Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Kazue Yamamoto Interview
Narrator: Kazue Yamamoto
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Spokane, Washington
Date: June 8, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-ykazue-01-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

MA: How well do you remember the day that you left for, was it Portland Assembly Center?

KY: To Portland?

MA: Do you remember the day that you left?

KY: I do, well, I vaguely remember -- I wrote to my sister a couple weeks ago, I said, "How did we get from Wapato to Portland?" and she thinks we went by bus, but I don't recall that. So from Portland, Wapato to Portland, I think we probably went on a bus, and we stayed there three months. And then from Portland to Heart Mountain, I remember that one, we rode on a train. And we, we came through Spokane, and of course, you had to have the shades drawn, so we didn't know what town we were in. But Butch Yamada recalls seeing a trainload of Japanese, and I betcha that was our train. 'Cause, you know, at that time, he was working down at the railroad. But I don't, I don't recall how we got from Wapato to Portland, I'm sure it was by bus. Couldn't be by train just to go to Portland.

MA: What were your thoughts when you first arrived at the Portland Assembly Center?

KY: [Laughs] It was kind of a trip for us, 'cause, you know, we never went anyplace when we were in Wapato. We did go Seattle several times as a family, but it was one big building. It was that horse stable in Portland, the Portland... I don't know what they called that, livestock something. And we were, all of us, we only had room like 15' x 15', all five of us were in the one room, and there was no door, it was just cloth hanging, no door. And the, there's no ceiling, it was all one building, so you could hear the babies crying, you could smell everything, and it was just, it was like whole, whole families all living under one roof. And the mess hall was... you know, I don't recall that mess hall there, but I'm sure that we ate, so there must have been a mess hall. And I don't recall the bathroom, 'cause we had no bathroom. It was at the end of the building or someplace. You know, I don't remember any of that. I was fifteen and I really should, but I really don't remember any of that. I don't, I don't recall, but I do, I do remember I had to babysit couple of my friends', friends' children, and, you know, everything, like I said, there was no ceiling, so you had to keep the baby quiet, and I had to take care of this two-month-old or something, 'cause her mother went to work in the cafeteria, and I had to kind of keep her quiet. So it was, it was kind of a chore to keep that little baby quiet. I, that's all I remember, I don't remember too much about Portland.

MA: And you were in Portland for...

KY: Three months, only three months.

MA: Three months.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.