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-01-0004

<Begin Segment 4>

SO: What do you remember about getting ready before you went to the assembly center?

SS: All I know is we were told that we could bring two suitcases each with us, and our family had very little luggage in the way of suitcases, and you can imagine with ten children, our folks had to go out and buy a lot of that stuff and then they were also told that we should bring eating utensils and trays for eating in the cafeterias, and so my mom went out and bought these, like cookie sheets, only with a little lip, I guess they are like jelly roll trays. That's what we used. We brought those with us to camp. I can still remember the suitcases, they were sort of like aluminum suitcases. I remember we all got assigned a family number, and one of my sisters was in charge of writing numbers on all these tags that we put on all the suitcases. And besides that we had these big sort of like army duffel bags to stuff our bed linens in. And just getting all that stuff together, and then one of the few things that my mom had that was worth anything to her was her set of Japanese Girl's Day dolls, and she gave them to the principal of our elementary school, 'cause she didn't know what else to do with them. I know my parents threw away or burned a lot of things that connected them to Japan, because they didn't want to be caught with anything. They were so worried that if the FBI came calling on us they might be found suspicious, you know, for having certain things written in the Japanese language. And so they got rid of things like that.

SO: Did they give things to neighbors?

SS: Not that I know of. I think the few things that we had that were worth saving, I understand that we stored at the local Japanese Baptist church, because they opened up that church gymnasium for families that wanted to store their things there. But during the war, all of that was lost, so we didn't really have anything at all. And we didn't own our own home, we didn't have a car. We really didn't have a lot of things of value anyway.

SO: What was the name of the assembly site?

SS: Well, the first one we were sent to was in Puyallup, Washington, which was where they held the Western Washington State Fair and it would be south of Seattle. I know that we were bused to that location. And they divided that assembly center into four areas and our area was one of the parking lots where they had put up some buildings for each of us and we were housed there. I remember when we first got there, getting these large sort of like flour sack kind of bags and then told to fill them up with straw from the straw pile because that was going to be our mattress. And I do remember things like getting all of our vaccinations, you know, getting shots against contagious diseases. So I know that we were sent there, I believe it was April or May of 1942, and we were there until late August before we were moved out. One of the things I remember about being there was on one of the weekends, the principal of our elementary school came to the gate, outside the barbed wires, and she had all these boxes of candy bars, and she had tears running down our cheeks and she was handing out these bars to the kids that she recognized from her school.

SO: I want to back up. Did your father own a car?

SS: No, we did not own a car.

SO: So you never went anywhere?

SS: No, only by public transportation. The only place I know we really went for any kind of trip was one of his cousins owned this strawberry farm in Bremerton, Washington, and you had to take the ferry to go there and that was kind of the only kind of trip that the family went on.

SO: I would think taking ten kids...

SS: Yes, right. Not easy, that's right. [Laughs]

<End Segment 4> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.