Densho Digital Archive
Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community Collection
Title: Fumiko Hayashida Interview
Narrator: Fumiko Hayashida
Interviewer: Debra Grindeland
Location: Bainbridge Island, Washington
Date: February 25, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-hfumiko-02

[Ed. note: Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

<Begin Segment 1>

DG: Okay, we're just going to start real easy here and go back to the time period right before the war, and can you tell me about your family then?

FH: I didn't realize there would be war, no way. But Uncle Frank came one Sunday morning, there was no television in those days, just the radio. He says, "Japan started a war, Pearl Harbor," we couldn't believe it. And sure enough, when he turned on the radio, it was blasting off, saying that Japan started the war. And I thought, "Well, what for? Japan's so small, you know you can't win the war." But it had happened, and we were unhappy and scared for all day, Sunday. And I just couldn't believe it. We were scared, we were scared for my mother and father in Japan. We thought we're American, we have nothing to be scared, be worried about, we're American citizens. But life must go on. It was hard, very hard. My children were young, and I'd just found out I was pregnant again, and I was afraid for myself. I had my husband, he's a citizen, but my brother-in-law, they were all soon afterward taken to Missoula. And after that, things started happening, that we had to evacuate. And one day, we didn't have to, just the citizens could stay, and so my husband kept working in the farm. Was, berries were almost ready to harvest and we were looking for that, because all these years he had to pay for equipments and tractors. And this crop we might come ahead a little bit. But we lost everything, and we went to the camp.

DG: Can I back up a little bit? Can you tell me when you heard about Japan bombing Pearl Harbor? Who was with you that day, and describe a little more how you felt.

FH: I just know what we read in the paper, that's all.

DG: And who came and told you?

FH: What?

DG: Who came and told you about the bombing?

FH: On the radio, yeah.

DG: On the radio, you heard? And what did you think was going to happen after that?

FH: Well, I didn't think it'll last even, even one year, because U.S. is a lot stronger than Japan, and I didn't know too much about Japan anyway.

DG: Had you been following the war before that, the war in Europe?

FH: Well, not too much.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

DG: And so do you remember what the mood was like on Bainbridge Island?

FH: Pardon?

DG: What was the mood like on Bainbridge Island with your family and friends? How was everyone feeling after the war started?

FH: Well, we were worried, and my neighbors, they said, "Oh, no, don't worry, you're a citizen." They mean just Japan-born. But my husband was busy going to meeting all the time, and every time something new, and it ended up that we all have to evacuate, citizen or not. So they only gave us about one-week notice, and we could just take what you can carry. And I had two children, two-and-a-half and thirteen-months-old daughter, and another one on the way. And I was concerned with children more than ourselves. We didn't how long or where we were going. We understood we were going to California. It was my first... I was raised on the Island. It was the first time I go out of the state, and first train ride. But we were worried about children, they were all wearing diapers. Not like before, like before, we didn't have no disposable. I was worried about everything, what they were going to have and drink. I was more concerned about children than myself. We could only carry what we could carry, and my suitcase was full of diapers and children's clothes. We just wore the best clothes we have, although we know that California is hot, and have to get ready. I think took our washing machine and fridge to, to Japanese Hall and stored it there. But later we have to, they said they have to empty the Japanese Hall, so I don't know, we had washing machine sent to the camp, but not until we went to Idaho.

First it was Manzanar, that was in California. And we went on, we left the Eagle Harbor, special boat, it was an old -- to Seattle. And then we had a special, old, old train that was full of soot. And by the time we went to California, it was so hot. We were, it was in April 1st, when we landed in California. It was hot, and the barracks were not ready, they were still hammering. My daughter was walking from one furniture to another at home, and a rug floor, it was all just wood floor with... we were, she was scared, she wouldn't walk. We had to carry her all the time, and just as well. My husband said she'll get a sliver unless she has socks on, and too hot to wear socks. Everything was different. No water, running water at home, just one electric light bulb. We had two cots, and they had a straw mattress, and they gave us one blanket each, I think. I had a cousin in L.A., so later I asked her to buy some clothes and, baby clothes and maternity dress, and she sent me from L.A. But no running water. With children, my husband did the washing for me. Had plenty of baby-sitters.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

DG: Can you tell me more? You were pregnant at this time. Can you tell me more about --

FH: I was pregnant. It was so hot, I just wore a smock, you don't care how you look. [Laughs] But we had a new son...

DG: What was it like -- what were the medical facilities for you?

FH: Oh, they were still working on the clinic, and we had a, I had the baby on the army cot. Oh, I don't know. We went... it started in the middle of the night, and we called the army truck and we were stopped on the way to the hospital or the clinic by police wondering where we were going. But rushed to the clinic there.

DG: So you had your baby outside of the camp?

FH: No, right in the camp.

DG: In the camp? Where was the...

FH: It was the temporary hospital at that time.

DG: Why did you have to ride in a vehicle?

FH: What?

DG: You had to ride in a army truck?

FH: Army truck, uh-huh.

DG: To get to the clinic?

FH: Uh-huh.

DG: But inside.

FH: Midnight.

DG: You were still in the camp.

FH: Then you're still in the camp, yeah, but we were stopped, wondering what, where we were going, even if it was an army truck.

DG: And this was your third child, so how did this delivery compare to your other two, now that you were in the camp?

FH: I was the first one that had a baby in the camp in our block. But there were other, when I went to the clinic once I was surprised there were a lot more. Bainbridge had one whole block. Plus some newlyweds, they used to call it "Honeymoon" because we were the last group to go into, to Hunt, when we moved to Hunt. But Leonard was born in Manzanar.

DG: And there were other women that were pregnant as well? Did you develop friendships with any or remember going to...

FH: No, no. There were two other Bainbridge girls who were pregnant, but later than me. But we didn't make too many -- I didn't -- friends because I was mostly in our own block because children are there, and we all ate in the same mess hall. I stayed mostly in my block.

DG: And how did you pass the day? What did you do every day in and day out?

FH: Well, since we had a lot of babysitters, I learned to knit and crochet and did a lot of handcrafts, 'cause we didn't need to cook. And my husband was home because I was pregnant, so he helped me a lot. Because we have no running water... he did all the washing, took care of the kids, and helped me. I was lucky.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

DG: And eventually you moved from Manzanar to Minidoka.

FH: Yes, Minidoka.

DG: Do you know, why did that move happen?

FH: Well, first thing, my sister was in Minidoka and her husband was, was the editor of Japanese American newspaper, and he was taken to Crystal City. And she was home, she was in Minidoka with five children, so we moved from Manzanar to help her, that, that was the main reason. I liked Manzanar, only it was hot and dusty, but came, when we moved to Minidoka, it was altogether different: muddy, and snow and ice. But we enjoyed one spring, and my sister at that time was transferred to Crystal City to join her husband. So it worked, if that was the case, we would have stayed in Manzanar. In Minidoka, there were Seattle people there, so met some of our friends. But the same with me, still I have to stay around the block and take care of my children because they were younger. Then, then Leonard was born in Manzanar, and he was about one year old then.

DG: And how did you feel about moving from Manzanar to Minidoka?

FH: Well, after that we were able to come back, so I think we stayed in Minidoka maybe a year and a half, not even that maybe. But we, we experienced their weather, hot and cold.

DG: What were the facilities like in Minidoka?

FH: Oh, just about the same. By that time, we had our washing machine sent, so we had a washing machine. But that's it; facility was same, we all had the mess hall, there's no icebox in your apartment, same thing, no. But we had radio.

DG: Who sent your washing machine to you?

FH: What?

DG: Who was it on Bainbridge that took care of sending you your washing machine? How did your washing machine get to you?

FH: Washing machine?

DG: Uh-huh. Who sent that from Bainbridge to Minidoka?

FH: We had it.

DG: Who had that shipped?

FH: We had, and we... I think it was about the same time we sent for our truck, pick-up truck. Then we had, we had car there, but that's how, when we were able to go back to Bainbridge, my brother-in-law loaded our things on the truck and came home to Bainbridge.

DG: How did your truck get to you?

FH: That time, Mr. Hirabayashi brought it for us, and I think at that time we brought the washing machine.

DG: And he was not in the camp?

FH: Yeah, he was in the camp.

DG: And he left early.

FH: [Nods] So as soon as we were able to go back, we came back.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

DG: Okay. Can I go back and ask you more questions about before the war or leaving, preparing to leave? [Laughs] Do you mind going back? I guess I wanted to know a little more about preparing to leave for the camps and...

FH: Well, we didn't have much time, because for a while -- since we were citizens, we, they said we don't have to go. Then there was a rumor that we all have to go, or... until we really found out we all have to go. That's when we started worrying about... and by that time, we got a letter saying that the car insurance, house insurance, everything was cancelled, because they were all my husband's friends, but they apologized that from the agent, I mean, headquarters, had to be cancelled. Whether they gave us the money, I don't know. And I was only about thirty-two, so just a country girl. And he did all the... but it was sad to see him suffer so much, and we didn't know what to do.

DG: So you had a week to get ready to leave?

FH: We had to get ready to go. We didn't have suitcase in the house, we had to look for it. You know, we never traveled.

DG: And what did you do with your house and your land?

FH: The workers, a Filipino man that was working for us took care, but he wasn't, we found out that he drank a lot, and, but the house was still there.

DG: How did you feel as you were leaving? How did you feel about the security, the safety of your house and your land?

FH: Well, we didn't know how long we'll be gone. We knew where we were going. So we couldn't plan ahead, but we'd get, I don't know, financial way, I left it all to my husband. I didn't, I just didn't know anything about the business. But we had a tractor and all that, horses and dog, chickens, turkey, a regular farm, but it's all gone. By the time we came home, of course, it was hard.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

DG: What was it like to return?

FH: Before, my oldest was going to be first grade, so we walked to high school, school and asked the principal, and they told us we were welcome to come back, and they all went to school the first day. We came home in August, so September, school started. But the kids were happy at school, so we were happy for them. But after that, we just took day at a time, somehow, the friends were... we had new neighbors and everything, but it was okay.

DG: So how were you treated when you returned?

FH: We were treated fine, yeah. Out in the country, you know, we went to all the PTA meetings, and we were treated okay. Children, children had a good time.

DG: How was it for Neal being in school now, outside of camps?

FH: What?

DG: Neal was now in school, he was in first grade?

FH: Yeah, Neal was first grade.

DG: And how was that, going to school with other kids from Bainbridge Island?

FH: It didn't seem to bother him. He just, he... we don't drive, so I couldn't do too much to help them. [Laughs]

DG: Yeah. So the mood was, was okay on Bainbridge Island. Do you remember ever experiencing any...

FH: Yes, we, a neighbor, she lives on the bottom of the hill, we left some valuable things with them and they returned it. And my husband used to go hunting so he had a new gun, but he gave that to him, and we got it back.

DG: So you had neighbors that were helping you out?

FH: Uh-huh, so he would go hunting.

DG: What was it like to have to say goodbye to them before the war?

FH: Well, can't help it, we just, the dog was running after the truck, army truck that we left on, but we just have to say goodbye to that, all the pets we had. We had two horses, left everything. Left everything.

DG: And can you tell me more what it was like when you got on the ferry?

FH: Yeah, came home, the house was still standing, so it's okay. And my brother-in-law came home early, so he cleaned up the house and burned everything, I guess. So we came home to a clean house.

DG: What did he have to burn?

FH: What?

DG: Why did he have to burn things?

FH: Well, you know Filipinos and Indians living there, workers living there.

DG: It was just garbage, he was just cleaning up?

FH: Uh-huh.

DG: I see. And what was it like to try to start your life again here on Bainbridge, you and your husband?

FH: Well, it was hard but we took it in stride, and somehow we managed. The kids were a little older, and they all went to school. The boys were Boy Scouts and the girls were Girl Scouts, so we kept busy.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

DG: Well, let's pick up where we just were... on rebuilding your life after you got back to Bainbridge, and your house was still standing, but you still had to make a living and raise your children. What, what happened from when you came back?

FH: Came back and they worked on the farm again. But after two years, the farm was full of weeds, and they didn't think the good... see, strawberries you can't harvest in one year, so they decided to farm. We rented a place out in Burlington and the men-folks started a farm there. But they either gave too much fertilizer or different kind of plant... it was a failure. So they quit farming and, of course, they were getting older, too. And they were doing odd jobs on the island, like my brother going gardening, or I went housework for a while. On Saturdays, Saturdays, I mean, during the day, because my sister was living with me, so I went house-working. And finally, and my husband got a job at Boeing, and he commuted to Seattle for one year, but we decided we'll move to Seattle before our children get too old. They were still going to grade school, and so we found a house. Couldn't afford a good house, but we found... and it wasn't, the house wasn't what I really wanted, but my dream was a brick home, but we didn't have the money. And he said, "Well, afterwards, maybe we'll find a better home." I wanted the children to have their own bedroom. So we bought an old house that had three bedrooms, attic that we converted to a bedroom. At least we had the three bedrooms, so we bought that house and still there. He worked at Boeing. He worked at Boeing for twenty years, and soon afterwards he got prostate cancer and he was suffering. Anyway, I lost him. I also lost my baby that was born in Manzanar with cancer.

So here I am. I still have Neal, my son, and daughter, who is really good to me. I'm already ninety-six year old and still kicking, and I have to keep living and enjoy my life. I have good relatives and friends; it cheers me up. My grandchildren, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren which I'm proud of and help me very much. My nieces' families, nephew, they're all good to me. And I'm the oldest of the group, and I enjoy my life. Life must go on, I'm doing my best.

DG: Yes, we all cherish you.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

DG: Can I ask you, now that you're sitting here many years past the war, what you want to share with your family and all of us that are so close to you, what you want to pass down, memories or thoughts of that time that you'd like you'd like to use to teach us?

FH: Yes. I'd like to share all my luck and all have a good life. This world is wonderful, but we don't have, we don't want no war or anything, but that's something we can't do nothing about. Let's all stick together and keep living, be happy. Thank you all. I am the luckiest one in the world, I think. We have our ups and downs, but mine were not so bad, average, I think. I just love to see the children growing up.

DG: So what got you through the downs?

FH: Pardon?

DG: What got you through those downs, those tough times, do you suppose? How did you make it through the hard parts of your life?

FH: I didn't get it, Debra.

DG: When you hard times, like during the war, what gave you strength?

FH: Oh, hard times? Well, just inconvenience is the hardest. I wasn't the only one. I think we all went through that. Because my children were young, so maybe that, not hard, but it was very... I was worried for them. But it all, but everything was inconvenient. We're spoiled anyway, with hot and cold water. We didn't even have cold water in the house, and the buckets they gave us were so heavy, you can't even carry it, heavy buckets. They didn't have plastic, those days. So I was glad my husband, I had husband. All my sisters' husbands were not able to join them until later, and I'm sure they had at least a harder time than I did. I was lucky.

DG: Why were their husbands unable to join them?

FH: Because they were all born in Japan.

DG: And what happened because of that?

FH: Uh-huh, they were not citizens.

DG: So you're talking about the FBI rounding them up?

FH: Uh-huh.

DG: Can you tell me more about that time and discussions you might have had with your sisters?

FH: Well, I can't say much, because I had my husband. But I know my sisters all had young children; it was hard for them. But after you get to the camp, there were plenty of babysitters, and before you know it, they joined, they were released and joined them.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

DG: Did you ever have an opportunity to leave camp, you or your husband?

FH: To leave camp? No. Well, we can't, because the children so young. But a lot of young people, I think it gave an opportunity for young people to go out of camp and go to college. If they stayed on the farm, I don't think they'll have that opportunity. That's the one good thing for young people, or join the army. At first, we weren't classified to join the army, but a lot of 'em, they changed that law and volunteered, and I think it gave young people lot of opportunity to leave the family and go out and work or go to school, which was good. I think if you're living, small farm, they have to stay home and help them with the farm. But that, I think that was a good opportunity for young people. I know, I know a lot who admitted a lot of people out of state, especially in Manzanar. Some got married and they had lot of opportunities to leave camp and be free. So that was good for the young people. There were many who went to university, different states, and doing real well now, uh-huh.

DG: Can you describe any other ways in that it was hard to move from a farming community into the camp?

FH: So that's one good thing, uh-huh. But of course, you had to be aggressive and willing to go to school.

DG: Do you have any, can you describe other ways that it was hard to move from a farm life to life in camp with lots of people by?

FH: Well, farm, I think, is the hardest life. Weather, climate, depend on the weather, too, so it's a gamble, being a business, manage. But you need your education. And I think it was really nice for teenagers, they gave 'em opportunity to go to school instead of working on the farm, and helping the parents. Yeah, so they had opportunity to go to school and be someone, which is nice. I know a lot of babies, boys and girls who are real successful now and living, oh, having good life. Some are professors. I think, I know a lot of 'em that became famous. But if we stayed on a small farm, I don't think they will have that chance. But...

DG: Do you have --

FH: Life is kind of interesting, in fact. You never know ahead. But I'm enjoying what I... and I think I was lucky that children was young, maybe.

DG: So what was difficult and what was not so difficult about having young children in the camps?

FH: Well, I think grandchildren nowadays have good opportunity to study and become somebody, I hope. [Laughs]

DG: Me, too.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

DG: Do you remember, after the war, ever experiencing any racism or prejudice, you or your husband?

FH: Racism what?

DG: Prejudice, where you were discriminated against or bad feelings? How was it after the war for you?

FH: No, I don't remember being discriminated. They were all friendly. I've never had experienced... I still have my girlfriends that went to high school with, five of us. Three died already, but five of us are, we used to have mini reunions. The five of us who didn't go to dance, or didn't have no dates, we were the... and I still hear from them. And every time, one girl living in California, so every time she comes to visit the family in Rolling Bay, we have little family, I mean, class reunion and go out for lunch.

DG: So were these non-Japanese friends as well as Japanese?

FH: Yeah, there's Asako, she was the only Japanese girl that was in my class. There were boys. And then one girl lives in Vashon. So we used to still, I still correspond with, with two of them, three of them. The other two died.

DG: Were they living on Bainbridge Island at the beginning of the war?

FH: When they were, during the war, yeah, and after, too. We graduated high school together.

DG: So what was, how did they feel about you leaving?

FH: Well, I don't know, I never asked them. We're just still high school buddies. I didn't, I didn't go to college. And let's see, one is a schoolteacher, and other... they didn't go to college either.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

DG: Okay. So now we're going to go way back. I just want to get some background on you and your before the war even. Tell me where you were born, and what your childhood was like?

FH: I was born in Winslow... what do you call that road, Nakata, where the Nakatas live?

DG: I'm bad with roads. [Laughs]

FH: Well, anyway, I was born in Winslow, is what I heard. 1911, January 21st.

DG: And tell me about your --

FH: I had one, two, three older sisters: Shigeko, Fujio and Nobuko. I guess Mother had enough, she didn't -- girls, anyway. Anyway, I was born. So when I was five, we all went to Japan. My sister, oldest sister Shigeko was already in Japan taking care of her aunt. And we joined them, I don't know how many years we stayed. I went to school until second grade in Japan. And they had a quota that they can not take three, but three back to the U.S. when my father came after us. So I was left behind with my, myself and another sister, but she, I don't know what she died of, but she died in Japan, so I was left alone, and I came back with my cousin. And came back to Fletcher's Bay where met my... Fletcher's Bay where, this house, and then started one-house grade school in Manzanita. And we walked to Manzanita every day and we'd walk back. It was, there was a one, one teacher to eighth grade. My friend, I'm still good friends with her, she taught me the difference between "H" and "N". H had a longer stem than N. I still remember that so well. Well, we're still good friends with Shig, she lives in West Seattle now and she's using a wheelchair, but I still talk to her on the phone quite often.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

FH: And then the year came, I don't know what year it was, but all the small grade schools were converted into one big, one... we were to go to Winslow School, and they had a Model T bus. Oh, first, we went to Pleasant Beach School on a little bus that took about seventeen students. Had a school bus, that was fun because we got to ride a car. Then they started building the new high school. Before, there was only one high school, not... anyway, that high school was to be grade school, junior high and high school together. So for half a year, we went to Winslow because the new high school was not ready. And then we were the first class to go in, I mean, as the seventh grade, I guess. My sister was the first, in 1928, she graduated high school. That was the first class that graduated from high school. And we were a seventh grader, we were the one that went to Bainbridge High School, which was also a junior high, I guess. We went to a new, new building, Bainbridge High School. We were so happy, we just ran up and down those stairs. We thought the school was wonderful, and big, and with the auditorium. But that, later, I heard it was burned, now they have a bigger school now. I haven't been into that building, but I did go to see the play one time with my niece. I liked to see it much better, much bigger, wonderful school. It's still my good old high school. I know... we used to sing that Bainbridge High School song. I still know that.

I'm still Bainbridge by heart. And have grown, changed... I never thought there'd be signal lights on Bainbridge, but now there's stop and go signal lights, it's completely different. All these condos coming up. I'm, it's a city now, but I don't know, I like the country life. It's a good city, small city, but after all, island is island, same size. So my son gave me one-year subscription of Review, but it's all stranger to me. It's hard to believe that such a place like Bainbridge could change like this. But it's still my hometown.

DG: Do you remember when you were younger what you did for fun? Growing up when you were in school?

FH: For fun? We just walked... of course, we didn't drive, I didn't drive. We had to take the children sometime to Girl Scout, Boy Scout, we walked all over. We walked to the Lynwood Theater, walking, go to a matinee. There was a bookmobile that stopped at Island Center, we'd go down to the bookmobile every other Tuesday, I think it was, something like that. We walked a lot, and took the children all over. It was good, it was good exercise. We didn't even think of exercise those days. We even walked to Lynwood from Island Center, that's quite a ways.

DG: And growing up, did, what did your parents do to make a living?

FH: They were farmers.

DG: They were farmers? Did you have to help on the farm?

FH: Of course, after, I married a farmer but we didn't work on the farm at all because we had the children. So they didn't expect us to work at the farm.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

DG: And how did you meet your husband?

FH: My husband?

DG: How did you meet?

FH: [Laughs] You wanna know?

DG: Yes.

FH: Well, actually, my parents were good friends, you know, with the Hayashidas, the Nishinakas. So he claims he knows, he knew me since I was a baby, used to change my diaper, he said. I think, I think maybe so, but just kidding, I think. Yeah, he was a nice guy, you can't find a man like him.

DG: When were you married?

FH: When we were married?

DG: [Laughs] It was before the war you were married.

FH: Oh, yes.

DG: And had kids right away?

FH: Yeah, we went to Portland for honeymoon. [Laughs] On a pick-up truck, an International truck. I was afraid. Oil, gas sign said almost empty, he kept going and going. I was worried about that more than anything else, that we were gonna run out of gas, but I guess he know better. [Laughs] But we, we just went and came back. But he was a nice guy, you can't find a man like him. I'm sure that yours is just as nice.

DG: Yes. [Laughs] Did you miss Bainbridge Island after you moved to Seattle?

FH: We didn't go to Seattle very often, no. We shopped on the Sears and Roebuck magazine, catalog. It'd be news when we'd go to Bainbridge, I mean, Seattle.

DG: Was it hard after you moved to Seattle? Did you miss Bainbridge Island?

FH: No, it wasn't bad. I was afraid the children would not, hard to make friends, but the first day of school they came home with friends, and no problem. They did, they made friends right away, so I was glad. The children... yeah. They're, of course, my one, only daughter moved to Texas. That made me mad. He was working at Boeing at that time. After he graduated from A&M, he was an engineer, then he... Boeing was on strike off and on, so... and all that. He wanted federal job, so he applied for NASA, the space, he got the job right there, right away, so after one year he moved right back to Texas. And I was so mad, I cried every night. Finally, my husband got mad, "Stop crying. She married him and that's where she belongs, with her husband." But I was still mad. But now I forgave them. They're a nice couple, and doing well. So now I have... I lost one, my youngest, so I still have two boys -- two children, Neal and Nat. And they're, although she lives in Texas, she calls me about once a week, and comes quite often.

And I have grandchildren and my great-grandchildren. And I'm the luckiest one, and I'm ready when they call me. But I'm still here, living by myself, eat when I want, when I want, do what I want. I got over, I'm getting over the loss of my son, but I know, I tell myself life must go on. It's been almost one month since he passed away, so I'm back to my routine and doing my things, spoiling myself, going out for lunch and we play poker sometimes. [Laughs] It's fun. Life must go on, and I'm gonna hang on as long as they want me to. I just hope I could go peacefully fast, with no problem. That's the way I guess we all want. So thank you.

DG: Thank you. Can you tell me more about family to you? It sounds, I know it's very important and I was raised that way.

FH: My family?

DG: Just family in general. Tell me about how important family is.

FH: Oh, my family in Japan, my father and mother died. Father was hit by a car, I guess, that started his illness. And Mother died, my brother died. I have one sister left in Japan. And I'm looking for her, she's coming to see me in March 21 this month, this year, and I'm ready for her. She's coming with her oldest son and, and one granddaughter. We're all looking forward for her coming. And I, I plan to have her stay with me, and my nieces and nephews will help.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

DG: So can you tell me about James Omura?

FH: James Omura? He lived on that Sportsman Road, and we'd ride the bus to school, he says, "How are you?" and kind of waved from the bus when he, he never rode the bus, although the bus went by his house. He says, "You kids ride on the bus and wave, and here you don't think of exercise." That's why want to walk to school. But he was different, and I thought, "Wow." But now we think he was, I think he was different from other people, other students, you know. Because those days, we all wanted to ride, not walk. But he wanted to walk, not ride.

DG: And what do you remember of him during the war?

FH: During the war, I didn't know where he was.

DG: And did you become reacquainted with him later?

FH: Later, yes. Because he was real independent, and he was against the war, naturally, and he was against the evacuation, and he went to the jail for that.

DG: Can you tell me more about what you know of that?

FH: He was, he worked for Mr. Woodward, even when he was going to high school. Reporter, he was the editor of that papers. But he went to the jail because he was too blunt. But later, he was released and JACL apologized, he wrote a book. To write the book, he used to write to me to help, what happened to Cole Russ, what happened to friends on Bainbridge, and school days. He lived in Colorado. And he visited Bainbridge a couple times, to the Moritanis, all his friends before. But he was a loner, you know. Come to think of it, he might have liked me a little bit. Because through the hallway, he used to give me pencil. I just used to take it, but I didn't know. [Laughs]

DG: So you corresponded with him after the war? Can you share some, do you remember some thoughts?

FH: After he wrote it to me, and then he was writing a book when he died. In one letter he complained that he should go see a doctor, he had heart trouble. But I did tell him, better go see the doctor. But before long he died of a heart attack and he had an unfinished book of his life. Art Hansen, was it, was his name? Something like that. I was, he wrote to me, I got to know him, too, because he came for an interview, and he knew James. He's a professor at California, and he wrote a book now of James, sent me the book. And before that, somehow, corresponded between Jim and myself, he sent me all the copies. I was surprised that time. And last, just last year he sent me the book. But it's too bad he died young. I heard he died on the desk in front of the typewriter. He had a stroke. But he knew he, he told me one time that he thought bad heart, but must have been too late.

DG: So how do you think... he wrote a book about himself, and did he talk a lot about the war and how he got arrested?

FH: Art Hansen is going to finish it, he hasn't finished it yet. I don't know what he wrote. But he was married, he had two boys. One is a doctor, and there's another reporter in Seattle, what's his name, I forgot. He called me one time, that his son wanted to, if his son wanted to come and talk to me, would we welcome him. Said, "Sure, I will." But I haven't heard from him yet. But yeah, he was getting there, but he had a hard life. He was an editor of one of the paper, Colorado, he had to go to jail and he had to start all over again. But I don't know too much. He was different. He went to Bainbridge but he was working, later he got a job in Seattle and he graduated from Broadway High School. I remember he sent me the graduation notice but I didn't even go to graduation.

DG: So when he was arrested, did you know he had been arrested at the time?

FH: Then the war started, and he, evacuation, he refuted that, and I guess he got into trouble.

DG: How did other people feel about that? Did you know, did you know that had happened to him?

FH: Other people, even JACL was against him for making waves about evacuation. But now they kind of, he was only, not many fought for it, but he wrote that we shouldn't be evacuated and all that, so they later, it was not a very good idea, people thought.

DG: How did you feel about what he did? How did you feel then and how do you feel now?

FH: Well, I thought, and my husband did, too, just do what the government wants you to do. The children are too young, and we have to do what they tell you to do. So I didn't, I didn't think it was a good idea, but the President say, it's it.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

DG: So how did you feel about the government then?

FH: I wanted to get away from the war stuff. I don't like this. Nothing gains from it; nobody gains. War's no good. I don't want war. I don't see why we can't get along just staying home and do our own business. But I think we all feel that way. We're not, I don't know what we're afraid of. I'm just stupid. [Laughs]

DG: No you're not.

FH: I think every country have their own right, and just like your neighbor, countries should be just like our neighbor. I mean, we don't... I don't know. I have good neighbors, but we don't wanna, I don't wanna know what they're doing every minute, none of our business. Yeah, but they're all good to me. I have the best neighbors -- although I'm living by myself, they're all looking out for me. And I don't see why countries couldn't do that. U.S. just look out for yourself, that's all. Russia, other countries. I don't know. I can't understand why this world cannot be peaceful. If we mind our own business, I think. But we depend on other countries, too, uh-huh. But I don't see why we couldn't do it friendly terms, help each other, not by fighting.

DG: And do you remember how you felt about the U.S. government when you had to leave home and go into concentration camps?

FH: Well, I thought we're citizens, but they can't, they can't say, tell be -- we looked different, so I guess that's the only way they could... might have been to protect us, I don't know. So we must do what they want you to do, and just follow the government, what they want to do. Go peacefully, no use arguing, especially when your children are young. You think of them, their future, too. I was afraid of that a lot, because they might not give them citizenship. But I think it's only one world, and I don't know. I still don't know why we can't get along. Yeah, but there's a lot to it, politics, I guess, more than you think. We need help, and they need your help. I don't know. What do you think?

DG: I agree. [Laughs] You're the wisdom here. So -- were you going to say something?

FH: Well, I don't know why we couldn't have a peaceful life, just everybody tend to your own business, you're all right. Everybody's your friend. I don't care what, what color or what nationality, they're all our friends. But I don't know, when it comes to politics, I guess it's different. They're all... I can't understand. There's a lot of things I can't understand. [Laughs] Especially, to me, everybody's, I feel like they're my friends. I don't know, from bad to, there are bad guys, I know. You read in the paper, but I can't understand.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

DG: Okay, so we're curious more about what life was like for you before the war, in the Japanese American community. What sort of activities did you do, what sort of social things?

FH: Well, I'm not socially inclined. I'm still a JACL member, I just paid my dues, but no, I never go to meetings. Just help them out.

DG: So how about before the war?

FH: Same thing, same thing. We lived on Bainbridge, we paid the dues, but Sab and I were... just paid the dues and that's it. We get our newspaper.

DG: Did you attend church?

FH: No.

DG: And how about your social circle, was that mainly family?

FH: Oh, family and both. I have, I belong to Widow's Club and we have get-togethers, dine out every Wednesday night. You don't have to go, but... I don't go every, every Wednesday night. You have your choice whether you wanna go or not. It's nothing exciting, but it's nice to see friends. Now I'm too old to go to all these, but we're all old, so we have fun. Get to make new friends. I'm still, like to make, make new friends, and keep up with old friends, and it's good to see old friends. I think we... you need friends. New friends, and my nieces and nephews, they're all good to me, and we keep up with the world.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

DG: I just want to wrap up with some thoughts you have about the memorial that's being built today. What do you think of the memorial?

FH: Oh, I'm for it, sure. I hope could live to see it.

DG: And what would you like to see it be?

FH: As soon as possible.

DG: [Laughs] Yes. What do you think the most important purpose of the memorial is?

FH: Well, it's in history, I think so, and I guess we all learned from it, and will never happen again. But it happened. For your kids' sake, just like you say, "kodomo no tame ni." And so I hope in the future, nothing like this will happen. It's in history, I think we should be proud to... and we, I think not many refused it and we just followed the rule. I think, I hope the world should know, everybody should know that we were the first to be evacuated and came back. Time marches on. Yeah, sure, I'd like to hurry up and... I think it's a good idea.

DG: Tell me why you're proud. What are you proud of from that period?

FH: What?

DG: You said you were proud, we should be proud? Tell me why you're proud.

FH: Oh, because we went through it without no problem, and we all came back home healthy. I think there's a lot of future, everybody have their own life. And we learned, learned from it. Yeah, I want, I want... it's a big project, if I could say that, I don't know. But we'll make it.

DG: And what would you like to teach younger kids about the memorial and about what you went through?

FH: That it would never happen again, never, and let the children know that it did happen, and it'll never happen again. Yeah, I hope not. I don't know, out in the South, they don't know it. It's not, it's the West Coast that knows more about evacuation. To let the whole U.S. know, that's another thing. But I suppose it must have happened in other countries, too, I don't know.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

DG: How do you feel about your country today?

FH: Country today? I hope the war ends and be peaceful. I hate these young men going to the war. It's not good for the ones -- I know, because when my son, after he went in the service, it changed him completely. He, I don't know, he didn't want to talk about it. So I think I know what they're going through, and it, to see someone get hurt right in front of you or something is something you can never forget. It's not good for the young men. I don't want draft at all. I don't know. It's really... it's not good. I don't, I don't like war anyway. Nobody do, nobody do. I don't know who decides, the politicians, you can't blame it on the President alone, but I do. But there must be more, more than we think. It's bad. I want everybody to come home and have their nice family atmosphere. I know, we all suffer, not only the son, but the whole family. Your life is different when somebody's in the service. You worry all the time, every time the phone rings you wonder what... it made a difference for us. But I guess he could have, he came back wounded, but it could be that he could have died then. But you don't want to think about it. Yeah, it ended up bad for him, but I think he died of cancer but he could have been dead when he went to Vietnam. He could have come back dead, too, instead of just being wounded. So I don't know. I want this whole world to be peaceful.

DG: Well, you're helping, you're helping by sharing your stories, it's important. You're doing a...

FH: It's important to have a happy life. Still living, anyway.

DG: Is there anything else you want add at the end here about the memorial or other memories?

FH: Well, I intend to help them again. Have a nice, I hope our dream comes true.

DG: What's your dream?

FH: Get the memorial started. All the grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up to be good citizens. They all are right now, just like your boys, our boys. I like to look forward and then I'd like to live long and see that, see them. I just, I don't know. I'm living now, but who knows? Nobody knows. But we wish for peaceful, happy life. I think I'm lucky. Yeah, I'm the luckiest, and I'm the luckiest, I'm proud of you all, all my relatives are doing so well. Keep going, keep growing, yes. Thank you for taking care of me, they all take care of me. I'm spoiled. And even today, took me to the ferry and meet me this end. They even took me to the, on the ferry, took my bag. I am lucky, I am lucky. I am lucky; I am happy. Thanks to you and everybody else. I think I'm most fortunate, I have nothing to worry about, just myself.

DG: We're lucky. [Laughs]

FH: Yeah, I think lucky.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

DG: Let me ask you one other thing about the memorial. We're trying to get support for the memorial and let people know it's being built. What would you say to people about why you think it should be built? Why do you think it's important?

FH: Because it's a memorial. We all want to remember what we went through and we don't want it to go through again like that. And I think it celebrates us all coming back and being back on our foot again. Live happy ever after. Life must go on

DG: But you think the story is important to tell?

FH: Oh, sure. Past is important, the future you never know. I think so.

DG: Why is that, why is it important to talk about the past and remember the past?

FH: So not to do it again, if it's bad, I think. It will never happen again. But you see, it was, after you think about it, it's not... we didn't get hurt. I think the bigger the business, they got, they hurt more than... for some people was, like young people, they thought that was fun. You make new friends, you don't have to help clean the house. It's not like when you're home, you had to help cook and clean the house, help with the garden or field. They had a lot of time, they didn't have to... when the gong rings, you just go to mess hall. But you can't do that when you have little ones. But we survived; it was hard. But I think it's hard for the families that had little kids more than any other. They took care of themselves when they're teenage. Suppose the mothers worried about where they are, I guess, but they knew better.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

DG: It was harder for you with younger children?

FH: It was hard for me with the... not a worry, not hard, but lots of worry. We thought something maybe was missing in diet because my daughter, she would go behind the barrack and eat sand. And you could tell because she had sand here [gestures to mouth] and their movement, lot of sand in her movement. Got worried and I took her to doctor, and doctor says, "Don't worry as long as it comes out." But I don't know. I thought maybe she's short of some kind of vitamin or something, 'cause I don't know, she ate sand for a while. I was so scared. 'Cause we got all the milk we want, but no ice box, we had to go to mess hall to get the milk. And so hot, and it gets curdled right away, and I didn't know. You worry for nothing, I guess. But she was healthy, I don't know. And of course, there's lot of babysitters, so naturally, "Kayo's eating sand, she's eating sand," so I'd bring her home. So I thought maybe diet was something wrong, but took 'em to doctor, she said, "Well, as long as it comes out, don't worry about it."

DG: So how long did that happen? How long did that go on for?

FH: Oh, not too long, I guess, but she was eating sand. You could tell when she's, you know... she knows she can't eat it, but I don't know.

DG: Were there other changes in behavior you noticed with your kids?

FH: No... not enough to mention, I guess, that's the only thing. And sometimes she, too, we had to rush her to the windy day, to the clinic because she had a high fever. But we found out that every time she teeth, get new teeth, then she has high fever. I remember running in the sandstorm with a blanket over her, of course, Sab would carry, we went. But after that we didn't worry too much, because we knew every time she had new teeth come, she got a fever, high fever.

DG: Do you remember other times when any of your kids were sick?

FH: No, Neal was healthy. Neal was always healthy. My daughter, we had trouble with her. But other than that, I guess... well, I was ill, too, one time.

DG: Tell me about that.

FH: Well, the one little apartment we had, I get so tired I couldn't even mop it at one time. I had to sit down, and I was getting so tired. So my husband, he mopped the floor for me. And anyway, I was, I was really tired, so he finally told me to go to a doctor. I don't like to go doctor so I kept putting it off, then he made an appointment for me, and he said, "You're going to go," 'cause he made an appointment. So the army truck came after me, went to the doctor, and I had, oh, I had to get hysterectomy, so found out that. I was in the hospital, that was the only time I went to the hospital. I have never been in the hospital, because we had children at home in the country. The hospital that was at camp Minidoka, after we came to Minidoka. So, and I had a tumor, I guess. But I didn't want to go to a doctor, but I found out I had tumor. So after that I'm okay.

DG: So tell me about the hospital stay.

FH: Yeah, hospital, it's all one big barrack, all the cots all the way around. The whole barrack was a hospital. They had Japanese doctor, that was at Minidoka. But I think I stayed about one week. That was the only time I went to the hospital. And of course I had Leonard in the Manzanar hospital. So I guess I'm healthy as a whole, the other children, I had 'em at home. So far as I know I've never been in a hospital. My husband used to say, "Oh, you're strong as a horse," Because he went to hospital more often than...

DG: Oh, he was in the...

FH: Uh-huh, he had hernia so many times.

DG: Was this during the war, or was this after?

FH: After we came back, uh-huh. So he used to tell me, "You're strong as a horse." I tell him, "Well, you know, horse, they eat too much wheat, oats, they expand, so they die, too, too much eating." [Laughs] So I tell him, used to say, "A horse might die, too," when you feed him. Like we sold one horse to a Filipino man, I remember, fifteen dollars. Then with that money we bought, my sister and I bought new curtains, and he fed his horse too much oats, and it died. So... they said the oats expands.

DG: There you go. [Laughs] So you're the secret to, the secret to healthy long living is not to eat too much...

FH: Yeah, don't eat oats. [Laughs]

DG: All right. Good, we'll end there. [Laughs]

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.