Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Setsu Tsuboi Tanemura Interview
Narrator: Setsu Tsuboi Tanemura
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: November 12, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-tsetsu-01-0015

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TI: Any other memories from -- so you were at the, when you say assembly, so the Puyallup?

ST: No, no.

TI: I mean, not Puyallup, but the Portland --

ST: Portland assembly center.

TI: -- assembly center. Which was converted...

ST: It was an Exposition place. It was very much like Puyallup. But the other thing my dad did to make thing better was he told us to go shopping before we went to camp. And he said, "Now, I think it would be a good idea for you to have a pair of pants because," he says, "you never know what kind of situation we're gonna be in." I was thrilled. I had never been allowed to wear pants, because he did not, he believed girls should wear dresses. And then the other thing we shopped for were those enamel pans. He says, "I think you should have a set of dinnerware, and something that could be washed easily and wouldn't break." So we bought the enamelware, you know, we bought a bowl and cup and a tin... a cup and a bowl and sort of a dish of some sort. And to then we each had a set. And the other thing he bought but he didn't tell me or show it to me until we got to the assembly center was, he had friends in the wholesale departments, of course, 'cause he was a businessman so he knew all the wholesale people. At this time, chocolate was already very short. You couldn't get candy bars. And he bought, he had these, they used to have these full boxes of candy bars. And they're not like the candy bars you see nowadays. They were about the size of what we'd probably pay a dollar for. And they were these full boxes of 'em, twenty-four, forty-eight in a box. And he bought maybe three or four boxes of those, and he packed them. And so then when we went to camp, went to the assembly center, he brought them out for me and he said, "Here." He says, "These are for you," and he says, "and you can share them with your friends."

TI: So, I mean, boxes of chocolates. So, I mean, you had lots of pieces.

ST: Well, no, the chocolate bars. They were individual bars.

TI: Oh, the bars.

ST: Boxes of individual bars. That's the way they sold them at the wholesale store. They would be, there would be a box and they were sealed. It would be probably twenty-four, forty-eight in a box, and that's the way they were set up at the grocery store. They'd open the box, and then you just take a bar out. And in those days, of course, the bars were large. Eight ounces.

TI: That was a treasure.

ST: Yeah. So I had... and they were good bars. I mean, we had Hershey, Hershey almond, I don't remember whether we had Nestle. I just remember they were very good bars. And so, of course, I was very popular, and I would share them with my friends, my little group of friends. And but I said, "I could only give you one, just to you." I said, "I can't give you two for your brothers and sisters." So one of the kids said, "Is it okay if I only eat part of it and take it home for the rest?" So that's what a lot of 'em did. But those lasted for quite a while. And in fact, right next to our assembly center was the army camp where the soldiers were that were our guards. And we could hear reveille every morning and we would look out and watch them do their marching. They were in a very cramped quarters. And they had the watchtowers over the edges, the fences and everything. But we had quite a large area we could run around. And so we would go out and play. And one day I said, "You know, I feel sorry for the soldiers up in that guard tower just standing there all the time. We should see if they, I'll give, see if they'd like a candy bar." And they said, "Okay." So we ran over there and we waved at them. They were always friendly, they would wave and say hello. And I said, "Would you like a candy bar?" And he said, "No thank you." And we said, and I remember saying something like, "Well, they're good, they're not poisoned." And I said, "I'll open it up and take a bite if you want." And he said, "Oh, we're not allowed to eat on duty, but thank you very much." And I thought, "Oh, how strange. He doesn't even want a candy bar," when I knew they were very hard to get. 'Cause he probably couldn't get 'em either. [Laughs]

TI: That's a good story.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.