Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Alley Watada Interview
Narrator: Alley Watada
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Denver, Colorado
Date: May 15, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-walley-01-0013

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RP: You were busy going, you know, working on the farm and going to Japanese language school. What little time you had for leisure and fun, what, what activities did, did you get involved with as well as the family? Things like baseball, 4-H...

AW: Uh-huh. Well, I did... as a, when I was in Platteville and also in Fort Lupton, I was in 4-H. And, but in terms of real... I guess I was in 4-H because my brothers were in 4-H or FAA and this type of thing. But in terms of hobby or, I don't know if I would call it a hobby, but sports, I guess I wasn't talented. I tried for, I tried baseball and I was not successful in throwing the ball very well. I went out for football and I remember being hit real hard by an end and I figured that I don't like football. And so I tried, I tried baseball, football. Basketball, I knew I couldn't run. So, I, I was not involved in sports. And I guess that sort of indicated the fact that I just have no real interest in sports right now.

RP: How about your brothers? Did they, any of them get involved in, for instance, a Nisei baseball league?

AW: Well my brothers did, yes. My oldest brothers, they were, they were... well, I went out for baseball because they were involved in baseball. But to what extent, I don't remember that. And the brother above me, I know he played football in high school. And this is why I went out. I figured if he, I'll try to do what he could do. But I was not successful like him. So I know very little about... I guess all my youngsters, they went out for baseball, when I think back about it.

RP: Did your father play baseball?

AW: That I don't know. I don't know. I don't know where he had time.


RP: You did have a couple of occasions to, to go to the mountains, though.

AW: Yes. You mean during the summertime? Yes, uh-huh. Yes. My father was, he was very good about that. He would take Sundays off, two, three times a year, if not more, would take us up to the mountain and he would, I remember -- I guess maybe it depended on how energetic, how tired he was -- he would go up there and just lay by a tree and drink his wine, smoke his cigarette, and seemed to enjoy that. And there were other times that he just enjoyed fishing. So he would go out there and we would go out fishing with him.

RP: Was there a special place in the mountains you liked to go?

AW: Yes, he had special places. You know, I kind of forgot those names. But, yes, we would all jump in the car and, you know, I can't imagine how all of us jumped into that one little car and went up there, but he crowded all of us in there and we went up there fishing. And it was not a picnic for my mother because she had to take all the food up there and clean all the fish.

RP: You mentioned your dad would drink a little. A lot of the, a lot of the Issei guys when they were bachelors kind of, you know, were drinkers and smokers and in some cases gamblers. And then, you know, once they settled down, raised their family, they kind of gave that up.

AW: Well, I think for my father, he enjoyed alcohol, 'cause as a youngster, in our outside cellar, we would brew beer. And one of our chores, before going to school, was to cap the beer. And I always wondered, I think back about it now, we must have smelled like beer when we got on the bus and I wonder what the bus driver thought about us. So we did that. And he also had a still, and make sake. And, of course, as time went on, he dropped that but he continued drinking. And he enjoyed beer. He enjoyed just beer a lot. And when my father was in his last few days, the last few weeks, when I was in Maryland I would come home and he would call me. And he says, "Beer." And I thought, "How do I feed this guy beer?" He's laying there. It turned out he wanted beer. By the table, there was a tablespoon there so I gave him beer that way. So when he was buried, they made sure he had a can of beer in the casket.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.