Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Kay Matsuoka Interview
Narrator: Kay Matsuoka
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 29 & 30, 1999
Densho ID: denshovh-mkay-01-0020

<Begin Segment 20>

AI: Before we go into that, will you tell me a little bit about the daily routine when you first got there, and what that was like?

KM: Well, there wasn't much until they got all this recreation center and school, everything put up. We just made the best we could. All we'd look forward was the three time we went over to mess hall to eat. [Laughs] And then gradually the canteens were open, and then school. So, it was a gradual thing. They really weren't prepared for us. Like I mentioned to you the other day, hospitals weren't set up, so lot of the TB patients were still in the county hospital until it was set up. Then they were sent couple months later. Maybe it was longer than that. So it, you know government wasn't really prepared.

AI: What about the sanitation there? And the...?

KM: Yeah, many times the latrines would flood over, and there would be no water coming out. It was, sometimes it was very, very, well what shall I say -- ? It smelled awful. It stunk. [Laughs]

AI: And when was that? What month was that, that you arrived?

KM: It was during the summer.

AI: In the summer.

KM: So see, Arizona heat and all that stench, and water not being available to, the way we wanted to.

AI: You had no water in the barrack, is that right?

KM: Yeah. No, no, not in the, we had to go get it.

AI: Oh my. Well, let me ask you a little bit about how your area was laid out in the barrack where you and Jack and his family first lived. Can you describe a little bit about that, the mess hall, and the other facilities?

KM: Well, we were, when we first went in we were in camp one. Gila River was divided into camp one and camp two. Camp one was Canal Camp and then camp two was Butte Camp. And then camp one was from Block 1 to 27. And then Butte Camp was from twenty-eight to seventy-four. So we made three moves during that three and a half years. Like, because Jack being in the hospital so far. So we first went into Block 26, and then we transferred to Block 31. I did, by myself. By that time he was in the hospital. So I went to Block 31. Thirty-one was at the end of the camp two, and the hospital was at the other end. And so I really was wore out. I just lost lot of weight. And they tried to give me extra milk and so forth, to fatten me up. But then I don't like milk and it didn't agree with me. But anyway, I walked all that time. And then there was a period where there was no nurse's aide that would go into that TB ward. So I had to, as a family go and take care of him, clean the sheets, give him a bed bath and so forth. And so, soon as there was a different, there was an opening that some of the people, if they want to they can relocate back East, when the chick sexing and all that was... and so as barracks in the seventy-four block emptied, I got a permission to move. And so the last, about one and a half year I guess, I was close by to him.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.