's in this huge hall. So you just sat where you wanted. You know, you sat with your friends, you sat with somebody over here, and that's, I think, the beginning of the fracture of the Japanese family.

TI: So an example being, I mean, you would be eating with other boys, your sisters would be eating with a group of girls.

EBA: With their friends, sure.

TI: Your mom might be eating with some other women...

EBA: Right, exactly.

TI: And so rather than having a family unit together and sharing a meal, it was much more fractured.

EBA: Right. And I say fractured not only for the Japanese family but for us, too, as a family, too, I think.


TI: Okay, so Brooks, let's, let's pick it back up. We're still in Idaho. We're at Minidoka, and we're talking about sort of visits to camp.

EBA: Right.

TI: And we just finished talking about how you sometimes shared meals in the mess hall, any other activities that you can recall while you were in camp besides visiting families, playing, eating, anything else that stood out in your mind?

EBA: This may be a minor thing, but I remember there was a swimming hole that, in the camp there. And that was a fun place to go in the summertime, to the swimming hole and sometimes picnics along the irrigation ditch there. And I remember one time in particular we were there with, having a picnic, and someone had put a watermelon in the water to cool and pretty soon it started floating down the irrigation canal so somebody had to go to retrieve it. And that's a minor thing, but those are fun things I remember about, about the camp.

TI: And having been, last summer I visited Minidoka, and when people say "irrigation canal," people don't realize it's a pretty fast-moving --

EBA: Yes, yeah.

TI: -- I'd say bigger than a stream. It's almost like a river.

EBA: Sure. It's not something you just hop across. It, you swim across it, Yeah. But I also remember just images and memories of the campsite itself. It was just sagebrush and wind and with the different seasons, snow and ice and dust and mud. Oh, the mud was just terrible. 'Cause, you didn't have any sidewalks, you had planks laying out and sometimes you step on a plank and it sinks down in the water, so it didn't do much good there.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.