Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Carolyn Takeshita Interview
Narrator: Carolyn Takeshita
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Denver, Colorado
Date: May 15, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-tcarolyn-01

[Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

<Begin Segment 1>

MA: So today is May 15, 2008, and I'm here with Carolyn Takeshita, and we're in Denver, Colorado. I'm Megan Asaka, and the cameraperson today is Dana Hoshide. So Carolyn, thanks so much for coming down here to do an interview with us.

CT: Thanks for asking.

MA: So I wanted to start with just a few basic questions. When were you born?

CT: In June 1937.

MA: And where were you born?

CT: In Los Angeles, California.

MA: And what was the name given to you at birth?

CT: Carol Kiyomi Yano.

MA: So I wanted to talk a little bit about your family background.

CT: Sure.

MA: And your grandparents were actually the ones who immigrated from Japan. Is that right?

CT: Right.

MA: So where did they, where are they from in Japan? I guess we can talk about your maternal grandparents.

CT: Let's see. My paternal grandparents are from Shikoku. And we haven't kept in real close contact with that side of the family. But my maternal grandparents, my grandfather was born in Fukuoka. And my mother, grandmother was from the Osaka area. And they met through "picture bride," you know, arrangements. When my grandfather was working here in Denver farming, and then somebody made an agreement with him and my grandmother, and so she came over.

MA: She came to Denver?

CT: She came, well, they landed in San Francisco and then he went to get her and then he brought her here to Colorado.

MA: So when your grandfather first came to the U.S., did he go straight to Colorado, or did he stop...

CT: No, he was very fortunate that he came from an area in Fukuoka called the Kasuya area, and I think it's kind of described as a county. And it is a county now. But back then, they had little villages and it seemed that three, first three young men were, you know, given the advantage of being able to come to, immigrate to the United States. So my grandfather and two people, two other men came and they were in San Francisco. And then they worked, they were picked up at the docks when the boat landed and taken to various jobs. And he and a couple of other men, not the ones that he came with, went to St. Helena, so he worked in a farming area in St. Helena. And then after that, he was hired by a family which ended up being the banker of the St. Helena Bank. And then he was saving his money so he could start a business with his friends. And so he went to San Francisco and then the earthquake happened. So at that time, then they wanted everybody to get out of the city, and he had a nephew living in the Denver area, so he walked and caught the train and then kind of told us he walked the rest of the way and came to Colorado from Utah.

MA: So he walked, he walked part of the way?

CT: I think he must have been with other people. And he's told us the stories, but I, he didn't really detail exactly who he came with, who he was with when he got off the train in Utah. So then he farmed here. And then went to get my grandmother and then my mother and her sisters and brother were all born here, in Colorado.

MA: Where in Colorado was he farming?

CT: He was farming up kind of in the north, northwest area. And you know, they went from farm to farm wherever they were contracted and things, so he lived in and around the Fort Lupton area, Fort Lupton, Platteville, Greeley, that area.

MA: And so your mother was born then in Colorado?

CT: In Colorado, uh-huh. So I'm old, but I'm a Sansei. [Laughs] And my cousins on both sides of the family are all Sansei.

MA: Okay.

CT: But like I said, we're older, so my age mates are all mostly Niseis.

MA: Right, interesting. Yeah.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

MA: So your father, he was born in California?

CT: He was born in Stockton.

MA: Stockton. What were his parents doing at the time?

CT: You know, I'm not really sure. I think they were also doing something in agriculture. But conditions were really poor, and so then he, my grandfather and grandmother then moved the family down to the Los Angeles area and they lived in Orange County. And so that's where he kind of went to high school and grew up.

MA: And then how did he meet your mother?

CT: I think, let's see... let me backtrack. My father was lucky enough to be able to go to Berkeley back in that time. And then he was never able to graduate. He was in his last semester before graduation and then the Depression hit, so then he left school and went down to Orange County to help the family. And he and my mother met probably at a party or something. 'Cause she was, they had moved down and she was living in Los Angeles.

MA: Had she moved with her family?

CT: The whole family. My grandfather sold all the farm equipment and then he bought this old Model T and they packed everything up in the Model T and they drove to Los Angeles. And the family stories are he didn't, they didn't have a map. And then we've heard stories from my grandfather and my aunts and uncles that they drove over a pass here called Loveland Pass, and they all had to get out and move the rocks out of the road so the car could go up over the road and then make it the rest of the way. So anyway, they moved there. And then my grandfather did gardening and was in, owned a flower shop and things like that.

MA: Do you know why your grandfather decided to leave Colorado?

CT: Farming was really hard. It was kind of difficult to raise a family. And then the other men that came with him, instead of coming this way, you know, after the earthquake, I was saying that they, they went on down to Los Angeles. And then my grandfather came this way because he had relatives here.

MA: Okay, so then he decided to go back to Los Angeles.

CT: To Los Angeles, and then start some kind of work or business there.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

MA: So you were born in 1937. What were your, what were your parents doing in terms of jobs at that point?

CT: My father was in partnership in a produce business in Los Angeles, and my mother was a homemaker.

MA: Where were you, what area of Los Angeles were you living in?

CT: In the Boyle Heights area.

MA: So you were born, then, four years before Pearl Harbor. Do you have any memories of Pearl Harbor? I mean, I guess you were so young, but...

CT: Yeah. I don't really have memories of Pearl Harbor, but, and I don't even remember very much about going to camp.

MA: 'Cause you were, must have been four when Pearl Harbor happened.

CT: I think I was three. Three or four.

MA: So your family were removed to which assembly center?

CT: We didn't go to an assembly center. For some reason, the area that we were living in, we didn't have to go. And so we went directly to Poston.

MA: Oh, really?

CT: But my grandfather, word had gotten out that we were gonna be moved, and so he sold his business and moved my grandmother and the sister, my aunts, into Los Angeles closer to where we lived so that when the orders came, that we would be able to go to camp as a family. And so all of, both sides of my family, we were all in Poston in the same camp. I mean, in the same, it was Camp One, in Poston. So we were all together, but I think we were pretty fortunate to have everybody at one place.

MA: And you went directly then from L.A. to Poston?

CT: From, that's what they tell me. I don't remember it. I do remember riding a train.

MA: Oh, really? What do you remember about the train?

CT: Oh, just being on a train. But I don't remember anything else. I've read about other people's experiences, but I don't remember very much.

MA: Yeah. So your family was in Poston. And that must have been 1942, May.

CT: You know, I don't even remember the years. [Laughs]

MA: Yeah.

CT: I know I went to preschool there.

MA: Oh, you went to preschool in Poston?

CT: Yeah, I went to, yeah, there was a preschool for the younger ones by the time we got there. I think before that from what I've read, that the army didn't prepare for the educational programming of all of the children that were going to be there. But by the time we got to Poston -- and I don't know the length of time, but I do know that they had school there.

MA: And did you have siblings at that point?

CT: I had a younger brother that was three years younger, and he was an infant. So when we talk, he doesn't remember anything. And I don't remember a lot about camp except a few things. I always tell people this funny story about as an adult, I hated the smell of canned milk and I never knew why. But a lot of people use canned milk for their coffee. And when I would smell it, it would just kind of trigger like, oh, I don't like canned milk. And then one time when we were talking and I was sharing some memories about camp and everything, somebody served coffee and they had the canned milk and I said, "Oh no, I don't like canned milk. I don't like the smell of it." And they said, "Oh, why not?" And I said, "'Cause it reminds me of camp." And that was the first time that I drew a connection that I did kind of remember something, but it wasn't on a verbal level. It was more from an emotional reaction level.

MA: Right. It was almost like that smell triggered...

CT: Kind of triggered this, an unpleasantness that I had.

MA: Right.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

MA: So during your time at Poston, you told me earlier that your father was actually able to secure some sort of work leave?

CT: Yeah, at that time, they were, the farmers, the farmers were, had gone to fight during the war. So that it didn't leave a lot of people left to bring in the crops. And so, now I understand that all of the camps, people were able to leave and go work on and bring in the crops. But Colorado, sugar beets was the big cash crop during that time, so they needed a lot of workers to harvest the sugar beets. So my father and couple brothers and two others were able to get leave so then they came to Colorado. We came by train. And I do have memories about that, in that I remember being on the train and that the men had to get off and go into town and get food, you know when... because I don't remember that we were able to go into the dining car. But they would get sandwiches and things and come back when the train stopped. So I do remember being on the train. And then when they got here, then they went to work for a farmer to bring in whatever the crop that they had. And then they finished that, bringing in that harvest, and they moved on up toward the northern part of the state, and through Fort Lupton, and then we lived in Greeley. And then the crops were done and winter was coming, and in other camps, everybody had to go back to the camp after they finished the season.

MA: Right, like a seasonal leave.

CT: But because we were in Colorado and it was kind of considered like a free state, because Governor Carr said that Japanese Americans could come to the state and live, then we were able to stay. So that's why we, and we had relatives here. So that's why we stayed, until it was kind of like safe to go back to the West Coast and then we moved back to Los Angeles for a while. And then we moved back to Denver again. [Laughs]

MA: That's interesting that you referred to Colorado as sort of a free state. And you know, the impact of, I guess, Governor Carr's words and opening up Colorado had a big impact.

CT: Yeah, it had a lot of impact on a lot of people who, because when Amache closed, then they also kind of came up here to the Denver metro area. And then other people, like my husband's family was in Gila and they came to Colorado after they closed the camps. So for a period of time, the Denver area had one of the largest Japanese American communities as people were waiting to be able to go back. 'Cause I'm with the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation and the people, the local people there are trying to develop a center, a learning center for the state. And the governor of that state said -- and the people that were around there said, "You need to put them on a train and just send them back to wherever they came from." And so you don't find very many Japanese Americans that are in the state of Wyoming unless they were there before the war. I don't know, I guess I considered it a free state because you were able to stay here. [Laughs]

MA: What year did you leave Poston?

CT: I don't think we were in camp for more than about nine months or so. Because when I came here, again, I continued preschool when school started and then was here in the farming community for kindergarten in the fall.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

MA: What are your memories of kindergarten and sort of living in Colorado?

CT: You probably just remember all the uncomfortable things. I remember riding a slide for the first time. I'd never been on a slide and watched the kids coming down on the slide on their stomachs, so I wanted to try it. And I did, but I forgot to brace myself and so I landed on my stomach. [Laughs] So that kind of memories, but I went to a one-room school house in Greeley. And so they had the typical, you know, you had, like, kindergarten to third grade in one room, and then the fourth to sixth grade in another room. And I remember there were some kids that would come to school on horseback and then put... they had a little stable, so the horses waited 'til it was time to come home. But somebody picked me up and we drove in a car, and then they dropped the kids off at school. I don't remember kids teasing us or being any different. But I think I was younger. I remember more when we moved to Denver, then there was more teasing by a lot of other kids that you were a "Jap" and saying mean things. But then the elementary school that I went to was probably about seventy-five percent Japanese American students, because we all lived in the same area because of the housing restrictions.

MA: This was when you moved to Denver?

CT: When we moved to Denver. So I do remember and still have friends from elementary school that was there, but like I said, it was really predominantly a lot of Japanese American students.

MA: So why did your father and mother decide to move into Denver?

CT: Because my father was able to get a job. When we were up in Greeley, it's a farming community, so once the season's over, then people go and try to find other jobs. So he was able to find a job working in a foundry here in Denver, making machine gun barrels. I think they were manufacturing. And then we continued to live in Greeley until he was able to find housing for us. 'Cause it was pretty hard, wartime. Housing was really hard to find.

MA: Do you know at this point if there was, if he encountered any housing segregation?

CT: There was. Most of the Japanese Americans lived in and around the Japanese business section down on Larimer Street, Lawrence. And they had a lot of apartment houses that rented to Japanese and Japanese Americans. But there was a certain area that you couldn't cross over and you couldn't buy property. It was pretty restricted at that time. So, it made it kind of nice. We kind of formed a ghetto, so to speak, but it was a safe one. The two churches, the Christian church and the Buddhist temple were located, we all lived there, the stores, businesses were all there. So it was kind of, although it was never labeled, so it was kind of like a Little Tokyo or a Japantown. But interestingly in Colorado, when, because I'm working with a newly formed group called the Japanese American Resource Center of Colorado, we've been talking and interviewing people that lived in Colorado prewar, during, and after. And I've always asked them, "What did you refer to the Japanese business area when you came into Denver?" And nobody called it Japantown or Nihonmachi or anything, they named, either they were going to go shopping on Larimer Street or they were going to a specific business. But it was kind of an unspoken thing that you were going to the Japanese section.

MA: That's interesting.

CS: Isn't it interesting? We don't have a name.

MA: I wonder why there was never, yeah, why a name never developed, that area.

CT: Some people said, "Well, we called it Japantown," in their family. But at least up until now, the people that we've talked to never really had an official name. Whereas the Chinese community, they called it Hop Alley. And that was kind of known throughout, and they would refer to it in the newspapers when you go back and read from the '30s and '40s. But it was just never named.

MA: Where was the Hop Alley? Where was that located in relation to...

CT: It was located really close to the Japanese section. I think that's kind of traditional, that the minorities, and especially the Asians. It seems like when you read about the history of Asian communities, Japanese and Chinese lived in a fairly close proximity.

MA: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

MA: So you then went to elementary school, you were saying, in Denver.

CT: In Denver.

MA: What was the name of your school?

CT: It was called Twenty-Fourth Street School.

MA: And it was primarily Japanese Americans?

CT: You know, just because of the nature of how the housing was. There were many, many Japanese American students there.

MA: And the other ethnicities were white?

CT: They were Caucasian and then Hispanic. Which was kind of the same, because then we left when I was in fifth grade and went back to Boyle Heights. So when I was there, it was kind of the same makeup. Lots of Japanese American students in the school, Hispanics, and then when we were in there, I remember there were lots of students of Russian ancestry in the Boyle Heights area, and Jewish. So, it was kind of similar to what, what you have in any minority community, or maybe the poorer section, too. I think economically, that you had more mixed races.

MA: So when you were in Denver in elementary school, were the Japanese Americans that were fellow students, were they mostly people who had been at camp and come to Denver like you?

CT: Most of them were. But then as I got older, I mean, after we moved back again to Colorado and I was in junior and senior high school, a lot of the people did not go to camp because Colorado had that people outside the barbed wire and people within. And because there were so many Japanese and Japanese Americans living here prior to the war, there were, I would say half and half, people have camp in their experience, and fifty percent that maybe did not. And we found that to be true. Another woman, Marge Taniwaki, and I wrote a proposal to do a Colorado women's quilt project, and it was connected with the Smithsonian traveling exhibit on strength and diversity. And I had seen the original quilt that was part of the exhibit with the National Japanese American Historical Society and the Oakland Museum. And that quilt depicted an immigrant woman coming on a boat, and then the barbed wire, and then something about the present time. But I realized that in Colorado, everybody doesn't have the camp experience in their background as a family.

MA: In general, how was the relationships among the Japanese Americans? Especially, I mean, I guess when you're in high school, those who had been in camp and those were more from prewar families, was there a sense of a difference?

CT: No, I don't think there was any tension, or anything like that. Because you were more united because you were Japanese Americans. I noticed it more as later, as I got older. And then, again, back then, we didn't talk about camp that much. But as I got older, people would say, "Well, I can't relate to that because my family didn't go to camp." And then I think the division -- and it wasn't a division -- but the noticeable came when redress was awarded. Because then some people got redress money that lived here and others did not. And I think that's when it was much more noticeable.

MA: What were some of the reactions of people who, maybe prewar, from prewar families, who didn't receive the redress?

CT: The only comment that I think I can remember was that I heard stories about their suffering here, too, and the racism and things. And especially from the people who were my peers, they got teased a lot and picked on.

MA: Right, so they experienced hardship and...

CT: They did in a different way.

MA: In a different way, right.

CT: But it didn't mean that they didn't have that same emotional kind of trauma of being picked on and teased and, I don't remember too many people talking about having to move away from certain restricted areas in Colorado. But I know that in Nebraska, speaking to Japanese Americans there, that they were displaced from certain areas because it was a restrictive thing. And so then they had to move, but then they didn't qualify for any redress because they weren't interned.

MA: Right.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

MA: So I wanted to go back. You said you moved back to L.A. when you were in the fifth grade.

CT: Uh-huh.

MA: You know, why did your family decide to leave Denver for L.A.? Just because it was home?

CT: And everybody, the family was all beginning to re-gather again. You know, so we went back and my aunts and uncles and their children, my cousins and everything, everybody started to regroup back again. So by a couple years later, most of us were all back in the Los Angeles area.

MA: And what neighborhood did you move back to?

CT: We went back to Boyle Heights. And then my grandfather opened a nursery in a little, kind of a flower shop in Montebello. So then we relocated there, you know, to Montebello. But again, everybody was still in the L.A. area and so we were able to get together and I was able to grow up really closely with my cousins.

MA: Can you talk a little bit about the Boyle Heights area and just what it was like growing up there? And, I'm just curious because there's a lot of interest right now, I've noticed, in Boyle Heights. If you could just talk about your experiences there and what the community was like in Boyle Heights.

CT: Well again, being a child, it was really fun because there were so many other Japanese American students at the school. But then everybody really played with everybody. You live in a neighborhood and you play with who lives next door and across the street. And so, growing up, the friends were a combination of Hispanic, Jewish-Russian and Japanese Americans. But it was a pretty large population, so the first, one of the things that I still remember was they reactivated Nisei Week. And so they had the Obon, or the, it wouldn't be called officially the Obon, but they had the Japanese dancing and they had the queen contest and things. So that we would catch the streetcar, which you wouldn't dare do now, and ride into Little Tokyo and attend practice for Nisei Week, the parade and everything, and then catch the streetcar and come back. But there was a lot of interaction, and you felt a strong sense of Japanese American community. And so there were grocery stores, 'cause my mother would send me to go buy tofu, or pick up something for dinner. So, I knew that after I graduated from, or I left elementary school, then the normal progression would be Hollenbeck Junior High School and Roosevelt High School, and again, very heavily populated with Japanese Americans.

MA: That's interesting what you said about Nisei Week. So it was the first Nisei Week --

CT: It was the first Nisei Week after the war ended and they felt that they wanted to start it up again.

MA: What are your memories of the community at that time, and especially at Nisei Week? Like, what was that like?

CT: It was very tight, and everybody was really excited. I do remember that buzz, there was a buzz. Everybody was excited to be back in California and they, we went to a talent show to watch the entertainment and things, but there was, there was just that sense of a positive buzz. And yet I know as an adult now, that people really struggled financially to get back on their feet. But again, I think when you speak to people about growing up in Little Tokyo or being connected to it, those are really fond memories for a lot of people. 'Cause again, it's that getting back together again and rebuilding your community.

MA: Right, I think that's, yeah, that's very powerful. The rebuilding of the community after the war.

CT: Very much so, yeah.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

MA: So then you said you moved to Montebello.

CT: Uh-huh.

MA: And that was because your grandfather had opened a nursery?

CT: Uh-huh, a flower and garden nursery.

MA: And was your father working for the nursery?

CT: And my father worked for my grandfather. And the community that, or the neighborhood that they, my family bought a house in, it was, we probably were the first minority family that moved into it. It was kind of like housing developments are, they build postwar housing. And so my parents, in very typical Japanese fashion, went to make a call on the neighbors and they introduced themselves, and they took some kind of little omiyage. [Laughs] And just kind of wanted people to know that we were, it was safe. We weren't going to sabotage, we weren't going to do anything, but we wanted to be members of the community. And so there was kind of a mixed reaction. My parents developed some friendships with some neighbors that really lasted until many years. In fact, my mother, until she passed away, kind of kept in touch with one of the neighbors. But most, I just remember it being fairly positive, and it must have been because I babysat a lot. So then I never remembered any outward hostility, but I could only judge that neighbors asked me to do the babysitting.

MA: At that point, you were in junior high school?

CT: Uh-huh, I was in junior high school.

MA: What was that like for you, I guess, transitioning from a predominantly Japanese American community to a, was it an all, pretty much, Caucasian community, Montebello?

CT: Where we lived, it was all Caucasian. But when we rode the bus into town to attend junior high school, they only had one junior high school and one high school. So when I got there, then there were a lot of Japanese Americans. Most of them were -- well, all of them actually, not most of them -- were former internees, and they came back to Montebello and settled down. And I don't remember the businesses they were in. Most all of us were in, families were in agriculture of some type. So again, I had that same growing up experience with large predominantly Japanese American friends and then Hispanics, Caucasians. So that it was a mix, I've always gone to a mixed race, and a safe school. I mean, again, you felt comfortable because not everybody was alike, but you had a wide variety of ethnic groups.

MA: So you feel like the various ethnic groups in your schools sort of got along well and there was never any tension?

CT: I don't remember any tension. I don't remember any tension. Well, in high school, there was, but it wasn't directed because you were Japanese American, it's just kids. One kid not liking another kid and they were from a different ethnic group. But I don't remember a real segregation. 'Cause when I moved back to Denver and I went to junior high and high school, again, lots of Japanese Americans.

MA: When you were in L.A. and Montebello, or Boyle Heights and Montebello, you had mentioned earlier that people didn't really talk about camp. So did you find that growing up, there was sort of no mention of camp among your peers and their parents?

CT: Yeah, and it just seemed kind of like a natural thing. Okay, it happened. And so we didn't really talk about it with the elders, with the older folks. But amongst ourselves I think we would talk about, "Oh, when I was in camp, we did this." Or, "When I was in camp, we did that." But again, you sort of just took it as a part of your life. It wasn't until I was much older and I did a lot more reading and talking to people that I became really aware of and, of the situation and became much more active in the community about it.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

MA: When did you move to Denver again? That was for high school?

CT: Junior high and high school. Ninth grade.

MA: And what was the reason for moving back?

CT: Because of my brother's health, so we came back here. He developed asthma in California and then they suggested Arizona, or Colorado, because it was drier in both places. And then we had relatives here, so then it seemed more natural to come back and we'd lived here before. So then when we moved back, again, a very large, tight Japanese American community. Most of us lived in that same kind of geographic area, but I think by the time I graduated from high school, then the housing restrictions were kind of lifted. So then the Japanese Americans were financially more stable, so then they moved out and were able to buy homes. And then from there, the rest is history because they're scattered all over. Now there's not one section where you have, like, more Japanese Americans. We did; once you moved out, everybody moved east toward the airport. But then again, as time went on, then they all sort of moved into the suburbs. And so my children were lucky that they grew up in a neighborhood where there happened to be more Japanese Americans. So they went to school, I think there were about fourteen Japanese American students in the elementary school which was very unusual.

MA: And what community was this?

CT: Live in the north side of, you know, North Denver. So it was, other people would say, "Oh, my children are the only Nihonjins in the school." Or, "There's only another family." But like I said, there were about seven or eight families.

MA: When you moved back to Denver, it had been a couple of years, I guess, since you had left. Did you notice any changes? I mean, had a lot of people moved back to the coast and sort of changed the community?

CT: Yeah, a lot of people gradually moved back and then re-established their businesses. Since we're doing, I'm involved in a current mapping project for this Japanese American Resource Center. We have been going to the historical center and start looking up data. And it was very interesting that Umiya senbei company restarted up here in Denver. I think they started in Los Angeles and then kind of stopped their business and then came here to Colorado. And then opened up a senbei, and then Mikawaya was here. And then they eventually went back and then they're established in Los Angeles, but there were a lot of businesses that were here. I typed up a list and evaluated how many beauty shops, how many apartment houses, how many restaurants and things, and we're all amazed at the large number that, of businesses that were here in 1946. Now, because of urban renewal, they tore the Japanese section down. All the businesses are gone. So that's why we're involved in a project to recreate that, at least on paper, and then to map the presence of the farming communities in the state. So we started also doing that, getting the names and whether these families were there prewar, they came during the war, or postwar. So that we can kind of get a big picture of what the Japanese American presence is in the state.

MA: Yeah, I think that's really important.

CT: Yeah, I think many communities are doing that. Kind of trying to look back and make sure that there's a record.

MA: The, you were saying there was urban renewal, and the businesses, the Japanese American businesses were sort of gone. Was that on Larimer Street?

CT: Uh-huh.

MA: So that's where the concentration of businesses were --

CT: Most of the Japanese businesses were on what was called Larimer Street, Lawrence, and Arapahoe. And after the Japanese businesses came, Larimer Street turned into kind of like a skid row. And I think the city decided they wanted to clean that up and everything. And it sounded like a good idea at that time. But I don't think that we as a community realize that fifty years later, or at that time, that we would have lost our history in the Denver area. So it's kind of exciting to discover. And I like talking to the older Japanese Americans and it triggers their memory of their childhood. And they're saying, "Oh, I remember this store. I remember we would come to Denver and we got to eat at a restaurant." So that's kind of neat that it's triggered their memory of their growing up.

MA: So you're getting a lot of your information from talking with people, people from the community.

CT: Right, from the community, yeah. And then we're backing as much as we can up with historical information, such as the city directories and the business directories. Making sure that... 'cause some people, as you get older you think, "Well, yeah, that happened in this year," and then you realize, "Oh no, it happened in this year." But we're able to back it up to say, "Yes, these businesses were here, only started in 1945." Or that they'd been in business for, fifteen, twenty years prior to that. So it's become my passion to try to record all of this. [Laughs]

MA: No, I think that's great. Yeah, that's wonderful.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

MA: So I wanted to go back a little bit and talk about your high school experience. What was the name of your high school?

CT: Most of the Nihonjins went to school at Manual. They called it initially Manual Training High School. And then the training -- because it initially was a vocational training school. And then gradually, as the population grew, they built a new high school and they just named it Manual High School.

MA: And at that point, you had mentioned earlier that there was sort of a mix of the sort of prewar Japanese Americans and then those who had come from camp, or after camp.

CT: Uh-huh.

MA: And what were those relationships like in high school specifically? Was there, was it a pretty positive relationship? Were there any tension or differences that you noticed?

CT: Not that I noticed that are any different from any at that age. You know, high school, and you know how kids get into groups and things like that. That's real kind of typical about that growing up process. So I don't, I don't really remember anything really different. One thing that was really positive is that many Japanese Americans were school leaders and elected to like student body president and those type of offices. So that was really kind of nice. But then you also had the other ethnic groups that shared that level of being the leaders of the school. So it was very, I don't remember any really negative tensions, even with the other ethnic groups.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

MA: What about moving from L.A.? What are some things that you noticed about the Denver Japanese American community as a whole that was, impressions that you noticed --

CT: Very different. [Laughs]

MA: What were some of the things that --

CT: Growing up in Los Angeles was really different and then there were a lot of other people who were my agemates who were Sansei. When I moved to Colorado, or just specifically Denver, most of my agemates were Niseis. And so then that was very different. So for me personally, my family all spoke English. And so then I didn't grow up really speaking Japanese. In fact, I had to take it as a college course, as a foreign language, which it really was. But there were a lot of different things. The social way that teenagers acted here were very different from Los Angeles. So, I guess, technically for me, it was kind of a culture shock to come in from one Japanese community, and they were really upwardly trying to build the community up and become more integrated and more upwardly mobile within that Los Angeles community. And then in Denver, maybe it was because people didn't go to camp. They just went ahead and continued with their lives and things, and so that during that period of time when you had an influx of people coming from the different camps, then you get a variety of ways that people live and their styles of interacting. But then after a period of time, then everybody left. So by the time I came back the second time, then you didn't have a lot of people that had camp experience as their background.

MA: So going back to the, growing up as a Sansei and coming to Denver and being with a lot of Niseis, you mentioned the language, not having Japanese language. What are some other, I guess, cultural, maybe just, or generational differences that you noticed with the Niseis?

CT: Well, I guess I didn't act like the typical nice Nisei girl. [Laughs] I was much more outspoken. And coming from a family where my father went to Berkeley, all the more so. We discussed political issues and religious issues and world affairs and things like that. And so, I think I was probably a little bit too outspoken for this community. And I think I still am. [Laughs]

MA: Well, I was curious about your parents then as being Niseis, if they, if you ever noticed if they had a similar experience to you being that their peers were probably Isseis.

CT: There were still a lot of Niseis that they were friends with. So I don't remember that they had that many Issei friends. I mean, they played cards with a lot of other Niseis, the older Niseis. But then those... and those Niseis didn't have children that were my age. They were younger. I don't remember -- I do know that they played a lot of cards, and they got together for social things.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

MA: What are some things that you did, social activities in high school?

CT: I think it was pretty typical, you know, school parties and clubs. And they did have a, at Manual High School, they did have a Japanese American club. And so they met, and it wasn't a social club, but I don't remember too much about it, but they did school things, school issues and dealt with that. Then we did have for a while a Japanese American social club outside of school that they were trying to get started, and it lasted for a little while. Didn't last really a very long time. But it still gave the Japanese American kids a chance to get together. And then, of course, your churches had their youth groups.

MA: And what church were you involved with?

CT: At that time, I was involved with the youth group at Simpson United Methodist Church, which was called California Street Methodist Church at that time.

MA: And that was primarily a Japanese American church?

CT: It was a Japanese American church, uh-huh.

MA: Japanese American church. And the other main church you were saying was the Tri-State...

CT: Was the Tri-State Denver Buddhist Temple.

MA: The Simpson United Methodist Church, is that still in Denver?

CT: Yeah, it's still in Denver. It's located in a suburb town called Arvada, but it's real close to Denver. And then the Denver Buddhist Temple is located right down in what we would call what's left of our Japantown or something. We have Sakura Square, and that's the only center, but everybody gravitates towards there. There's a grocery store, Pacific Mercantile, then they have the senior citizen home, which is not limited to Japanese Americans. And then they have a restaurant there, Yoko's Express, which is really popular. So that if you want to see somebody, you go shopping at Pacific and have lunch at Yoko's. [Laughs] But compared to the other larger Japanese American communities where like Seattle you have your large area and Uwajimaya and then, in Los Angeles, they still have Little Tokyo but because Gardena and Torrance and all of those areas have grown up, then they have large business sections, too, so it's a little more spread out.

MA: What's the history, if you know, of Sakura Square? Was there an effort by the community to preserve that?

CT: Yeah, when the urban renewal came, the Denver Buddhist Temple -- and I don't know the exact history, so somebody who was, who knows the exact would be more accurate, but they formed the Sakura Square Management Corporation and so they were able to get that block and then kind of guide that so that the businesses were still located there. And then the Tamai Towers, the senior citizen home, was built. But we're going to be retelling that story in our Japanese American Resource Center so that everybody knows the story. So we have photos of when it was torn down and when it was being built up. But that's an important block, section for us. It's kind of, like I said, not everybody, but the majority of people kind of zero in and go there. And certain times of the year, you go to the grocery store, to Yoko's, and you see everybody you know. And we have a lot of our community meetings down in that area, too. So it's kind of a draw.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

MA: So when you were in high school, what were some of your goals, or, I mean, career goals, or hopes for the future?

CT: I don't really remember. I know, I know that when we were younger, in our family it wasn't, "Are you going to college?" it was just, "Where are you going to go?" So it was pretty expected. But I think that's pretty much most Japanese American families, is that education was pretty much a high priority. So you just, I just knew that I wanted to go into a field that was more people-oriented. And so that was the direction that I went, and have worked in that area with kids and doing therapy.

MA: And what college did you attend?

CT: First I went to Colorado Women's College, and then I went to University of Colorado. And then I got my Bachelor's and my Master's at University of Denver.

MA: And what was the field that you went into?

CT: Oh, speech pathology and audiology, and minor in education. And still working at it today. I'm retired, but I still go back two days a week and work in the school district.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

MA: And can you tell me about how you met your husband and a little bit about him?

CT: Oh, he's going to die when he hears this story. [Laughs] I think we had a party, the group, the club, the Japanese American club had a party and people were drinking. Underage drinking. And my brother went to go sit in his car, 'cause he was gonna kind of cool off, and he unfortunately started the car. And so it jumped forward and he hit a tree. And I knew my husband, but I didn't know him that well. But I took the responsibility for it. [Laughs] So, anyway, and then, I think a couple years later, then we started dating.

MA: And you said your husband, is he a Nisei?

CT: I guess he'd be Nisei-han. His mother was born in Hawaii, in Hilo, and his father from Hiroshima. And both spoke Japanese, but then both spoke English, too. 'Cause, since my mother-in-law, like I said, is from Hawaii.

MA: Did your husband ever feel that sort of divide that you were talking about, the Sansei - Nisei, I mean in your family or anything? Like when he was interacting with your --

CT: We've never really talked about it, but I have a sense that it was probably quite a shock to him, when we went to my Los Angeles side. Because people engaged in a lot of discussion, heated discussion sometimes when you're talking about politics and things like that. But because all of my cousins, who are good friends, because not only that we grew up together, but I enjoy their company, they're all younger. Whereas in my husband's family, him being Nisei-han, everybody pretty much spoke Japanese. But he's never complained about having to go to my large family get-togethers. [Laughs] And he has a small family here. But we have pretty, quite a large extended family.

MA: And a lot of them are in, are still in the Los Angeles area?

CT: Uh-huh. And a lot are very involved in Japanese American community activist kinds of activities.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

MA: I wanted to talk with you about the Japanese American community, sort of organizations that you're involved with, because you've talked about the Japanese American resource center that you're involved with. Can you talk about that a little bit?

CT: A group of people got together the initial group and wanted to do something to kind of preserve the history, I think. And the people that, the main leaders of that group were Bill Hosokawa and Bob Sakata and then Cathy Ajisaka. And I don't know the names, Carrie Hata, I think they were part of the first group that kind of just got together and began with an idea. And then as they went along, then more people who had similar interests and kind of wanting to preserve something, came on board, and then we just moved very quickly. It's very new. We're probably a total of two years, you know, kind of from the start of the discussion to now the active part. And so we have an office that we're going to be opening at the end of June. And there we hope to have exhibits on... everything is going to be work in progress, but it will be the beginning of the mapping of the Japanese business section and then the beginning of the mapping of the presence of the Japanese American farmers in the state.

MA: And what's the final, are you gonna put this in a book, or you mentioned exhibits.

CT: We're gonna have small exhibits, but the goal is not to be a museum. It's, we're too small, it takes too much money to keep and preserve, so I think just speaking for myself, the goal would be to preserve at least the oral histories that have already been done in this area, but also to preserve the memories. And so one of the things that we're going to do at the opening is to ask people to come and maybe write one memory that you have of growing up in the Denver community. Most people would write about their childhood, but we've heard some very entertaining stories about their memories that sort of gives life to a picture, or life to our map. Looking at a map and seeing all these dots, that there were these farmers here, or these farmers lived there, that's nice visual data, but what makes it more interesting is when someone says, "I remember growing up and we did this." Or, "I remember my parents did, and we did this." And so that gives kinda the more, the richness, and the fullness. So I think for right now, we're just trying to get on our feet. And we will have a small exhibit. And our projects that we're doing. But it's a good group, everybody's really committed. And we all kind of have the same goals, let's preserve what we have. We're probably twenty years too late, because we've lost so many of the Isseis and the Niseis. But at least we can kind of try to catch what we have now.

MA: Yeah, definitely.

CT: So that's one of the things I'm involved in. The other one is the Japanese American community graduation program. And that's kind of, it seems kind of like it has a narrow focus, but it has much more of an impact on the community. And that organization, I think we celebrated our fiftieth year a couple years ago. And that started, was originally started by the JACL to begin to recognize our own students that are graduating from high school. And the JACL offered a scholarship in memory of one of the presidents that had passed away. And then from, and then the churches were giving scholarships and the bowling league was giving something. Everybody had kind of their own little group. And then Min Yasui, who was very active in the Denver community, he and a couple other people got together and said, "Why don't we make it a community thing?" So, I think thanks to them, that's sort of that okage sama de that they did, and then that brought the community together and it continues to this day. So we raise money, and the scholarships are available for students in a smaller geographic area of Japanese ancestry who have a link or a tie with the Japanese American community. And I think, me personally, hopes that their experience would be a positive one because they're getting a scholarship. And so that when they graduate from college, that no matter what community their jobs or anything takes them to, that they will join and support a Japanese American community in that state or that community so that we can keep perpetuating that commitment. And really, like I said, to do the kind of, honor our Issei pioneers who, it is really truly okage sama de. If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be here and have what we have. And then the older Nisei,too, who went through a lot of struggle. So hopefully those young people will go out and participate.

MA: Are you finding in Denver that there are a lot of Japanese American youth or young people that are getting involved with the community and community activities?

CT: Most of them wait until they're through with school. Of course, when you're younger and you belong to the youth groups, then that's the tie. Your parents take you, but then the real key is after your parents stop taking you and you graduate from college and you kinda get into your jobs, how they will come back. I don't say that it's really one hundred percent, but then we don't know what the graduates or the students who have moved away are doing. We did do a twenty-five year reunion, and sent letters to the graduates and asked them what they, what they were doing, their jobs and everything, and were they involved in community activities. And I don't remember that it was a big involvement, but at least many of them were involved. And that's what you could hope for.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

MA: Another thing that I was hoping you could talk about was the Japanese American Heritage School that you were involved with.

CT: Oh, yeah. We have a school called Chibi no Gakko. And that started because many years ago, a teacher in the school district that I work in got a grant for computers, so you can tell it was a long time ago, and, they built a computer lab. So she volunteered to teach a summer class to help kids learn how to use the computer. And they wrote a book, she didn't want them to write just papers and practice, she wanted a goal. So they wrote a book called Kids Explore Denver... I can't remember the exact title, but kids went out and interviewed and did reviews on summer activities or places for kids. So they went to the restaurants that are kid-friendly and then they, it was kind of like a recommendation. "Go here because they're kid-friendly." And then the following year, because she felt it was so successful and the kids really did learn to do, you know, you work the computers and stuff, they wrote a book called Kids Explore America's Hispanic Culture, or Communities. And that was successful. And then she wrote, the next group was America's African American Heritage, and then the third book was Kids Explore America's Japanese American Heritage. And when she contacted me, the first thing you think about is there's this person whose going to write about our heritage and she was not that way at all. She was very committed to making sure that it was accurate. So then, a few of us got together and we recruited Japanese American teachers so that we had a combination of Japanese American lead teachers who developed the outline for their curriculum, and then the other teachers which were a mix of Hispanic, African American, and Caucasian who worked on the other books. So we wrote the book, or the kids wrote the book. We just guided them and they published it. And then we had a big party and the book was done. A couple years later, parents started asking, "When are you gonna do that again?" Well, there was a book that was already written, so that wasn't the goal. But we realized that there was a need in the community for these younger children to learn about their Japanese American heritage. So that was kinda where the idea was born. And the lead teachers are Colorado-certified teachers and it's a combination of the educational community and the Japanese American community. So we hold it every other year, because we don't want to burn the teachers out. And we hold it for seven weeks in a row. And the kids... it's not a study about Japan, but it is a study about your heritage. But we teach the kids to begin to do research and reading on developing their family history.

MA: So it's a Japanese American heritage.

CT: The focus is really mostly on... we do talk about who came. We read a book, in fact, it's Allen Say's Grandfather's Journey, which is really illustrated well. And we read, use that as the base, and for the younger kids we read the book. And even with the older kids, we can talk about it. And then their homework is to go home and find out, "Well, who came to this country first in your family?" And if it's a bi-racial family, we say, "Go back as far as you can and get that information." And then, so they do the research, but then we go through the internment years and then we go through fighting for your country, and then cover the MIS, the 442, the 100th Battalion, and then also the resistance. Because we have some children whose grandfathers were resisters, but that was also defending their country in their own way. And then we move on into studying folk tales and things like that. But the kids go through four groups, which is really kind of neat. They have the research and writing. Then they do an art project which is based upon our heritage. And then they have cooking, which is based upon our heritage. And then, games, dance, songs, which is based on our heritage. So that one, the kids learn to play go and hana. And then learn some Japanese songs and of course everybody has to learn tanko bushi. But their favorite, most favorite is cooking, because they do the cooking. And each group, our classes are made up of about, we only take thirty-six kids every other year. And we've gone over a little bit, but we try to keep the student-teacher ratio small. And so, in cooking, they actually make, whether it's udon or sukiyaki or something, so that at the end of every session, and they ask, "What was your favorite?" Everybody always says cooking. [Laughs] But they enjoy the games and things, too.

MA: And I imagine they talk a lot with their family. It sparks a lot of dialogue in the family.

CT: And that's exactly what the reading-research part of it is, is to interview, and we let the parents know ahead of time, "You may have to make some long-distance phone calls." But we would like the children to talk to the oldest person in the family who can provide that information. So that's another one. And we're going into our, I think it's our seventh session, and we meet every other year, so that's fourteen years. So we're not an old, old group, but certainly there's a lot of children that have come through over that period of fourteen years, that have learned something about their family heritage. And they get a notebook at the end, so the notebook has all their research, the recipes, the description of the art projects, and then the instructions for the music, games, songs, and things like that.

MA: That sounds like so much fun. [Laughs]

CT: It is fun. Every year we're happy when it's over, because the teachers have to commit about nine months of their time and it's all volunteer.

MA: Right, so it's in addition to their jobs at school.

CT: Exactly. So we start planning, well, maybe six months in advance. But we get together in August or September and plan, and then the school starts in January. But we have to fit that in between soccer and basketball, so we do it in the wintertime and it's seven weeks in a row. So that's a big commitment. But everybody is committed who's connected to it, so that's really neat.

MA: Yeah, such a wonderful, sounds like such a wonderful experience.

CT: Yeah, and I think most Japanese American communities have some type of heritage school. I think in every, especially the larger communities. And so that's, I think that's really neat.

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

<Begin Segment 17>

MA: So I wanted to talk with you also about redress. And you had mentioned earlier, we had talked about redress a little bit. So we were talking about, you know on the phone, about how you spent your redress money, in going to Japan. Can you talk about that a little bit?

CT: Yeah, after we got our redress money, I wanted to be able to help our Yonsei kids kind of connect with their heritage, and so I used my money and we took the family and then we joined my brother and his children and then my aunt and uncle and their grandchildren. And so we took like a family trip and went back. We took a tour of Japan, but we all went back to Fukuoka, where my grandfather was and the family still owns the house. And so, it was kind of neat to have our children connect with the Japan relatives. And then we happened to have a relative who was a retired teacher who was also interested in the family history. And he went back and traced the family back to, I think, the year that they got the name, before people didn't have last names. So I know that it went back as far as like 900 A.D., we've got records of that, when the family got the name. And then, he did a family tree of everybody including the American, Japanese American side and it was written in English and in Japanese. So when we went back, we had this large sheet of paper and you could track and find out so that as you went from person to person and they pointed out what they were, because they could read the Japanese, then my children could look and say, "Oh, okay, we're connected here, here, and here." So they were able to meet and communicate somehow, 'cause they don't speak Japanese, with the family. And that really was, it was a really strong move, I'm really glad that I used my redress money to kind of pull the family together. And so we still have a lot of contact with, with the family in Japan. But that's on my maternal side. And we've never really been able to connect, even though we have the family translation of the koseki, but there aren't that many family relatives left on Shikoku.

MA: Which is your paternal side.

CT: Yeah, my paternal side, yeah.

MA: So how many children do you have?

CT: Just two.

MA: And what are their names? And --

CT: We have Cindy, and she's married to Kyle Nagai. And our son Tim is not married.

MA: Are they in the Denver area?

CT: In the Denver area, yeah.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

MA: You know, I just wanted to know if there's anything else you'd like to share, or any thoughts that you have?

CT: No, but there's one thing that I experienced that sometimes I can share and talk about it and sometimes not. But I'd at least like to kind of try to share, because my memory of it impacted how I deal with the children that I work with.

MA: Sure.

CT: But I always thought that I didn't remember very much about camp except the heat and things like that. And there was an incident that happened in Colorado when the students were protesting the Vietnam War and the bombing of Cambodia. And in Denver, they had a march down one of the major streets and they were protesting that. And then, after the march was over, they didn't want to kind of give it up. And this was during the '70s, when students were protesting all over the country. So they marched to the campus of University of Denver, and they set up kind of a shantytown that they called Woodstock West. And the kids were sitting around smoking pot. And I remember walking through -- and I was in school at that time. I was married and had children, but I went back to school to finish getting my degree. And walking through the students that are all playing their guitars and singing and everything, I couldn't figure out why something smelled so funny. And the other students who were much younger said, "That's 'cause you're inhaling pot." [Laughs] And I thought that was a funny experience for me, a mom and two kids, going back to school and walking through this crowd with pot. But the students wouldn't disperse and the mayor said, "You need to go back to your schools and go back home." And they wouldn't disperse and so he called the police to come out and they had tear gas, trying to make the students go away. Well, as soon as the tear gas... the students fled. Soon as the tear gas cleared away, the students came back again. And it, I think for them it was just really a fun experience. But by then, it was starting to get out of hand and it was kind of unsanitary because they were just camped out in the middle of the campus. So the governor called out the National Guard and said that they were going to move in and tear the shanty little cardboard houses down and make the students disperse.

So, I was sitting in a statistics class because I was in grad school. And the building was a former army barracks and was sort of like what we lived in when we were in camp. It was kind of the same plan. And I looked up in the stat class and I saw the units of National Guard soldiers walking by, and it triggered a memory. And I jumped up and said, "Oh, no. It's happening again." And I started crying and I ran down to the bathroom. But when I got there, I thought, "Why did I say that?" And then some of the female students followed me and they said, "What's wrong?" And I said, "I don't know." But that, seeing the soldiers marching by, reminded me of something from my childhood. And then years later, when I was talking to a friend of mine who's a mental health worker, she said that it was kind of probably like a post-traumatic stress syndrome. That, "You were young enough that you didn't have enough language to experience, I mean to express fear, or something, but the memory of the incident was buried within you." And so that really helped me understand. And that's when I kind of also, about the same time realized about the, why I couldn't stand the smell of canned milk, because it triggered more of an emotional memory rather than kind of a conscious one.

And so, I've sort of kept that experience in the back of my mind, but it really did help me. I think I shared before that, when I was teaching at the University of Denver and running their therapeutic preschools, I had a class of children that had been sexually abused, that were coming to us, they were bused in from another county. And students would say, "Why is that child, why are they there? The incident to them happened when they were babies or children." And I said, "No, you need to understand that the memory still is there, but they didn't have the language at that time to express anything, but that's why they're acting out now when they're four and five." And then of course, we had psychologists that were working with us, with the children, and then they would be called in when the children got to a point where it was really uncomfortable for them. So I think that my own experience helped me understand in later life how things that happened to people when they were children really do, they don't go away. So I was very interested in Satsuki Ina's work when she made the film Children of the Camps.

MA: Can you talk a little bit more about the, about that film?

CT: A film... she took a group of people who had had camp, the background in their experience, in their background, when they were younger. And they went to a retreat, and I don't know whether it was over the weekend or not, but the film was very powerful. Because as they sat and talked, it sort of brought out that that experience really did affect how they reacted to situation as they were adults. But I guess if you don't stop and think about it, you don't get that connection. But that was a powerful experience for me. And like I said, I can talk about it today, but there are other times when I can't talk about it.

MA: And I think that children, you know, internalize a lot more than we think that they do.

CT: I think children do internalize more than we as adults realize. That what happens to them, whether it's a positive or a negative, they still don't have the language to express it. But it doesn't mean that it didn't happen, or that they forgot about it.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

MA: Yeah, well, thank you so much for sharing that because I think it's a very important story.

CT: Well, yeah, and then again, it helped shape what I do now.

MA: Right, right.

CT: And why I think I keep wanting the communities to emphasize the Executive Order 9066 in February, on the anniversary, and really work towards that. And then also, I'm helping with the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation, even though we didn't, my husband was in Gila, in Arizona, and I was in Poston, they don't have a lot of Japanese Americans in the state of Wyoming, and so, but there's a lot of support for it from former internees. But they are in the process of building a learning center, or an interpretive center on what's left of the camp site. And they're fortunate that the local people, the Caucasians there, are really working actively on it. So we're in a fundraising process right now, and going to build a interpretative center on the land. Heart Mountain, Wyoming, the internees donated money and made it possible for us to buy some of the land back that was the camp, because after the war, the, I think probably every camp, the land was put up in a lottery for returning veterans. And like the Homesteader Act, and they were able to get land, and they got a certain number of acres, and then some camp barracks. But in that Wyoming area, a lot of the barracks were saved and people were able to buy them. I don't remember, it was very minimal. And they rebuilt them, or remodeled them and lived in them. And so there are a lot of camp barracks, out of Heart Mountain, that are still existing in the Powell/Cody area.

MA: Or that people just sort of live in now.

CT: Convert. And they lived in it, uh-huh, and converted it. Most of them though, I think they don't all qualify as being historic because people built things on it or they changed it, or they took new wood. But we're also fortunate to have some actual barracks. And my husband worked on, with the Japanese American National Museum, he went up to Powell, Wyoming, and helped dismantle two of the barracks and then they were shipped down to Los Angeles. And then, part of it is still inside the building. But the others, I think they put that together and sent it to Ellis Island, so that it was on exhibit there.

MA: Right, right.

CT: But that was an important project personally for him to be involved in. So, but again, it was because of the dry climate and the fact that people, I mean they didn't look into preserving it, but they retained those and used it for storage. So some of those that were used as storage weren't, they didn't add on new wood or anything like that. They weren't remodeled in any way. So that's, I work towards that, and that was our passion also to preserve the story of what happened.

MA: Yeah, well, thank you so much for sharing. I mean, it's really been such a fantastic interview.

Yeah, thanks for sharing. I really appreciate it.

CT: Okay.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.