Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Joe Yamakido Interview
Narrator: Joe Yamakido
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Date: July 4, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-yjoe_2-01-0005

<Begin Segment 5>

AI: So what did you do to get ready to, to leave? Did, your family didn't own any property then, did they?

JY: No. We left everything on the farm. See, he was renting the farm, but he didn't, but he owned all the plows and everything, all the furniture, all the equipment. Farm you got to have hammers, saws, and everything. He put it in the, in one of the big rooms we had, put everything in there. And then went to camp, but when we came back, it was all gone. Yeah.

AI: Well, so when, when you actually left, was that about April of 1942?

JY: Yeah.

AI: And so, where did you first go?

JY: Santa Anita.

AI: And what was the condition there? What was your living condition?

JY: Oh, lousy. See, some people had to go into the barns, horse barn, and some people, they made barracks on top of the parking lot. That was okay, but the barn, they just put... what do you call the oil? What do you call that?

AI: Tar?

JY: No, oil. Hard oil. Hardtop or something, they call it, over, over the manure. So the, the whatchamacallit, the bed you, the bed leg would go through, and the manure smell come up. A lot of people got sick.

AI: Was your family all together there?

JY: Yeah. Eight of us in one small, small place. [Laughs] Jesus, I felt sorry for my parents, you know. What the hell? No sex, no privacy. Jesus. My dad was still in his fifties, I think. Yeah.

AI: It sounds terrible.

JY: I know it.

AI: Well, so what did you do while you were there at Santa Anita? Did you have work or...

JY: Oh, yeah. you get all kind of work. I worked as a trashman. See, there's people working in, what do you call it... kitchen, cook, and all that. Trashman, people who cleaned the street, you clean, some people clean, keep the laundry room and toilet clean, and they had people making camouflage nets for the army.

AI: Did you do any of that? The nets?

JY: No, I worked as a trashman. No, because I met some of my L.A. boys, city boys, and they showed me how to do weightlifting. So I got strong enough to carry those big cans to work in the trashcan, dumping. It's a big trashcan. Tin trashcan is heavy.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.