Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Sally Sudo Interview
Narrator: Sally Sudo
Interviewer: Steve Ozone
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 12, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-ssally-01-0003

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SO: So you grew up in Seattle?

SS: Yes, actually, I lived there until I was age... I had just turned six when Pearl Harbor was bombed.

SO: Do you remember anything in the years before Pearl Harbor?

SS: The only thing I remember was... I do remember a little bit about going to kindergarten. You know, I was one of these kids who had separation anxiety I guess you would call it, very clingy to their mom, and I remember my mom taking me to kindergarten and my not wanting her to leave and the teacher having to gently draw me into the classroom and allowing my mother to slip out. I was always very shy in school. I know that we went to a school that was close to our home, it was within walking distance, and I do remember the principal of that school. But other than that, I don't have too many other memories about Seattle itself, except the fact that we did live in an area that, well, I guess it would be sort of like a Japanese ghetto. It was actually very close to the downtown area that they call the International District now. And during my six years in Seattle we lived in two different houses, they were rented properties and neither one of those houses are standing any longer because they've been torn down for the freeways. But I know that we lived in very much a Japanese community where my mom could do the shopping in Japanese or take us to doctors and not have any problems with the language. But there were also some Italians and Germans in our neighborhood, as well.

SO: So World War II or Pearl Harbor happened. You were six years old.

SS: Right.

SO: So, you were too young to probably think about things like that.

SS: No, I certainly didn't comprehend the enormity of what was happening. All I knew was that people were very much afraid of what was going to happen, there were a lot of rumors. My brother Tom, who was fourteen at the time, was at the movie theater at the time, this was on a Sunday morning, and they stopped the film, he told us, and then all of a sudden at the bottom of the screen came this scrawl saying, "All military personnel report to your bases now." So he thought, "Oh my goodness, something must have happened." And then when he got out into the lobby he heard people saying, "Oh, Pearl Harbor has been bombed." And then some people started pointing at him saying, "There's a Jap, let's get him." And so he ran all the way home from the theater just terrified thinking that people were going to beat him up or something terrible was going to happen. So there were lots of incidents of discrimination and unpleasant things happening to people.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.