Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hideo Hoshide Interview I
Narrator: Hideo Hoshide
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: January 26 & 27, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-hhideo-01-0043

<Begin Segment 43>

TI: So it's getting to be about the Fourth of July, you're down in Fresno, which in the summertime gets, it's really hot, and I'm curious how the people from the Northwest dealt with the heat. I mean, how was it for you and the others who were used to a cooler climate, going to Fresno?

HH: Well, as I said, we thought we were going to Puyallup, but they told us, "Hey, you better bring boots and heavy clothing because it's muddy and it's cold." So we were more or less not prepared for the hot weather, and it was hot. And to tell you how hot it was, in our barracks, and it's the same in all the other ones, they had tar on the floor. And then also there's no insulation or anything, because the roof and the sides were only covered with tarpaper and wood to kind of hold it down, just like a regular army, but this was more on a temporary basis. Anyway, we were assigned one room, and the military miscalculated the more rooms that they need for family, because the military only goes by number of heads, two hundred, well, then two hundred people could fit in a barrack or whatever. They found out as they started filling it by families, that there was not enough barracks for the families. So right from the very beginning, first day, after we had our room set up, then we had to share with another young married couple.

TI: I see. So the army, when they calculate, it's usually just for men, and they would just like put 'em in barracks one after the other, and really pack them in. But in this situation, they had to deal with family units, and so a family would want to take one room, but they, there might be room for a couple more, but it's hard because they just wanted to keep a family unit together. So in your case, you had a room, you started off with just the two of you...

HH: Yes.

TI: ...but they realized, well, they could fit two more in there, so that's what happened.

HH: Well, they had to, so they assigned another young -- I can't remember meeting them or talking to them and everything else, because I was working at the paper after that anyway. Anyway, what we could do -- and I was fortunate to have a long enough cord, and I stretched it in the middle of the room. I took the room, part of the room where the door was. So they got the other side, but that other side had one small window. Anyway, so to partition our side, I had to string the cord across and then hang blankets, because we don't need blankets because it's so hot. And to tell you how hot it was, I had a thermos that I had brought with me, and I found some ice in the dining mess hall area. So I filled it up with ice in there, and I capped it. Then when I thought maybe I'll use some of that ice, when I opened it, it went pop and the thing shattered inside.

TI: Just so the heat difference between the hot and cold caused it.

HH: Yes. And then also the cots were iron cots, army spring cots. Anyway, it was so hot that from the very beginning, I decided to go on the floor underneath and just put the blanket underneath, and then just, it was just easier for us to avoid the heat coming directly down on us being underneath the cot. So I thought that would be better for my wife, because she's going to be around in the barracks. Because if you go outside, there's no shade. So it was very hot. Well, we found out that during the night, the four legs of the cot were sinking in, into the tar. And then by that time, it started making a four-by-four pieces with a little hole for the legs, and two of 'em front to back. And that's what they put underneath the cots.

TI: Wow, so these rooms, so one, it was a room that you had to share, that you had to have, like, a blanket partition, but the rooms were poorly insulated.

HH: No ceiling.

TI: No ceiling, and so during the day it would just get hot, so it would be cooler to be underneath the bed, because there was, I mean, just a little cooler.

HH: For me, but I don't know how many others did it.

TI: No, I've heard this from other people, too, that it was a little bit cooler. But furthermore, that it was so hot in those rooms, that the tar would just soften up. So these beds would just like start sinking into the tar, until later on you had these two-by-fours. So people, some people must have been pretty miserable.

HH: Oh, it was miserable, especially when it came time for the mess hall, for meals. We had to go walk and wait until they were able to... so we had to stand outside in the mess hall area with no cover. Some people had umbrellas, sunshades or something, but I know several of the Issei, they kind of fainted because of the hot.

TI: Yeah, it must have been such a difference, for especially people from the Northwest, because they're not used to the heat and the sun.

HH: Yes.

TI: And then having to wait out in line, because I imagine people had to wait in line, because I've heard oftentimes the mess halls didn't have enough food. So if you didn't get in line early enough, then they would run out of food, so you had to get in line to get fed.

HH: So, and then facilities were not too good, like laundry room, everybody had to bring their wash and wash outside, because they didn't have the facility, toilets and such.

TI: I'm curious how the people from the Northwest sort of got along and mixed with the people from California. Was there sort of differences in how their, kind of just socially and culturally difference between the Northwesterners and the Californians?

HH: Well, I think in the assembly center period of time when we stayed in the assembly centers, I don't think there was too much occasion to mingle, especially from the California people. But I'm sure Tacoma people, they probably visited each other and such. But the only time that we could really meet was a place like mess hall, with a cover, but it wasn't, there was no air conditioner or nothing, so it was pretty hot, even in the mess hall, which was a bigger building.

TI: Okay, good.

<End Segment 43> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.