Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Sumiko M. Yamamoto Interview
Narrator: Sumiko M. Yamamoto
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary); Barbara Takei (secondary)
Location: Sacramento, California
Date: December 8, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-ysumiko-01-0011

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: Okay, so let's talk about the day you leave Gilroy. So where did you assemble to be picked up, and how did you, I mean, where did you go from Gilroy?

SY: At the high school. We gathered at the high school, and I think there were two busses. I really don't... I just saw the two busses, the one I, when I went, took the bus to go to Salinas.

TI: Now, was there anyone there to see you or your family or the other Japanese off when you were saying goodbye?

SY: No.

TI: So what was the feeling, the mood of people that day when you're boarding the busses at the high school to go to Salinas?

SY: Gee, I don't know, we just automatically got on the bus. I saw a few students waving their hands, you know, I guess to their friends.

TI: So these were some high school students.

SY: Yes, uh-huh.

TI: So the bus goes to Salinas, and what was Salinas like? What did you find when you got to Salinas?

SY: I didn't know where we were at, you know, when we got to Salinas. And let's see. It was a camp, camp there, and I don't know, I just followed the people. Just tagged along, I didn't know what was going on.

TI: And at this point, your older brother George was in the army, so was the rest of the family all together? So there were nine of you?

SY: Yes, yes.

TI: So describe the living quarters. If there were nine of you, what kind of room did the nine of you have, or space did you have?

SY: Gee, did we have two rooms? I don't remember. We might have gotten two rooms.

TI: Anything else you can remember about Salinas?

SY: Gee... not too much about Salinas.

TI: Did you see, maybe, friends from...

SY: Oh, from Gilroy?

TI: ...Salinas or Gilroy or other people there?

SY: Yes. We met some people from Gilroy, and I think my brother, the one that's just above me, Katsumi, he lived in Salinas going to high school there. So he knew a lot of people from Salinas.

TI: So why would Katsumi go to Salinas High School and not the Gilroy high school?

SY: Well, he wanted to learn mechanic, and they didn't have that in Gilroy High. So he got permission to go to Salinas High School.

TI: And who did he stay with at Salinas?

SY: He stayed with my father's friend who ran the garage, and that's where he stayed.

TI: Good. And about how long did you stay at the Salinas Assembly Center?

SY: Gee, when did we go there? I think we stayed about two or three months there.

TI: And then from Salinas, any other memories before we go to the next place?

SY: I just remember I had white hair. Yeah, I had white hair, so I covered my head when we had to go to mess hall to eat.

TI: Why would you have white hair?

SY: I don't know.

TI: You mean your hair turned...

SY: My hair turned white. Not all white, but you could see the white. So I had to wear a bandana.

TI: Because you were about sixteen years old?

SY: Yeah, something like that. Fifteen, sixteen.

TI: And so already you were getting white hair. And so you were, like, embarrassed by the white hair so you covered it. Interesting.

SY: I was getting old. [Laughs]

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.