Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Kimiko Nakashima Interview
Narrator: Kimiko Nakashima
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Sacramento, California
Date: April 3, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-nkimiko-01-0021

<Begin Segment 21>

RP: But you did go to Amache for a few, few months?

KN: Yeah, just a couple a months. Amache, yeah.

RP: And what was that like?

KN: Just like any other camp. I didn't stay very long. I left to get married.

RP: So had you been corresponding with, with Tom --

KN: Yeah.

RP: -- during the time that you were in camp?

KN: Yeah, he was in Manzanar all the time and then he went on a work furlough to Idaho to beet topping. And then he and his brother and a friend went and they had to cook themselves. They couldn't wait to call me to come cook for them. And hurry, so his brother said hurry up and call Lois and we, we were sick of cooking rice. So that's how, that's how I went to Idaho to cook for them. Him and his brother and another friend. They cooked rice and kept burning the bottom.

RP: So you were their rice cooker.

KN: Yeah. So I'm the rice cooker.

RP: So Tom was out and then his brother Percy? And another friend.

KN: Yeah.

RP: Where in Idaho were they?

KN: Rupert.

RP: Rupert, Idaho. Uh-huh. And they were topping beets?

KN: Yeah, beet topping.

RP: Beet topping. Uh-huh.

KN: Well, they recruited people from camp to do the beet. Beet topping's hard work. And they couldn't get a hakujin to do that so they recruited guys from the camp. And they were itching to get out.

RP: So what was that experience like in Rupert for you?

KN: All I did was cook and wash dishes. We didn't go anyplace. I don't think I went any place. All I did was cook for them and wash their clothes on a... there's no washing machine. I had to cook on the washtub. Oh, they thought they had something good when they called for me. Could do all their dirty work. [Laughs]

RP: So, were they on a farm?

KN: Yeah, it was...

RP: So, the person who they were working for...

KN: Yeah, a rancher, some rancher had a bunch of sugar beet and potato and all the farm products. And they needed a worker so they hired my husband and those from camp to do their work.

RP: Right. So what type of facilities did you have to cook on there? Was it a wood burning stove?

KN: Just an old, old-fashioned stove that you had to light up every day. I think it was kerosene, kerosene stove.

RP: And where did you get the food from to cook?

KN: Oh, there was a store close by and then our, our people that let us stay in their house, she took us to the grocery store so that we can buy whatever we need.

RP: And what did you make for them? What was, what would...

KN: Mostly rice and some little vegetables with the meat together. We had to find soy sauce. We needed soy sauce to season the food. And we got by all right. We can't be too choosy. They're lucky that I'm there to cook rice.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright &copy; 2011 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.