Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Gloria Toshiko Imagire Interview
Narrator: Gloria Toshiko Imagire
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Sacramento, California
Date: October 17, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-igloria-01-0013

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RP: Gloria, we were just chatting a little bit about different camps, and the environments that they represent. Coming from Vacaville, which is close to the coast, and you end up in this camp in the middle of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. How did the environment of the camp affect you? Were you drawn in by it, were you repulsed by it?

GI: You know, since I was a child, I didn't, I didn't pay any attention to it. And I didn't think it was such a bad place to be, actually, 'cause my friends were there, we played. We played with mud pies, and I remember we'd get water from the mess hall and make little rice things. And she had a little sibling and I had mine, we'd load them into a little baby buggy and we'd walk over to, walk all the way across the canal, I guess, to where they were farming and everything. We'd sit there and we'd have our little picnic. And I had a little pet tortoise and things, and I thought it was okay. [Laughs] And then the older ones, they'd say, during the time when they were trying to get reparations and everything, I'd think, "Gosh, I don't know what's wrong with me. I didn't think it was so bad. But I was a child, so what can I say?

RP: So you did actually go out of camp?

GI: One time, I got a pass, and I went with these two girls who were like fourteen. I don't know how old I was, nine or ten or something. And we went to Phoenix, and we went on the bus, and we went through all these little towns, now they're all suburbs of Phoenix, you know. Mesa and Tempe and all this kind of stuff. But anyway, Phoenix at the time I remember it had all these palm trees, it was a lazy little town. And we got out, and people would say, "Oh, could you buy us a belt, could you buy this, could you buy that?" And we went over there and we went a little bit and we realized we didn't know where we were. We spent hours just trying to get back to that bus station. I think we wasted our whole day, practically. But I think we had an ice cream soda or something, and then we picked up things people wanted. That was the one time I went out of camp. And I don't know why I went with these two girls and not with my parents. I always thought that was odd, but I didn't have anybody to ask about why it was that way.

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