Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Nancy Shimotsu Interview
Narrator: Nancy Shimotsu
Interviewer: Sharon Yamato
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: February 7, 2012
Densho ID: denshovh-snancy-01-0023

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SY: And do you remember exactly how long you were in camp?

NS: Well, like I said, not more than two years because I went out to Chicago. My brother wanted me to come out. I was going to go to college at that time, then I went out and I got a job right away. So then I missed out going to college.

SY: Were you planning on going to college before --

NS: At that time, yes. Well, I just graduated high school, remember? I told you that summer I graduated high school.

SY: So before camp, were you thinking about going to college?

NS: Yeah, I wanted to go, yes.

SY: So then you ended up going to camp.

NS: Yeah. And then I said, oh... I mean, once you stay away from school, it's so hard to go back. So I said, "Oh, I don't want to go." Instead, I worked and made money. I was making money so I was happy. [Laughs]

SY: And how is it that you decided... what was it, what made you decide to go to Chicago?

NS: Because my brother was there already. He didn't go in camp, he was going school over there in Chicago. He was in University of Chicago, my oldest brother. And so he called me. I mean, he wrote a letter telling me to come.

SY: Now is this the older brother --

NS: My oldest brother Harold.

SY: So this is not the brother who ended up in Washington?

NS: No, he's the one. He was going to school to become a scientist, remember I told you? He did and he graduated, and so he got a job in Washington later on. That was later on, now. Yeah, he got a good job in Washington.

SY: And so he just asked you of the whole family to go to Chicago?

NS: No, my other brothers went, too, but they had a job elsewhere. I mean, he went to join my brother, too, in Chicago.

SY: In Chicago. So then it was your...

NS: Second brother.

SY: Your second brother was there and then you left...

NS: And later on, my two other brothers came, but they didn't like Chicago so they came back to camp. And then they stayed in camp until the camp ended, and then went back to West L.A. where my oldest brother bought the house for them.

SY: So how did your parents feel when you decided to leave camp?

NS: Well, she was kind of scared that I shouldn't go, being a woman, young girl. I was only eighteen. So she kind of worried about it. But I said, "Shinpai nai, Mama." Then I wrote to her and I called her up. They had a telephone, so I told her to go to a certain place at a certain time to go so I could talk to her. So then she was okay. She was kind of worried, but she was all right. I was sending, giving her money, so she was happy. [Laughs] I was making money.

SY: And your brother... your parents weren't able to leave camp at that time?

NS: No, nobody could. Not 'til the government said okay. Then the notice came and said anybody that wants to leave camp may go, and that's when the notice came. That's when my brother went out.

SY: So you were able to go before that point?

NS: Yes, because I had a place to go. I had to get a permission, though. You had to go into the office and ask for permission, and then they had to get my brother's address. It was such a hectic thing for a while, but it was okay. It wasn't too bad.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.