Densho Digital Archive
Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL Collection
Title: Chiyoko Yagi Interview
Narrator: Chiyoko Yagi
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Watsonville, California
Date: July 28, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-ychiyoko-01-0011

<Begin Segment 11>

MA: So when you came back from your travels after Pearl Harbor, did you notice a change in the way that people in Watsonville treated the Japanese Americans?

CY: We didn't think nothing. Nothing happened to us then. We stored our stuff, and then our friends were friends, you know, and so, but then in order to go into the camp, we had to clear out the house so that we could rent it out while we're away to pay for our property tax and fire insurance and liability insurance, all that. And so I had to clean it out to make it rentable, you know. And between that time, I think, let's see, my mother-in-law had to be moved out of the house, 'cause she was an alien, and anybody that's an alien couldn't stay west side of Highway 1. And the house, where our house is located, in front of the house is Highway 1, and across the street my brother-in-law had a gas station, they called it Flying A Associated gas station, and he was running that. So my mother-in-law moved to my sister-in-law's house, they lived on the other side, so they were fine, they didn't have to move. But she stayed there, and, but she'd come to the gas station to tell me what to move and where everything is. 'Cause I was just a bride of three months when this, we had to start moving, you know. My father-in-law's gone, my mother-in-law is gone. So we had to pack all the stuff and put it in the garage, and the better things we'd send to the friends' house, in Corralitos, where they stored it for us.

MA: So Highway 1, you said, divided, so the government said any --

CY: West side.

MA: -- aliens living on the West side had to just move?

CY: Had to move, uh-huh, yes.

MA: So what about your, your parents?

CY: My parents had farm on the west side, so they had to move into town and rent a house for a few months before we, they went into an assembly center. And my brother had, they had a big farm, and the berries were ready to be picked. Because when we moved into the assembly center, it was around April, and that's just about the time when the berries would start coming out. And so they have to sell all that farm, and it wasn't their land so they can't leave anything there, they were renting, so it was hard.

MA: So they lost, I'm sure, a lot of money and then they had to move not only to assembly center, but they had to move before that. So two times.

CY: Yeah, they had to move twice, you know.

MA: So you mentioned that you, you were in charge of a lot of the preparations to move.

CY: Oh, yes.

MA: Because your father-in-law was gone.

CY: My mother-in-law was gone, and then all the shop things were there, so I had to just pack up everything and put it in the garage. Because we have a three-car garage in the back, and we had one, one storage room. And one, one garage was just, we kept to store things, but then our friends started bringing things in, 'cause they didn't know where to store their things. So we put it in, but after we came back, lot of the stuff were gone because they broke in. Seemed like just certain things were missing, but not everything. Like if it was now, they'd probably clean us out. In those days, they were that, that bad, but still, things were gone.

MA: And did you have to find, like, a renter for your house?

CY: Well, the real estate man did that, he did it for us. He found renters, a renter for the shop, and we had a granny quarter, and then the house, and then we had a rental in the back. And it seemed like they put, those days, I think they had some Mexican workers or something, some big company rented the back house. Because it was, used to be a pool hall and living quarters, and that was all made into, kind of like farm labor camp, like.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL. All Rights Reserved.