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-01-0013

<Begin Segment 13>

MA: And can you talk about when you first arrived at Salinas and what you were thinking?

CY: Oh, yes. (...) They gave us a bag and they told us to stuff it with straw, and that was our mattress. And that was the first thing that shocked us. And we were about the last one to go into the Salinas Assembly Center, Monterey and Salinas people were already there. So all the good jobs were taken, so we had to, (...) work in the kitchen as a waitress. And I think we were paid twelve dollars a month, and so when we went to assembly center in Poston, Camp 1 was the big camp that most of the people that went earlier were there. And Camp 2 was a new camp, and we just started filling up. So I grabbed the job that was easier and got a job as a canteen worker. I was cashier at the canteen for sixteen dollars a month.

MA: Which was easier work than...

CY: Easier work, yes. (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job.)

MA: ...than the waitressing that you were doing.

CY: Yes, (waitressing. You have to go three times a day to work, for each meal.)

MA: So going back a little bit to Salinas, so it was you and Harry...

CY: My mother-in-law.

MA: Mother-in-law.

CY: Brother-in-law and sister-in-law. So we all moved into one barrack.

MA: And what were the, what was the barrack, what did it look like in Salinas?

CY: Just the empty barrack with the cot with a straw mattress on there, that's all. And what suitcase we brought. And it was, the dining hall, there'd be a dining hall that, one dining hall for one block, and one, like, latrine, they call it, where the shower and bathroom, and I think there was a washroom there, too, I'm not sure. (Narr. note: The shower and washroom didn't have partitions.)

<End Segment 13> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL. All Rights Reserved.