Densho Digital Archive
Emiko and Chizuko Omori Collection
Title: Hisaye Yamamoto Interview
Narrator: Hisaye Yamamoto
Interviewers: Chizu Omori (primary); Emiko Omori (secondary)
Location: San Francisco, California
Date: March 21, 1994
Densho ID: denshovh-yhisaye-01-0007

<Begin Segment 7>

CO: So describe the camp scene, pretty much at the very beginning.

HY: Oh, let's see. Well, there was sand everywhere. And it was very hot. And we located our friends and neighbors within the same block and I remember sleeping a lot because of the heat and then you would get up. I would go to maybe your barracks and kind of zonk out there and go to your aunt's and zonk out there and go to Toshiko-san's and zonk out there. And every time you'd get up, there's just a, your imprint, the sweat imprint on the sheet, you know. And it took a while just getting adjusted to the weather, I think. And then Jeannie and I, my next door neighbor, got acquainted and we decided we'd go to work in the mess hall as waitresses. We didn't know what else to do. And what did your dad do?

CO: Well he was originally a cook.

HY: Yeah, my father went in as a cook, too.

CO: But he didn't really know anything about cooking. I mean --

HY: Neither did my father, but they just needed help.

CO: Work, yeah, uh-huh. And I just remember the food being pretty bad. Do you recall?

HY: Oh, yeah. Lots of curried mutton stew, I remember. After a while you got to like it. [Laughs] If there was enough curry in it. And let's see... after a while I think the farm started producing, producing grains and... oh, the Arizona grapefruit was good. It was so sweet you could peel it and eat it. But otherwise I don't remember much about the food.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1994, 2003 Densho and Emiko Omori. All Rights Reserved.