Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Dorothy Ikkanda Interview
Narrator: Dorothy Ikkanda
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: July 18, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-idorothy-01-0012

<Begin Segment 12>

RP: And do you recall what block that you lived in in Manzanar?

DI: Pardon?

RP: What block did you live in in Manzanar?

DI: Oh, Block 16.

RP: Sixteen?

DI: I think we first went, it was Block 16, we were there with another couple that lived just up the street, the four of us, and the we had another family, a father and mother and two boys from Santa Monica. So they had one side and we had one side, so we hung a rope and then put blankets over it for a little privacy. And then eventually the four of us moved out and we got a place.

RP: Your own apartment?

DI: Yeah, a little bit more private. But we were only there seven and a half months. You know, but we could feel the tension before we left. 'Cause we left right after Thanksgiving, and then December 7th we were in Reno.

RP: You left just before the so-called "riot."

DI: Yeah, just before the "riot." But you know, something about it, there was, you felt some tension. People talking among each other, I don't know, we didn't know what was going on. But we were just glad we were not there.

RP: So did you decide early on that you wanted to get out of camp as soon as you could?

DI: Yeah, we did, we did ask, didn't we? We were one of the early ones, I think.

RP: You were. And Dorothy, can you recall if you worked in camp or not while you were there?

DI: No, I didn't. I stayed. He had contacts with this little, what was it called, that sold airplane kits?

RP: Little hobby shop?

DI: Hobby shop on Pico. And he had made arrangements, and he would order things, they would ship it to 'em. And then these little kids would come around and buy this kit, and he helped put it together, and they'd take them out in the open space there he had some with engines on them, you know. And that's how, pass the time. So when he wasn't there, I had to sell these little kits. He had a little business going there.

RP: Oh, at Manzanar.

DI: Uh-huh. Out of the barrack.

RP: Out of the barrack, you sold these little... these were little rubber band planes?

DI: Yeah. They used to go out in the open field.

RP: Little glider kind.

DI: I really don't know too much about it. [Laughs]

RP: Yeah, we'll have to ask him. What else do you remember doing at Manzanar?

DI: No, I don't remember that we did really too much. I think we played, I thought we played cards. He's not a card player, but I loved playing cards.

RP: Yeah?

DI: Yeah. So we'd have friends come over and play cards. Then we'd all wonder what we were gonna have for dinner, and sometimes you could smell, it wasn't beef stew, it was mutton stew. The smell, oh, my god. We lived on one end of the block, and the kitchen was on the other end. But boy, you opened the door and you walk out, and you could just smell, says, "Oh, I'm not going out there to eat." But my father lived in Reno, and I'd get these care packages, canned soup and spaghetti and corned beef, so a lot of times we'd just stay in and eat. And we were only there seven and a half months. And things got better and better. As people left, there was more room, lot of families got to just have one place for themselves, little bit more privacy. And some people stayed there 'til the end. His father and mother and brother, though, went to Tule Lake. Because his brother was raised in Japan. They had four boys in the family, they kept him... they went back when he was, what, seven, eight years old? Went back and they left the three boys there, and they only brought him back.

RP: Oh. The other three boys stayed in camp.

DI: All three of them stayed there.

RP: Throughout the war? Oh, no, they went there from Tule Lake.

DI: Then the one came back, and then the two were, that left there. The one, the brother that's here is a twin, and the other twin went into the service in Japan and then came back and eventually died. So there's still three boys left.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.