Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hy Shishino Interview
Narrator: Hy Shishino
Interviewer: Sharon Yamato
Location: Cerritos, California
Date: January 31, 2012
Densho ID: denshovh-shy-01-0016

<Begin Segment 16>

SY: So what else did you do at Gila, besides... did you have, did you work there? Did you get a job at Gila?

HS: Yeah. The Orange Mess is where I worked, about three or four months.

SY: That's where you --

HS: And so when we were leaving camp, it was a summer resort and so...

SY: So you had the mess hall training in camp.

HS: So I took this job in the summer resort, and so I worked in the pantry making salads.

SY: And the mess hall job in camp paid you...

HS: What was it, it was eight, twelve and sixteen, I think, so we got eight dollars.

SY: So that was in Gila. I think we talked about it, but in Santa Anita, but this was in Gila that you were...

HS: It was so pitiful that... [Laughs] You still didn't spend much money. The only thing is candy in the canteen.

SY: So when you, when you worked in the mess hall, was that like, how, was that a full time job?

HS: I think I worked from four in the morning 'til twelve. So I'd get up and, so we'd have breakfast. You'd munch on, one guy would make us scrambled eggs, and one time we had steak, just us. [Laughs]

SY: Nice. So what, and the food, you didn't mind the food at all while you were in camp?

HS: No, but Thursday night was the worst in Santa Anita 'cause every Thursday night they used to serve mutton stew, and you could smell it, like especially in the barracks area, and we were right near the stables. But when they cooked lamb, mutton stew, it smelled like soap, and you could smell. Well, every Thursday night the latrines were, everybody got diarrhea, and there was a line, and the cesspools overflowed. At twelve o'clock at night on Thursday night I could hear, they had to empty the cesspools every Thursday night. Trucks would be going around at midnight and you could hear 'em. But so none of us liked mutton stew. I mean, so a lot of people just carried that over to lamb, so people that were in Santa Anita that had to eat the mutton stew, a lot of people probably still have an aversion to lamb. It was a long time before I ordered lamb chops in a restaurant. But I was kind of forced to eat lamb chops when I got to work in the Radisson Hotel. The cook cooked us a bunch of lamb chops for breakfast. Or was it for lunch? Eleven o'clock, all the kitchen used to sit down and all of us used to have lunch. All the, behind the stoves they'd set up two tables and then all of us would sit down, have lunch together.

SY: So you enjoyed the cooking? Is that something that you kind of took to right away?

HS: Yeah. Working in the mess halls was fun 'cause Jimmy and I used to just chop away, and we had fun at it. And everybody, the head pantry guy, he just left us alone, and they would watch us. [Laughs] But we had fun in the mess hall. We ate pretty good.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.