Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: May K. Sasaki Interview
Narrator: May K. Sasaki
Interviewers: Lori Hoshino (primary), Alice Ito (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 28, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-smay-01-0014

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LH: So you arrived at Puyallup. And when you entered, do you recall any of the way it looked?

MS: Well, you know, it was a former fairgrounds, which I had never been there before, so I didn't know. But the one thing I remembered was the animal smells, you know, that's how fairs are. You have your animal smells. I remember that. That was very different for me, and then the living quarters, of course, were some of the stalls and some of the buildings. But we had one of the row of stalls and so therefore the smells were greater there. And I remember that there were cots and, for some reason, some kind of mattress. It wasn't the kind of mattress I was used to but, and then army blankets. And then we had the bare lightbulb hanging from the ceiling. And each stall is yea big, and there weren't ceilings. They did not come to the top, so the walls, excuse me, didn't come to the ceiling. So you could see all the way across. If you climbed up on something high, you could see all the way to the other end, and voice traveled all the way through.

LH: So you're all there together with your mother, your father, your two brothers, and yourself. And in a barrack?

MS: Yes, we had one. [Laughs] It wasn't even a barrack -- it was a stall. It literally was a stall. And they told us it was temporary, so they just had to get us all assembled there so that they'll know which camps we're going to. So we had an idea that this was temporary and that's where we're supposed to get ready for this. So part of that was inoculations; we all had to have a series of shots.

LH: Now, what was that to prevent?

MS: Diphtheria and small pox and you name it. But I remember having at least three or four because my arms were just sore and then there were scabs. You know, these black scabs that came out. [Laughs] And I remember feeling like that must be how cows and animals feel like. Because we were all lined up, and we had to have a couple shots at a time, 'cause they couldn't, we couldn't keep coming back. So I remember having two shots and then being very ill for at least... I felt ill about it, and a sore arm.

LH: I can imagine that's a pretty vivid memory for a six-year-old.

MS: I remember those things that were kind of painful, and that definitely was a painful time.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.