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_2-01-0021

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MA: Okay, so we're back. We're gonna talk about sort of the end of the war and your family leaving Amache, what that was like.

MH: Amache, when we were able to leave, we left in the spring. I think it was around May.

MA: May of 1945?

MH: Yes, uh-huh. We left on the train and they also gave us a sandwich or something, lunch to eat in the train. And we got to Denver station here. And my brother had left camp a little bit earlier and he found a job here at the manju factory, they call it Mikawa-ya. And he said, "There's some kind of work here, so why don't we just settle here for awhile," until, how the situation in California would be.

MA: Was that pretty common for people in Amache to come over to Denver?

MH: They all kind of, some of 'em went back east, like Chicago. They worked for the Edgewater Hotel and got jobs over there and work at the Libby's Cannery and some of 'em went to Cleveland, and somewhere in Ohio area. And different ones started to spread out and some of 'em went to New York, too.

MA: But since your brother was already in Denver, you kinda just decided to follow.

MH: My brother took a chance and came to Denver because we had family friends that were living here. They left, they didn't go to camp. They came as volunteer evacuees. So they had a struggle, too, trying to get through the, coming through in a car to, with their personal belongings and as much as they can carry. And a lot of , you heard a lot of stories about their, their trucks been burned down, or they been attacked by this and that or other. And had hard life coming through to make settlements voluntarily, you're taking a chance. But with your, the government tells you where to go, you're taken care of. So you don't have anything like that to happen to you. You just do whatever they tell you to do. Go certain place, get on the train or bus, or whatever. And you get there safely, but when you're going on a volunteer basis, you don't know what you're dealing with. You could get, you can get robbed.

MA: It's more of a risk, it seems.

MH: It's a risk. And some of 'em have been harmed on the way, lost their stuff and things like that. But you'd have to almost find somebody that went through that experience and as it so happened that this two or three families that we know of, that came from my father's same village from Japan, they are the ones that encouraged us to stay here for a while. And to see how the situation stands. And then, "Since you will find it much better here, because the state has welcomed us here, than in any other state."

MA: That was the governor, right?

MH: And Governor Carr had proposed that we were free to be, use the state, to stay. And then, pretty soon things got a little better, so they started going back to the West Coast. But some of them was pretty rough, too, I hear.

MA: Going back.

MH: Yeah, going back to their own town or wherever. And there was a lot of not good feelings, I guess you might call. So we, we decided we'll stay until things look, how they will look. And we did go back in 1950, after I got married and had one son. And my father had died, but my mother was still living. So we decided to drive. My brother also, my second brother got out of the service. And my husband was out of the service, too, at the same time, 1945.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.