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Title: Floyd Shimomura Interview
Narrator: Floyd Shimomura
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Emeryville, California
Date: March 11, 2019
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-466-6

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: Well, so tell me how did your mom and dad connect or meet? Where was that?

FS: Oh, they met in camp, because when they had, when the incarceration happened, the people from Winters on the Yolo County side of Putah Creek, all the Yolo County went to, first they went to the Merced fairgrounds, and then ultimately to Amache. And then the people from the Livingston area, Turlock area, they all went to the Merced fairgrounds and then they went to Amache, too. And so I asked my dad about how that happened, so they were in the same camp, but they were not next door neighbors or anything, the Livingston people were like half a camp away from where they were. But what my dad told me was that the people in Livingston, they had their own volunteer fire department before. I guess the Abiko outfit, they had their own little fire department out there. And so at camp, when they decided that they needed a fire station, and I guess every camp had to have a fire station. They noticed that there was a bunch of guys from Livingston who had fireman experience, so they all got assigned to the fire department. And the fire department was part of, like, where the motor pool was, and then my father worked in the motor pool. And my mother, she wasn't a fireman, but she worked in the dispatch office there. And so that's kind of how they met, at the dispatch office.

TI: So do they, have you heard any good stories about the courtship in camp between your mom and dad?

FS: Well, they knew each other, and I don't know about their unofficial courtship type things. Because even in those days, the families had to set marriage up. My mom was very good-looking, or I should say she always has been very good-looking, so she was always popular with all the guys. And then because she was the youngest and she was good-looking, she was a little bit spoiled and vain. My mom passed away a few years ago, so I'm just telling it like I heard it. [Laughs] But my father, he was very interested in her, so I guess they send, like, little feelers out to make inquiries.

TI: And how would you describe your father?

FS: He is, you mean in terms of...

TI: Personality, demeanor, how he carried himself?

FS: He's kind of a quiet person, and he's not real outgoing, but I don' think he would be real good courting a girl or anything like that, because he'd be kind of bashful. On the other hand, I think if he sees somebody that he's interested in, that he can get over his bashfulness, that kind of thing. So he kind of focused on in her, and at first, after they made some inquiries, I don't think my mom was that interested in him. And then her family was trying to set her up with somebody else from that Livingston area who had better prospects, I guess came from a wealthier family and everything. But the thing was, he was kind of a... well, I don't know if he was a jerk or overweight, there was something about him that my mom was like, no, that's not going to do. So all of a sudden my dad started looking a lot better.

TI: Oh, interesting.

FS: Because I think there's a little window when a lot of pressure gets put on women or men to get married, so it was kind of like she probably had two or three different choices, and suddenly she kind of decided that, hey, maybe my dad wasn't so bad after all. Because he was pretty good-looking and had nice black hair, wavy hair and everything.

TI: So did they get married at Amache or after the war?

FS: They got married in Denver, Colorado, and I don't know exactly how this happened, but for a while my dad left camp and worked in Oklahoma City as a mechanic or a grease monkey as he used to say, for a Chevy dealership, and because he worked in a motor pool, that was his training. And then he came back to the camp a little bit before it closed, and then moved to Denver. And then, by then, I think my mom had moved to Denver, too, so then they decided to get married there, but this is even before the camps finally closed down. I think at the end of the camp period, things loosened up a lot more in terms of being able to get out and everything, especially when it looked like Japan was kind of going down, it was just a matter of time before the war was going to be over. So they got married in Denver, and I see all their happy wedding pictures and pictures of them and their best man, maid of honor standing in front of a car and everything.

TI: So did it look like a, almost like a traditional wedding with the white dress and suits and everything?

FS: Right, yeah. So whether or not they turned them in to the photographer after that was over, I don't know, but they looked good in the pictures. [Laughs]

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2019 Densho. All Rights Reserved.