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-01-0022

<Begin Segment 22>

BK: And so do you remember then how were you told when you were going to be going to another place?

JT: You know, I don't remember how we were told, but they said it's just all of a sudden... they must have come around to tell everybody is all I can think of is that we had to pack up again because we were going to another camp. And before that, though, I had met Mits when I was working in the mess hall. You know George Kawaguchi Travel Bureau Agency? Well, we used to go out with a bunch of kids that involved George and several other fellows and girls, and he introduced me to Mits. And so that's where I met Mits, in Puyallup like that. And he used to come over on a truck, and I don't know what he did but that's where I met him, in the center. Then we went... then we were told, informed somehow or other, I think it was like a block representative at a meeting telling us that we were going to -- they would be moving us to a permanent-type, temporary camp, for the duration apparently. So we had to pack up again and we went on a train, this time to Idaho. But prior to that, Mits was telling me that he was going to go on an advance crew to help build the camp. But it wasn't actually building it. I think it was doing a lot of finishing things and just going out to get it ready for all the people to come out there. So he went on ahead and, but I wasn't really worried about that 'cause we weren't that together at that point. It was just a friendship and then he was saying he was going to go on ahead.

So then I don't remember the month we went, but I'm sure it was just prior to the beginning of school, because when we got there, we were immediately going to school. And our school was -- we moved it must have been a little bit early because our school, when we got there was, we were assigned to Block 23 and that became the school. So then from Block, what we call Block 23, we had to move quite a distance down, and we moved to Block 6 which was near to where Mits was living at that time. So that was okay by me. [Laughs] Except that in the summertime, we'd walk to school. Hot, it would be hot and the dust was like -- there was nothing there before and the dust was very fine and sifted in through all the windows and was just really bad. Dust storms would come up, and so we suffered through that in the summertime, and it was very hot. And then wintertime came, and then you had freezing rain and hail and sleet and snow, all of it. And so it was just from one extreme to the other in Idaho. And we'd walk through the sleet and as Mits told, I think he told you before that he used to kind of put his big coat around us both and we'd walk to school that way.

And so that's where I guess we got most of our high schooling, 'cause I was in, by that time I was in the second year of high school which would be sophomore in those days. I don't know how they say it now. But, so we went to school there. School was fun because it wasn't -- I guess it was because we didn't take it that seriously, therefore I don't think we learned as much either. I mean, we didn't pay much attention and -- I didn't, never skip school -- but I just don't feel that I got as thorough an education as I would like to have had. Although the teachers were very good. I can say that's where I got a lot of my secretarial skills, shorthand, and part of our teachers were, what do you call them, assistants, TA's, I guess, teacher assistants, and there were a lot of the Japanese people from the community who were in that field, I guess. I don't believe they were certified teachers but they were teacher's assistants. And they did most of the teaching as far as I could see. But we did have a lot of fun there. And then since I was about, not quite sixteen at the time, I just, they didn't ask me so I didn't tell them I wasn't sixteen so I was able to work, 'cause you can't work until you're sixteen. You couldn't work until you were sixteen in camp. But I just went ahead and got a job as a waitress and I worked up in the main administration area. It was up on the top of a hill, I can't remember what block it would be, but it was the administrative area and I was in the mess hall there. I was a waitress in the mess hall at that time.

BK: And this was to serve the camp administrators?

JT: The camp administrators were there, so we had pretty good food there. [Laughs] Beyond the Vienna sausages and the stews and things it was pretty good. And it was a nicer, just a nicer atmosphere, smaller, there weren't as many people. And so the cook was much better and the chef -- he was considered a chef almost -- and so in that way it was very nice, I was able to have meals.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.