Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Don Maeda Interview
Narrator: Don Maeda
Interviewer: Carolyn Nayematsu
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 13, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-mdon-01-0006

<Begin Segment 6>

CN: Okay, so where is Puyallup?

DM: Puyallup. It was the Western State Fair in Puyallup, which is, oh, let's see, 20 miles south of Seattle, in the town of Puyallup.

CN: Now how did that happen? All of you just showed up there?

DM: No, we had to, we gathered at a spot, Jefferson Park was our -- they had different places for different area people. When we got on the bus up and then they bussed us into Puyallup.

CN: So at that time it was you, your father and your sister? She was older?

DM: No, she was there. And my two-year-old brother and we had duffle bag and suitcases, what we could carry.

CN: Your family photos and those things were all packed up and put away?

DM: Apparently, and my sister was stuck with all that. She and my parents -- at least I don't recall doing much. [Laughs]

CN: So you all showed up at this fairgrounds, because Seattle was one of the early groups to have to evacuate...

DM: Right.

CN: What were conditions like at the fairgrounds?

DM: Well, we were fortunate there. There was a parking lot across from the fairgrounds and they built the barracks in the parking lot so that was all fresh wood, it was just wood, it was raw wood walls and all but at least it was clean, and we had a little room I think it was 20, I think 24 by 24, whatever. And then we were passed out, we had army cots and real army-type mattresses, they were thin but they were at least clean. And then...

CN: And that was March...

DM: Of '42.

CN: Of '42. And about how many Japanese families...

DM: From Seattle, I really don't know.

CN: Because that must have been a large group.

DM: It wasn't as large as L.A. and San Francisco, but it was a large group.

CN: And your family was assigned a section?

DM: Well, yeah, there was this barracks, I can't remember the number of that one but we were assigned a certain one.

CN: And you were in Puyallup how many months?

DM: Until August, while they're building the camp in Idaho.

CN: During those months, how did you occupy your time?

DM: I, being one of the early ones, I got a job as a supply, and so we distributed the incoming families, this Lloyd and I distributed the beds and mattresses and helped carry their belongings and get the later people settled.

CN: How about your dad, was he able to do any of the...

DM: Not in that camp, but in Idaho he was able to do his trade.

CN: So at that point you had not been around a lot of Japanese?

DM: Just a small group at the Japanese Methodist Church.

CN: So now you were with a big group.

DM: That's right, I made a lot of... not so much, I don't remember that much in Puyallup, but a I met a lot of friends in Idaho.

CN: How about your mother, how did she feel?

DM: I don't really know.

CN: She was busy with a two year old...

DM: She had a two year old and I'm sure, and she had a lot of friends, women gather. And I remember the men all gather at the laundry room where it was warmer you know. [Laughs]

CN: Because that area would have been a little cold...

DM: Damp. Damp.

CN: What was their feeling like because you knew you were going to Idaho at some point?

DM: I don't know if we knew what the future was, I really don't know.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.