Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: June Takahashi Interview
Narrator: June Takahashi
Interviewers: Beth Kawahara (primary), Larry Hashima (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: November 17, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-tjune-01-0021

<Begin Segment 21>

BK: What do you remember about Puyallup?

JT: Oh, I remember that it was all barracks and tarpaper roof and everything, that type of a barrack, and kind of ship lap floors that were kind of wide cracks in between. And the walls did not extend all the way up to the ceiling and they were not insulated in any way, of course. I guess it was temporary so therefore it was just very temporary structure, too. And we could hear everything that went on because we could hear the bed squeak, and the arguments. I could hear my neighbor's arguments and they'd have big arguments next door to us. And it was not at all private, so that was interesting. And then the beds were all filled with this... mattress ticking was filled with straw, and so they would poke you along the way when you're sleeping at night. It just wasn't a very comfortable place. And our meals were in a common mess hall, of course. And the food, as I remember it, was Vienna sausages and mutton stew. Bad news. [Laughs] Mutton was terrible, it smelled so bad. And we'd take showers in a communal shower room and you'd have to go out and go to a shower place where they had shower rooms and laundry tubs. So we used to go there. But when it rained, it was terrible. We'd wear getas -- those getas are about two inches high, I guess -- and the mud was so muddy. I remember one time that the thong broke on that was holding your toe and that held onto the geta, and I stepped right into the mud and was ugh, it was terrible that way. And it was smelly, too, because it was a fairgrounds, is what it was, so it was not a pleasant place. In the summertime, I don't know if summer or what, but there was some sunshiney weather. Let's see, it was April so we must have gone through the summer, too. And then it was later that we went on into Minidoka. I don't really remember what month that we went to Minidoka.

BK: It may have been more like September.

JT: Yeah, I think so. I think it was about September. Because when we got there, we immediately had to go to school at the center there.

BK: Did you not go to school in Puyallup?

JT: Uh-uh.

BK: What was a typical day like?

JT: Let's see, did we go to school in Puyallup? I don't think we did in Puyallup because there was no facility for that. And then everybody was divided in different areas so I don't think we were there very long before we went on to Minidoka.

BK: What did you do every day in Puyallup?

JT: Every day in Puyallup, we just played, but mostly we played baseball. Oh, and I remember early in the morning, we'd get up at 5:30 in the morning and a whole bunch of us would get out in the free space and some people led calisthenics out there and that was a lot of fun. We really enjoyed that one. It was kind of fellowship and then getting some exercise there and that was fun. We met a lot of people that way. I didn't, we didn't know -- we knew nobody down there, so it was a matter of getting used to people. And since my brother was from the big city, he used to tell me, "Okay," he says, "You watch out for that guy," or, "You watch out for this guy." And I said, "No big deal. Just leave me alone." [Laughs] But, so it was a lot of fun and games. We had dances and things like that in the mess hall, I guess occasionally, but not often there. It was more after we got to Minidoka that we had all the social things going on. So the calisthenics was really an outlet for a lot of that.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.