Densho Digital Repository
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Yae Wada Interview
Narrator: Yae Wada
Interviewer: Patricia Wakida
Location: Berkeley, California
Date: April 12, 2019
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-476-14

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

<Begin Segment 14>

PW: And how long did you... you said five years was the total time you were gone.

YW: Yeah, the three years in camp and then two years in Cleveland, about.

PW: About. So when, roughly, did you go back to Berkeley?

YW: Actually, when the war ended in '45... well, we couldn't go right away, because like I said, we had to save the money for the train fare back. And so when I was at Cleveland, I stayed at that apartment that they had for us. I had a nice neighbor who was from another country and I can't remember what country, but she was an immigrant from another country. And we became neighbors and friends because we're hanging up our clothes at the same clothesline and all that kind of thing. When we first came and we met, she gave me a, it was like a "welcome to the neighborhood" present. It was a live chicken, a live chicken. And we were talking about... of course, we didn't have any furniture, we moved into this apartment, nice apartment with a nice hardwood floor bedroom and everything, but we didn't have anything, no furniture to put in there. But anyway, this lady... well, I was telling her, I don't even have a refrigerator. And she gave me this chicken, she said, "Well, you just feed it, and then when you get ready to eat it, you just kill it." Well, nobody in our family had ever killed a chicken before, we're from Berkeley, right? The only kind of chicken I got were already packaged, you know, in pieces. But anyway, she said, "No, when you get ready to eat it, then you just kill it." (...) My father was there at that time, and my father wouldn't kill the chicken, and none of the boys wanted to kill the chicken, we didn't know how. And besides, the longer you keep it, you get attached to it, so all the more why you don't want to kill it. So she said, "I'll tell my husband to kill it. You ready to eat it?" "We're ready to eat it anytime." And he hung that chicken, I can remember, he tied a rope around the chicken's leg and hung him upside down on a clothes hanger. And when the chickens are upside down, then the mouth is open. He just took out his pocket knife, put it in the chicken's mouth, because the chicken is, their mouth (opens). (...) He put the pocket knife in its throat and just slit it, the chicken died. Okay, now you're supposed to pluck the chicken. Well, he showed us how to do it, and finally, I think it was my father or somebody, ended up by finishing plucking the chicken. It was awful. [Laughs] And then after the chicken died, I knew they won't eat the chicken. So what I had to do was (...) cut it up and then made a stew. So I mixed it with a couple of carrots and whatever the boys brought, we threw it in there and made chicken stew. And even then, they were kind of reluctant to eat it, but because they were so hungry, they ate it. But that's how bad we were. [Laughs] That's awful, when you can't, you have to kill your own chicken.

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