Densho Digital Repository
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Clara S. Hattori Interview II
Narrator: Clara S. Hattori
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: January 23, 2015
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-427-13

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TI: Going back to Tule Lake, so this is where you met your husband. Can you describe how you met him?

CH: Well, okay, when Tule Lake... of course, every day, every day, there's nothing to do. My dad was picking up all the scrap lumber that he can find, and here was another one that when we were in assembly center, they asked the Arps to bring his... he had a carpentry suitcase or a box, suitcase, it was a canvas thing with... he had all his hammer and screwdriver and all this tools that is his favorite. So he had that, too. So that has helped him get started with the scrap lumber, so he was getting all that scrap lumber to make a crude chair and a table. And so that's the first thing we did, was at least we had, I think, four chairs and a table made out of scrap lumber. At least we could sit it in our crowded room, and sit there and at least write some letters or do something reading. And my parents always had tea, I think... oh, god, talk about tea.

TI: [Laughs] Yeah, have some tea.

CH: But anyway, they did have stuff to eat. Somehow my mother always had brought stuff to eat. I had snacks to eat, us kids, and the parents, I know they were drinking tea. So we had a crude table.

TI: So those tools came in really handy.

CH: Yeah. And then, of course, the people, they were all, most of them were friends that they know each other, so they all help each other, and my dad was helping them make their table and whatever they need.

TI: Now your time there, with your, kind of, business skills and things, did you have jobs?

CH: Okay, yeah. Then it was like day in and day out and nothing to do. And how did I meet Bill? Well, Bill's family was in the next barrack, and Mr... his dad was a carpenter type of guy, he happened to have us, too. My dad got to know him, and they started talking about, I suppose, building from scrap lumber, you could build chairs and tables for your own use. Well, that's how we met. Not only that, I applied... oh, they were saying that everybody should find work, if you're a teacher, if you're a nurse, we'd like to have you sign up. Because right away they have to have a hospital and school set up and everything. And so they were asking for a secretary, so I went to apply, and at that time, the recreation department, they had to kind of set up churches, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and then entertainment. There were night after night, kids were running around not doing anything and nothing to do. So they wanted the recreation department to organize some kind of a, just some kind of entertainment. And we had like, what do you call, people get up and sing, those want to sing, and those that what, had saxophone they could play. So we had amateur night, that type of thing. So through the recreation department we started up entertainment, and then Bill happened to be a Scoutmaster or whatever in camp where he lived. What do you call the... Scoutmaster?

TI: Yeah, that's a Scoutmaster.

CH: Anyway, because of that connection, they asked him if he would set up the Boy Scouts, so he did that. And that's how we met...

TI: Through the recreation department?

CH: Working in the recreation department, yeah. And then, like I say, can't do much about dating, I mean, there wasn't any place to go. And so we used to walk up to Castle... what do you call that hill?

TI: Castle Rock.

CH: Castle Rock. You could see lots of people just taking walks, you know. Those that liked to walk, we used to walk up Castle Rock.

TI: So that was your first dates, were walks up to Castle Rock.

CH: Date, yeah, walking up to Castle Rock, yeah.

TI: And it probably helped that both fathers knew each other from the tools...

CH: Well, yeah, they weren't that close or anything, but they did know. And then Bill made an application to get out, and all you had to have was two sponsors, so he got out as soon as he could get out, and he didn't stay any more than maybe two weeks in that place, and he was one of the first ones that left. But you had to be cleared from the FBI for... but he went out as, I don't know if he had anything to do with those. But he did have a Scoutmaster in Seattle that he knew real well, Dr. Schmoe.

TI: Yeah, so this is Floyd Schmoe.

CH: Floyd Schmoe, yeah. Do you know him?

TI: Yes, so he's a really well-known...

CH: Yes, and he was pro-Japanese -- not pro-Japanese, but I mean, he helped the Japanese a lot. I think Floyd Schmoe, and then Mr. Saito, I don't know his first name. But Mr. Saito was an importer-exporter, a big man here in Seattle before the war. And Mr. Saito went to Montana when it got hot back on the West Coast, so he moved his business to Montana. So Bill got a hold of him. So between Mr. Saito and Dr. Schmoe, he got out in about, within two or three weeks. But his parents were kind of worried, you know, getting out, you don't know whether you'll get shot by the American people. But he went to Denver. Now, Denver is not, is out of the West Coast area, so Japanese people are all walking around the street, and stores are same, you could eat Japanese food and everything. He said it's neat, I mean, he enjoyed that. But he didn't stay there very long, the purpose of him getting out was he had to do something to try to get his parents out. So he left Denver to go... he went to Montana where Dr. what-you-call-it...

TI: Saito?

CH: Saito, but he didn't like that either. So from Montana he went to Spokane, and he worked in a garage there, he got a job. And just to kind of get his footing and see what he could do and figure things out, and then when I left, I left for Spokane.

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