Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Victor Ikeda Interview
Narrator: Victor Ikeda
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: November 6, 2007
Densho ID: denshovh-ivictor-01-0031

<Begin Segment 31>

RP: We were talking yesterday about the family's arrival at Puyallup.

VI: Right.

RP: And can you, [inaudible] our interview by having you maybe share some of your initial impressions about what you saw when you arrived at Puyallup.

VI: Well, we got there and Puyallup, like you probably heard, is a fairground. It's got three parking lots, and there were barracks built on each one of the parking lots, and they were distinguished as area A, B and C, and the D was a big fairgrounds which our family was in. And we were under the...

KP: Roller coaster.

VI: Roller coaster. [Laughs] That always seems to go in my mind. These were barracks, and I understand that they put up all of "Camp Harmony" in seventeen days, so you know that they were shoddily put up. There were partitions that went about three-quarters of the way up, and it was open from there on, so there was really no privacy as far as sound was concerned. And I remember distinctly, we had friends that were on one side, and some were on the other side, and you'd holler, "Hey, you ready to go to lunch or something?" [Laughs] That would go through the whole barracks. It was sparse, all they had was cots. And I think by that, by this time we were able and willing to accept anything because of what had happened and how we were taken away. And at least you were all of a sudden now with people you felt that were in the same position, they were all in the barracks. We had a curfew of ten o'clock so, of course, at ten o'clock we'd have to come in. We had this person, Harry Yanagimachi, we called him Haribo, and he was the -- he played with University of Washington, and he was big, and he was the marshal. So when he says ten o'clock, everybody went in.

When we got there -- being young, you don't get assigned jobs, but you volunteer for it. So what I did was volunteer for the dishwashing crew. And the only reason I volunteered and some of my friends did was because when we washed dishes, everybody has to come through the line after they eat to bring the dishes. And this way here we spotted the girls as they come by, and once we saw somebody pretty we'd go the "hubba hubba." [Laughs] And we were known as the "hubba hubba" crew, dishwashing crew. So we had fun doing that. Sometimes if our showers would break down we'd be marched over to some other area to take showers 'cause you get pretty messy.

There's all kind of different experience like I'm sure you heard the one about the middle of the night that one of the MPs thought they heard noise, and it was a cow next door. And, and the rumor is that he shot the cow because the cow won't stop and won't obey. [Laughs] But we didn't actually see it, but it sure came around the, 'cause we heard gunshots, and they says that was the cow that they got. So we had, there, we played ball, and we killed the time in the evenings community singing and things.

But what happened is because of the food, and like we had this Vienna sausage we get all the time, they had food poisoning. So in the middle of the night you had the runs so you had people running to the latrine which was after ten o'clock; and the guards got kind of frantic 'cause they thought there was going to be a riot on because everybody was heading for the latrine. So you had stories like that. We didn't stay there too long, we had the racetrack so we, of course, formed teams and we had different relay races just to keep, keep us busy.

RP: And in shape.

VI: Well, I don't know about in shape, but busy anyway. [Laughs]

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 2007 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.