Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Sakaye Aratani Interview
Narrator: Sakaye Aratani
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: February 11, 2017
Densho ID: denshovh-asakaye-01-0007

<Begin Segment 7>

TI: I read that at some point you needed, like, dental work or something.

SA: Yes.

TI: And you had to go to another place?

SA: Yeah, I went to a place called Gila.

TI: And so why was that?

SA: They didn't have dental care in Poston that was good, and I heard there were good dentists in Gila. So someone recommended that I go over there and have my dental work done. So I decided, well, I might as well have it done right, and applied for the pass to go, and I was able to do that.

TI: And so when you go between Poston and Gila, Gila River, how did that, how would you go?

SA: On the train. From... Parker Dam was near Gila, and I took a train.

TI: And you did this by yourself?

SA: Yeah, by myself. [Laughs]

TI: And how did that feel? Because now you're out of the camp, and you're out in public.

SA: It was great. I went shopping and bought some things at the department store in between Gila and Poston.

TI: So tell me, what did you buy?

SA: I bought a coat, and then I bought gifts for my family.

TI: So when you got to Gila, I read that you actually spent time with George.

SA: Well, he was very ill. He had an illness called Valley Fever, which is an illness of that area, and he was confined to bed. When I heard that, I thought, "Oh, I'll go visit him."

TI: How did you know him or the family?

SA: I don't know. I don't know I knew that he was in Gila, I don't remember.

TI: Now, when you went to go visit him, were you, at that time, were you romantically interested in him?

SA: No. [Laughs] Just a friendly visit.

TI: And so when you saw his condition, I read that you had a special kind of remedy for him. Can you tell me about it?

SA: Yeah. So after I went back to Poston, I told my mother that George had this Valley Fever. And she said, "For that, a live turtle's blood would be very medicinal. So there was a Colorado River running through Poston, so she asked some friends to get the live turtle for her so that we could send it to Gila to help George.

TI: And what did you think? Did you think that was a good idea?

SA: Hmm?

TI: Did you think that was a really good idea when your mother said that?

SA: Well, I believe that it would be, if it's helpful, anything that would help. So I thought we would just send it, and he was so good about drinking the blood.

TI: Yeah, I'm trying to think if I would do that. I guess in today's world, we don't do as much of those natural remedies, and do maybe medicine or something. So I'm trying to think how I would react if someone sent me a live turtle and said, "Drink the blood." But he did it, right?

SA: He did it.

TI: And did it help him?

SA: I don't know if it helped or not, but I hope it did.

TI: And after you did that, what did George do? Did he write you a note or anything?

SA: Yeah. He's been writing quite regular, all about himself.

TI: So do you think after you met at Gila, that he was maybe interested in you, a little bit?

SA: I think so. [Laughs]

TI: Now at this time, were there other men who were interested in you also?

SA: Yeah, there were.

TI: So go ahead, tell me just a little bit. These were men maybe at Poston?

SA: In Poston. There were a few men, young boys, I should say. They were very friendly.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright (c) 2017 Densho. All Rights Reserved.