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Title: Peggie Nishimura Bain Interview
Narrator: Peggie Nishimura Bain
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: September 15-17, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-bpeggie-01-0029

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AI: Well, and then at the end of March, all the families on Bainbridge Island were removed, and then, as you were saying, you were trying to sell things and get rid of things. But you mentioned about your younger sister Emily taking over some responsibilities. Can you explain that situation and why your younger sister had...

PB: Well, she decided to get married, too. She was going with a Caucasian fellow, Gene, and she didn't want to be separated, so they decided to get married. And that caused more problems because -- well, at first we thought, well, that's great, because she, she's married to a Caucasian, and she'd be able to remain behind, and then she could take of everything. Well, we had Filipino boys employed in our place at the time, but it just seemed like everybody turned against us. Here, Filipinos that were like family to us all of a sudden, they were kind of like enemies. "We don't want to have anything to do with you." We thought maybe they would help run the farm and take care of the farm while we were gone. "Oh, no, we're gonna take over, it's gonna be ours. And we don't have to pay you anything... or anything. We could just take it, because you're going to be sent to prison." So it was, in a way, we thought, well, we're safe, my sister's gonna take care of everything. So she starts buying some of the Japanese farms, because they're ready to harvest. And she knew, she's a regular farm girl if there ever was one. She loves to grow vegetables, so we thought, well, she knows how to run the farm, she, she drove the big truck and everything, she knew all about the farm, so everything would be fine. But then, in a couple weeks, she got a notice said she had to go to camp. Well, then, that threw every-, that was a horrible monkey wrench in the whole deal. And Gene, of course, he knew nothing about the farm. He was a painter and he was working Pacific Iron & Metal, I believe it was, where he was working. But when he married a Japanese, he got fired, he lost his job. And there he was now, on the farm with the horses and trucks and all the equipment, and he doesn't know what to do with it. So it was really terrible, because she had bought extra farms and here she was going to camp, too.

Then we had to turn in everything like knives and radios, and we had to take them down... I think we took them down to Kent police station. That's the last we heard of it; I don't know what my brother did with it. He had some rifles and some guns. And, of course, we were worried about our pets, our dog and cat, and so we started giving them away to the neighbors, and I had to sell my piano that I had such a hard time buying it, it took me a long time before I was able to buy a piano, and then I had to sell it. It was really a terrible time.

AI: Well, and, and also, you had your, your kids also, who were young teenagers at the time, about maybe thirteen or fourteen.

PB: My daughter couldn't understand why we had to go to camp. She said, "I'm American." But how can you explain? You can't say, "Well, you're, you're Japanese, you're American." But, of course, the Isseis would say, "Well, now look. What good is your citizenship? You kept saying you're American, and you have all the rights and you're so proud you're American, but now you're just as Japanese as the rest of us." And that was one thing the Isseis kept telling us, that our citizenship meant nothing then, even if you had very little Japanese blood, you still had to go to camp.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.