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

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Today is Monday, January 26, 2015, and we are in Seattle at the Densho office. And in the, or in this studio we have your daughter Karen. On camera we have Dana Hoshide, and then interviewer is me, Tom Ikeda. And so this is the second interview that we're doing with you. The first interview we did about a month and a half ago, and we covered your family history and then your life up until about 1937, 1938, when you were, I think, going to business school in San Francisco. And where we left it was we'd just started talking about an interesting job that you got at the San Francisco World's Fair. And so why don't you start with, tell me, how did you first hear about the World's Fair?

CH: Of, course, it'd been advertised, not advertised, but in the papers, that they're thinking of opening a World's Fair in San Francisco and New York. And so at that time, I thought, gee, it'd be kind of fun to work at the Fair. And so that was just my thought. Then there was, they did advertise for jobs opening, and so I applied. I did have a friend that was more or less in the beginnings of trying to get the Japanese pavilion there, and the work, and so he knew just about when they would be hiring. So I was notified that this was coming up, so I did apply.

TI: Now going back to that advertising for the job, where did you see it? Was it in the newspaper?

CH: Newspapers, uh-huh, San Francisco Chronicle was carrying a lot of that. And gee, I don't quite know the details of it, but I remember... what's the main hotel in San Francisco?

TI: Oh, on Union Square?

CH: Yeah, Union Square.

TI: Yeah, I've stayed there.

CH: St. Francis, okay. They said that the interview will be at the St. Francis, so I made an appointment. And it was that one, I can't remember... but anyway, I got a notification to go there.

TI: Now at this point, what position were you applying for?

CH: Applying for secretarial, because I graduated from business college, I thought, well, I could go into secretarial. And so I thought it was just going to be secretarial type of thing. And then when I went there, I found out that there's an opening for... well, it really was a secretarial, because I worked in the office for a little while until I found out that they needed somebody for interpretation, for a description of that machine. And I thought, gee, that'd be great.

TI: But backing up a little bit, so applying for a secretarial job, was it was job for the overall World's Fair?

CH: No, no, just the silk department.

TI: So the Japanese Pavilion silk department.

CH: Silk department. There were other jobs opening for girls, and you could see in my book there, San Francisco, they had all kinds of positions open, especially for just tourists, taking tourists through. But I wanted, I just thought maybe, through my friend, I knew that there was a silk department, that they needed somebody to do some interpretation.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: So you go to the St. Francis Hotel, which is right off of Union Square, one of, still one of the most elegant hotels in San Francisco.

CH: Talk about scared. It was in the auditorium of this huge... so I knocked on the door and I heard somebody say come in, so I walked in. And here in this huge auditorium, there were three men sitting at the front row on a suite, and there was a chair in the middle for me to sit. I figure, well, in Japan, they want you to bow, so I thought, well, I'll open the door and bow real low. [Laughs] Like I thought the Japanese would appreciate it, and not just a nod. So I bowed real low for respect. And then I walked up to there and they told me to sit down.

TI: Now at this point were they smiling, or what was their demeanor?

CH: Well, of course, that one fellow I knew. I knew who he was. The other two were older gentlemen.

TI: Now tell me, the one you knew, who was that again? The one you knew?

CH: Omori, Bif Omori. Like I say, he was kind of an overall, took care of the beginnings of trying to get the Japanese program going.

TI: And was he from the San Francisco area?

CH: Uh-huh, uh-huh. He's graduated, I think, University of California.

TI: So he was hired by the Japanese government to help?

CH: Oh, yeah, uh-huh, at the beginning.

TI: And I'm sorry, his first name again was what?

CH: Well, they called him Bif.

TI: Okay, Bif Omori.

CH: I don't know what his... I can't remember what his first name was. I mean, Bif is kind of a nickname, I think. So he was kind of a general, what do you call, getting everything organized from the very beginning. So I knew his sister very well, we graduated business college together, and that's how I got to know him, through him, that this was coming, the job was being offered.

TI: And did Bif encourage you to apply for the position?

CH: Uh-huh.

TI: Okay. So you knew you had sort of a friend in the room.

CH: Friend in the room, yeah. But still in front of two elder... you know how Japanese men are a little more stern.

TI: That's why I wondered how... it'd be pretty uncomfortable for a young woman to walk in there, and I was just curious about it.

CH: It was. I was scared to death. All I knew is I figured, well, as long as I bow and show respect, I guess I'll get by. But anyway, before I sat down, I even bowed again, real low, and then sat down. And then Bif asked me what my name was. See, my parents never did give me a Japanese name, like I said before. So I just said, "Clara Sasaki." And they said, well, you know, "You don't have a Japanese name?" and I said, "No." And then, "Why?" Of course, I have to kind of explain that my parents never gave me one, and thought that we would, you'd be married off, so the two girls in the family never did get a Japanese name. But the boys, they all had Japanese names, keep their name going.

TI: And how long did the interview go? Do you remember how long?

CH: No, I can't remember. I just don't remember too much. I think they asked about my education, my background, if I had any experience in meeting people and things like that, reception work type of thing. That's the kind of thought I was applying for, just a reception type of thing, meeting people, but it ended up, like I say, it ended up more in detail, I had to kind of learn where silk was made. I had no idea.

TI: Well, and when you left the room, what was your sense about getting the job? Did you think the interview went well and that you were probably going to get the job, or what did you think?

CH: Gosh, I can't remember that far back. I don't think so. I mean, I think, I remember there was another girl that I knew that applied for another job, not this particular job, that she applied, and she got it, too. It was just a reception type of thing, and she was in another department of the organization. So she and I got together and compared notes. [Laughs]

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: How desirable were these jobs? Was there a lot of competition? Were a lot of people applying for these jobs?

CH: Yeah. I have a picture in there of a group of San Francisco ladies that... okay. When I first went to San Francisco, I'm a country girl just going into a big city, and I don't know anything. It just seemed like I had a lot of nerve at that time to do those things. First of all, I did go to the YWCA, and the lady there had recommended... see, in those days, the schoolgirls were very popular where you get room and board and be able to go to school, and that's how I went to school, business school. And I was in different... in those days, it's just amazing how I just went with one suitcase, and I didn't like that lady or I didn't like that, and I just put an ad in the paper and answered the ad and move on to another place. And I did that quite a bit.

TI: How did your parents feel about this?

CH: I don't know if they knew have the stuff that I was doing. [Laughs] I never told them.

TI: But for you to go off to the big city...

CH: Well, that's true, they were worried. They did, they knew the Moriyamas, who are, the girl that I knew the parents, they knew the Moriyama... they more or less kind of depended on Moriyamas to let them know if anything, you know, if I would get sick or anything like that. But what we did, we never let people know. I mean, I didn't tell anybody.

TI: Well, did your parents, sort of, at times, try to encourage you to come back to the farm?

CH: No, no.

TI: So they thought this was a good move for you?

CH: Well, I guess they probably thought I was independent. I was independent more or less, and wanted to do what I want to do. Of course, I did go home, take the train home, I think, in particular, if there was an occasion at home that had, family got together or something, I had to get home. Or birthdays and things like that, so I was taking the train home quite often.

TI: How about homesick? Did you ever get homesick when you were in San Francisco?

CH: You know, I don't remember being homesick. I was going... and I'm not the only one. There were two other girlfriends and I, there were three of us, and the other two girls went to San Francisco State, and I went to business college. And that's all we did was talk on the phone. If I didn't like this place, I put an ad in the paper and answered the ad before the parents came home. Like this one place I remember staying, I had to take care -- I had to be home by four o'clock, because four o'clock, the girls, their two girls came home from school, and they wanted somebody to be in the house while they were both working. It was okay except that I was sleeping in the rec. room in the basement, and my study time was just a little bit hard. They'd go out, or they'd have parties or something, and I forever am being, I have to make sure that, I have to be there and help with the serving, and be in the kitchen and wash up. So I got to a point where it was just too much, and I didn't have time to study a lot. So I put an ad in the paper and went on to the next family. [Laughs]

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: Well, so going back now to the job at the World's Fair at the Japan Pavilion. When you took that job, did you then still stay with the family, or did you go someplace else?

CH: No. Like I said, I knew this Moriyama family, Bif, and their friend Aki. She was from the country, Concord, California, and they were family friends. And so I got acquainted with her, and she applied for a position, too, and she got a job at the fair. So between the two of us, we decided to get an apartment. So we found an apartment for a hundred and twenty-five dollars a month in Japantown. So it was just a one room with a kitchen, I mean, a gas burner, really, heat and water, and a double bed. That was all it was. And the bathroom was down the hall, and the rest of the people on that floor would be using the bathroom. That's the bath and a toilet. That was our first, very first apartment. Well, we stayed together for a while, and we were working at the fair. I mean, that kept us pretty busy because we had to take the streetcar across Seventh down to the Ferry Building, and then take a ferry. And we had a pass to get on the ferry and get onto the island. So that was our very first encounter with... and we were what you call, they gave us a tour of the building and told us what we had to do, and what was being done here and there, and there was food there, too. They had a teahouse, and they were gonna sell food. So I think like there were sushis and stuff like that made for the guests. And so we were pretty much shown what to do. And with my friend Bif there, I was real comfortable just being with them, especially Japanese men are, they're very firm looking. But my boss seemed to be more like a family man. I got to know him, and he was very, he wasn't giving me orders or anything like that, he was just very friendly. And he showed me a book, it was printed in Japanese, but it was translated on the side, so I read the translation part of it.

TI: So I was curious, when you communicated with the Japanese, did they speak English, or how did you communicate?

CH: That was a little bit on the hard side. Generally they know English pretty much. They prefer to use Japanese if they can. If I didn't understand, they translated in English, but majority of the time I understood a little bit, I mean, quite a bit, I guess, of Japanese. But their Japanese, of course, was a little bit more on the formal side. The Japanese language, there's a formal side and there's a... but they tried to use English words, because they were in America and they were trying to show off their... so it was okay.

TI: So when I think of the Japanese and then Japanese American workers, was there... what am I trying to say? Maybe like different...

CH: Classes?

TI: Classes almost? Or yeah, just a distinction between...

CH: I will say, maybe not openly, but Japanese, the men that are, the ones that were bosses and things, I would say they were kind of standoffish, I mean, they were more, feel like they had authority. But that didn't bother me as much as the people I worked with. They were not that kind of...

TI: Okay, so the Japanese that worked more directly with you, they were...

CH: Yeah, uh-huh. Well, mostly in the tearoom were San Francisco women, of course, they were Niseis, so they were okay. Except there was a boss there, not a boss, but somebody to oversee that.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

TI: Well, so I was going to ask, so when the World's Fair opened, I'm guessing that the opening days, they were more reserved for like the VIPs, and I was just curious, so describe that. What were you doing in those early days?

CH: Well, they made us wear kimonos. And I happened to have a kimono that my mother... in those days, the Isseis still have that feeling like they have to have a kimono for, I mean, for occasional... when my cousin got married, she wanted us to wear kimonos. I was an attendant, and I had a picture of that. It was the first time I'd ever worn a kimono, they tighten it so hard I could hardly breathe. And then my mother also had a small children's, and she was born and it was too big for her at that time, but still it was a kimono for a child to have. It's just something to keep in your trunk, really. [Laughs]

TI: So you were wearing your mother's kimono?

CH: It's my own, but my mother gave it to me. And it was one of the formal kind that had the longer sleeve, not the short one. In Japanese, that's what I understand, was long sleeves was very formal.

TI: But this was something special to wear on the opening?

CH: Yeah. And so on opening day I wore it, and it just blend in. I have a picture of the opening day, opening with some of the bosses.

TI: And then talk about the audience, or the people who came through the pavilion? Who were they?

CH: All kinds of people. People from all classes. I never asked them what they do or anything, so I have no idea. But I was there just to explain what was going on. So when it came to a question and answer period, mostly they asked questions about what was going on. "What are the girls doing?" "How did they get the cocoons?" "Where do they come from?" It's the same questions over and over, so from that, I made a little speech, and that's what I was explaining, that this machine is... they first want to know where the cocoons, how do the cocoons get there? Well, all right, the tree has, the bugs, they eat the leaves, and they're spinning a web for their, to live in. But they eventually die in there, so that's... well, when they do get out, that means they cut the thread, and that cocoon is not very good, they don't use those. But cocoons that are, where the worm is dead inside, well, that's what they use for our silk thread. And to get that thread out to make it, they have to put it in water first, the hot water, and then they put it all into this machine. The machine, you have to get to the thread first, and this is what the girls are doing, trying to get the thread onto the reel, and the reel suspends and takes the...

TI: Unwinds the...

CH: Unwinds the thread, and it just continues on.

TI: Now, when you explain this to the people who come through the pavilion, were they ever surprised or confused with your English? I mean, here you are...

CH: Well, that's another thing. There are some that will say, "Well, are you from Japan?" And I said, "No. I've been born and raised in America." And then they wanted to know, well, they wanted to know what college I graduated or something like that. But other than that, I just tell them, no, I was born in this country.

TI: And did you ever, did people... what do you think? How did they perceive Japanese Americans? If a white --

CH: I couldn't tell. I guess I just never think of that way. I just think like I'm good as they are. Unless you're real ignorant, they probably will ask you, "Where'd you learn your English?" [Laughs] They'd ask me that, but I just told them I was born in this country and raised just like you and I. Went to high school and no college. I didn't go to -- I went to business college, but I didn't go to any university or anything.

TI: And so while you were doing this job, any kind of interesting stories or anything interesting happen while you were at the World's Fair? Like a person you met that stands out, or anything?

CH: Well, I saw a lot of movie stars that came through. I talked to... and those movie stars are beyond, before your time, so you probably don't know. But Johnny Weissmuller was a swimmer, and his partner was Esther Williams, and they were coming through because I guess they were doing some kind of exhibit somewhere. So they were there, I mean, they happened to be, come by and ask questions and things, and I talked to them. And there was Irene Whelan, she was another actress. And there were a few others that I saw that I didn't talk to 'em. But anyway, that's... I can't remember. [Laughs]

TI: Was there any movie star or celebrity that came that you felt intimidated or sort of nervous about?

CH: No. Those that I have, some of 'em that I have seen, I mean, I just saw them go through, I didn't talk to them or anything.

TI: How about members of the Japanese American community? Did a lot of them come through the pavilion, people sort of your age, Niseis?

CH: I'm sure they did, but I don't know.

TI: So you didn't see very many that attended your talk?

CH: I don't remember. I talked to a lot of people, but I can't tell if they were just Americans or from Japan or where they were. If they ask a question, I just answered it.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: And so when you weren't working, you were living in Japantown.

CH: Japantown, uh-huh.

TI: So tell me what that was like for a young single woman in Japantown, San Francisco, 1939.

CH: Well, I'll tell you, that part, gosh, I guess I had a lot of nerves or anything, walked all over Japantown. If you know... do you know San Francisco?

TI: Uh-huh.

CH: Fillmore Street was near, it's a Jewish area, and I know the food was cheaper there. We used to eat there down on Fillmore quite a bit. But I walked that, all over there, from Fillmore down Post and Bush and Sutter.

TI: And so where was your apartment located?

CH: Right there on Sutter and... let's see. Is it Bush that runs this way? And Sutter runs up, down to Van Ness, doesn’t it? Sutter?

TI: Right. Well, there's Geary.

CH: Geary and... Geary and then what's the next one that comes?

TI: Post?

CH: Post, okay, Post. Post is Japanese town right there, yeah. And then Bush runs this way, and so it was Bush and Sutter, and the apartment's right there. And you know, San Francisco is all old fashioned type, you know. And I don't know, it was one stairs up, and then another stair up. It was stairs in those days, they didn't have elevators.

TI: Now did you participate in any Japanese community things? How about like church or...

CH: No. I looked into the Methodist church, but when we were working, too, it was kind of hard because on Sundays, that was a busy day for us, too, so it was kind of hard to attend services and stuff. So I kind of ignored that. The reason for that, I was born and raised church-going, my parents were church-going Methodists, and I was just born going to church, Sunday was church day.

TI: Now did any of your friends from Sacramento ever come down to San Francisco to visit you?

CH: Oh, you mean to the fair?

TI: Either to the fair or to Japantown.

CH: Well, yeah, all my friends, yeah. From my hometown, yeah, they stopped by. It was good to see them.

TI: And so both in Japantown or at the fair?

CH: No, at the fair, I was talking about.

TI: How about your family? Did they ever come down?

CH: Uh-huh. Yeah, they came down. My brother... see, it was only about five, I guess four hours' drive from Loomis to San Francisco, so they come for the day. I didn't spend too much time, I was working most of the time.

TI: Now, did you get a sense, were your parents proud of what you were doing?

CH: I think they were, yeah. I think they bragged about, "My daughter working at the fair," or something. Because yeah, when I came home, the first time, my first paycheck, I bought a mirror to put over our fireplace in my parents' home. I can't remember what they had there, I think they had one, my dad's Japanese print. And in those days, when I was young, I want to modernize this place. And so I remember the first paycheck, I bought a mirror to put over the fireplace. And I think to this day, Lila has it now. And I also bought a lamp, floor lamp. My parents had a sofa and, of course, just general, everybody had a sofa and dining room set and stuff like that. So I bought a lamp, floor lamp, that and a mirror. And I can't remember... I think that was with my first paycheck.

TI: So you wanted to do something for your parents.

CH: Yeah, I wanted to modernize it and make it more...

TI: That's sweet.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

TI: And so before we leave the World's Fair, one last question about... did politics ever come up in the sense that during this time period, Japan was at war with Manchuria...

CH: Manchuria and Shanghai, I mean, yeah.

TI: So did that ever come up? Were people critical of the Japanese because of that? And did that ever enter into any of the discussion?

CH: Never, no. It never happened to me. I didn't go into politics anyway, and I wasn't there to give my opinion on any of that stuff. If anybody did approach me, I wouldn't have answered anyway. But yes, I think the papers were getting, talking about war, and it didn't sound good. But that was...

TI: Yeah, 1940, 1941.

CH: So in 1939 and 1940, that second year, 1940 was probably a little bit more tense, but it wasn't enough to... like I say I didn't bring politics into my work there or anything.

TI: Did you ever get a sense from the Japanese that, especially that second part, in 1940, that there might be a war between the United States and Japan?

CH: You know, I never thought of that. You know, when you're younger, I guess you don't think about that kind of stuff. I mean, I didn't anyway. War wasn't... I mean, war was someplace far away, you know. And so I never, I don't think I've ever thought that until it got more closer to, what was it, 1941, I think.

TI: Right, during that time period, yeah.

CH: When I was home, yeah.

TI: I mean, from a Japanese perspective, they were very critical of the United States' stance. They felt that they were making it hard. And then when they cut off the oil to Japan, that was very difficult. So I was just curious, from the Japanese perspective, were they critical or were they frustrated or angry with the American --

CH: No, I don't think... that wasn't the purpose of the fair. The fair was for goodwill anyway, so like I say, personally, I've never talked politics, and I didn't feel any severe thing. Maybe the papers were full of it toward the end there, but I didn't pay much attention.

TI: So when the fair closed down in 1940, what did you do after the fair closed down?

CH: Let's see, what did I do after the fair closed? Let's see. I went, part of the time I went home, spent time at home, and then I went... gosh, I can't remember.

TI: But were you still living in San Francisco, or did you go back to...

CH: I just, you know, I think Aki and I, we lived in San Francisco for a while. I can't remember if I was working, and we went back.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

TI: Well, let me ask this question, maybe you can remember this. So December 7, 1941, where were you when that happened?

CH: I was at home.

TI: Okay, what were you doing then?

CH: The reason I was at home, of course, by that time, the stories were getting, you know, that it was getting bad, looked like there was going to be a war, my parents called me home from San Francisco. So I just took everything, I think toward the end I was staying with the Moriyama family. She's the girl that I told you I made friends with, and she got married to one of the... one of the officers in the Japanese Pavilion and went on to New York and went to Japan. In those days, they shipped all the Japanese diplomats on a ship from New York, because the Pacific was being mined by the Japanese and everything, so they went from New York and they went all the way around the world.

TI: So this is after the war had started?

CH: Yeah, after the war...

TI: They gathered the diplomats and then they --

CH: Yeah, they shipped all the... and the Japanese from the San Francisco area, too, all the diplomats on a ship.

TI: But let's go back again to Sunday, December 7th. I want to go back to your story. So you were back home, you said?

CH: Oh, yeah. by that time I was home.

TI: But what was your, how did you hear it? Do you remember how you heard about the bombing?

CH: Uh-huh. I was still in San Francisco, and I was staying with the Moriyama family. It was Sunday morning, ten o'clock, and we were having breakfast and just sitting around, and they didn't go to church. They were elderly, and they don't... I think they were churchgoers, but they didn't go to church that Sunday. And I was having coffee, and then on the radio it said that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor at ten o'clock in the morning. And, you know, of course we were surprised, so I looked out the window and there were policemen, San Francisco policemen in every corner of Japantown.

TI: Well, so very quickly the police were out there.

CH: Oh, yeah. Even before it was announced, they were already there. So the FBI must have had some inkling. And in every corner there was a policeman. And then I looked at Sutter Street, and police cars were going by all the time. They were just circling around, making sure there wasn't anything going on, I guess.

TI: Now, were there very many Japanese or Japanese Americans walking around?

CH: No, uh-uh. By that time, they told us all to stay home. I mean, they told people to stay home anyway, but when they, especially around Japantown, they just told everybody... and later on in the afternoon, I walked out, and I just saw a few of the stores were open, but not all of 'em, Japanese stores.

TI: And so what were you thinking? You said you were surprised.

CH: Well, yeah. Well, it was a surprise to be able to... I mean, I think everybody was surprised to have them bomb Pearl Harbor, I mean, it was a shock.

TI: Now, do you remember any conversations you had with the Moriyamas? You said you were there with them.

CH: Well, yeah. They were worried, too, because their daughter was married to a diplomat, and they had already gone on the ship. By that time I think they were on a ship to Japan. Yeah, they were worried about her.

TI: You said, so as things started getting more tense, that's when you went back?

CH: I went back home. My parents told me to come home because on the Carquinez Bridge, at that time was a toll bridge. I don't know, is it still a toll bridge?

TI: Which bridge?

CH: Carquinez? Past Oakland, Vacaville?

TI: Yeah, I think it is still a toll bridge.

CH: But anyway, it was a toll bridge, you had to stop and pay. Well, they looked at us, my brother came and picked me up, and I had all my school things, like typewriter and all my schoolbooks and things like that, and my clothes. And so they stopped us, and then we had to pay, and then they looked at us and said, "Where are you going?" "Going to Rocklin, California." "And what are you going to do there?" I mean, all kinds of questions like that. Said, "Pull over to the station." So after we crossed the bridge, we had to go into the station. And then they again asked us, these other separate men asked what we were doing in San Francisco, you know, act like we were spies. Well, that's what they were looking for.

TI: And who was asking these questions? Was it a police officer?

CH: Yeah, well, they had a uniform on. On the bridge they had a police... I guess all bridges or all, where they could, yeah, uniform. Policemen, I think.

TI: And so he asked these questions.

CH: Uh-huh. Like we were spies or something.

TI: "What were you doing?" "How long were you there?"

CH: Yeah, and want to know everything. So after a while they said, "Okay, well, go." Of course, Jay, my brother, he's just an old farmer. [Laughs] And then they asked him all those question, he says farming, that's all he did. He didn't go into any kind of politics or anything. Yeah, we were... that was the only time that was kind of scary. Other than that...

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: When you got back home, sort of to Rocklin and Loomis area, what was the feeling then?

CH: Okay. In a small town, of course, rumors fly pretty fast. And through the... well, I think my dad through the church and all, get these little rumors. And there were rumors like, yeah, they're gonna put all the Japanese in camp, they're gonna put 'em all, they're gonna stick 'em all in someplace where they could keep an eye on 'em, I guess, and find out if there's any spies amongst them. That was the main thing, I think, they were trying to find.


TI: Yeah, I'm sorry, when was this? This was on the train going...

CH: Well, we were all put on a train.

TI: Okay, when you went to, like, Pinedale?

CH: Yeah, to assembly center, assembly center. And then they gave us a number, a family number.

TI: Okay, before we go there, I want to go back. Let's still talk about... so your dad would hear all these stories, where would he go to get this information?

CH: [Laughs] My dad was quite a... he was kind of a church leader, and so he was able to get a lot of information from talking to people around, and he was quite friendly with even the hakujins, because we did business with, the fruit business with the Fruit Association people.


CH: My brother took care of the farm, and he was already eighteen... well, anyway, he was about twenty-one, I can't remember. But anyway, it was in his name now. You know, after you get to be... in California, I think...

TI: Right, he's a U.S. citizen.

CH: The U.S. citizen, yeah. Then my dad, not my dad... well, my dad really turned over everything to Jay, and Jay just took care of everything. So I myself was in San Francisco, and I had no interest in the farm anyway, so I couldn't tell you...

TI: But the Fruit Association during the war, they took over the operation of the farm, which helped the family by sort of...

CH: Make sure that at least the people that they put in the house were decent people, not just chance it type of thing. Because they left all the furniture in there, so it was on the lease, but you never know what could happen.

TI: So why do you think they selected the family farm to do this? Because there were other farms they could have...

CH: Yeah, there's a lot of other farms. They did, I mean, they did take over a lot of farms. My dad was very, had a... he had a good, well, he took care of the farm real well, is what I'm trying to say, and he'd get good production out of all the fruit. You could tell if it's producing or not. And I think because it was producing, and he was very careful, he sprayed and put a lot of money into it, that they know.


TI: So what happened to the Japanese farms that the Fruit Association didn't take over?

CH: I don't know. I'm sure that those that were kind of sloppy and didn't have... I really don't know what happened to them, whether they... like I say, I was young then, I didn't care. [Laughs] I didn't care much about farming.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

TI: So in those days before the family had to go to the assembly center, what were you doing? Talk about what your life was like.

CH: After I got home?

TI: Yeah, after you got home.

CH: Well, there weren't too many days after that. I can't remember how... I can't remember how long I was home. Well, I was trying to... I remember it was cold and I was sitting around the stove. In those days, they had wood stove to keep warm, and I was trying to explain to my dad about the thing I heard over the radio, I mean, all about the war, or what they're thinking. Especially they gave, issued what the law, you know, they changed the law or something, and then they'll tell you over the radio, explain to him all about that kind of stuff, I can't remember. But anyway, I just stayed home and helped my parents. And then it got to a point where we'd better start packing, putting some stuff away. And so my mother, I know she was very proud of her silverware and all her dishes, you know, the good dishes and all that, and wondered what they're going to do. So we packed them up in boxes and put it in that storage room that was supposed to have been locked up. And I told you about the WearEver set that she bought, which was brand-new, and I was an aluminum set that has all the pots and pans and roasting pans. Anyway, it was just brand new, and she wanted to make sure that it was packed and put in there real well. When we went to assembly center, the people that stayed in the house the first time were friends of ours. [Interruption] And while they were there at the assembly center, my mother got all the, asked them to bring all the aluminum ware and the silverware that she had. The silverware all came in boxes, and I think they were two boxes, wooden boxes, all set in with velvet. So my mother had that. And then the aluminum cookware, and so she got those. So when we moved from assembly centers to Tule Lake, all of us kids had to carry... [laughs].

TI: Oh, all the aluminum pots and pans?

CH: We had to carry something, yeah.

TI: But it was nice that those friends brought that to her.

CH: Yeah.

TI: And eventually -- I'm jumping ahead a little bit -- but eventually when your parents returned to the house, were all those things in that room still?

CH: In that house? The room that they had put everything in there was broken into. There were a lot of clothes and things that were still there. Another thing, I did remember my dad had a bookcase full of Japanese books and stuff, and they were there, still there, just the way he had 'em. I don't know what kind of books they were.

TI: So I want to make sure, did you say everything was still there, or did some things get taken?

CH: No, there were...

TI: Some things were taken.

CH: Yeah, like the desk, my rollaway desk, that was gone. But all that stuff was scattered all over that room, I mean, the boxes, whatever, the boxes were all open.

TI: So it was good that your mother asked for all that.

CH: Oh, yeah. That's all she had saved out of the whole thing.

TI: But things like you mentioned earlier, the mirror and stuff you got for your parents, that was still there.

CH: Well, that was on the lease. When the Fruit Association put their people in, they had a lease, and the lease listed all, davenport, mirror over the fireplace, I mean, distinct, describing floor lamp, cocktail table, all that, dining room with four chairs, five chairs or six chairs, I can't remember, six chairs. And then the dining room cabinet with dishes, set of twelve, so this and that. Those were all left there, so they didn't touch any of that.

TI: Okay, so things that were listed, okay, that's interesting. So it's good to have all these things written into the...

CH: In black and white, yeah. And I'm sure they inspected it after each person moved out and that family moved. Especially that first family that went in were our friends, and so we weren't too worried about that. But they were kicked out because they didn't know how to take care of the orchard. So the fruit people want to put their own people in there that would take care, do some work on the farm.

TI: That makes sense.

CH: Well, it makes sense, yeah. Because housing in those days during the wartime was very, very bad, housing, trying to get a place to live.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: So let's go to the assembly center. Earlier I misspoke and said Pinedale, but you were at Arboga?

CH: Arboga.

TI: So tell me what that was like? What were your first impressions?

CH: All the barracks were all lined up like that. And because our family was six of us, they gave us the end room was a large room, and there were six beds, single, you know, the army cots. There were six army cots in there, and there was a potbelly stove in the middle, pipe went up, smoke went up the chimney. And then everything was all bare, just walk in, and that's it. Then there was... the barracks is just two-by-fours, and then there's a wall, wood wall, but then there's cracks in them. And they have tarpaper on the outside, so that kept the dust out. But when the wind blew, that's what Tule Lake was known for, wind blowing, and sandy. Everything was covered with sand, with leaves. We brought some of our dishes and leave it out, because sand was covering it, so we had to cover it all the time with towels and tablecloths.

TI: So this was, so the room at the end of the barrack, that was...

CH: It was a big one, large.

TI: Yeah, so that was at Tule Lake or Arboga?

CH: This was at Arboga, yeah, Arboga. Because right next to us was a smaller room, and there was a couple from San Francisco that was there.

TI: Okay. And was there a lot of wind at Arboga also?

CH: Yeah, oh yeah, because it was just a dry lake, kind of like Moses Lake, just flat, nothing there. Rolling hills, and as I saw, there wasn't any trees on it.

TI: And how long were you at Arboga before you went to Tule Lake?

CH: They gave us a number, and we all stayed there... not very long, because they were talking about just trying to separate... well, there were some San Francisco people or some Placer County where we were. And then there were some... they were kind of a mixed up group in there. I don't know, I think they were trying to separate them. Because the people that moved there, all from that Sacramento area. And lot of people during the war left the West Coast area, especially around San Francisco area, they all went inland and went to live with their friends or relatives or something. And then they got caught into this second issue.

TI: That's interesting.

CH: They didn't live right in the city of Sacramento, but all those out by Walnut Creek and all of the outlying areas, they were all caught into that. So there were all kinds of people in Arboga.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: And then you mentioned earlier how, I'm not sure if it's here or maybe a little bit late, where you said they separated the Kibei for the trip? So you can talk about that?

CH: Oh, that's in Tule Lake.

TI: Okay, in Tule Lake.

CH: So by the time we got to Arboga, I don't know if they started there or not, I have no idea. It's just that when we got to Tule Lake, they put us on a train in Sacramento, and they went to Klamath Falls, and then we had to get on the bus at Klamath Falls and go into Tule Lake. And when we got to Tule Lake, they told us -- and we all had a number -- so they told us, they gave us barrack numbers, I think, at that time, because our family was six, they gave us the end room of this barrack. and so it was one of the larger rooms. And at that time, I think it was at that time, maybe a little bit later when they start... well, but I remember the Kibeis were standing on one side, side of the room, side of the barracks. When I say Kibei, I meant single guys, they all looked like they were from Japan, I mean, more Japanese type, they weren't Americanized. They were talking in Japanese.

TI: But they were sort of singled out.

CH: Singled out.

TI: And were they then put in a different place, or do you remember what they did there?

CH: Well, I think they shipped... I don't know. From there they were gone, so I don't know.

TI: But you noticed early on that there was...

CH: They put 'em on the last, when I heard that Moriyamas told me... I remember in San Francisco, their friend, diplomats had to go, they did kind of mention the Kibeis, too, but I'm not sure that that bunch went. But I think the Kibeis were shipped. Because already the Pacific was already mined by the Japanese, so they can't put any ships out there, so they had to take it from New York.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

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.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

TI: Okay, so before we go there, so tell me a little bit about Bill. What was it, how would you describe him? What was it that interested you in him?

CH: Well, I felt like he was a, what do you call... leader, not a leader. Well, leader in a way that he makes his decisions and follow-through. I mean, he wasn't a silly guy or anything, he meant business. I think he was thinking more about how he was gonna get his brothers out and organize some kind of farming is what he was interested in mostly, so he was trying to get his brothers to join him so that they could get their parents out and go out of the Western zone and farm. That was his main concern.

TI: And when he left, first for Denver, did you know that the two of you would get married? Was that sort of the understanding?

CH: Well, yeah. When I left it was already... I mean, I was getting, I was leaving because I was getting married. They let me out as soon as I said I was getting married. But I had to prove that he was, I mean, he wasn't gonna be in care of government.

TI: On, like, welfare or something.

CH: Welfare, and that's another thing. We had to make sure that... they really checked to make sure that you're not gonna be on welfare or anything, that you're going to take care, you know, get taken care of. So I was going out to get married, and they let me out.

TI: But when he left, was the idea that you would get married when he settled somewhere?

CH: Yeah, kind of. We were kind of... [laughs]. But in those days, you don't sleep with each other before that like they do here. I mean, that was a no-no.

TI: But there was like a promise.

CH: It was a promise.

TI: That the two of you would get together.

CH: And the minute I got off the train in Spokane, we went right away to Coeur d'Alene and that day got married, so okay.


<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

TI: Okay, so Clara, right before the break we were talking about you going to Spokane to, I guess, rejoin Bill. But before you get to Spokane, talk about the train ride. How did you get from Tule Lake to Spokane?

CH: From Tule Lake to Spokane, I had... from Tule Lake to Boise I rode a bus. And they put you on a bus, and then from Boise, the train stops there, and then so I got on, and it was a troop train. No, it wasn't a troop train in Boise. I made another stop in Pendleton, and then from Pendleton it went up north to Spokane. That's when I got on a troop train, and I mean, I didn't know it was a troop train. I got on, and it was all soldiers all around, and I felt, oh, my god. I felt like a little worm. I just got my one and only suitcase, and I sat in the corner. There was a seating, the guys were all standing up somehow, I don't know why. And they were all crowded and talking and everything. So I just sat with my suitcase close to me, and I just sat there, and I had to go to the bathroom, but I didn't go, I just held on until I got to Spokane. [Laughs]

TI: So tell me why were you so anxious about the troop train?

CH: You've been in camp for all this time and didn't see any, you know, hakujins other than the camp...

TI: The MPs?

CH: Yeah, and the people that ran the camp, the upper class. There were some hakujin, not too many, because the rest of it was run by Japanese. But you know, you wonder what they might to do to me. I'm sure they were headed for Japan. So I don't know, I just felt like a little worm, I just sat there and didn't look around or anything. And it was, I don't know how many hours a ride, four hours or whatever it was, I just stayed there until I got to Spokane. And then when I got off, I mean, the train stopped, and of course I looked out to see if I could see Bill or if I could see anything that looks familiar. And then I saw Bill and I just grabbed a hold of him and I started crying, and I was just sobbing. I don't know, I was so scared.

TI: Now, did any of the soldiers ever say anything to you?

CH: [Shakes head]. And I didn't want, that's another thing, I didn't want to be noticed as Japanese, you know, from camp. To run into... civilians, you might, I don't know if I felt any different, but soldiers on top of that just scared the heck out of me. [Laughs] I didn't know what they would do to me.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TI: And so you get to Spokane, train depot, Bill's there.

CH: And right away we went to Coeur d'Alene and got... we had to have two witnesses.

TI: Why Coeur d'Alene and not Spokane? You were in Spokane, why'd you go to Idaho to get married?

CH: Idaho you could get married in twenty-four hours, I mean, get married right then and there. Did you know that?

TI: No. And Washington state you couldn't?

CH: Oh, no, Washington you can't. You have to wait three days or something. I think you have to wait three days.

TI: So I didn't know that. So Idaho you could get married, just go in and get married.

CH: Yeah, and Coeur d'Alene was noted for, in those days. I think the laws have changed now, but in those days, it was, Coeur d'Alene was famous for getting married, I mean you could get married right there.

TI: Now were you expecting to get married the same day?

CH: Well, no, but... I don't know if we had planned that or not. But it turned out... can't live without getting married. We had to get married. [Laughs] No, I don't know.

TI: So you had, you said, two witnesses?

CH: Yeah. And then Bill happened to know people that lived in Coeur d'Alene, they're the ones that lived in Seattle, and the minute that the West Coast was getting bad, they moved to Coeur d'Alene. And one was Bill Yorozu, and I don't know who the other girl, who she is. But Bill knew her. And so he had, I don't know how they... they were there. But we went... see, we rented a car and went there, and I guess Bill must have told them that we needed witnesses. And then we went to the, to this place where you get your license. I can't remember if it's the federal building or some kind of a government building. And we got our license, and then they had to sign, and that was it, we were married. So in Idaho we were married, so that was it.

TI: And then that evening, did you go back to Spokane or did you stay in Coeur d'Alene? Like with Bill Yorozu...

CH: No, Bill Yorozu, they were there. They lived there. We went to Spokane and we went to the Japanese hotel, yeah, hotel. And they had, Bill must have made the arrangement with them, because they had a room, it was two floors up, no elevator, so it was two floors up. And the Yorozus were across the hallway from us, and he and his wife were there. But I don't know whether the other person, whether they were in... the Yorozus was not in Coeur d'Alene, it was in Spokane. They lived in that same hotel. And the Yorozus, Bill knew from Seattle. And the other person I didn't know how he knew, he must have known him in Seattle. Or it could have been Yorozu's friend, too, it could have been Yorozu's friend in Coeur d'Alene, that was it.

TI: Now after you got married, did you have any party or anything in Spokane?

CH: No. None of our family was there, and only person I knew was just Bill Yorozu and his wife. His wife's name was... I can picture her, but I can't think of her name. But there's only two people that I knew in Spokane, I didn't know anybody else.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: So now you're married, so what's next? What do you do after you get married?

CH: Well, of course, no, Bill had to get a job. So he went... he got a garage job, that was it, and he worked in the garage. And while he was working in the garage, I remember walking down... yeah, I took him lunch, I made lunch by -- not made lunch, I think I must have bought some sandwiches or something. I remember going to that garage and giving him lunch, but I don't... then what did I do? I think I fooled around for a week and it was getting boring. Then I thought I'd better work, so what did I do?

TI: Was it like an office type of job?

CH: Yeah. I can't remember... but in the meantime, Bill's talking about, well, he'd like to try to get his brothers out of camp, too. [Interruption] He was thinking of getting his brothers out so that they could go farming somewhere outside of Spokane. And he knew the... can't think of the name in Moses Lake. They used to live in Seattle, and they moved to Moses Lake when the West Coast was getting... and they were established, not established, but they had a potato farm. So Bill contacted them and they said, yeah, we could use some help, but not permanently, I mean, just get him settled. And so in the meantime, the Grand Coulee Dam was taking the houses down, so I guess those people must have told Bill that maybe the housing is available if he contacted them. So Bill must have contacted them, and anyway, the house was being moved Grand Coulee, and they moved here right onto the farm, and that's how we got... I mean, it's a pretty good house at that time, a one-bedroom, but it had a kitchen.

TI: So when they moved these houses, so the housing, so these worker kind of housing.

CH: Worker houses, yeah.

TI: And they moved it to the farm of the friends that you were going to stay with?

CH: Yeah. In the meantime, we were already in these little cabins. From Spokane, we moved to a little cabin, and just one of those, again...

TI: It's like a little shack.

CH: Shacks. Really, just only shacks, because they were just... well, that's where she was born.

TI: Like a single room in a shack.

CH: Single room and a potbelly stove for a stove. Then I had a lean-to, and it had... I don't know if it had piping in there or not, but I think Bill's dad fixed it up for us to make a kitchen out of it. It had a lean-to, kind of an open thing, and then he closed it up.

TI: Now, the shack and the lean-to, was this now on property that Bill had bought?

CH: No.

TI: It was still the friend's.

CH: It was still out there in the open. In fact, there were a lot of other shacks there, too. So it was kind of like a motel at one time before the war. Little tiny cabins, huh? Grandpa and Grandma stayed in one, and then we had the, Grandpa made that lean-to and then put a bedroom on the other side, too.

TI: So this was a place that was established so that Bill's brothers could come?

CH: I don't know how... we must have bought it, because how could you add on to some, you know...

TI: Well, because in my notes it says that eventually he bought three hundred acres?

CH: Yeah, this is before that.

TI: Okay, right. So this is before he was established...

CH: Established, and we just got out of camp, so we don't, I mean, from Spokane, so we don't know what we're gonna do yet. But he purposely really wanted to get his brothers out. And then when they did get his brothers out, they decided to get their parents out, too, out of camp, to do some farmwork. And this family that they knew said Moses Lake is a growing, I mean, it's starting to grow potatoes, and we saw what kind of potatoes by, you could see by the pictures that we had the potatoes, when they dug it up, bunches.

TI: They were just these big...

CH: Big, nice big potatoes.

TI: There were so many of them.

CH: It was just rich ground.

TI: So it sounds like as you were establishing this, that at some point a decision was made, well, let's buy land.

CH: Let's buy land, that's right. And then, because then, by that time, the boys were, the three boys were already here, and they were trying to get his mother out. And then we happened to know... who's that helper? You know, that guy, that kid that worked with us for years and years and years? Tako. What was the last name? Tako. And they were all in these little cabins, and then that's... I think Bill decided, well, he'd better, you know, try to look for some land. Because that Japanese family that were established there, told him how. So first of all, Bill found a job with a farmer that was just... he was living in a nice house, and then he had some little cabins there. And so he said, well, you could start, you could farm the three hundred acres on this side -- not three hundred, there must have been a few hundred acres on this side, which was not... so they did. And they found out that it was pretty good, we had good crop. That's when he decided, the boys decided, well, we'd better buy some land. And that's where they bought the three hundred acres, where the Grand Coulee, where the water was coming through, and you could tap on, and you pay so much a month for the water from Grand Coulee Dam. And then about the time we farmed there, maybe, oh, I can't remember. It wasn't very long, three or four years, maybe longer than that, because we built a house on it. So we might have stayed there about... how long were you, you remember junior high and then how much longer when we left?

TI: So fifteen years?

CH: Yeah. Well, not quite that long. But I think, well, fifteen years. Okay, we lived there that long.

TI: And during that time, were you, was Bill primarily a farmer then?

CH: Yeah, oh, yeah. We bought our home place. But in the meantime, that was... in those days, they take thousands of, they rent. And at that time, there were lots of land to be rented, because this was raw land by then. And so he got... by the time we left, anyway, he had already leased, I mean, they were leasing thousands of acres. I mean, it was just like, you know his brother, his brother Jack and Mike, and they take responsibility of so many acres here, so many acres here and farming. They were doing really big farming at that time.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

TI: And so why... well, before I ask about leaving, talk about how Moses Lake, that area changed during this time period. So you got there early 1940.

CH: And there was just hardly any, the school was... well, the school was being built, I think, when you started junior high, didn't you? [Addressing daughter] Because when you guys started, you started junior high, but didn't Dick start in grade school down in town? Oh, you both did? Oh, that's right, Air Force. You know, the Air Force emptied out and then they had that -- I'm always touching. [Referring to microphone]. That's right, the Air Force left, and you guys went to school there, didn't you?

TI: Oh, so they used the old Air Force base for school?

CH: School, uh-huh. And then they started building... isn't that junior high new?

TI: So they had to build all this new infrastructure because what I read is that with irrigation, and I guess the Air Force, I mean, the population was just really...

CH: Just really grew, yeah. And that's when they started... even our potatoes that were, like I say, we made big money in raising the potatoes there. And so Bill went big, I mean, just... in the meantime, the Japanese farmers there got together, and they made kind of a...

TI: Like a cooperative?

CH: Co-op, uh-huh. And he ran the co-op, and so we had, I don't know, Jack and Mike were farming the rest of the... huh, the farm? I just remember going out there and taking lunch out to them several times. Not on our own home base only, but other, I mean, other acres around the area.

TI: Now, who were the cooperative, where would they sell the potatoes?

CH: Well, back east. But as I recall, they were going, shipping them back east somewhere. It wasn't... I mean, it was local, too, but most of it I think was going back east.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: Now, so after about fifteen years, you left Moses Lake. Why did you leave?

CH: Well, in the meantime then, Bill got into importing/exporting in Japan, and he was making a lot of trips to Japan. And we decided, well, he wasn't hardly home, he wasn't in Moses Lake that much. But then after I got to Seattle, I knew that there was something going on. He was seeing other people, women, I'm talking about, and in Japan, too. [Interruption] By that time I had already started getting a divorce.

TI: So... wow, just lots of changes for you in your life.

CH: Oh, yeah, uh-huh.

TI: And I'm thinking...

CH: It was big changes where I had to take responsibility, like I had two kids, and I know I didn't want them to go through this and try to keep the family together as much as I can, but it was getting harder and harder to do that when he wasn't home.

TI: Now when you think of Moses Lake, I was thinking of your background, the first year of your parents doing the fruit growing, then living in San Francisco. And then living in a really small town or small city in Moses Lake.

CH: You have to learn to adjust, and I think in the wartime, you know, you kind of make up your mind, there's a lot of things you can't buy. I know in Moses Lake I stood in line to buy hamburgers, and there was only Wednesday, and I can't remember what day they let you know that we'll have hamburger on those certain days. Lot of this had to go to the armed forces, and so meat was hard to get. We didn't have steak for a long time. I went to Moses Lake to the grocery store, and like I say, I had to stand in line to get hamburger. So it was hard in those days, you know, trying to cook. And then I was feeding, besides my husband the children, and then Tako I think at that time was eating with us, huh? And then Jack and Mike and Tako. Can you imagine me cooking for those kind of guys? I can't imagine what I cooked. But I'm sure it was like stir-fry type of thing with rice day in and day out. [Laughs] And then I tried to make tsukemono by vegetables, whatever I could. At first it was radishes, because that was easy to get, to grow, too. And then salt it down and put a rock on it and try to make tsukemono.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

TI: Now I want to go back now to your parents. Because eventually they returned to Rocklin?

CH: They did.

TI: And how was it for them? Did they have any stories about how it was for them to go back to their place?

CH: There were a lot of stories saying that... this is after I went over to visit them, and this would be later years. But heard that they were, this friend was going, went to the lumberyard to get some lumber, because they had to fix something up. And, "We don't sell to Japs," there was a sign. In fact, the sign was around town quite a bit. It was hard, and as the war... I think by that time the war ended, and by that time it was getting better. People that you knew were getting a little more friendlier. I mean, I think it just, they were saying it was hard.

TI: How about your father's relationship with Harvey after the war? Did he ever talk about that?

CH: I think Harvey and... I think Harvey died, I know, but I don't remember if it was before the war, I mean, after they got back or what. So I don't know, can't remember. Jay would be the one two ask those questions.

TI: Because he went back?

CH: Yeah. Because I was in Moses Lake and trying to get established.

TI: How about in Moses Lake? How did they treat the Japanese in Moses Lake?

CH: Well, we didn't have that much discrimination that I know of, not to my face. The kids went to school every day, they took the bus, and we had built our house by then, you know. Grandpa came and helped ... this is Bill's dad, mother and dad, they lived in a rented house across the street from us. and we lived in that... and Grandpa built this sturdy-looking house. Grandpa was a carpenter, but he's always made rhubarb storage in Kent, and they're still, I understand they're still standing, some of the rhubarb... I guess rhubarb, I don't know much about rhubarb, but they have to put 'em in some kind of a storage, and at a certain stage, bring it out, and bring it outside to get the sunlight. And then they grow up. But to get the root firm and big and strong, I guess they have to put 'em in these covered warehouses.

TI: Hmm, and that's what he had built?

CH: He has built, uh-huh.

TI: And you said they're still there?

CH: That's what someone told me, that they were still... not a lot of 'em, I mean, you know, one or two I guess. They're kind of underground type of thing, just a roof standing up. I don't know, I haven't seen 'em, so I don't know what they're like or anything.


TI: I'm going through and I actually finished all my questions.

CH: Okay.

TI: I wanted to know, is there anything else you wanted to talk about? Anything else that comes to mind? Or I should ask, so you had two children, and Karen's here. Who's... you had another?

CH: Uh-huh, a boy. His name is Richard, but we call him Dick, so it's Dick. And they're just two years apart, and...

TI: So let me ask you this question: so when you think about your life, you mentioned how you always had to adjust because of the war and your life, what... if you had to tell children today in terms of what have your learned from your life's experiences, what advice do you have for someone who is maybe young?

CH: It's hard to say, but you just have to learn to adjust, I think, that's about all I could say. That you could be poor or you could be rich, and when you're rich you could buy anything you want, not anything, but I wasn't extravagant when we were making money. I mean, why, I knew how hard we had to get there, but we lived comfortably.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.