Title: Testimony of Lois Kaneko, (denshopd-i67-00269)
Densho ID: denshopd-i67-00269

We were a young married couple with a small son 2 years old just getting started. Renting house on Beacon Hill Seattle. We were shocked to hear Hawaii was bombed on Dec. 7, 1941.

My husband Sammy Kaneko was a merchant patrolman taking care of Japanese owned stores around Main, Jackson, King, and Weller streets, working nights. The army moved in almost our back yard -- around first of year curfew -- Japanese were told to stay off streets at night. Japanese business closed up and Issei men were picked up and we were told to get shots -- typhoid, tetanus, etc. Sure got sick from shots. Then we were told to get shots -- typhoid, tetanus, etc. Sure got sick from shots. Then we were told to get our clothing together, take a cup, bowl, spoon for each, only what we were able to carry. We had to get rid of our furniture etc or to find a place to store. Leather chairs, davenport, folding dining table, buffet, dresser, I hated to part with them, but we couldn't take them with us, so they got left behind. The neighborhood took advantage of our losing our valuables. Since we were one of the early families leaving Seattle (April 28, 1942) storage area was not prepared until after we left or we would have had something to come back to.

We took our Ford coupe with us as we took the baby bed. Night before leaving we stayed at N.P. Hotel. We could not go out to eat, had a Chinese friend deliver Chinese dinner to us. Next morning we drove along West Hiway to Puyallup Area A Camp Harmony. As we drove people stared at us.

Area A was formerly a parking lot during the fair. It had rained so much each step we took your shoes sank into mud when we went to sign up at mess hall. Barracks were long building with 5-6 entrances, single wall with many knot holes -- upper part of divider in each section was open so anyone talked loud or child cried it could be heard -- no privacy.

Some of my caucasion friends decided that since we were being put into camp as enemy no longer wanted to be a friend, so I was dropped. We had to sell car -- didn't get half the new engine had cost. This area as all other places were fenced -- no one allowed to enter or leave without pass

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with soldier at gate.

My husband in fair grounds during day in Internal Police Dept. Middle of August we were told to pack up as we were to leave Puyallup by train to Idaho. The blinds were drawn most of time and we weren't allowed to see outside. When we finally reached destination or end of tracks, they called spurs, it was like end of world -- nothing but piles of coal, sage brush -- barren land -- no town in sight except for army trucks. My thought, what were we doing here, we had done nothing, been good citizen all along and leaving behind everything we had in this world. If I didn't have my husband and baby maybe I wouldn't have made it. We were loaded into truck and drove to our future home in hot dusty countryside. We were given a small room at the end of barrack -- the last one on one side of block 41A. No table or chairs just 2 cots and army blankets. Not even a stove for heat; in morning it was so cold we piled sage brush outside and had bon fire until Oct. We finally got the first belly stove as a child needed heat. They were still building barracks, laundry room -- outhouse no running water.

Workmen were surprised to find we all spoke good English and most had graduated from high school and colleges. They expected us to be uneducated people to be placed in concentration camps. The camp had wire fences all around soldiers standing with guns on platforms watching our moves. Later they disappeared.

My husband worked at internal security station under chief Barclay, V.K. Barron and R.M. Church as Captain. While he was working I took care of our son and took in a few lessons in embroidery, knitting, and Japanese writing at different mess halls. We had to transportation, so everywhere we went it was walking on hot dusty roads. No money for luxuries, maybe an occasional sherbert at Canteen when they had new shipment during summer.

The food was lousy. All they served us was usually eggs and cheese.

Nobody wanted to eat the food.

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1945 we were told war was over... camp closing -- we left latter part of Aug so Lonny could go to school in Seattle. After arriving Seattle, we found we didn't have reservation at N.P. hotel as planned -- we finally found a hotel room New Cascade on Dearborn St. -- a dble bed, dresser, 2 chairs a small square table, a gas plate at one end of the room with wash basin, a closet for storing clothes -- no private bathroom -- had to go to public bath at end of hall. Three of us sleeping in a dble bed -- He had to go to public bath at end of hall. Three of us sleeping in a dble bed -- He had measles there. We lived there 15 months. Finally found an upstairs of home, we lived there another 15 months until it was sold from under us. We had two weeks notice to move. Finally found this house we now reside in.

He had hard time finding work -- went as gardeners helper leaving 7-7:30 in morning and no returning until after dark. He was too old for many jobs -- of course many jobs were closed to Japanese. In winter he worked in poultry house -- where he finally decided to work there year round. It was hard work -- working over a big vat of hot water -- turning, hanging and help to take feather off 4,000 hens an hour. He had to work hard for us to survive.

Went to look at my family home in country -- found it had been vandalized -- windows -- pictures -- everything gone or broken up and scattered -- couldn't save anything. How anyone could do something like that to other peoples property -- many people didn't want to see us around as if we were out casts -- maybe that's why house was wrecked, fire dept said it was fire hazard so had to get it torn down. This house was one of first houses built in Algona.

All the money in the world wouldn't ever pay for what we lost during war days.