Densho Digital Archive
Topaz Museum Collection
Title: Grace F. Oshita Interview
Narrator: Grace F. Oshita
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Date: June 4, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-ograce-01-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

MA: So that day, May 1, 1942, can you describe that day? Where did you go to meet the buses?

GO: Did I have my album?

MA: You can, you can just tell me.

GO: There were people -- no, she was befriended by a Mr. Gray, who helped businesspeople do just what my mother's doing, trying to finish her business, in other words, closing the store, emptying it completely. And so she got it done. And the last minute, within an hour or something of the time we boarded the bus, she came running in and had just sold our car to the car dealer, and he drove her to Kimon Gakuen, and that's how much she had to take care of. And I remember one more thing is May, May 1st, so April 30th, that night, we slept on the floor so that we could just roll it up and then take our bedding with us, anyway. Everything but the mattress, you know.

MA: And where did you meet that, that day?

GO: Kimon Hall. And then a few weeks, a few blocks down Japantown was the YMCA, and you were told if you lived between this address and so forth, you congregate over there, and all the signing, pre-registering and everything was done in the same spot so you wouldn't get confused. Ours was always the Kimon Hall, so we knew where we were to congregate.

MA: And you went to meet a bus, or there was buses there?

GO: Yes, buses.

MA: At that point, did you know where you were headed?

GO: I think it had been announced. It had to have been, 'cause it was so close, anyway. But when we got there, the huge hall, I guess it used to be used for betting and to buy the tickets, so-called, and such. But my mother, again, when she found one of our big huge boxes with the family name and number on it, she stopped the truck driver and said, "I have my mother-in-law who can't walk as far as, to the barracks or wherever. It was actually a horse stable. So the truck driver said, "Okay," and just accommodated us.

MA: And this was at Tanforan, I'm sorry.

GO: We were surprised.

MA: At Tanforan?

GO: Yes, several days, maybe a couple weeks after we were there, my mother went every day to the administrative office to ask how, when she could see her mother in the San Mateo Hospital now. Every Japanese had to be moved out of San Francisco, especially I found out recently, they considered anybody with one-sixteenth Japanese blood is a Japanese. And so I couldn't even figure out who I might know that has only one-sixteenth Japanese blood. But somebody was mentioning that.

MA: So your mother, Ray's mother, you said was in the hospital in San Mateo?

GO: Yes. She was diagnosed to have terminal cancer, I think it was early in the year already, and so my mom had written a letter to -- I wish I could read fast enough, Japanese fast enough, but I can't -- and it's so interesting, all the letters back and forth, and how agonizing and lonely it was for my dad not to be able to receive a letter for a whole week, no letter at all for a whole week and things like that.

MA: And so your mother went to the administration to try to get her mother moved?

GO: Yes, to the, she didn't need any other care except to keep her pain down, and she was just waiting for her day. That was all, so just to keep her comfortable. And that meant to be close to the family, her sons' family, her daughter's family, and my mom and I. So we got, they found an empty stall close by, and she and her mother and her father slept there and stayed there.

MA: Okay, so she eventually was moved to be with family in Tanforan.

GO: Yeah, just one day, without notice or anything, ambulance drove up, and here she got off, and we were so surprised because we didn't know whether she could walk or what, but she did get off the... and I don't know whether she was just in her bathrobe or, hospital bathrobe or what, but that's where she died. But she died in peace because she was with family, and we were so thankful for that.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.