Densho Digital Archive
Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL Collection
Title: Mas Hashimoto Interview
Narrator: Mas Hashimoto
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Watsonville, California
Date: July 30, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-hmas-01-0022

<Begin Segment 22>

TI: So you're a young boy in Poston, things like birthdays, how did you celebrate your birthday?

MH: My ninth birthday was my, my most important birthday I've ever had. My sister-in-law, Oichi, she's a newlywed to my brother who was in the sanitarium because of TB. Anyway, she somehow managed to get to Camp 1. Camp 1, now, I forget what block it was, 2 or 32. Camp 1 had a bakery, and she managed to get a cake made for my birthday. Now, the trouble that she went through to get that birthday cake, that's just unbelievable. I mean, that's going way above and beyond.

TI: So tell me, how hard would it be to get a birthday cake?

MH: It was hard to get any cake. Sugar was rationed, it was hard to, to get any kind of pastry. So she went above and beyond, I think. Now, one of the things about birthdays, all my birthdays, if I got any money or such, always went into the college fund, I never got to spend it. Christmas money, I never got to spend it, it all went into my college account. And so, but one of the things that I learned, I was always thinking, okay, birthday, "What did I do to deserve all this attention?" Nothing. Nothing. What I should do is give presents to my parents. Well, my father had passed away, so on my birthday, it was important to give something to my mother, not the other way around.

TI: So going back to the cake experience, so this cake was made in Camp 1, you live in Camp 2. How would get a cake --

MH: She brought it back, she ordered it, had it made, she probably had, because no telephone connection, she probably had to go by bus, or the truck, shuttle system, dusty roads and whatever, get over there, order it, come back. When it's ready, go back, get it, bring it back for my birthday.

TI: And then what was the celebration like? I mean, how did they show you the cake?

MH: Well, it was a surprise in the room, and they, I remember Kool-Aid, and that was basically it, Kool-Aid and... I saw that cake and that's all I, that, if there were any presents, I don't remember anything else. But Kool-Aid, I, you know, we didn't have ice cream and such. Kool-Aid, lots of Kool-Aid, popsicle Kool-Aid, whatever.

TI: I could tell that people really liked you, Mas. [Laughs] That was really special.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL. All Rights Reserved.