Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Massie Hinatsu Interview
Narrator: Massie Hinatsu
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: July 22, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-hmassie-01-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

RP: So did you, were you able to connect with some of your friends from, from your community in the camp? And sort of establish a little bit of a social network?

MH: Yes. Yes. Very much so. I think my best friend was Nana who was a year younger than I was and I mean we, we just had an incredibly good time when I think about it. You know, we were that young. I hate to say that knowing that, you know, being incarcerated like that was really a real injustice but at the same time we spent most of our time just playing. Her brother was a baseball player so we watched a lot of baseball games. And I do remember her telling me that her folks were really worried about that particular brother because he was still away at school at Oregon State. And they let them stay at school until it was out. 'Cause he came into camp much later, probably the middle of June. So they were so relieved when he came, like, came home. Which was the home at that time.

RP: And some of the other outlets you had in the camp, there was movies that were shown too?

MH: There were movies.

RP: Do you remember any of your favorite ones that you saw there?

MH: Barefoot Boy and oh gosh, what was the other one that I really loved?

RP: Sun Valley Serenade?

MH: Sun Valley Serenade. Yeah. Good old Sonja Henning.

RP: Oh really. Now who starred in Barefoot Boy?

MH: Barefoot Boy was about an Indian, right, you know, in the... I don't know why I remember that so well. And there were other movies too but those are the two I remember the most. The other activities, we could go to the rec hall and get ping pong paddles to play ping pong if we wanted to. We could check out puzzles, that kind of things. And, yeah... and the older, you know, the teenagers, kids who were in high school and out of high school, they really had a lot of socializing. They had dances and I remember my friend and I... they had these big palm, potted palms. And we would go and peek behind the potted palms at the, at the people dancing. We thought... oh my gosh, I wish we could do that but we're too young. So there was that. They had a, we got coupons to use in the canteen. And...

RP: What did you buy there?

MH: Mostly postage stamps so I could write to my friends. And I think that was one of my happiest moment is when my friend came to visit me with, with her mother. I told you about that earlier, and they brought me my sixth grade picture and all the kids signed their names to it. And I still have it somewhere. And, but I just felt so bad because I couldn't say, "Come in, come and visit me in my home." Because that was it. But I thought it was so neat they could come and visit. Yeah. So, pretty much camp was, I mean, assembly center was pretty carefree.

RP: How did your mom deal with...

MH: My mother probably it was really a godsend for her. I don't know if she could have supported all six of us. At least in camp we were fed. We had a roof over our head and the biggest thing for her was that, besides her Milwakie friends, she had the Portland friends who were so supportive of her and she could go and socialize with them. And it's at that time that she actually started going to church with her friends from, from the ken and became a very good Christian. That I think was a real thing that she would probably remember about her, about her camp life.

RP: Did any of your older siblings work in the Portland Assembly Center?

MH: You know, I don't know if my brother did or not. I know my mother got a job as a waitress, eight dollars a month. So, she did work. Pretty much we ate as a family, if I remember correctly. But they were at long tables. Food was served family style.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.