Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Hope Omachi Kawashima Interview
Narrator: Hope Omachi Kawashima
Interviewer: Kristen Luetkemeier
Location: Fresno, California
Date: September 10, 2014
Densho ID: denshovh-khope-01-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

KL: So the Tule Lake roster, I think, says that you guys left in, I have to look back, but I think it says you left early in '44. But I know you left before that.

HK: Yeah.

KL: What can, how --

HK: I'm not real sure. I have it down that (in) September 1943 we moved to Twin Falls.

KL: Okay. There were strikes in Tule Lake in early 1943.

HK: Yeah, so that's why my father was anxious to get us out of there, soon as he could. So he came after us and took us to Twin Falls, and he had rented a house for us to live in and then he was working in the potato fields. And I remember we helped him sort potatoes. (There was) one room we were sorting potatoes in.

KL: In a room in the house?

HK: Uh-huh.

KL: Was the house right alongside the potato fields, or where was it located in Twin Falls?

HK: No, it was more in the suburbs, because we could walk to school. 'Cause I started going to first grade when we were in Topaz -- I mean, Twin Falls. And then, but the thing is is that the public schools told my parents that he had to pay tuition for each of us, all six of us. Well, my youngest sister, I think, was too young, but at least five of us. And so my father says he couldn't afford it, and he says that a public school has no right to charge tuition, and so then my father, I think, made arrangements with the government and they told him to move to Topaz.

KL: So you guys did not go back to Tule Lake from Twin Falls?

HK: No.

KL: You were just at Tule once.

HK: No, he didn't want to go back to Tule Lake.

KL: Were there other Japanese Americans in Twin Falls?

HK: No. No, we were the only family that I remember.

KL: Do you know anything about your dad's work days, who was running the farm or what conditions were like? Or when his work...

HK: Well, I don't know if he was running the farm or he was working on the farm or what, but then I remember we were sorting potatoes, so he was trying to sell potatoes. He grew potatoes and tried to sell 'em, but I guess they didn't do that well, and so then I think he got a job for my mother and him to work at a dry cleaner's. So they were working in a dry cleaner's, to earn enough money to rent the house and everything.

KL: Do you remember the address? Or the name of the street or neighborhood?

HK: I don't remember the address. But I remember, it was a nice two-story house, it was, I mean, we were just so happy to be in a house after living in that one room.

KL: Did your grandmother go with you?

HK: Yes.

KL: What do you recall of your parents' reunion?

HK: What?

KL: What do you recall of your parents' reunion?

HK: Of course, I remember when my father came from Twin Falls to Tule Lake, I remember (...) when he got off the train I remember her waiting for him and giving him a big hug. [Laughs] So of course she was very happy to see him. We were all happy to see him.

KL: It wasn't difficult to renew acquaintances after he'd been gone, or it was pretty immediate, you were...

HK: Oh yeah. No, we were just all happy to see him.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.