Densho Digital Archive
Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL Collection
Title: Emi Yamamoto Interview
Narrator: Emi Yamamoto
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Watsonville, California
Date: July 30, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-yemi-01-0014

<Begin Segment 14>

MA: So I wanted to ask you about your memories of Salinas Assembly Center, and your, what you were thinking when you first arrived at Salinas.

EY: It shocked you, that's all you could think. But it was, same everybody, that was rodeo ground. Well, everyplace that had those kind of place, it's lot of filth and everything.

MA: And what were your living conditions in Salinas?

EY: Oh, it was just a barrack with, it was five family in one barrack.

MA: And it was you and your husband and your mother-in-law?

EY: Yes, and her family, and my brother-in-law's family. And we had a little share, three room, shared everybody. And it was kind of filthy with the rodeo ground being horse manures and everything. What happened for me, I had acute, acute appendicitis from there, and you know, and then they took me to the County Hospital because assembly center is close to County Hospital. They had the little, one doctor was taking care of the few people, but in case of emergency, we had to, they would take us to County Hospital, 'cause it was close to assembly center. And I had acute appendicitis. I was by myself in the army truck, and they took the appendix out.

MA: Wow.

EY: It was scary.

MA: And this was after you were in Salinas?

EY: Uh-huh, assembly center.

MA: How long were you in the hospital?

EY: About a little over a week, and then they brought me back to assembly center where they had a temporary place.

MA: And then you stayed in the, like in the clinic in Salinas?

EY: Uh-huh. And then...

MA: Did they have a, you said they had a doctor in camp, like one doctor or something?

EY: Uh-huh, yes. Then the emergency, delivery of babies and things were all sent out to the County Hospital because it's close to.

MA: But they would transport people by army truck?

EY: Yes. And nobody could come, I went by myself and had the surgery and took the appendix out.

MA: So no visitors, no, your husband couldn't come with you?

EY: Nobody could. Kind of scary.

MA: It's very scary.

EY: But what an experience.

MA: And how long were you in Salinas?

EY: Well, we all had to get out by Fourth of July.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL. All Rights Reserved.