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

<Begin Segment 1>

RP: This is an oral history for the Manzanar National Historic Site. This afternoon we're talking with Dorothy Ikkanda. And Dorothy and Tom live at 2041 Corinth Avenue in Los Angeles, California. The date of our interview is July 18, 2008. Interviewer is Richard Potashin, videographer is Kirk Peterson, and our interview will be archived in the Manzanar Site library. We'll be talking to Dorothy about her growing up in the Los Angeles, west Los Angeles area, and also her time spent at Manzanar War Relocation Center and then her eventual relocation with her husband to Reno, Nevada, during the war time. Dorothy, thank you for allowing us into your house and sharing your stories with us today. Let's first talk about yourself. Give us your date of birth and where you were born.

DI: I was born in Los Angeles, California, and I grew up in Santa Monica, California.

RP: What was your date of birth?

DI: February the 10th, 1921.

RP: And can you give us your full name at birth?

DI: Gee, you know, I've always gone by Dorothy, but I don't know if that's, was actually legally registered.

RP: Did you have a Japanese name?

DI: Yes, Yasoe, Y-A-S-O-E.

RP: Do you know what that means?

DI: I have no idea. [Laughs]

RP: Okay. And your maiden name?

DI: Yamagishi.

RP: And spell that.

DI: Y-A-M-A-G-I-S-H-I.

RP: Okay. Before we start talking about Santa Monica and growing up here, I'd like you to take us back to your family roots in Japan. And first of all, whatever you can share with us about your father's family in Japan, where they came from.

DI: Well, my father and mother were both from Nagano-ken prefecture.

RP: What part of Japan is that?

DI: My husband would know more than I would. [Laughs]

RP: Okay, Nagano.

DI: Nagano, uh-huh. That's where they had the Olympics one year.

RP: That's right.

DI: The winter Olympics, I think, right?

RP: It was the winter Olympics. So it must be up in a high mountain somewhere where they get a lot of snow.

DI: Uh-huh, cold country.

RP: Right. Do you know much about your father's family, were they farmers or landowners?

DI: Gee, you know...

RP: Farmers? I heard...

DI: Farmers. They probably had silkworms, too, maybe. Did they? I'm really not sure. Could have been farmers, yeah.

RP: What was your father's name?

DI: His Japanese name was Yoshishige, Y-O-S-H-I-S-H-I-G-E, Yoshishige.

RP: And do you remember how many siblings he had, brothers and sisters?

DI: You know, I think he was an only son and had about three sisters or four sisters, right? I remember visiting them. We went to Japan and visited the family home many, many years ago.

RP: Oh, you went back to the...

DI: Just during the summer on a trip.

RP: And what, what do you think brought your father to come to the United States? Was it...

DI: Well, the story that I, when I think back, I think he had a stepmother, and that created problems, and he decided to leave home. And maybe he heard about America and decided he wanted to come. [Laughs] Maybe he had that, he was restless at home and wanted to see the world. And so I think he came through Seattle, right? Yeah, I think so.

RP: So he had a little bit of adventureness in him.

DI: Yeah, uh-huh.

RP: He came to Seattle? And were there other members of his family that eventually came to the United States?

DI: No, he was the only one.

RP: He was the only one? Now, did he ever go back to Japan to visit his family?

DI: Oh, yeah, many, many times. And he did import/export, so he would go quite often.

RP: And eventually settled in this area here?

DI: Well, we grew up, I remember starting kindergarten in Los Angeles, somewhere off a temple. I don't remember too much, but I remember starting kindergarten there. And then from there we moved to Santa Monica.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

RP: And how many brothers and sisters did you have?

DI: I had the one older brother, one older sister, and one younger sister. So there were four of us.

RP: Four of you? And can you give me their names and roughly when they were born?

DI: Well, let's see. My brother Fred was the eldest. [Addressing husband] Let's see, was he older than you? Let's see, you were born in 1917? So he was born in 1918, huh? Then I had an older sister, just a year older than I am, so she was probably born in 1920.

RP: And what was her name?

DI: Clara.

RP: Clara?

DI: C-L-A-R-A. And then I come next, and then I had a younger sister Toki.

RP: T-O...

DI: K-I, uh-huh. So my mother was busy, there were three right in a row.

RP: Three right in a row, uh-huh. Did your, did your other brothers and sisters have Japanese names, too? You said Toki...

DI: Toki, I don't think really had an American name. She picked one up years ago, I think, when she might have started elementary school. I think they called her Mary at one time, but I'm not really positive about it. And then she picked up the name Kay somewhere along the line. So legally, I don't think she had one.

RP: How about your name, Dorothy? Do you know where you picked...

DI: You know, I really don't know. And for Japanese people, there's a lot of Do-ro-thy. I think the "Rs" were difficult for them. So I don't know, maybe a neighbor gave me my name, I have no idea. And my sister was Clara, and there's an "R" there, too. [Laughs]

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

RP: What did your father do for business in Santa Monica when you guys moved out here?

DI: Well, I remember growing up in Santa Monica. I think he worked at some of those pier concessions like bingo parlor or some of the games they used to have on Ocean Park Pier.

RP: So he, he had a sense for business.

DI: I think he worked for somebody.

RP: He worked for somebody.

DI: Uh-huh, and he was a bookkeeper. He didn't actually run the games or anything, but he was an accountant, so he worked in the office. And I remember going there, we used to walk down to the pier and visit him in the office. So he was more of an office person, manager, rather than working in the bingo parlor itself.

RP: What do you remember most about your father?

DI: Oh, he was a very gentle soul. And the nice thing about him, he learned English so it was very easy for us to communicate with him. Japanese is a language, it's difficult, you know a few words as you're growing up, but it was much easier once we started elementary school because we went to and spoke all day long in English to our teachers and friends, and so it was much easier to speak in English. But we did go to Japanese school when we probably got to be, oh, maybe seven years old, eight years old. I remember going, went to school, and then the teacher would come by in his big car and pick us up and we'd go maybe for an hour or so to Japanese language school. But we enjoyed it because all our friends went, too.

RP: Did your mother also pick up English eventually, too?

DI: Not too... she spoke some, but not fluently. And I know she went to a... no matter what town we moved to, my mother and father always sent us to Sunday school. He was a Buddhist, but if there was a Christian church, we went to Christian church. But he thought as children we should to go Sunday school, so we did.

RP: Very early on, too.

DI: Uh-huh.

RP: How did your mom and dad meet? Was your mom a "picture bride"?

DI: I don't know that either.

RP: Did they meet here?

DI: But they came from the same town, so I think maybe it was an arranged marriage, but I'm not sure.

RP: What can you tell us about your mother and her family?

DI: Let's see. I think she had one brother. Is that right, one brother? And then she had a few sisters. But at my age, I'm closer to ninety than eighty, and my memory is not too good. [Laughs] And I keep thinking back when we used to go visit. I think she had one brother and then she had some sisters.

RP: And how about your mother? What do you recall about her?

DI: She was a very gentle person. I don't recall her getting upset with us. Yeah, she was, she was a good mother, that's all I remember.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

RP: So what are your, your most vivid memories about growing up here in Santa Monica? You mentioned that you used to --

DI: Oh, it was a great place growing up. I remember to this day that we had neighbors and after dinner we'd go, all meet out in the street and we'd play kick the can and hide and seek and that kind of thing. It was a great, great time.

RP: Where did you live in Santa Monica?

DI: Right at 508 Pier Avenue.

RP: Pier Avenue. Just east of Fourth Street. And there's a Washington elementary school there, but I started, I remember going to John Muir, which I think is still there at Lincoln and Ocean Park Boulevard. I think we also went to Garfield school. Eventually, years later, I remember when I was in high school, that became a continuation high school.

RP: Is the house that you grew up in still there?

DI: You know, I'm really not sure. A few years ago, I remember driving there and it was still there. But Santa Monica property is so valuable, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they were all apartment houses.

RP: Do you recall if you rented the house or did you all...

DI: We rented the house.

RP: Oh, you rented the house. And how far was it from the ocean? It doesn't sound like it was very far.

DI: Let's see. We walked up to Fourth street and then went down the hill to the ocean. Would it be about eight blocks, maybe? Eight, nine blocks.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

RP: And so give us a picture of what you did, your family did for social activities in the days you were growing up. You said you went to Sunday school regularly?

DI: We went to Sunday school and we also went to Japanese language school. So I remember when I was at Santa Monica high school, we had to walk straight down from Pico all the way down Fourth Street to Pier Avenue, and then the teacher would drive his car and pick us up and take us to the language school. And we were there maybe for about an hour or so, but they thought, the parents thought it was, for us, we would benefit by knowing the language better. So I remember having to go there.

RP: Were you a pretty dedicated student?

DI: [Laughs] No, we went because we were told to go.

RP: You had to go. There are a few people who said, "Oh, yeah, I'm really glad that my parents sent me there," but that was later on.

DI: The only resentment I had was I couldn't stay for GAA, Girls Athletic Association, I couldn't stay for sports. And I was a tomboy, and I loved to play baseball and basketball, and I couldn't stay. And so sometime I would take my time coming, walking down Fourth Street, hoping I would miss the teachers' car that would pick us up.

RP: Did you?

DI: Occasionally, I probably missed. [Laughs]

RP: How far did you go in Japanese school?

DI: Oh, I finished, I guess they would... I can't remember how many books they had.

RP: I think there were twelve books?

DI: Like twelfth grade or so? But then I remember going a little bit longer after that.

RP: So you finished all the...

DI: Up to the twelfth, uh-huh. I don't know how much actually I learned, but it was just going, it was kind of a social thing, too, because all our friends went, right?

RP: Did you, was it primarily, was the education primarily in the language or did you also learn about the history of the country and customs and things?

DI: Well, they had books, and I remember they had book one, and we went through, all the way to book twelve. But I don't know actually, to this day, I sometimes can't remember how to write my own maiden name. I even had to look at the dictionary the other day. [Laughs]

RP: Where was the language school located?

DI: It was on, off of Lincoln Boulevard and what is that? Marine Street, wasn't it? Marine Street. And if you go on Ocean Park Boulevard and you come west, there was about three hills there. And we're right along the -- I think there was a department, a utility company right next door, Edison or Water & Power right next door, and that's where we went to school.

RP: The building, was it a...

DI: It's just a house.

RP: Oh, was it just a house?

DI: Uh-huh.

RP: And do you remember the teachers at all?

DI: Oh, it goes back such a long way, but I do remember the minister at the Free Methodist Church, he was our Japanese school teacher for a while, too. I remember him. I don't remember too many of the others. But it was nice in a way because we saw our friends there.

RP: It was kind of a, it was one of your social outlets, even though you didn't get a chance to play baseball, you got a chance to be with your friends. And who did you like to hang out with in those early teenage years? Any particular friends that you had that were...

DI: Oh, you know, names somehow escape me. [Laughs] You know, I can't really remember.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

RP: Now, there was the pier that you described where your dad worked. There was also another pier just to the north?

DI: There was a Lick Pier, and there was an Aragon Ballroom on Lick Pier. And they had a bingo parlor just east of that, and my dad was a bookkeeper there. And I remember going there and going into his office and talking to him. And then years later, lot of the Nisei fellows from west L.A., used to go down to Lick Pier Ballroom for dance, social dancing, yeah.

RP: Now, bingo was a... one of a, kind of a legal, legal game in those days.

DI: Oh, yeah.

RP: And there were a lot of bingo parlors around.

DI: Oh, yeah. In fact, Bill Harrah, that has Harrah's Club, started in bingo, I think in Redondo Beach or somewhere. I remember the name quite well. Not that I knew him, but I knew the name.

RP: So did you spend a lot of time as a family going down to the beach, or picnics?

DI: Yeah, we walked, (...) we'd pack a lunch. My girlfriend used to love to come to stay over for a few days because she got to go to the beach. 'Cause she lived downtown, and so she looked forward to coming, spending a few days and walking to the beach, 'cause she never got to go.

RP: Do you remember the Red Cars that used to run from Santa Monica to Los Angeles? Did you used to travel that way?

DI: I think occasionally we used to take the bus, I think, up to Rimpau and Pico and then the streetcars, there was a place there. And we got on the streetcar and then went to East First Street, like Little Tokyo or Broadway. Fifth and Broadway, the department stores along there, Broadway, May Company, Bullocks along there. Yeah, I remember going there with my mother. And Grand Central Market downtown, oh, yeah.

RP: That was a pretty exciting trip.

DI: Yeah. [Laughs] It was nice.

RP: So you had this big interest in baseball.

DI: I love sports, I love volleyball.

RP: Volleyball?

DI: Uh-huh.

RP: Were you on teams in high school?

DI: Well, on the weekends, they'd have girl's clubs. Like the Buddhist church here used to have a young group of, I think they had a boy's basketball and baseball and also for the girls. And I remember when we were already married, they allowed me to play with them. So I think I was the old lady, married lady on the basketball team, volleyball team. [Laughs]

RP: And did you have a, did you have a Japanese market nearby your home where you shopped? Where would you go for...

DI: Well, they had, no, I don't think we had a Japanese store. But like the produce markets were basically, the good vegetables were, produce markets were run by the Japanese people. But I don't remember being able to go buy, like, sashimi, fresh fish, I think we'd probably have to come to Sawtelle here.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

RP: Can you tell us a little bit about the Sawtelle community as you recall it, your teenage years growing up?

DI: As a teenager, I really don't, didn't really know much about it.

RP: And Santa Monica did have a Japanese community?

DI: Yeah, Santa Monica had... but I don't know that they had an area like Sawtelle did where they had Japanese markets. We had friends that maybe had a nursery, I think there was a nursery on Marine Street, the Fukuhara Nursery, they're old-timers there, too.

RP: Oh, Fukuharas.

DI: Uh-huh.

RP: Do you remember any other families near, that lived nearby you that you...

DI: Oh, let's see. Who lived near us? I was just trying to think. Oh, yeah, there was a Maruyama family that lived on Hill Street right east of Fourth Street. And the Furuta family had a place on Fourth Street, around Pier Avenue. And they were part of the Bingo family, I think. And also, one of the relatives had the Imperial Gardens on Sunset.

RP: And that was a restaurant or a nursery?

DI: Wasn't the Furuta family there that had that one on Sunset? Am I wrong? I can't really, memory's not too good. [Laughs]

RP: So you lived in an area that was, had scattered Japanese American families, also Caucasians and kind of a middle class area?

DI: Well, I don't know that... probably middle class.

RP: But ethnically, it was pretty mixed.

DI: Mixed, uh-huh.

RP: Were there other groups that you remember in the community, Italians, Mexicans?

DI: I don't remember... I don't remember Hispanic families. But we had scattered Japanese families, because we had a Japanese school there on Marine Street, and they also had one in Santa Monica. And they had the church there, the Santa Monica Free Methodist Church.

RP: Is that where you went to church?

DI: Yeah, I think it was Twelfth and Michigan.

RP: Was that strictly a Japanese-oriented church or did you have...

DI: Well the minister, the Burnett, Mr. and Mrs., Reverend and Mrs. Burnett, I remember them from way back. And then they used to have a Free Methodist camp up at the Palisades. And I remember going there, spending maybe a week there. So there had to be, 'cause it had a JACL also in Santa Monica.

RP: It did. Now, later when you got married, were you involved with the JACL at all, or Tom was?

DI: Yeah, uh-huh. Because we lived right on Sawtelle Boulevard there. And then we bought this house. I think it was, what did we pay? $7,500, something like that. [Laughs]

RP: It's worth just a little bit more than that now.

DI: Yeah, I think a little bit. It just had two bedrooms and one bathroom, but, and the garage was right there. And when we bought it, he cut the garage in half and moved it all the way back and filled it in between. It was a great place.

RP: So you had contact with a lot of different ethnic groups growing up and at school, too?

DI: Well, basically Japanese Americans.

RP: Mostly Japanese?

DI: Yeah.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

RP: And did you have any particular interest in high school, a particular area of study that you pursued?

DI: I loved the sciences, biology. My sister was a math whiz. Geometry, trigonometry, that's not for me. I didn't have the brains for that. [Laughs] But I loved the sciences.

RP: Any particular science?

DI: Biology I think I enjoyed. Not particularly botany, but I think I enjoyed biology more.

RP: So tell us a little bit about graduating high school and what you did after you did, you graduated.

DI: The one thing I remember about Samohi, they have a Greek theater there. And it was such a great feeling (at graduation) to come marching down there and then sitting up there. I enjoyed my high school days, yeah.

RP: Pretty, pretty studious student?

DI: Not as smart as my sister. My sister was a straight-A student. So when she graduated, they all kind of nudged me and said, "Oh, you're gonna be like her." I said, "I don't think so." [Laughs] 'Cause she took those hard subjects, geometry and that kind of stuff. That was not for me. I loved my science better, yeah. But I enjoyed high school.

RP: Now, were you, were you aware of world events at the time, of Japan and America...

DI: No, I don't remember too much. Because when December 7th came, we were already married, and we were living right there on Sawtelle Boulevard.

RP: Oh, on Sawtelle, okay.

DI: So we left right from that corner. But we had, we bought the house, didn't we. Didn't we buy the house? I can't remember.

RP: What did you do after graduating high school, Dorothy?

DI: Oh, I went to sewing school. The lady had a little, she had a business of sewing for other people, and she also ran a sewing school. And so I took a bus and came up and learned how to sew, and that's what I did.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

RP: Now, did your father continue to work at this bingo parlor most of the time you were growing up, or did he shift jobs at all? You said he got into import-export.

DI: He eventually had, I don't recall how many years he had it, but he also had a place in Reno, right on... what was that? What was the main street there?

RP: Virginia Street?

DI: Where the archway is? Virginia Street. I think the address was 232 Virginia Street, right, almost next door to Harold's Club, there's an alley there. And I remember... let's see, when we got married, we went, my husband and I went there, yeah. And so he had the place there.

RP: And that was the bingo place.

DI: Uh-huh, it was a bingo place.

RP: So can you give us an idea of when your family moved up to Reno?

DI: We moved there... well, we left, we left camp and moved there, right?

RP: But you...

DI: I was just trying to think.

RP: But you told me that your family, the rest of your family had moved up to Reno much earlier than the war?

DI: Well, my older sister -- oh, my older sister went to Japan, I can't remember what year it was, and she was, she was there during the Doolittle bombing. She just had given birth to her first child, and she remembers the nurses scurrying around and making sure everybody was taken care of. But she was there in the hospital, I think it was called St. Luke's. She was there when they had the Doolittle bombing. And so they were, her husband worked for the American consulate there in Formosa.

RP: Oh, before the war?

DI: Yeah, before the war, which is now, what, Taiwan?

RP: Yes.

DI: Uh-huh. And they were there.

RP: They got trapped there.

DI: Yeah, they were trapped. And so when they exchanged the diplomats, the Washington diplomats, they got to come home on the Swedish liner the Gripsholm.

RP: They were part of the exchange.

DI: For the exchange. And so then he worked for the, was it the War Department? I can't remember. I think it was the War Department, but I'm not positive.

RP: And his name was James Hamasaki?

DI: Hamasaki.

RP: Oh, that was quite a story, yeah. They were, they were able to get out of Japan.

DI: So my nephew was born in St. Luke's hospital, April the 8th, I think, which is Buddha's birthday.

RP: That was the day they bombed?

DI: Yeah, something like that. But they were fortunate to be able to come home on the Gripsholm.

RP: So I'm just trying to get an idea of when did your parents move to Reno, do you know?

DI: Well, my dad had... I think he had the place before, I don't know how long before the war.

RP: They were up there before the war?

DI: Uh-huh. Well, he did a lot of import-export also, so he wasn't always in Reno. But I know he made trips to Japan.

RP: And what was his chief, what were the chief products that he was importing and exporting?

DI: I think at one point he wanted to have silk shirts made in Japan and brought over here. And I don't know how successful that was. He did, he had a bad arm. I remember growing up, every morning he would go to the bathroom and he would change his bandages. And years later, we found out, when we were aware of what had happened and what he was doing every morning, we asked him. And evidently when he was, came from Japan, I think that he came in through Seattle. Then I think it was in San Francisco, (he was riding a bicycle), he had an accident with a streetcar. And so all those years he had this wound on his left arm, and he would have to change the bandage. So he always had kind of an awkward arm, short, I think it was a little short. So he couldn't really do anything physical, it was very difficult for him, I think.

RP: Were you subjected to any discrimination or prejudice while you were growing up as a Japanese American?

DI: You know, I can't really remember. I had a great time going to school, at John Adams and (Santa Monica High School), and John Muir.

RP: You didn't feel different?

DI: No, I don't think so.

RP: And your dad, having mastered English or speaking English...

DI: Yeah, he was pretty good. He wrote letters in English, which made it easy for us, 'cause we certainly could not write Japanese. [Laughs]

RP: So his, it sounds like his outlook was pretty Americanized.

DI: Uh-huh.

RP: So you probably celebrated holidays, all the usual holidays?

DI: The regular American holidays, oh, yeah.

RP: But also Japanese holidays as well?

DI: You know, I can't remember that much about the Japanese holidays. [Laughs] But we all remember Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter.

RP: Easter, right.

DI: I think New Year's was important to them.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

RP: And then you, you were doing, involved in sewing school, and did you, that became your job for a while? You were making clothes?

DI: No, I don't think so.

RP: Then you met up with Tom?

DI: I think, yeah, well, I was going around with him before. I think just to keep me out of mischief, I think he wanted me to go somewhere. [Laughs]

RP: Where did you meet him, in high school?

DI: Well, he used to take, come over to see my sister.

RP: Oh, really? [Laughs] You mean like date her?

DI: I don't know if he ever went out with her or not. [Addressing husband] Did you ever take my sister out? He says, "No." [Laughs] And then she left for Japan. She wanted to go to Japan, and there was another guy kind of interested, and she wasn't interested, and she just decided that since my father was going to Japan quite regularly, she thought maybe she'd go and get an education.

RP: Oh, is that why she went?

DI: And so, and then change of atmosphere and get away from...

RP: So how did she meet James Hamasaki?

DI: I think, I honestly don't know exactly how they met, but he was a student at Meiji University, and he graduated there, and they got together.

RP: And they met there?

DI: Uh-huh, they met in Tokyo.

RP: And so who married you?

DI: Pardon?

RP: Where did you get married and who married you?

DI: We got married at Twentieth and Arizona at the Chapel of the Dawn.

RP: The Chapel of the Dawn?

DI: Yeah, they have funerals there, but they also have weddings. [Laughs] Well, the Buddhist church was a very, just a frame house, and I wanted something a little nicer than that.

RP: So did a Buddhist priest marry you?

DI: Uh-huh, the minister at the...

RP: At the church?

DI: The temple is very nice now. The one on the corner. His father, one of the founders of the church, the temple there, way back in 1923, '24, right? Oh, '26, excuse me. [Laughs]

RP: What do you remember about your wedding day?

DI: I remember it was a nice day -- oh, let's see. It was May the 18th, 1942, right? '41? Wait a minute... December... oh, yeah, because we were married when the war broke out. We were living on Sawtelle Boulevard there. That's right, '41. But then we went to camp in '42, that's it, yeah. Got married in '41, so sixty-seven years. That's a long time. Yeah, better be, 'cause my son is sixty-five years old. [Laughs] Ready to collect social security.

RP: That's pretty close. So you first moved to Sawtelle.

DI: Yeah, we lived right there, 2033 Sawtelle. Then we bought this house. What did we... was it seventy-five hundred? Seventy-five hundred. Can you imagine that? It's so hard to believe.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

RP: And then along, along comes the war. And do you recall December 7th?

DI: I was just trying to think. You know, I can't remember too much about December 7th, for some reason. I think I was, I went to my folks' place. [Addressing husband] Was I there when you called me? I was there, wasn't I, and you called me. And I just couldn't believe it. Kind of scary, just unbelievable.

RP: Yeah, life changed pretty drastically after December 7th for everybody, but Japanese Americans were subjected to curfews, the FBI started moving through the community and picking up...

DI: You know, I can't remember too much about that.

RP: leaders. The Isseis who were priests, language school people. Do you recall any of that?

DI: You know, I don't really, can't remember too much about that. I do remember when we left, we left right from this corner on the bus to Manzanar.

RP: Which corner was that?

DI: I think right over here. Didn't we leave from right there? Yeah. Mississippi and Corinth right there. 'Cause the Japanese institute is half a block up the street.

RP: Right there.

DI: Or down the street, yeah. And since we lived right down Sawtelle Boulevard -- oh, we stayed up all night, that's right. But his friends all came over, and we stayed up all night and they were throwing dice there. [Laughs] Oh, and then they said we could take what we could carry, so I think I made these duffel bags, and we put everything on, I couldn't even lift it off the floor. And then we had to eliminate. It was funny. It was a funny time.

RP: What did you take with you?

DI: I can't... well, we naturally took our clothes, I can't remember what we really took. Basically clothes, I would imagine, and personal toiletries. I forgot. But I do remember making this duffel bag, and we loaded, and then I couldn't even get it off the floor. [Laughs] So we had to eliminate. They were funny times, too, things we could laugh about now.

RP: Well, so the whole community, the whole Sawtelle area met at that corner.

DI: Yeah. Did they only leave one time only there, or do you think they had several days where they picked up people? Do you remember? I don't remember either. But there were several, three busloads. Yeah. But we were young yet, and we thought it was a big adventure.

RP: You were twenty-one years old.

DI: Uh-huh. I felt sorry for the older people, but we were still young yet, so it was kind of an adventure. We'd never been really that much out of the area. The coast, we used to go fishing up there.

RP: Oh, fishing up in...

DI: I think he used to go. [Referring to husband] He used to be an outdoor man, fishing, and he used to hunt, he's a gun collector. So he did a lot of things.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<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.

<Begin Segment 13>

RP: Do you remember the day when you actually left camp to go to Reno?

DI: Yeah, we went on the escort bus.

RP: Is it a bus or a vehicle?

DI: Vehicle.

RP: Yeah, it was a large...

DI: Yeah. And then they took us -- oh, no. We had a friend bring up his dad's car, truck, his dad's gardening... his dad was a gardener and had his gardening truck in the garage at 1944 Colby. He drove it up to camp. He drove it up to camp, and he brought it right up to our barrack, and we loaded everything on, and then went to the entrance and showed the papers that we had an okay to leave, and they escorted us to the border and says, "You know the rest of the way." So we just took off and went to Reno.

RP: And this was a friend that drove the truck up?

DI: I can't remember. No, no, who brought it up to us. Johnny Sprague? Who was it? [Addressing husband] I can't hear you.

RP: Postmaster.

DI: Oh, that's right. He became friends with someone who worked at the post office at Manzanar.

RP: Oh. And they went down and...

DI: They came over to Colby.

RP: Colby and picked up the truck and brought it over there.

DI: Drove it up, yeah. So we left a few days after Thanksgiving of...

RP: '42.

DI: '42? Yeah, '42.

RP: Wow, so you were fortunate you had a truck to load up with items and things. Had you acquired additional things while, the time you were there?

DI: Oh, I'm sure we did. Because we had that great old Sears catalog. [Laughs]

RP: Sears catalog? Yeah. People ordered everything out of those catalogs.

DI: Oh, yeah, I'm sure they did a big business.

RP: Do you remember, anything else about Block 16, any gardens or other features of the block?

DI: Oh, yeah, lot of, Japanese people, they just can't sit, they've got to start planting flowers, and then eventually they started planting vegetables. Then I think at one point they had like a community garden where they had more space somewhere, yeah. Maybe in between the barracks or maybe beyond, I'm not really sure. And he worked on the reservoir crew. I didn't work. I stayed home and sold his little airplane kits to the kids. [Laughs]

RP: Airplane kits. [Laughs] How much would you charge for those?

DI: I don't know. I can't remember.

RP: A quarter? You didn't make any money?

DI: I don't think it was mainly to make money. It was just to keep the kids happy and busy, yeah. Give 'em something to do. And then they'd go, after they'd build it, they'd go out in the open fields there, 'cause some had engines on them.

RP: Oh, gas engines.

DI: Yeah. Didn't you have some that were like that? Oh, you didn't have those there. Oh, just the one.

RP: The one that he has the picture of.

DI: Oh, the wind up. Oh, rubber band, you mean? Oh, my goodness.

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

<Begin Segment 14>

RP: And you were sharing some stories about gardens and things like that. Did you, do remember some of the folks who lived in your barrack, your neighbors? Did you have other people from Sawtelle? You mentioned there was another couple that...

DI: Yeah. Well, this family, the Nishikawa family.

RP: Nishikawa?

DI: Nishikawa. Their father and his father were the ones that started the Buddhist Temple. And the last of the Nishikawa boys died Christmas Eve. I called him two days before Christmas Eve in San Jose, and I said, "I'm not calling to wish you Merry Christmas, but let's stay healthy through 2008." He died Christmas Eve. And there's a stucco house about three doors down, the father built that house in early '20s, and he and my husband's father are the ones who established the Buddhist Temple. All five boys are gone, and they, the son that just died, he's the one that stayed, he and his wife. And his wife's younger sister is Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, that wrote the book Farewell to Manzanar.

RP: The younger sister?

DI: Yeah, the younger sister. I have the, she autographed the book for me. She was my flower girl when I, when we got married.

RP: She was?

DI: Uh-huh. And her sister, the one that lives in San Jose, she was my matron of honor. So, in fact, the Wakatsuki family were, they lived in Venice, and we lived in Ocean Park. So we kind of grew up with them.

RP: With them. Yeah, they were there, they were there for a while and I think they moved to Terminal Island later on.

DI: Well, one of the... which one was it? Martha? Her husband grew up in Terminal Island.

RP: Yeah, she talks about her dad being a fisherman and going out, and then...

DI: And he as an Issei, first generation.

RP: Yeah, he was taken away.

DI: But the mother was Nisei, I think.

RP: She was, yeah.

DI: They had, what, ten children? When I can't sleep, I start naming them. To this day, I still can't remember whether it was Woody or Bill that was older. [Laughs]

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

RP: Dorothy, just going back a little ways to after the war started, there were, some of the restrictions that were put on Japanese Americans, you could not travel beyond five miles. And there was a period of a lot fear and uncertainty with these FBI guys roaming around. A lot of families decided to get rid of anything "Japanesey," photographs or pictures of the emperor, or burying swords, burning anything, dolls. Do you remember any of your...

DI: Well, you know, it's strange because I grew up on Pier Avenue, 508 Pier Avenue. But my father had a business in Reno, so a lot of times he wasn't home. So I think when war started, I think my mother was there by herself, wasn't she? I think she was because my older sister was in Japan. My younger sister, she was in Japan. So my mother was there alone.

RP: How about your older brother?

DI: My older brother was in Japan, wasn't he? See, that's where my memory fades. No, but he couldn't have been. He was living there, huh? Let's see. Was he, was he married? He married Grace? Oh, he wasn't living there. I can't remember.

RP: So your mom might have been alone.

DI: She might have been there by herself. Remember Henry was living there, going to UCLA. He was going to be a dentist, and he went to UCLA. I think he was living there with my mother.

RP: And where did Henry end up? Did he end up going to Manzanar, too?

DI: You know, I can't remember. Where did he end up going? He wasn't in Manzanar, was he? So I don't know where he went.

RP: Did your mom end up there, too?

DI: No, my mother was in Reno.

RP: Oh, she went up to Reno, okay.

DI: Yeah. And I was just trying to think... yeah. Part of that just, I can't remember.

RP: We were talking about the trip up to Reno that you guys took. There was, you mentioned when we talked on the phone, that your family had a reunion of some kind in Reno, and they came down to pick you up?

DI: Oh, yeah. My sister, they came back from Japan on the Gripsholm, and he worked for the War Department in Washington.

RP: That was James.

DI: Arlington, Virginia, uh-huh. James Hamasaki. And since we were the only family members that were not there when they came to visit in Reno, so they came, they got a permit and came to visit us in camp.

RP: In Manzanar?

DI: And stayed, I think he stayed two nights.

RP: James and...

DI: James and my sister Clara.

RP: Clara came?

DI: They left the little boy in Reno because they didn't know what conditions were like. And so they, they had that escort bus between Reno and Manzanar, and they, they came on that, I think, yeah. And so they spent a couple nights, I think, and then went back.

RP: And yeah, so they, that's when you got to know their story a little bit, about being swapped for the exchange.

DI: Uh-huh. He was, they were lucky to be able to come back. 'Cause he was born right during that Doolittle raid, she was in the hospital with a baby, new baby. She said she didn't know what was going on, but the nurses were scurrying around, made sure everybody had their IDs on. But they were fortunate.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

RP: So when you got to Reno, did you move in with your parents?

DI: Uh-huh. They had a two-story house.

RP: Where was that located?

DI: 215 Maple.

RP: Maple.

DI: Uh-huh, not too far from the University of Nevada.

RP: Did they own the house?

DI: Uh-huh.

RP: And your dad was still running this bingo parlor?

DI: No, I don't think so. I don't think so. But we saw a lot of people that left Manzanar and went to Reno and they would call and say, "We're at the railroad station." So we'd go and pick 'em up and my mother would cook breakfast or whatever. We stayed up all night and took 'em back to the railroad station. We saw more people headed for Chicago, basically Chicago.

RP: So you kind of had a, like, an overnight hostel service.

DI: Yeah. [Laughs] We just didn't sleep, we just stayed up, chatted.

RP: Chatted?

DI: Yeah.

RP: That was, must have been very nice for both of you, especially them, to see somebody who was in a similar situation. Do you remember any of the families at all, or anybody in particular that sort of sticks out, of all those people who came?

DI: Oh, that came over and might have stayed?

RP: Yeah.

DI: Oh, we saw so many people. [Addressing husband] Can you remember any of them? [Laughs] He can't remember either.

RP: And how were they feeling about their, you know, going...

DI: I think for so many of 'em, I think they were just glad to get out.

RP: Out of camp?

DI: And they were looking forward to, basically most of them were going, headed for Chicago. 'Cause I think they had a hostel out there.

RP: They had several.

DI: Uh-huh.

RP: We talked to a woman yesterday who actually, with her husband, started a hostel there.

DI: Oh, uh-huh.

RP: And she had over a thousand Japanese Americans, most of 'em, I think --

DI: Lot of Quakers, I think.

RP: Quakers helped, too.

DI: Yeah, reached out to them.

RP: Wow. So you'd get a call every so often.

DI: Every so often, they're at the Reno railroad station waiting for the train. Doesn't leave 'til tomorrow morning, so we'd go pick 'em up. My mother would make breakfast or whatever, and stayed up all night and chit-chatted, yeah. It was, we saw a lot of people.

RP: Maybe you saw the whole, a thousand, too.

DI: No, maybe, I don't think quite that many. [Laughs]

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

RP: Dorothy, share with us what your, what your mother did in Reno. She went to work for a Japanese American woman who was...

DI: Oh, Mrs. Imagire, uh-huh.

RP: Yeah. And what did, Mrs. Imagire was a...

DI: She was a seamstress.

RP: A seamstress?

DI: Yeah. She made clothes and what do you call it... altered it for people.

RP: Alterations.

DI: So I think she had a pretty busy business there.

RP: You talked to, you mentioned that when you got to Reno, your father was no longer, no longer had this bingo parlor.

DI: No, he just stayed home.

RP: Uh-huh, he just stayed home. Can you share with us the story about his relationship with Bill Harrah and...

DI: You know, I really don't know that much about it. But I think they knew each other, because my father worked for a family that ran the bingo parlor up on Lick Pier. And I think some of them had concessions on Ocean Park Pier. But I don't know, maybe they had connections, 'cause Bill Harrah had a bingo parlor in Redondo Beach. I'm really not sure.

RP: You said that it was just your opinion that some of the business owners didn't care to see your dad in business because he was...

DI: I think, yeah, being a Japanese, I think they really would like to have. And then it was right there by the, right near Harold's Club next door, next-next door, an ideal spot. And so I think they really would... so he didn't think it was so much the federal government that wanted him put away, but I think he just thought it was a political thing. Isn't that what the feeling was? Yeah. He never really said too much. But we had heard indirectly that that's the feeling he had.

RP: And Bill Harrah wanted that location?

DI: Well, maybe not just Bill Harrah only, but maybe the other businesses, 'cause it was an ideal place right on Virginia Street, right near the archway.

KP: I'm not following. You said he was forced out of business?

DI: Pardon?

RP: Was he -- go ahead. Was he forced out of business by these folks or how did it...

DI: You know, I really don't know. But I think being that he was a Japanese American, a Japanese alien, actually, because he couldn't become a citizen. So maybe that might have been it, and it was just an ideal place to have a business there.

RP: Was he still involved in an import-export business at that time, too?

DI: That I don't know. I don't think so.

RP: Because, I'm asking that because I was curious to know if the FBI had ever visited him in Reno. Did the FBI ever come to the house and talk to him?

DI: I would think so, but I'm not sure.

RP: 'Cause that, that connection with import-export usually meant that they'd at least get visited by the FBI or possibly even get picked up for questioning.

DI: That I don't know.

RP: Not sure about that.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

RP: And what did you do in terms of getting settled into Reno as far as work, did you work?

DI: No, because I had...

RP: You had a child already?

DI: Both my sons were born there in Reno, so I had my hands full. But my mother worked, and she worked for Mrs. Imagire.

RP: And then Tom also got work?

DI: He was a mechanic, so...

RP: The Chevy agency was it?

DI: He worked at the Chevy agency first, and eventually at the airport, Beckworth Airport? As a mechanic. That's where he learned to fly.

RP: And how were you, how were you received by Caucasian members of the community during the time you were in Reno?

DI: I didn't have, I don't think we had any problems, no. You mean in Reno? No, I can't recall anyone calling me a "Jap," or anything like that. I didn't really feel any tension at all.

RP: And you lived with your, lived at your parents' house for all that time?

DI: Uh-huh. So both my boys were born there, and then we moved back to this house.

RP: You came back down here in 1946, somewhere around there?

DI: Let's see. Marty was born in '46, we came back around July of '47. Was it '47? He was born in January of '46. No, wait a minute. Richard was... no, that's right. Marty was born in Reno. So... yeah, so it was Marty so we came back in '47. [Laughs] No memory. I need a calculator. Yeah, they were both born in Reno. Yeah, we came back in July, I think, of '47, I think.

RP: So you spent most of the war years out of camp. You only spent, what, six months in camp.

DI: Yeah, because...

RP: That was...

DI: Yeah. Because we were only in Manzanar like seven and a half months, I think.

RP: Did the, did many people from the Sawtelle community return here after the camp?

DI: I think quite a few people came back to west L.A.

RP: They all came back and tried to reclaim their lives again?

DI: Because in west L.A., they have a Japanese Methodist church, and a Buddhist church, and they had this little community here. And they had the Japanese school, the language school, and an institute there. So it was a thriving community, basically, of gardeners. And it had all these --

RP: Nurseries.

DI: -- rich people living in Brentwood and Westwood and Beverly Hills, and they were gardeners. They had, it was a good living for them.

RP: Did you, did you work at all eventually when you were back here?

DI: I worked when the children got older, and they talked about going away to college. And so mother thought, well, she better get busy. So I applied at the Santa Monica school district and got a job as a purchasing clerk, and worked there, oh, gosh, I can't remember how many years I worked there. Seventeen years, maybe? I worked there for quite some time, and became a buyer and then retired. I know I didn't go to twenty years, so it could have been like seventeen years. Well, because he decided to buy some property, and so I thought, "Oh, gee, mother better get busy." [Laughs] So I got a job. And then my son talked about going away to college, so I thought I better get busy.

RP: Where was this property?

DI: Oh, at Sawtelle Boulevard, 19... what was that, 1930? 1920 Sawtelle. And before the war, he owned that corner one, on Olympic and Corinth. What'd we pay, thirty-five hundred dollars, right?

RP: Thirty-five hundred?

DI: Thirty-five hundred dollars at Olympic and Corinth. And the lady who owned that other corner at Purdue, where the Cayhill building is, she said she has another corner also for thirty-five hundred dollars. He said, "I don't have an extra thirty-five hundred dollars." Seems like peanuts, doesn't it? [Laughs] No way. But, you know, it's hard for -- we talk like that, but it's also hard for me to... he lost two of his best buddies in the war. I always think about that. Yeah, two of his best buddies were killed as part of the 442.

RP: What were their names, do you know?

DI: Pardon?

RP: Their names?

DI: Paul Kitsuse and James Kanazawa. No. Was it James? No. Johnny Kanazawa. So I think about that, and there's just no comparison.

RP: So how have you seen this community change over the last sixty years or so, the Sawtelle area?

DI: Oh, it's just grown, just grown.

RP: On up.

DI: Oh, yeah. Up, up, up. Now we're sorry we sold that place. [Laughs]

RP: When did you sell it?

DI: I can't remember. Oh, because we couldn't pay the hundred dollars a month rent on the property at Corinth and Olympic. Thirty-five hundred dollars we paid. So when that lady called and said she had the other corner for thirty-five hundred, he just said, "I don't have an extra thirty-five hundred dollars. [Laughs] We'd be sitting pretty, be millionaires. That's over the bridge, yeah.

RP: That might be more problems than it's worth.

DI: But then when he lost his two buddies, and I'll never forget. I used to write to them regularly overseas. We were sitting there in my dad's house on the front porch steps, and the mailman brought these envelopes back, and they're marked "deceased." Oh, what a sinking feeling. Just an awful feeling, and I had to tell him, two of his best buddies. So when I think of that, there's just no comparison. Money is just nothing. Left a, left a wife, one of my girlfriends, pretty sad.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

RP: Dorothy, tell us what happened to your family in Reno after you came back. Or did they also return to this area?

DI: They, my father came back to Pasadena, and he had to do something, and so he went gardening. Even with his bad arm and at that age, he did a little gardening. And then my mother went out as a domestic worker, my sister worked in a dental office.

RP: They came back right after the war ended?

DI: No, I can't remember how long afterwards they decided to come back.

RP: And they stayed in that area the rest of their lives?

DI: They stayed in Pasadena, yeah. They bought a house in Pasadena on Fair Oaks. And at that age, he decided, well, he had to go to work, so he became a gardener. He had just, he didn't have a pickup, he just loaded his lawnmower and tools on the, I can't remember what kind of car he had, but a regular family car, and did a little gardening. So it was tough for him. That's right, my sister went to business school in Reno. And so she went to work as a, in a dental office.

RP: In Reno.

DI: No, after they came back.

RP: This was the sister that came back from Japan?

DI: No, my sister there stayed back east. But I had a younger sister that never got married, and so she lived with my father. And then she had all kinds of problems -- oh, in Reno, her friends took her ice skating, she had never gone ice skating before, and they took her out there and she broke her leg. I think she broke it in two places, she was in a cast for a long, long time. And eventually, years later, after she moved back, she had to have both legs amputated below the knee. You know, I never realized 'til after she died, I brought her artificial limbs back, and they are heavy. And I don't know how she managed, she lived in a two-story condo. I never realized how heavy they were. She never complained.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

RP: Did you have, when you were in Reno, did you have a community of other Japanese Americans that you got together with?

DI: Uh-huh.

RP: Was there a church that you went to?

DI: No, we didn't go to church there. But we'd have, one family would always have a New Year's Eve party, 'cause they lived a little bit out of the city. And we'd all go over there for New Year's Eve, and I'd leave the kids home with my parents, and the two of us would go.

RP: So you tried to keep connections with the other...

DI: Connected with them. And to this day, I'll pick up the phone and I'll call my girlfriend 'cause she lost her husband. And so we chitchat about the good old days.

RP: What was their family name?

DI: Fukui.

RP: Fukui?

DI: Uh-huh. I think they had a laundry in, she grew up in Carson City, and the family had a laundry business there. I don't know whether it was it was cleaner and laundry, but that type of... and so then our old friends that grew up in Sawtelle, he moved to Reno eventually, too. And I think they're back in San Jose and just, just two days before Christmas, I called up there to, I said, "I'm not calling you to wish you a Merry Christmas, I'm calling just to wish you, let's hope for a good year in 2008," and he died Christmas Eve. There was a Nishikawa family, grew up two doors down the street, there was five boys, and he was the last one. So one by one, and here he's still here at ninety. [Laughs]

RP: Did you get a chance go out and explore the Nevada area at all, taking trips on Sundays or weekends?

DI: Oh, we went out to parks a lot, because we had the two kids.

RP: Where did you go?

DI: We went to... where did we go? We went up toward, on the road to Tahoe, there's a, was it Mono? [Addressing husband] We went somewhere along there and you used to go fishing. We'd pack a lunch and go there, I remember. And then there was another lake down south Virginia, and oh, we went here and there, yeah. Just to get the kids out.

RP: Did you go to Tahoe, too?

DI: Yeah, we went to Tahoe. Pack a lunch and go up partway, and sometimes we went all the way up to Tahoe, yeah. Pretty place, very pretty place.

RP: Nice place to spend the war years.

DI: Yeah. [Laughs] Yeah, so in Reno, I didn't work at all. [Addressing husband] You worked for the, Chevrolet agency first, and then you went to Beckworth Airport? I can't remember.

RP: Have you been back to Manzanar ever since...

DI: Yeah, we didn't go this year. We go, we've been going to Mammoth. This year would be our thirty-third year with the whole family, except for my daughter. My two boys and their families and my nephew and his family, we'd all rent three condos up there and spend a week. This year, I think they decided to go in August, but he said he didn't want to go anymore. Pretty place.

RP: You were sharing a story about Tom was an assistant scoutmaster? And can you tell that story again about the fact that you didn't have a vacation?

DI: That was our vacation. [Laughs] My daughter to this day talks about, "That was our vacation." So we held on, they put stew or something in the big pot, and then they'd go hiking for the day. Like he took 'em up to Mount Whitney I don't know how many times. And my daughter and I stayed and fed the fire so that at least when they came back, they'd have stew, right? And to this day, she said, "Yeah, we stayed and kept the fire going for 'em." It was pretty country up there.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

RP: I wanted to get your opinions and feelings about the redress, the apology that the government issued, and a payment of twenty thousand dollars. What was your feeling...

DI: I was, I was surprised, you know, that the government would do that. Of course, it was a big mistake, but nevertheless, to see twenty thousand, that's a lot of money. I mean, you think of all the people that they had to pay the twenty thousand to. I don't know where ours went, but I know we got it. [Laughs]

RP: So you didn't expect to ever see an apology?

DI: No, I was surprised, yeah. But then I think, like I said, when his two buddies were, lost their lives, you just can't compare that with just getting money from the government.

RP: And what did, what did both you and Tom lose? Did you... when you were evacuated, when you had to leave the Sawtelle area, did he have a business? Wasn't he working at a service station or...

DI: No, he had his own business.

RP: Right.

DI: Yeah. He had the corner there, right at Olympic and Corinth.

RP: Corinth, right.

DI: He had a signal gas station there.

RP: Right. And did he lose that?

DI: Pardon? Yeah, he lost it because he couldn't pay the hundred dollar a month rent. Huh?

RP: The payment, the monthly payment? Right. And that was the result of having to leave. You didn't have the money.

DI: There were also people who owed him money that couldn't pay it.

RP: So you didn't have the money to pay it. How about the house that you were living in?

DI: Oh, we were just renting.

RP: You just rented it.

DI: Uh-huh.

RP: Did you have personal belongings that you had to store?

DI: Yeah, luckily his mother and dad had a house at 1944 Colby, so we took all our things over there and put 'em in the garage of his family friends. And then he bolted it, and he told the renters, "Whatever you do, do not open this garage." Because it's not just our belongings, but belongs to other families. But he also had a friend of his that he grew up with that lived on Colby, right near Olympic, Johnny Sprague, he drove by there one day and the doors were wide open, he all the stuff out in the garage. And he came to visit us up in Manzanar. And he said he that he had the place wide open. And then he, I can't remember, I know you had some swords there you hid somewhere. [Addressing husband] Were they there? Were they gone?

RP: Swords?

DI: Yeah, he had some Japanese swords.

RP: Samurai? Money? Oh, a coin collection.

DI: See, he -- oh, he doesn't have the swords up there. He had a couple swords up there before.

RP: Oh, that he stored under the house?

DI: Those he bought probably afterwards.

RP: Everything was gone.

DI: He's always been interested in Japanese artifacts.

RP: Kirk, do you have any further questions? Okay, Dorothy, do you have any other stories that you'd like to share with us about your, Reno, Manzanar, Sawtelle experiences?

DI: Oh, you know, I just, at this age, I just can't think of too many things. [Laughs] It's hard enough worrying about three meals a day, what to cook.

RP: Okay, thank you for your time.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.