Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Bob Fuchigami Interview
Narrator: Bob Fuchigami
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Denver, Colorado
Date: May 14, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-fbob-01-0026

<Begin Segment 26>

RP: I wanted to, to go back into camp a little bit. Specifically, do you remember the amount of interaction that you had with the neighboring communities, such as Granada or Lamar? Were there instances where you were allowed to go into these communities and shop or attend an event or a movie of some kind?

BF: Well, at first, there's, there's... the mail, the mail truck was, was one that came from Lamar. And then distributed in, in Amache. Amache eventually had a little, little post office. They handled a lot of mail, I mean, we had over 7,000 residents there so there was a lot of mail. But there was a mail truck there, went back and forth. And one could get a ride on the mail truck to go shopping in, in Lamar. And, but there weren't many people who could get on that truck so people would give them shopping lists and people could go in and some of, some of the businesses would cater to them and others would say, "No." And, of course there were the usual kinds of signs that said, "We don't serve Japs." Or a barber shop that says, "Jap hunting license."

RP: This is in Lamar?

BF: Oh, sure. And that's one of the things that Jane Lindley mentioned when I talked to her. This is the project director's daughter who, when they first arrived, they were living, living in Lamar. She said, "I was really embarrassed to see those kinds of signs." But, that's, that was true of towns surrounding all of the communities, whether it was Heart Mountain or wherever. And then some of the businesses would limit what, what one could buy. And some of the... their other patrons would say, "Well, if you sell hammers and nails and saws and all that kind of thing to these Japs, we won't have enough for ourselves," type of thing. There were things like that. Restaurants, of course, wouldn't serve. And, so they... and I'm sure some of the, some of the establishments would raise their prices and things like that. Or they would just keep certain items aside for, for the townspeople and not, not for the people in Amache. Some of the, some of the establishments made a lot of money. They, they did very well.

RP: And one of those would be the, the Newman Drugstore.

BF: Oh, Newman drug in, in Granada? Oh yeah.

RP: Do you have any experiences there?

BF: They were absolutely delighted to have that, have that camp nearby.

RP: Did you go in there?

BF: Oh, I remember going in there, not very often, but I finally got a job. When I was fifteen I got a job, summer job, on a, like a... they were still bringing in wood, lumber, in freight cars. And my job was to go inside that freight car and push the wood out, the lumber out. Which was pretty hot, especially you get hundred degree heat and you're really sweatin'. So, you, you jump on that truck afterwards to, to drive it to Amache and it'd stop at Newman Drug, 'cause the guys wanted to, to get a cherry coke or whatever. Well, if you had a milkshake or, or cherry coke or something like that, it's like 45 cents. And I was earning eight bucks a month doing this. So I was getting 40 cents a day. So if you, if you buy a, a milkshake, for example, and they charge you 45 cents, actually you're making, you're paying more than your day's wages. Which happened to me a couple of times before I wised up and I thought, "This is, this ridiculous. I'm not gonna blow my day's wages on a..." was it 40 cents? In eight, what, five, four... it was two bucks, two bucks a week, is what I made. So I, I started buying little candy drops that you could, like Horehound candies, little bags of that for 10 cents, which was, it lasted longer. But I didn't think it was a good time for us to stop at Newman Drug. [Laughs] They didn't make a lot of money off of me, I know. They made it off of others.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.