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-01-0019

<Begin Segment 19>

SY: Can you think of any other things that they did? It's, I think it's so amazing.

YM: Let's see, well, I remember somebody making ice cream at the, in the administration building, and he must've made it with canned milk, I think. Whatever it was, they made it though. Those things that you crave, you never probably would've done it at home, but when you're in a place like that you think it's so novel. So I remember somebody making ice cream out there in the, in the office area.

SY: Did you ever feel like you had no place to go for privacy? Did you find places? Did people find places to go so that they could be, like just maybe one or two, like say a couple, a boy and a girl?

YM: I don't think there was much of that. No, it was just a whole group of...

SY: Everybody did everything as a group.

YM: Yeah. And one thing I remember was there was an empty lot in, close to, adjacent to our, where we were living, and my brother-in-law was a tennis enthusiast, he loved it, and so a group of them got together and tried to make a court there. They cleared up all the weeds and whatever, then they'd water it down and they'd smooth it out and, water it down and smooth it out. And I thought, well, they have all day to do this, so I think I left before they ever used it, but they were working on it. Those things that, you think of how to make things more livable or comfortable and it's amazing how they come up with ideas what to do.

SY: That's true. I never thought about how all these facilities... the baseball fields and all of that, those were done already though?

YM: Probably. They probably had a baseball field or something because they, I never went to one of them, but we used to have, in Gila we used to have a, I don't know if you've ever seen a picture of Butte, it's usually with a water tank on top and it's kind of on a butte like this, and that's where we had the movie. So we'd sit on the butte like this and then the movie was down below, so it's like stadium seats. [Laughs]

SY: Self-made.

YM: Yes.

SY: And the, but I have heard that the dust was really bad, the wind.

YM: Right. No matter how, what you do, windows closed, doors closed, it gets in when there is a dust storm. And it, they gave us linoleum floors which was a maroon color, and you could see the sand on it, and some people just really suffered from it. One lady would just close up everything and clean up just like a, I mean, it just affected her so badly. She's just cleaning all day, just couldn't stand it. But most of us just took it in stride, I think. You know, here comes another dust storm. [Laughs] But you just have to keep dusting it, and the windowsill gets dirty and whatever, but generally you kept your windows open to keep it cool. But like I say, this maroon linoleum, they came and laid it. We had a pot-bellied stove, wood-burning stove -- I think it was wood-burning -- anyway, they came and put linoleum on our floors.

SY: So that was after you arrived?

YM: Yeah, after we, after we were there they came. And they did it so fast. They did, had to do hundreds of 'em, so they were very efficient, and I don't know how many they did a day, but they really worked fast. And let's see, what else?

SY: So did you use that stove very much? Was it cold enough?

YM: Yeah, when, in the... yeah.

SY: In the winter.

YM: It can get cold, yes. It's a very sharp cold. Let's see...

SY: All of those, really, that, I never thought about all those little things that make a difference.

YM: Uh-huh. But it is amazing how people thought of how to make it comfortable. If somebody went there about the second or third year they'd probably think, "Oh, it's like a resort," you know what I mean? Everything, it wasn't bare. It wasn't, it was livable. They all tried so hard to make it livable. And they, like I say, they had the time to do it.

SY: That's great. That's great.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.