Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Mary Nomura Interview
Narrator: Mary Nomura
Interviewer: John Allen
Date: November 7, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-nmary-01-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

JA: I've always wondered if there were things you needed, whether clothing or household items and so on, how would you get them? You didn't have a store that had all that stuff?

MN: Oh, there was a canteen. It was a co-op canteen and they had, one was a food co-op and one was a dry goods co-op. And so we were paid, if you worked, you were paid eight dollars apprentice a month, $16 if you were just ordinary worker, and then the professionals were doctors and lawyers and whoever, they got nineteen dollars a month. But with that money, you were able to go to the canteens and buy little yardage or a needle and thread, or, and every block had a sewing machine, and you had to requisition it for so many hours a day, and so we were able to sew different things. And food was brought in from I don't know where, and so they had ice cream once in awhile, and if someone heard that there was ice cream, the whole area just ran to the canteen and by the time you got there, it was gone. And they even had a little fish, fish area. They sold fish once every so often, and they had people who were able to have little frying pans or whatever and they cooked at the, in their barracks. I don't know how they did it; maybe they had electric frying pans. But food-wise and dry goods-wise, there was canteen for each and we were able to -- if we had the money. And we had Sears Roebuck catalogs to send for things.

JA: Tell me about that.

MN: Oh, yeah. There was, a catalog was at each office, each block had one office. That's where you had the sewing machines and all, and that barrack, the Sears Roebuck catalog was there, and you could go through that and you would order things, and it would come through the mail. And we were able to get different things like if we needed a different kind of shoes and in those days, it was pretty dear, but what little money we were able to save, we would send for shoes. And if you had friends that left camp for Chicago or New York or wherever, then they would send it to you. But it was something that we couldn't get in camp, we would be mailing out for it.


JA: There's one other question I wanted to ask you. Do you remember anything about the "loyalty questions"?

MN: No, I don't. It didn't involve my brother or me, so I don't know anything like that. It's just the people who were so adamant about what was being done, and they were given this choice of going to Tule Lake or staying there, I mean, it was -- I guess the majority of 'em did not say "no- no," you know.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2002 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.