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-1000-458-8

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BN: And then you mentioned the severe weather coming from L.A. Can you talk about that a little more?

HK: Well, the connection with the latrines, as a kid, one of the things we can remember during the wintertime after we'd take a shower, you dry off, but the towel you used to dry off is now moist. And so for us, maybe it's fifty, sixty yards between the latrine and our room, as you walk fast or slow run back to your room, you swing the towel around in that freezing air. By the time you get back to the doorway, that towel was just stiff. And it was fun, I guess, to do something like that.

EA: So did you do that on purpose, get it to get all frozen?

HK: Yeah, you do that to see if you can get it frozen by the time you get back to your room.

EA: Did you hit each other with that?

HK: [Laughs] No, I don't recall anything like that.

BN: [Laughs] I don't know if that denial would stand up in court.

EA: I know. I feel like if you're... I'm imagining twelve year old boys, if you're going to get your towel frozen, it's got to be for a purpose, Hal. [Laughs]

HK: Oh, maybe some other people, but I don't recall.

BN: It's always the other guy. Did you have, like, appropriate clothing for Wyoming weather?

HK: Okay, well, at the beginning, obviously, no. We're coming from L.A., southern California. And all the camps, the two companies, catalog companies, Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward, they made a lot of money off of people in the camps. So we had to start ordering proper clothing from Sears and Montgomery Ward, which got the nickname "Monkey Ward." So Monkey Ward and Sears got a lot of business from all the ten WRA camps.

BN: Did you also get the old army peacoats that were issued?

HK: The peacoats? I don't know if my brother got... my understanding is that they were given out to people of certain, I think you had to be some kind of teenager, older teenager. So I don't know if my brother got one, because I don't think I ever saw him wearing one, because I did not get one, because I was too young.

BN: Right. So your clothing was ordered, your parents ordered from the catalogs?

HK: Whatever I got for winter came from the catalog.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2019 Densho. All Rights Reserved.