Densho Digital Archive
Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community Collection
Title: Eiko Shibayama Interview
Narrator: Eiko Shibayama
Interviewer: Debra Grindeland
Location: Bainbridge Island, Washington
Date: November 5, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-seiko-01-0010

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DG: So can you tell me more about what you did, what Minidoka was like for you, and school there and...

ES: Well, I, I really didn't learn that much there. A lotta time, there was some friction with the teacher with the student. I don't know if their attitude, what their attitude was like, but they didn't like the teacher. They would kinda make a ruckus in the room. And then, in fact, the one class, the one teacher almost had to handle him physically. And he was making fun of the teacher. But most of the time, it went pretty smoothly, all the classes. But I noticed when I came back for my junior year at my regular school, that it seems like I was kinda far behind, as far as, especially English. I was having a little harder time on those subjects. But otherwise I feel back here, too, they didn't learn that much either during the war years, so it wasn't that far behind. The teachers were okay there. Some of the teachers, like the math teachers, was pretty good, I thought. And we had to learn sewing there, I remember. [Laughs] And otherwise it wasn't that much different. We went to class. But the only thing I remembered is since we lived way at the end of the -- Hunt, Idaho -- the last block in the camp, so we had a long ways to walk down to the school which was in the middle of the camp. And we were on Block 44, and in the winter it was really cold to walk. And we always tried to get a ride home on the convoys, and a lot of the convoys were full, with students. Sometime we really had to walk in that cold weather. And I thought, gee, that was, that was pretty miserable for me. And I used to envy those people that lived near the school, 'cause they just walked there and just walked home, and here we had to all that, many blocks to walk.

But they had lotta activities at school, they had clubs and things like that. But I don't remember joining that many. 'Cause... because we did live way up in the other block and it was harder for us to get to and from to the different activities. But we did attend church and things like that. Because that was an option open to us that we could go to. And we used to go see movies in the recreation hall. And I remember taking all these pine nuts -- I don't know, pine nuts, why it was so plentiful then, but we used to take it into the movie house and be cracking, eating pine nuts all the time. Not popcorn, but pine nuts. [Laughs] Let's see, what else did we do? I don't, I don't remember actually working in the camp, like some, some of the kids did. I mean, they got jobs, I guess.

But I remember going out to the farm labor camp, right after the summer, for the harvest season of apples and onions and potatoes. And we used to stay at this, what they call farm labor camp, where the farmers would come with their trucks and pick you up, and then we'd go out there for the whole day. And we did quite well in the potato, onion, but for some reason, the apples, we weren't very successful in picking apples. I don't know if it's because of our, I don't know if it was because we weren't tall enough to reach a lot of the places, but we did much better in the onion and sacking the potatoes and things. And since we were together then... some of the seven girls were together, not all of us. But one of the seven girl's parents, mother, came out to cook for us at the camp. You know, when you come in from the harvest, you're very tired, and for her to have the meal ready for us is really nice. And so, they, I think they let us out of school for that short time in order to get the harvest, for the war, harvested. So, I think we did that. I think we did that several times, or two times.

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