Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Yasu Koyamatsu Momii Interview
Narrator: Yasu Koyamatsu Momii
Interviewer: Sharon Yamato
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: October 25, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-myasu-01-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

SY: And then what did, what exactly did you do when you arrived there?

YM: Let's see, I started to work. I found a job at the hospital, housekeeping section, and what we did was, they had all this surplus bedspreads from the army and in order to make our wards more colorful, we made little curtains and stuff like that to make it a little more like, less barrack-like. There was one nurse who hadn't been practicing recently so she didn't have a uniform, so I remember making her a white uniform for her.

SY: So you actually got to use some, do some sewing.

YM: Sewing, yeah. It was in the, I guess it was in the Courier or whatever it was, classified ads or something. It says something about wanting a seamstress or something, so that's why I applied. And it was just Mrs. Koda, whose husband was a doctor and she was a housekeeping chairman, so whatever she needed, make sheets with little holes in it for operating room. And I remember we couldn't get any new sewing needles, so Mrs. Koda got us little carborundum or something. It's a little, make, sharpen my needles with, since we couldn't get any.

SY: But the sewing machines were already there.

YM: Yeah, it was all set up. So we did all, little things I can't remember, but she would know what the names were, so whatever she wanted done I just, I worked there for a while. And then there was an opening in the lab, clerical work in the lab, so I did that for a while. And let's see...

SY: So was that unusual, to go from job to job like that?

YM: No, not, people, there were some people that really stuck with one job, I'm sure. And they even had camouflage net in Gila. I didn't see where they were doing it or anything, but I read that they were doing it. The government just needed it badly, needed them badly, so they had an area for that, but I don't know where. And I know they had a lot of vegetable gardens and stuff, but I didn't see any of it. You had to really walk around to find out. I didn't know.

SY: So you were, but you were, kind of got to choose.

YM: Yeah. It was just like anywhere else. You want, you're looking for a job and whatever appealed, you know? Like camouflage, there's a mass of people that they could use so it was easy to get that job. It was probably the, low paying in the totem pole, but anyway, we were paid something for it.

SY: Right. So then you did the clerical job, and then... so you kept pretty busy, did you?

YM: Yes. I was only there about a year, but I was working somewhere and kept busy.

SY: And do you remember off hours, when you were, when you...

YM: They had, we had movies, and we had, each block had its own mess hall, so sometimes there would be entertainment in that little mess hall. And I remember having some kind of talent show or something in the mess hall, local, local group. And then there was a baseball team from our block. What else? Anyway, we were kept busy. And that's where I think my mother had some lessons from, for making flowers out of double crepe paper. It was pretty nice.

SY: Crafts kind of thing.

YM: Yeah, made roses and whatever. And my mother with her bifocals, you know. [Laughs]

SY: And how about you? Did you do any of that kind of crafty stuff?

YM: No, I don't remember doing anything. And I'm just wondering how, I remember sewing something for myself and I was wondering, where did I get the sewing machine? I don't know if somebody, if I borrowed it from somebody. It must've been a portable, of course, but I don't remember.

SY: How about the fabric? Where did --

YM: But I remember making something for myself.

SY: You got the fabric from some place too?

YM: Yeah. Well you know, good ol' Sears.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.