Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Yaeko Nakano - Kenichi Nakano - Hiroshi Nakano - Stanley Nakano Interview
Narrator: Yaeko Nakano, Kenichi Nakano, Hiroshi Nakano, Stanley Nakano
Interviewer: Tracy Lai
Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Date: July 4, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-nyaeko_g-01-0010

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TL: Hear some more about your experiences in Tule Lake. I'm wondering if we could go back to when you were pregnant with your first son, and your experiences with the camp healthcare people.

YN: Actually I felt that they took really good care of pregnant women. Monthly or weekly -- I don't think it was weekly, but monthly a truck came around and picked up all the pregnant people and then took us to the clinic where we were examined. We were all given calcium tablets, and then they weighed us and did the regular kind of a thing, and then we went back. The day that I went into the hospital... the sad thing was that I was all alone and I'm going through labor pains, nobody there to help you, no family. And I was really in pain, but I kept telling myself well, this is what other people go through, other women go through, so I'll have to bear it. Fortunately, they did give me anesthesia and he was born. [Gestures toward Kenichi]

My husband came to see us after he was born. They allowed one visit that we... the hospital visitations were limited to only Sunday and limited to two people. And so the following Sunday I'm expecting my husband to come. And we were in a large ward and everybody else has all these visitors, and I'm still waiting for my husband. Nobody comes. And I kept on thinking well, "He'll come, he'll come." But visiting hours are over, everybody left, and I didn't have a single visitor. And at that time I just burst out crying and the nurses wanted to know why I'm crying. In fact, they were trying to tell me, "Shh, you're disturbing everybody else by your crying." And they were quite upset with me. And then when I explained to them what happened, they said, "All right. Will you stop crying if your husband can come? We'll call him." And I guess they called him and he did come. And I asked him, "Why you didn't come?" and he says, "Well, I already saw you and since the visiting are limited to two," he says, "I thought your sister and your friend will be coming." So he says, "I wanted to save the space for them." That was his explanation and so I accepted that, but it was very lonely.

We had to stay ten days and we could not set our foot on the ground at that time. Our babies were brought to us only at feeding time. Otherwise, we didn't see you at all. In those days it was quite different as you know. After ten days was up when I finally was going to go home, first time I touched the ground I was woozy, I could not even walk. But on the other hand, I thought their care was fine for that condition.

However, I do know that there were problems at the hospital. My husband was working at the hospital in the office, and he was one of those that dragged Dr. Pedicord down the stairs and they threw him down the stairs. There was a big riot about that that soldiers came and threw tearbombs. And when George came home he was all red with teargases. So there was a little baby that died and there were conditions that were bad and everybody blamed Dr. Pedicord. That's what happened. But during my care it was adequate.

TL: How was it when you moved into your... I guess, well, you had been living as newlyweds in a barrack, you had moved to the different block, and then you brought home your new baby, and how was that trying to adjust to that situation?

YN: Well, with being a new mother and then a baby cries naturally. Well, I can't let him cry because I will be annoying all our neighbors. You can hear everything that's going on in the barracks so I'm just carrying him all the time. And then, of course, to wash the diapers my husband had to go to the washroom and wash all his diapers on the scrubbing board while I took care of him. [Gestures toward Kenichi] The other thing that was bad was he just kept on crying all the time, and I thought, "Well, gee, I'm an inexperienced mother. I don't know what's going on."

Then one day I noticed that he had a lump here, and I didn't know what was the matter, and it was his hernia was coming out. [Points to side of lower abdomen] And we took him to the doctor, but they won't do anything about it and so all I could do was push that in and that's the reason why he was crying all the time. But I was quite upset about the fact that they won't do anything, but it might have been because he's too young that they couldn't operate. And then I used to tie a penny in there but, of course, it's gets wet all the time. [Motions to demonstrate tying a sash around abdomen to hold a penny in place over the baby's hernia] And so it was very difficult for me just because of the fact that he had a hernia, too. That's the reason why when we went to Nebraska and I was looking for a doctor and that's why we went back to Tacoma.

After we moved to Fife is when we took him to the hospital, and he had his hernia fixed. He was a brave little boy. At that time it's not like now where the parents can stay. The parents couldn't even stay with him. He was so good. I bought him some comic books and I says, "Mom will be back tomorrow." And he went through a hernia operation all by himself when he was about four years old. And so that part I'm unhappy about the treatment for him, but during the birth, like I say, it was adequate that I received.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.