Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Bernadette Suda Horiuchi Interview
Narrator: Bernadette Suda Horiuchi
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 19, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-hbernadette-01-0027

<Begin Segment 27>

TI: But yet when you first heard about the camps and saw them, you said you were envious.

BH: We were envious 'cause they had a place to sleep, even if it was only a barrack. But at least they had a place to go. So when we went from Rock Springs to Ogden to live, because they said they had jobs there. So Paul went to work in some kind of electric trolley, I think they called it. It's one of those big ones, not just the city one, but big one. So he got a job right away. He got put to work and he didn't know anything about those railroad electric cars. But the foreman told Paul, he says, "Put this wire together," and then it'll start running. So match the color or the wires or something like that. And so he was making good money, and they liked him and they liked his work. And so they were doing pretty well until one of the foremen of the railroad or somebody came, young kid came along. And he was more or less talking to himself and he said, "I wonder what would happen if I put the trolley up." And at that time, they were working on the thing and they got electric shock. And Paul came home all green and I said, "What happened?" He says, "We only got electrocuted almost."

TI: Because this young kid did something wrong and then he almost...

BH: Yeah, he put the trolley up when he wasn't supposed to.

TI: And he almost electrocuted... did he die?

BH: No, he was all right.

TI: He just got shocked.

BH: Yeah. He was the one, he just wanted to put that trolley up. I think there were two or three men under the railroad, the trolley, working on the wires or something. And they were the ones that got shocked. They said there were three or four of 'em, so he said it wasn't too bad. I think it divides or something, the power. If he had been alone, he probably would have been killed.

TI: And so Paul was frightened.

BH: Oh, yeah, he came home all green. He said, "That's the end of it." So he quit that railroad.

TI: Going back to Minidoka, so how long did you stay there?

BH: Just overnight or a couple of days. We were so envious, went to the dining hall, and they had big table with milk. [Laughs] They were so envious because they had all that milk to drink and they didn't have much. [Referring to children]

TI: And yet you said also that when you went there, though, it was a little scary because of the guard towers.

BH: Yeah, uh-huh. But once you're in there, they said, "That's okay." People were just running around, running around. And seemed like there were all the kids running around. It seemed like it was a nice place. So we wondered if, "You could take us," and they said no. They were already trying to take people out by that time. This was quite a while later. Said, "Oh, we're trying to take the people out now, not putting them in."

TI: And when you were visiting, I was curious because when I interviewed Lucius Horiuchi, he showed me an, I think it was an oil painting of inside Minidoka with a water tower and I think it was Lucius and his sister walking there. So it was something that he said that your husband painted when he was at Minidoka.

BH: No, I don't remember that.

TI: So it's in Lucius's bedroom, it's a painting from Minidoka.

BH: Probably took, made a sketch. He used to do a lot of sketching at that time, and then he'd later make it into an oil...

TI: Oh, so maybe that's what happened.

BH: Yeah, maybe that was what...

TI: He sketched it. And so any other memories from the wartime that you can think about? Because you were in Ogden, then after Ogden, where did you go?

BH: Ogden was pretty nice. He got a job, he did several jobs. He was a gardener, helped, he used to go around, there were a crew of them, I guess, and he was one of those. And he'd help, it was long work, and the owner was a banker in Ogden. So they said they wanted somebody to come to their house. They had a house, Japanese housekeeper already, couple, so they wanted us to go there and do the laundry or something. So I used to go do the laundry, and the kids would play out on the lawn 'cause it was a real nice lawn. And I guess it was twenty-five cents an hour. But even that much helped. [Laughs] And so they said, if anything had to do with water, like washing or something, they gave thirty-five cents an hour. And so after the work was all done, the kids, we'd go home.

TI: Well, it's interesting just listening to you, all the things that you did just to help out or to make things work for the family. It's amazing.

BH: But imagine being, twenty-five cents an hour for working. [Laughs] They had a swimming pool someplace, and so they used to have a whole bunch of people come and use their pool. And so then they'd have millions of towels. That's what I was there for, mostly, to wash them. And they didn't have any dryer in those days that I can recall. So we used to hang 'em on a clothesline. And when they get dry I have to fold 'em and put 'em away.

TI: And that was for twenty-five cents an hour?

BH: Twenty-five cents an hour. But to us, that was quite a bit at that time.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.