Densho Digital Archive
Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann Collection
Title: Donald Yamamoto Interview
Narrator: Donald Yamamoto
Interviewer: Raechel Donahue
Location: San Jose, California
Date: December 15, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-ydonald-01-0003

<Begin Segment 3>

RD: But then, all of a sudden, you're in Santa Anita, which is California, so it's somewhat familiar, there's palm trees, it's not that far from San Jose. But then they tell you you're going to go to Wyoming.

DY: Well, I don't know that I knew we were going to go Wyoming. All I know is that we had to pack up again to go. And I... from researching the internet, I found out that they had announced who were going to Wyoming in the local, they used to have a newspaper in Santa Anita called the Pacemaker and they gave news to the people there. But I didn't have access to that, I didn't know about that.

RD: So you got on a train.

DY: We got on a train, yes, and we started going, and it got to be night. And then they said, "Okay, you've got to pull the shades down." And I didn't know why, but somebody said we were going through Las Vegas, and I don't know if that was a big secret that they were supposed to keep from us. But we went through there, and then next morning when we woke up, it was hot, and they opened all the windows, the shades were all up, we were just rolling through desolated land, all the way through Nevada I guess it was.

RD: It's pretty much still like that. We just drove it. [Laughs]

DY: Is that right?

RD: Yeah, we did. It's still a pretty brutal drive. So you just were waiting and waiting, it must have taken days.

DY: Yeah, we waited, and then eventually we came to a town. And the people were walking by the train, and we were slowed down, and so we hollered out, "Where are we?" and they said, "You're in Pocatello." Pocatello is Idaho, I guess. And that's about all I remember of that trip. Except when the train pulled into, I guess, where the camp was, I could see sign on the post saying, "Vocation," and I believe that was the name of the actual location because I looked it up on the internet later when I got a computer to see if it was the same place. They showed maps of the area.

RD: And you saw the mountain?

DY: No. Well, the maps showed, topographical maps showed you elevations of various things, and I assumed which one was the mountain.

RD: But you don't remember seeing the mountain when you got off the train?

DY: No.

RD: It's not much of a mountain if you just see it by itself, you know. So what was your first impression of -- I know that you had barracks in Santa Anita which were similar to where we are now, right?

DY: Yes. We were dropped off by this barrack that there were seven of us in the family and we had one room in the barrack. That was a little, it was a larger room than what we had in Santa Anita. We had, in Santa Anita we had two smaller rooms because of the size of the family, seven people.

RD: Were you in the... some people were in the horse...

DY: Stables?

RD: Yeah.

DY: No. When we were in Santa Anita, we arrived there late where all the stables were taken up, so they had built barracks on the parking lot.

RD: Yeah, that's what Kaz was saying he stayed. So you kept in touch with many of your friends. Tell me who your friends were in Heart Mountain.

DY: Pardon?

RD: Tell me who your friends were in Heart Mountain.

DY: My friends? I don't really recall too many. All I know is they had some sort of school, it was summertime, but they had some sort of school which we went to and I met some people there, some of the boys there, which I eventually met up again when we went to our so-called relocation center. We didn't have homework or anything, all I know is we went to the grandstand and there was classrooms there. My mind is fading.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2010 Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann and Densho. All Rights Reserved.