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-01-0016

<Begin Segment 16>

LH: ...a bit about the, leaving Puyallup, going to Minidoka and what your experience was.

MS: Well, you know, I remember being very excited about a train ride. I'd never been on a train so to me it was kind of exciting. I know my parents didn't share the same enthusiasm, but it's like you have to do what you have to do. But I remember being excited, I got to be on a train. And we were riding along and one of the things that I remember is hearing the older kids singing "Don't Fence Me In," which was a song that was popular at the time. I didn't realize how prophetic that would be, but I remember those catchy things as I look back on it. But as we got to the campgrounds in Minidoka, I saw how flat the land was. It was so flat. For miles and miles around I could see flatness. And way in the background you'd see some rolling hills, but other than that it was so flat. And it was the time of year that it was hot, so it was dusty. And I remember the dust was so thick and there was no way of stopping that. The wind, when they had windstorms, it would just roll across the landscape. And you'd have these tumbleweeds, sagebrushes, just tumbling along with the dust and everything, and you got used to that.

LH: Well, so as a child, how do you cope with that dust?

MS: Well, 'cause we're lower to the ground, so we'd get a lot more of it. [Laughs] So my mother... we used to practice wearing kerchiefs or handkerchiefs, a large handkerchief, around our neck. So if we found ourselves -- these windstorms would come up every so often without any warning -- then you'd just pull it up over your, kinda like bandits. But you found that those were very handy to you, and when I had to go to the restroom -- which were outhouses -- we had to use that as our way of getting to and from during duststorms because we would just be covered with dust from head to toe. And you can hardly see, too, that was kind of a thing we got used to. You had to navigate by either having a friend with you or just remember some places along the way as you went 'cause the restrooms weren't located too close to us.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.