Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Betty Tanakatsubo Interview
Narrator: Betty Tanakatsubo
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Skokie, Illinois
Date: June 15, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-tbetty-01-0016

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TI: Good, any other memories or thoughts about the WRA office?

BT: Well, my first day after I found out that I was hired, I was supposed to report by no later than nine o'clock. And what happened was I was not familiar with the transportation system, right? So what I did was I thought, okay here's the bus and I hopped on that bus. Well, it went to the suburb. And I thought oh, no, this doesn't look right, it's not something that I need to go to the suburb. So I finally got off and I waited for another bus, this time I knew this bus was going into the city so I hopped on that. And when I got to the office I was a little late. So then Mr. George says, "What happened to you?" And I said to him I explained what had happened, that I got on the wrong bus going the other way, and so he wrote it on one of these bulletins as something, this is what happens when you come to a city after leaving camp, you're not familiar with a lot of little things like that. And he thought it was funny.

TI: Oh, so he had a little newsletter or something.

BT: Yes, in Cleveland.

TI: And who read this newsletter? Who was it for?

BT: It was mainly for people who were interested in reading about the Niseis, and the Nisei themselves were able to get a copy.

TI: Okay, and the four kind of leaders at the office, what were their backgrounds? Why were they doing this job?

BT: They were, a lot of 'em were now, as far as I know, they had a secretarial job so they felt like they were qualified to work for the WRA office, which was nice. And eventually some of them, when the office after how many years they started to close up, some of the people went back to California.

TI: These are the Niseis you're talking about?

BT: Yeah, right that worked for the --

TI: But the white kind of managers, what was --

BT: I don't know whatever happened... I often wondered what happened to them. I'm pretty sure most of them are probably deceased.

TI: I'm wondering if they were like government workers and other agencies that transferred over or who they were, I was just curious.

BT: I have no contact. After I left I had no contact. Once the office was closed I had no idea where these people, Mrs. Barber or Mr. Cameron, Titus, these employees, Caucasian employees, I don't know what happened to them. I often wondered about them.

TI: Earlier you mentioned how you were married in Cleveland and now I'm curious, so how did you get to Chicago?

BT: Oh, my husband was working at a dental tech, and he used to come to Cleveland and over the weekend sometimes, and he would stay with this one family and stay overnight and then we would go on a date, then he had to come back to Chicago.

TI: Okay, so I see, he was working in Chicago?

BT: I mean after in Cleveland, from Cleveland he left for Chicago, he got a job as a dental tech, so this is the reason why he left.

TI: Okay, and I forgot to ask this, where did your family go after the war? So you came to Cleveland and then eventually Chicago, you mentioned your mother and sister, they went to Sacramento for a little bit.

BT: Yes, they moved to Sacramento again and then my sister one above me, she went to Denver because my oldest sister lived in Denver. So she decided to go to Denver. My younger brother went with my mother back to Sacramento. One of my sisters left for Sacramento and my brother, Tom, that was in the office, he eventually moved to Chicago after he got discharged. He decided to live in Chicago which was great 'cause I said we had at least I had a relative and this is the brother that was in the 100th Infantry.

TI: Right, okay.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.