Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Mary Hamano Interview
Narrator: Mary Hamano
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Denver, Colorado
Date: May 14, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-hmary_2-01-0016

<Begin Segment 16>

MA: Let's talk about your journey to Amache. That was in September '42. At that point, did they tell you that you were going to Amache?

MH: No, they told us we were going to Lamar, and then we don't know where Lamar... then they said Granada, we don't know where that is either. Just words blocked around. And when we got ready to leave, they gave us a big breakfast and then they took us to the train. There was two trains, two sets of train. One was Union Pacific, and one was Santa Fe. The Union Pacific was a northern route, like going to Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah. The southern was the Santa Fe, it was into Arizona and Colorado, and I think Arkansas, too. So every third day, the train would leave, either the Union Pacific or the Santa Fe. But ours was selected as Santa Fe. So when it was time to leave, they gave us a big breakfast and then they took us to this train. And we were allowed to carry just so much stuff. And each, we were assigned in this one train. And they filled up the whole train, then when we started to go, we went through L.A. railyard and when I saw the city hall... the city hall was the tallest building in L.A. in those days, and it's very noticeable. It's a white building, it looked like this. And I looked at that and I said, "Oh, I'm leaving Los Angeles and don't know where we're going." And you know, everybody started to cry. To think that they're never gonna come back to their home again. It was very sad to see that departing of the city. And they go through the yard and then they started to move on. Pretty soon we came on to Salton Sea, around the Salton Sea. Then we crossed the Yuma, Colorado River, and Yuma, Arizona. We stopped there for a rest. And then we got off and stretch our legs. I don't know where these Indians come -- they came from, I don't know where they came from. But they were all coming from, selling their little odds and ends stuff, you know, what they make out of beads and leather and selling them. And I happened to have a quarter and I bought one with a shield, with two moccasins hanging. And then they disappear.

MA: So they just came to...

MH: I don't know, when they saw the train.

MA: When they saw the train.

MH: And then saw the people get off, they never spoke a word. They just handed out this thing, and, "You wanna buy? You wanna buy?" That's all they said. They didn't speak much of anything, and they disappeared. Well, we got back on the train, then we start going. And every so often, the train would stop because there are two trains that are coming. They wouldn't tell us that there were two trains. Well, pull your blinds down, and we have to wait 'til the time they pass. And after they pass, well then, we'll start moving on. Pretty soon, we came to Douglas, Arizona. I could see the sign on the roof of what city we're in, because that's the only way I know where we're going. Never ridden a train. That was the first time I've ridden a train in my life. And it was something new and very exciting. You know, you never, as old as I am at that time, I was twenty years old. And then, pretty soon, we come to El Paso. And then El Paso, Texas, now we're in Texas. And then, something was movin' around. They were changing trains or cars or whatever it was. My father was, the elderly over a certain age, they were placed in a Pullman. But other than that, we were on a coach. My mother, my brother, and myself, we sat in the coach. They told my father to go in another train. He was in a Pullman, which is a better deal. They have a bed and everything, you can sleep at night. But we saw him standin', going away in another direction, and my mother got really worried. She said, "Oh, they're taking him away." That's the first thing that hit us. But they were changing cars or something, shifting things around. We didn't know that, so, until we settled down.

And then, they start moving again, and pretty soon we were traveling through the night. And we were, following morning, we were in Albuquerque. And it was very chilly. We managed to get up and of course, they fed us in the train. And I can't remember what we ate or anything, but they fed us on the train. And then, each train had a monitor, it was assigned a monitor. In case you had a problem that you would tell him, and he would go to the front. And so, it happened to be a friend of ours and he was the monitor. And we didn't have any problems in our, our train section. So then Albuquerque, we got up and took several hours. They were changing water and putting ice in this and that and the other. Then we start traveling and pretty soon, we come into New Mexico. And then we travel and by the time we got into Raton, New Mexico, the mountain is very steep up there. So there was two train, engine, one was pushing from the rear end and one was leading us. And you could see that turn, it was kinda exciting scenery there. It was very unusual. I never been on a train, so it was kind of interesting to see what was going on. Stick our head out to see. You could see the tail end coming, coming around the bend there. And there's high altitude, so you could feel your ears start to pop. And we didn't know that was causing it, it was the altitude where we're going higher up. Then we come into Trinidad, eventually.

MA: How long in total was your journey to Amache?

MH: I think it was three days. About two and a half to three days. Because we left in the middle of the week and it seemed like three days, we got, by the time we came through Trinidad and then we come down south and going north now. So we're going to go through Swink, Rocky Ford, not Rocky Ford. Trinidad comes into La Junta. Then it turns going east, and then we were in Lamar, we were in Granada, about the middle of the morning, it seemed like.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.