Densho Digital Archive
Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann Collection
Title: Nobu Shimokochi Interview
Narrator: Nobu Shimokochi
Interviewer: Raechel Donahue
Date: 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-snobu_2-01-0008

<Begin Segment 8>

RD: Okay, so they closed the camp. Some people left earlier than others.

NS: Yes.

RD: And so did you stay after the actual closing?

NS: No, no. Nobody stayed after the closing.

RD: Well, Shig stayed 'til the bitter end. He stayed a couple months after everybody else. Well, they didn't have anywhere to go.

NS: Right. Well, nobody had anywhere to go. We went to Ohio because a friend of my dad's gave him a lead for a job. My dad's friend was a mortician, and he wanted to go back to California and restart his mortician business. And so he turned his job over to my father, and he was one of the very fortunate people who had a lead for a job. And you know, it was a case of, here's twenty-five dollars and a free train ticket, goodbye. [Laughs] And the people were terrified. I mean, you'd think that, being freed from a concentration camp would be an event of elation, but it wasn't so. They were terrified with the demobilization, all the soldiers and sailors were coming back from the war, over ten, fifteen million of them. And all the war production workers were laid off from their jobs, and here come the despised people looking for a place to live and a job. And like Kaz said, you know, it was really hard work to do those backbending, backbreaking jobs, picking beans and things like that.

RD: Which your parents had to do. So did he get the job in Ohio?

NS: Yes.

RD: And then what happened?

NS: And then he got a lead on a job as a caretaker in Royal Oak, Michigan. And so he left the other job and went to Royal Oak, Michigan, which is a suburb of Detroit.

RD: Okay, then so how did you meet Anna? Because she said it already, so you have to tell me.

NS: [Laughs] Well, my father, he was one of those rare people who kept in contact with everybody he, every one of his friends. So he always used to write to her father. And I guess he knew her father from way back when they'd first come to this country. And it turned out that he was working as a farmhand down near Monroe, and then for some reason he switched to a job in Birmingham, Michigan, which was practically a neighboring town. In fact, it was a neighboring town, Royal Oak. And I don't know, he got a stroke or a heart attack or something during that time, and at that particular time, I was overseas in Korea. And the family was destitute, there were, what, six kids, and no place to go. So my father took the family into his home. And when I came back from the service, her brother was pretty close to my age, and we... and I didn't have any friends, no friends around here, being gone for three years. And I came back and I didn't have any friends, so I chummed around with her brother. And he had a pretty little sister, and so I ended up spending time with her.

RD: The rest is history, as they say.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2010 Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann and Densho. All Rights Reserved.