Densho Digital Repository
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hal Keimi Interview
Narrator: Hal Keimi
Interviewers: Brian Niiya (primary), Emily Anderson (secondary)
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: February 5, 2019
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-458-14

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BN: And can you describe what you remember about the trailer?

HK: Well, the trailer that we lived in, I can remember, was looking at it from the outside, you'd say, "What a junky looking trailer." So I guess they just picked up old leftover trailers, so it was our home for a few months. And I guess there was cooking facilities, so my mother had to cook some food. And to keep food preserved, we had an ice box, old fashioned ice box. We had electricity for the lights or whatever, but no refrigerator. And so that meant there was somebody that came, that was the ice man, carrying a big chunk of ice, and come in and put it inside of this ice box, and that would last for I don't know how many days before it melts, and then he would come back and replace it again. So we had an old fashioned ice box to keep food preserved. That was our trailer. No toilet facility, so again, we had to walk to someplace to wash up or use the toilet.

BN: And then was there any sort of, like, block arrangement or something like that like the camp that you remember? Like was there an address?

HK: No, I don't recall any address.

BN: Then you said there was a cooking area, so it wasn't a mess hall, you cooked for yourself?

HK: Yes. There were no mess halls, so...

BN: Which meant you had to shop for yourself, too?

HK: I guess, my mother must have, was able somehow to get some food, go down to, a few blocks, there was a Safeway market, and get something to eat.

BN: Did she have a job then?

HK: In the trailer camp? No, I don't think she had any job.

BN: So was your dad then, must have been sending money from his job?

HK: Could be, I do not know.

BN: Was there any sort of... at this trailer camp, any sort of recreational area or anything like that? Any kinds of programs or activities?

HK: Boy, I don't recall any programs there. And I don't know how we were able to manage it, but we had a dog, the dog that we had in Heart Mountain. I don't recall how we got the dog in Heart Mountain, but it was a cocker spaniel, we had it in Heart Mountain, and somehow my folks got it shipped and we had the dog there in that trailer camp.

BN: What was the dog's name?

HK: Smudge, Smudgie. So it was black.

BN: You know, while you were in the trailer park, you were there for a while so you ended up going to a school in the area. Could you talk about that?

HK: Yes. So there was a school, so by then, I'm in the ninth grade, so I had to go to some high school, so about a half a mile or so south of this camp, there was Narbonne High, so I went to Narbonne High for a few months. And I don't recall the education, though I know I met some of the students and they were very friendly, I can recall that. I think one person, can't remember his name, but a Hispanic person, a guy, very friendly and very helpful, to me, anyway, that I can recall, for the few months that I was there at Narbonne High as a ninth grader.

BN: Did you walk?

HK: We walked, yes.

BN: Did you do any sports type of activity?

HK: At Narbonne? No, not part of the school. I know some of us got together from the camp, from the trailer camp, and I remember using the school playground area, we went and played football or something like that.

BN: Just pickup?

HK: Yes.

BN: Some of the trailer parks had issues with water problems, and power outages and so forth. Do you remember any kinds of issues like that?

HK: I do not recall any major problems.

BN: And you didn't have any sense of people that there were more people from Tule Lake or anything like that, in terms of the population there?

HK: No issues.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2019 Densho. All Rights Reserved.