Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Nellie Mitani Interview
Narrator: Nellie Mitani
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Pasadena, California
Date: February 5, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-mnellie-01-0019

<Begin Segment 19>

NM: Now, you and your husband moved in to the Block 6 --

NM: Block 6, yes.

RP: -- barrack room and who was assigned to that room as well?

NM: There were, there was another couple. let's see, who were they? Well, there was a name. One man was from Japan. He was a businessman who was with us, so he moved into camp with us. And later he had to, he was sent back to Japan on the Gripsholm, that ship. And then there was a minister who was single, and then this couple. And then us, so there were six of us in there.

RP: And how did you create privacy there?

NM: Oh, we had blankets to hang. Or big sheets or whatever, cloths. That, that's the only privacy we had.

RP: Did, you mentioned that the one Japanese man left to...

NM: Went back to Japan.

RP: Back to Japan. And did the other --

NM: They all...

RP: -- folks leave and go to other rooms?

NM: They were able to get rooms for themselves, uh-huh.

RP: And how, do you recall, did your barrack room improve during the time you were in Poston? Do you remember making any improvements?

NM: It didn't improve unless we did the improving. And I don't know that my room was improved that much. My husband was too busy and I was carrying Miyo. So, we just existed I guess. And, I don't think he, I don't think we did. I don't even remember whether I made curtains. We must have had something though. I know later on at the other camp I made a curtain, which I have. But that was Crystal City, huh? Well, I still have it somewhere.

RP: And you, you had your, your daughter in camp.

NM: Yes.

RP: And do you remember anything about the doctors that provided care for you?

NM: My doctor was from Hawaii and a very well-respected doctor apparently in Hawaii, too. And so he was very good.

RP: Were there any other early hardships that you experienced at Poston?

NM: Well, I took teacher's training in the summer, and we had to ride a bus and go to some, I think it was the Indian school or something, for our training. And at that time I was carrying Miyo. But I jumped off the bus and that wasn't too good. I mean, I kind of hurt my hip a little bit, I guess. But, so that, so that kind of thing was one of the inconveniences and, and not so good a situation I guess you'd call it, yeah. But, otherwise I don't know...

RP: Dust storms?

NM: Dust, oh yes. Well, I was born in it so it really didn't bother me that much. I mean, in Mesa we always got this thing. We'd see this dust circling around and say, "Oh yeah, now it will come over here." But it had a sort of semicircle and then it would blow towards us. But yeah, yes, that happened in Poston, too. Of course in Poston I guess it was a little worse than Mesa 'cause it wasn't cultivated. There was a lot of sandy ground. Yeah, but I suppose that would be one of the biggest problems for most of the people who lived on the coast, to have those.

RP: Were you aware that, that the camp was on an Indian reservation?

NM: I think so, yes.

RP: Did you ever see any Native Americans --

NM: I don't think so.

RP: -- work in the camp?

NM: I don't, I don't think they worked in the camp. Maybe they did, but I didn't see them.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.