Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Christie O. Ichikawa Interview
Narrator: Christie O. Ichikawa
Interviewer: Sharon Yamato
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: January 10, 2012
Densho ID: denshovh-ichristie-01-0012

<Begin Segment 12>

SY: And when you ended up having to leave, where was the first place you went to report to?

CI: Santa Anita.

SY: So did you drive your car?

CI: I think some of us were in a car, and then some of us... and then my dad and a friend went with us to camp, Santa Anita. And they took a truck, because then we loaded all the suitcases. Because you could take one suitcase per person, so that amounts to quite a few suitcases. So we couldn't put everything in a car. So I think we went in the car, which we had to sell to the government for twenty-five dollars or something. I think in Santa Anita there was a place to dump your car.

SY: And the truck, too?

CI: And then the truck was rented. And I have no idea who drove it or what they did with the truck. But I do remember a truck. And we were in Santa Anita for I think six months, from April... about six months.

SY: You reported there in April? And what was your assignment as far as living when you got to Santa Anita? Where were you told to report? Were you in one of the barracks?

CI: Yes, we were in a barrack. I used to know the number of the barrack until right now. It just slipped my mind. But we were near a shower, and we went to the Orange Mess. The messes were assigned colors. And so we were in the Orange Mess.

SY: And your whole family with all the kids and your grandfather?

CI: My grandfather had passed away. He died about 1940, I think. Just before the war.

SY: Before he even had to hear about Pearl Harbor.

CI: Uh-huh.

SY: So it was still your mother and father and all the kids, five of you, right?

CI: Plus my Aunt Eleanor. She had not married yet.

SY: And you all lived in one family space?

CI: No, we had two. One held three people, and then the rest of them were in the next barrack.

SY: So your parents, and then who was the third person in the one unit?

CI: It was my Aunt Eleanor, Paul, and me. And then rest were my dad, mother, and the three kids.

SY: What do you remember about Santa Anita? Do you remember what you did every day?

CI: Every day we went to the mess hall. And pretty soon you couldn't gather everybody together. And then when you got to the mess hall, you might not be able to sit together anyway. So that was the beginning of the breakup of the family unit, I think, is that people, the families no longer could eat together, and I think parents slowly lost control of their children because... well...

SY: So you just sort of went on your own whenever you wanted to, or did you have a certain --

CI: We were still pretty cohesive. But slowly we would be, I'm going to go eat with so-and-so. And then we were restricted to the mess hall. You couldn't go to any mess hall, you had to stay at the Orange Mess or whatever color you're assigned.

SY: So that meant you had to stay more with your family than with your friends.

CI: Unless your friend is close by, and that wasn't usually the case.

SY: So your friends from Boyle Heights were not in the same area?

CI: No. Because we lived south of Whittier Boulevard, and that seemed to be the line of demarcation. But people that lived north went to Poston or to Manzanar, and the rest of us went to Santa Anita and then to Rohwer.

SY: So you didn't have that many friends that went to your...

CI: No, not that many.

SY: That you grew up with.

CI: Uh-huh.

SY: So it was mainly your family that you stayed with.

CI: Family and, well, some. Anybody that went to Lorena Street School, not necessarily Stevenson, because Stevenson was a larger area. But Lorena was kind of restricted to people south of Whittier Boulevard.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright &copy; 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.