Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Rick Sato Interview
Narrator: Rick Sato
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 2, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-srick-01-0007

<Begin Segment 7>

AI: Well, then when did you first hear about the evacuation?

RS: Well, we heard that right after -- well, Pearl Harbor was 1941, so '42, I guess that spring we heard that we might, some of the people in the West Coast was going to be evacuated. But, we didn't know what portion of West Coast. And then of course we got the notice about sixty days before being evacuated in June of '42.

AI: So, when you got that sixty-day notice, what happened? What did you do?

RS: Well, I think we panicked. What are we going to do with the stuff, what are we going to get for it, and what are we going to have to leave back and get nothing for it? And then another thing we were concerned, well where are we going? What are they going to do with us?

AI: And I heard that some of the farmers were told that they should keep on farming even though you knew that you were going to be evacuated. Is that what you did, continue farming?

RS: Yeah, well once you raised that crop you have to take care of it because you don't know when you're got to go. And then, for the buyers, too, you've got to keep it clean so that they'll look at it and they'd like it and whatever. So we kept it up until the last day, you might say, before evacuation.

AI: So all of that time, you kept doing the farming and you kept it up...

RS: Yeah.

AI: And at the same time you were trying to get ready to go.

RS: That's true. Although we didn't have much chance to take anything, so it wasn't that hard to wrap up your belongings. [Laughs]

AI: Do you remember anything about what you took?

RS: Well, I think we took some blankets and pots and pans. And I remember you couldn't take any knives, because they had to be shorter than six-inch or something like that, so we didn't take any knives. But we did take pots and pans and personal belongings, and that was about it. Because you couldn't wrap too much stuff in that little dufflebag or little bit larger than that.

AI: And then you were leasing at the farm at that time, so you just left everything. It wasn't -- you didn't have anything to sell, really.

RS: Well, we had the equipment and that type of thing to sell. But the land was the Indians', so whoever bought it took over your lease from the Indians. And, but I remember we didn't get nothing for our equipment or anything, because they knew you had to leave.

AI: Were you able to store anything with anybody?

RS: Well, some people did, but they had to know somebody in order to do that. And if you didn't have a real good friend, well then they're not going to do that for you. So we just got rid of everything. I don't recall how much we got for every equipment, but I'm sure it was dirt-cheap.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.