Densho Digital Archive
Preserving California's Japantowns Collection
Title: Kay Ikeda Interview
Narrator: Kay Ikeda
Interviewers: Jill Shiraki (primary); Tom Ikeda (secondary)
Location: Fresno, California
Date: March 10, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-ikay-01-0011

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: So let's talk about, now, going to Arkansas. Do you remember the train ride from Fresno to Jerome, Arkansas?

KI: I remember that it took seven days to get to Arkansas, because we, our train had to side track and then let the real train that has to use the track go first. So they put us aside. It took us seven days to get to Arkansas.

TI: So it must have been uncomfortable being in a train for so long.

KI: I know. I remember there was a Caucasian man, and I was pregnant at that time, and I didn't have a seat, so he left his seat and didn't come back, so he gave me the seat, which I thought that was very nice of the soldier to do that for me.

TI: And so even though you were pregnant, there weren't enough seats for even you to sit down?

KI: Yeah. I was sitting on my suitcase.

TI: Any other memories on that, on that trip across?

KI: No, no. But I thought that big Caucasian man was very sweet.

TI: Yeah, it was a kindness that he didn't have to do, but he gave you a seat. When you got to Jerome, Arkansas, what were some of your first memories when you got to Jerome?

KI: Well, we were all assigned a room, because they had block manager. So Arkansas is cold. They had a wood-burning stove in the room, every room had a wood-burning stove, and... well, we didn't have very many luxury in my room because, you know, you weren't allowed to take anything but what you could carry, huh, at that time.

TI: So when you have a wood-burning, when it's cold and you have a wood-burning stove, where did the wood come from?

KI: From the forest that they had to go, the men had to go and cut down the forest, the wood, and bring the wood to the camp. And that's how they got the wood, I presume.

TI: So the people in camp had to go get their own wood, their own fuel to stay warm?

KI: Yeah, and I heard that there was swamps, you know, water, swamp, not a clean river or something. I had heard about that. So I don't know. 'Cause I didn't go to that part, the place.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2010 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.