Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Kay Endo Interview
Narrator: Kay Endo
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: July 24, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-ekay-01-0010

<Begin Segment 10>

RP: Do you remember attending church in camp at all?

KE: Church?

RP: Yes.

KE: Yes, in our Block 32 they had the church and I believe I went but I don't know how religious I was.

RP: Was it a Christian church?

KE: Yeah, Christian, it's... the government made sure that each camp had religious leaders. So some of the ministers that should have gone to Minidoka went to other camps because they tried to spread 'em around so each camp had some ministerial help and most of them were a Japanese Americans, not from the outside world.

RP: We were talking about different little games that you played but you were also playing baseball or softball games. These were games that were, just kind of happened.

KE: Yeah, these were pick-up games so, you know, so baseball you played the old style where you start at right field and then you work your way up as a person made an out. And then when you got to bat then you stayed there as long as you got hits. And I don't know if they still play that, things like that that we played.

RP: Did you play... where did you play? Was it near your block, did you have an open field?

KE: Between Block 30 and 32 there was a roadway, plus there was quite a big area so we kind of cheated and played on the road or in between blocks so that was our playground. And the funny thing is that we only played with the 32 and the 30 only played within those groups. [Laughs] So we were kind of segregating ourselves.

RP: You also took up stamp collecting too?

KE: Yeah, that was kind of a... not a very long term deal but after getting out of camp there was a gentleman from Seattle that had a large stamp collection and to make extra money he would sell, invite the kids over. And I can't remember his name or which block he was in but he sold stamps. And of course being young you're very impressed.

RP: Stamps, coins.

KE: Yeah, his was just he was strictly a stamp collector. He apparently must have had a large collection.

RP: Do you remember celebrating your birthdays in camp?

KE: No. I can't really remember any birthday celebrations.

RP: How about Christmas?

KE: Oh, there's a great story. That's the reason I showed, well I showed 'em a picture of Shigeko Uno, U-N-O. She was from Seattle and this is a story she told in the 2003 pilgrimage, that was the first pilgrimage we had and she was saying that there was the churches in the New England states donated various gifts for the children in Minidoka. And they're not elaborate gifts, you know, puzzles and toys and things like that. And she was on the committee and she made sure that every child to a certain age got a gift. And I received one of the gifts and she was relaying that story and I said, well, I was one of the recipients of the gift which she was kind of shocked. And then in 2006 she relayed the same story but this time she said that there was somebody that said that they received the gift in the previous pilgrimage and that was me again. [Laughs] And Shigeko Uno, bless her heart, she relocated back to Chicago and then from Chicago she went... she relocated with her husband to Boston and she made a concerted effort to visit as many churches as she could find out that donated these gifts to personally thank the congregation. And then after that she relocated back to Seattle and she... well, we got to meet her and she was in her nineties and the last time we met her she had lung cancer which was terminal and she refused to get any treatments. She said, "I've had a full life," but I believe until the day she died, she had her cigarettes and a shot of whiskey. And to me that was a great story and very... that was one great lady and she's... apparently after she got back to Seattle she's done some great community service for the community.

RP: Very special.

MH: When you were talking about the baseball and the teams where you play, do you remember any of the names of the teams?

KE: No, we just played ourselves, you know, we just played pick-up games, you know, conked our heads and all that kind of stuff. But they did have the high school and the other teams, they did have a baseball team which was very good, excellent teams and they played the teams out in the community like from Twin Falls and Filer and Buhl and all the surrounding communities, Wendell, and they'd come in and play. And I don't know if they went out and played but they had some excellent ball players. And of course that evaporated as they were... they went into the service or they went, you know, relocated out of camp. But for a while they had a excellent team and then we got to see 'em play, that was one of the things we got to do was watch a excellent team. And there's one player named Hank Matsubu, he went on and signed a professional contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he never did advance too far up the chain and then he finally retired and he lives in Seattle. And Hank was, he is from Gresham area prior to World War II, that'd be a great story.

RP: You also played basketball didn't you in your block?

KE: Well, we had... the school had a basketball but we didn't play competitive basketball we always played, you know, one on one or Horse, that's about it.

RP: I'm not sure, maybe it was somebody else who told me the story that they put in a basketball hoop.

KE: No, I can't remember that but I know the grade school had a basket outside and we played mainly Horse. And also I can remember playing football in the snow one day. We played tackle football with our god given equipment. [Laughs]

RP: God given padding.

KE: Padding, yeah.

RP: Well that probably was a pretty reasonable thing to do in snow, give you a little bit of cushion.

KE: Right.

RP: Better than the dirt.

KE: Right, I think that's about the only time we ever played tackle football.

RP: Did you have to go to the hospital for any reason?

KE: No, went to the dentist once. I remember there was a piece of tooth that come up in my upper... I don't know what you call that, behind the teeth and they pulled it, the growth out. But that's the only medical thing I can think of.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.