Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Judy Murakami Interview
Narrator: Judy Murakami
Interviewer: Carolyn Nayamatsu
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 13, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-mjudy-01-0006

<Begin Segment 6>

CN: Now, I know you have a couple of mementos from the Heart Mountain time that you donated. Can you describe some of the items that your father made for you?

JM: Okay, well, father was a carpenter, and I don't actually know that he made this particular thing or not, because even though my father was kind of handy, I don't know that he was... I don't know if at that point in his life he was that qualified as a carpenter. But there was a doll bed that someone made for me, because I was maybe a year and a half old at that point. It was about two feet by... two feet long by maybe a foot and a half wide by a foot tall. And it was just made out of pieces of lumber, and on the edge of this bed was painted an outline of Heart Mountain. And anyone who has seen a picture of Heart Mountain camp would recognize a very distinct look -- it's not like a Valentine heart, it looks more like a human heart -- and they painted that on the side and then above that they put my name "Judy" on it, and then they actually had some little decals of little bears and bunny rabbits. Not that long ago I actually sent it to Heart Mountain because they are doing an educational, interpretive center there, and they were looking for mementos, so I boxed it all up and sent it to them so they would have it for safekeeping, but I do have a photo of what I sent.

CN: I should have asked, Heart Mountain is in Wyoming, where is it?

JM: Heart Mountain, the nearest large town is Powell, P-O-W-E-L-L, and I think that the nearest recognizable town is Cody, Wyoming. And it's interesting because the people who are heading up this interpretive center are some of the Caucasians who have lived there. One of them is a woman that we met when my husband and I went out to visit the camp about five years ago. Her name is LaDonna Zall. She was telling me how back in 1945 or '46 when they closed that camp, she was a little girl living in Powell, and her father took her out of elementary school and took her down to the train station because he wanted her to understand what had happened to all these people. The memory stuck with her, so as a woman who is probably in her eighties, she's been spearheading and been very active in trying to preserve the history of that camp.

CN: Because that turned out to be one of the largest towns in Wyoming.

JM: Right, yeah, it was.

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