Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Bo T. Sakaguchi Interview
Narrator: Bo T. Sakaguchi
Interviewer: John Allen
Date: November 6, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-sbo-01-0008

<Begin Segment 8>

JA: Were there school dances or things?

BS: Well, we had school dances, and they were held in the mess halls. When I first got to camp I didn't know how to dance, and Ms. Goldberg was the one -- Miss Goldberg was the one who encouraged us to learn how to dance. So at least we were able to dance at our senior prom. And they would have dances at school, I don't remember how often, it wasn't that often, but they were interesting dances. And that was our recreation. Of course, they had movies, too, outdoors, but I never went to the movies. I didn't enjoy the movies sitting outdoors in the cold, so I didn't go to the movies. I can't remember seeing a decent movie at all.


JA: Were there bands that played at these?

BS: They formed a band, and I think there was a high school band, several members that were in the class of '44. Bruce Kaji, Yoshito Shibuya, Gordon Sato, are names I remember, and they played in the school band and they also had a dance band. I think they were called the Jive Bombers, I don't remember exactly, but they played at the dances. Most of the dances were records, the Harry James, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey records.

JA: What were some of the popular songs in those days?

BS: "All or Nothing at All" with Frank Sinatra and Harry James, "Boogie-Woogie" Tommy Dorsey. The Glenn Miller hits... oh boy, I used to know the names, "Chattanooga Choo Choo," and Ray Eberle singing... Ray Eberle singing... gee, I can't remember them all now. Oh, the Modernaires, and later on when I became a dentist, Paula Kelley came in as a patient, which was quite an exciting thing for me, because one of the girls, a classmate, high school classmate, or girls in the school, had named their social club the Modernaires. [Laughs] And then to think, fifteen years later, I was able to meet the lady who owned the Modernaires. Because by then, her husband had passed away and she owned the Modernaires, that was an exciting thing for me.

JA: Somebody told me they remembered hearing the song "Don't Fence Me In."

BS: Oh yeah, yeah, that was a very popular song that they used to...


JA: Tell me that song again.

BS: Oh, "Don't Fence Me In," yeah. I guess it was very popular, more popular in the class of '44. [Laughs] I remember singing it and I know members of the class of '44, when they used to have the Manzanar reunions, would make it a point to sing that song, "Don't Fence Me In."

JA: Sing me a couple lines.

BS: Oh, I can't remember the words.

JA: [Laughs] Oh, okay. Do you -- tell me about Mary Nomura, do you remember her?

BS: Oh, yeah. Mary was the "Songbird of Manzanar," she was a gorgeous girl, very talented, in the wrong generation. She would have been a, she could have been a recording star. But I remember hearing Mary first back in about 1941 when the Little Tokyo used to have the talent shows, and I remember Mary got up and sang and I heard her sing and I thought, "Wow, what a singer," and how pretty she was. And then to find her at Manzanar, and she used to sing. She was a great singer. She still has a classy-type of singing. She's got the phrasing and the nuances, she's still terrific, still terrific, beautiful lady.

JA: She's going to visit us tomorrow.

BS: Oh, yeah, she's great.

JA: What about sports? Were there sports in...

BS: There was a lot of sports. We played football. I remember my friends in the North Hollywood area, from the North Hollywood area, got together and formed a team. We were the North Hollywood Huskies, and the people from the Venice area had a team and other areas had a team, and so they had sort of a league in the summer and we played touch football in the firebreaks. Not the cleanest or the healthiest place, but it was fun, and we had a lot of fun. And then there were many baseball teams, and the outstanding ones were the San Pedro Yogores and the San Fernando Aces, so different areas had their teams. And the Manzanites were a very good team. Then they had basketball, too. They formed a little, they had little basketball courts in the blocks that they put up a, the rim and things for them to play. I wasn't much in basketball or baseball. I was a lousy athlete, but I loved to play football, so I did play on the football team. That was fun.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2002 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.