Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Molly K. Maeda Interview
Narrator: Molly K. Maeda
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: April 17, 2014
Densho ID: denshovh-mmolly-01-0018

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TI: And tell me about the arrangements for your wedding ceremony. How was that done? What was the wedding like?

MM: It was in a whitewashed two-by-four, in the picture I can see it. All whitewashed, clean, and big, big rooms. And then almost right next to it on the corner was the women's showers and washroom. Ours was way over in the other corner of three thousand people where the men's was, and our apartment was right across from the men's. So this was women's way over here in the corner, there were only two central. And the people came with their pans, enamel pans and Tupperware and everything, with their towels and soap and came in, it was a big room, it was wide open, so they all stood in the back, and hundreds of people just watching. [Laughs] But we did send an invitation to, my sister-in-law arranged it all for certain people. But had hundreds in the back with all their shower things and everything, going home to their apartment, they stopped in.

TI: So you had a picture of your wedding ceremony, and in the background there are beautiful flowers, there are candleholders, and unless you look carefully in the back and saw the white, kind of, boards, it could be a church, I mean, it looks so beautiful.

MM: They fixed it. Frances did that, my sister-in-law.

TI: How did she get such beautiful things?

MM: She talked to her former colleagues where she worked in the office in Portland, and all her good friends she had. And those several ladies just ordered everything. They talked with Frances, and they were allowed to bring it in (...) over the barbed wire fence.

TI: Now, when you saw all that, were you surprised to see all this?

MM: Yes, yes, I was, because I didn't... she planned it all. I didn't do a thing. Cake and everything, because people have seen the cake and said, "How'd you get a cake in there?"

TI: And so where did the cake come from? Was it made outside?

MM: From Portland, outside. Everything came. She made all the arrangements.

TI: How did she pay for all this?

MM: I didn't. I didn't. They paid for it all.

TI: Well, I mean, it's really touching when you think about everything she did.

MM: And she never married. She was always a career lady, and the churches, she worked with churches. And these ladies were all good church friends, real close friends, so they did everything.

TI: And so what are some other memories from that day, your wedding day, at the Portland Assembly Center?

MM: Assembly center? [Laughs] Portland Assembly Center, well, we had this apartment they assigned to us right across from the men's showers and things, way over in the corner. I don't know what, I didn't think they had any, but they gave it to... but you know, it was only a six feet canvas hanging there. And you can hear babies crying, and people, (...) you're not supposed to (cook), have hot plates, (...) but then I'd smell food, you could smell food because it's wide open (above you).

TI: Going back to your wedding ceremony, did you have a maid of honor?

MM: She was, that lady, was a Tsuboi. See, my folks were sort of related in Japan to the Tsuboi family. And since none of my folks (and) relatives could be there, my folks asked the Tsubois. And so that's Mr. and Mrs. Tsuboi in there, and the daughter, youngest daughter. Now her older sister lives at University House where I live now.

TI: Was it a little sad for you that your parents and your sisters and brother couldn't be at the ceremony?

MM: (Very sad). (There was) just the maid of honor, just maid of honor, a bridesmaid, just the one.

TI: No, but I was --

MM: (...)

TI: But I was wondering for you, was it sad that your parents couldn't attend?

MM: Yes, it was, it was. It was, because I didn't have a single relative. But there's a, Roy Maeda's in there, picture. (Roy was still with the Maeda family when we were married. He joined the army later from Minidoka!)


TI: Well, during the wedding ceremony, who gave you away? Usually it's father who gives away the bride.

MM: Mr. Tsuboi.

TI: So they were kind of the proxy family for you. I see. One of the things I hear about a lot at the Portland Assembly Center, and you mentioned earlier, there really isn't that much privacy. The walls only come up to a certain level, you can hear people.

MM: You can hear people.

TI: So here you and your husband are now newlyweds, how did you find privacy for the two of you?

MM: Oh, there wasn't much privacy then, no.

TI: Especially you were right next to the men's, kind of...

MM: People were walking out there and everything, but we didn't care. We didn't mind. We went out, and I remember there was baseball, you know, it was getting to be near summertime, May, so baseball out there, we'd go out there... let's see, what would we do? Get a bag of popcorn or potato chips at the commissary and go out there and sit on the dirt. [Laughs] Yeah, that's what we did. We couldn't go on any honeymoon or anything.

TI: And what about just the living conditions? People talked about the smells, when it got hot, the black flies were there. How was it for you?

MM: It didn't bother us too much. The food wasn't very good, but we survived. We had the, did a lot of munching, snacks in the commissary. Probably shouldn't have eaten, but it was all right. Then we left in September, went to the back, by the railroad tracks, and old trains with the curtain down. We piled up in there, so I was only there from May, June, July, August, September, we boarded the trains to Minidoka.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2014 Densho. All Rights Reserved.