Densho Digital Repository
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Cookie Takeshita Interview
Narrator: Cookie Takeshita
Interviewer: Brian Niiya
Location: Emeryville, California
Date: March 11, 2019
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-465-11

[Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

<Begin Segment 11>

CT: And then we were first ones to move, they said because people from the country, they were not troublemakers like city people, so then we were the first ones, you know, then they shipped us, and we didn't know where we were going, but they said, somebody said they heard Colorado. So we were all put into the trains and my mother did get, before we went to Merced Assembly Center, this big thermos thing, it was round, with water, because they said we won't have water in the trains. And we were just getting on the train and my brother was little, he was nine years old, and that was only, he was to carry, he fell on the tracks and the whole thing broke open, no water. They said we won't have water on the train, and we had no water. That was my brother, I still remember that he tripped on the tracks, and the thing just broke.

BN: This is going to Amache?

CT: Amache, when we had to leave Merced. That was terrible. But food at Merced was terrible, I thought it was horrible. But when we got to Amache, it was better. But I thought that Merced, I don't have very good memories of Merced, but it was very temporary, it's just a couple of months, I think, yes. I think we went in by June or so, and by September we were in the camps, the permanent camps.

BN: Amache.

CT: Amache. You were too young for all this, weren't you?

BN: Yes. [Laughs] Although sometimes I just tell people I was at such and such a camp just to mess around.

CT: Well, at least you weren't born in camp, were you?

BN: No, no. Well, let's go to Amache.

CT: Okay.

BN: And you mentioned the story with your brother, but you got there eventually, and what was your...

CT: Do you know now you could get there in no time? But we rode on these trains as they took 'em out of wherever, and we were pulled off, and would sit for two hours and three hours, it was hot summertime. And the windows wouldn't come down, and we were supposed to pull the shades if regular trains went by, but we had to take a, go on another track, and we sat there for an hour, two hours, three hours sometimes. And then finally we would backtrack and go. But many times, it took us three and a half days to get to Colorado, because we had to pull over.

BN: It's not that far, really.

CT: It's not that far. And on the train, and I remember before we... we got off the trains, and they put us on buses. Then there was someone that got on the bus, and they said, "You'll be dropped off at whatever addresses you're given, and we want to warn one thing. This is the desert, so every morning when you get up and every night, you shake out your shoes because you will find these tarantulas," or what are the spiders?

BN: Scorpions?

CT: Yeah, scorpions, "And they come right out in the desert, and so you will find them, so always shake out your shoes." And here when we were in Alameda, if we saw a moth, we got hysterical when we saw a moth, you know. [Laughs] But that was something that we religiously did.

BN: Do you remember your block address at Amache?

CT: Yes. In Amache it was 9-E-7B. But because my mother was bedridden, and they had a little room for two, and they gave us that for my sister and me. And so my mother, my brother and my father stayed in the bigger room, and we got the end room, which is right connected with them, for just two.

BN: Just the two of you?

CT: Just two. Married couples had those, they were on both ends of the barrack, and then they had a bunch of people with five or more. But because my mother was bedridden, then they felt, well, so they said, "We'll give you that." So we were lucky that way. But that was quite an experience.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2019 Densho. All Rights Reserved.