Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Eugene Tatsuru Kimura Interview
Narrator: Eugene Tatsuru Kimura
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: September 5, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-keugene-01-0018

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TI: So let's go back to Puyallup. So you have an apartment, your mother and you --

EK: Well, "apartment" is a generous word. Shack.

TI: A space, a living space.

EK: Space.

TI: For you and your mother. So describe, describe the living space for me.

EK: Well, there was only two cots there, with straw mattresses, one bare light bulb, and one stove, which served as heat and so forth, and maybe making hot tea or something of that nature. And the barracks were made during the rainy season in Seattle, which was constantly. So that when the sun did come out and then the wood would shrink, and then dust and dirt and so forth would come in. And I think they were tarpaper, but even despite the tarpaper, I'm sure the dust would seep in. So that it was not as primitive as some of the other permanent camps that some of the other people went to. But then, but then in the final analysis, it was not what we had expected or what we were used to anyway. But then, here again, shikata ga nai, what can you do?

TI: Describe some of the sounds or smells that you could remember from Puyallup?

EK: Oh, it was a pitched roof, and to separate each room, there was a, should I say, wall about eight feet high. So that during the day, you can hear conversation of people talking, laughing, arguing and so forth, all the way down, halfway down the barracks hall. And at night you could hear a baby crying because of being, wet diapers or hungry and so forth. So it was, it was community living. The most important, most memorable thing that I remember when the lights went out was the coyotes. One coyote serenading the night, another coyote answering back. And also the lonely whistle of a train. I said, "Gosh, I wish I were on that train." So it was a, what shall I say, a nostalgic, cruel moment here. And again, I said, "We're U.S. citizens."

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