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-01-0025

<Begin Segment 25>

RP: So was there a time when your husband actually was released from the hospital and lived with you in the... he was always in the hospital?

NM: Yes.

RP: The whole time you were at Crystal City?

NM: Yes. I think so, but I don't know whether he was released from the hospital just before we left there. I think he was probably released, yeah, before. Because I remember, I don't remember how we left or where we left.

RP: To go to Gila?

NM: Yes. I just remember we were on the train and there was a man standing watching us, guarding us. We had a guard going back.

RP: To Gila?

NM: Uh-huh.

RP: With a, with a rifle?

NM: No. I don't think so. He might have had something hidden, but I... I guess it's for our protection as well. At least I take it that way.

RP: So you weren't in Crystal City very long.

NM: No. No, I think, what was it? April to September or something like that? Just over the summer. Just enough to enjoy the mosquitoes.

RP: Yeah. They got a chance to draw some blood from you and, and then you were gone.

NM: Uh-huh.

RP: So did, did she get to play with some other kids in Crystal City?

NM: I don't think so. I don't even recall any small children there.

RP: And so you were back in the Arizona desert again in Gila.

NM: Yes.

RP: And were you in, there were two camps in Gila. Did you camp in Canal...

NM: We were in Riverside, Rivers.

RP: Oh, okay.

NM: There was...

RP: Canal Camp and Butte Camp?

NM: Oh, Butte, I guess. I think it was...

RP: And was your husband hospitalized at Gila as well, too?

NM: Yes, uh-huh. He was... I guess he was able to, he was discharged maybe about a month before we went to Mesa. Or, that was at the end of, I think we stayed until about the last day or a few days before the camp closed.

RP: And you met a gentleman in Gila who was an optometrist? And he made, he made something for you.

NM: Yes. His name was Nakamura and I think he came from Stockton. But he made this little cart in which to carry Miyo around, or pull her around. And he made the wheels out of some lumber, it was a wooden wheel. And so he made it pretty round I think. I don't think it bumped around too much. But anyway, yeah. And it ran quite, I mean, pulled easily. But they were very thoughtful.

RP: Yes, you were able sort of get around a little bit with her.

NM: Yes.

RP: And, your social life opened up a little bit?

NM: Yes, well, like I was able to go to the movies and take her with me. The movies were held outdoors. And on the other side, I guess, almost the other side of the, the camp that I was in. And so that was one of the entertainments I enjoyed. And the other was, well, take her around to visit some of the people there.

RP: Do you remember, do you remember when the war ended and Japanese, Japan surrendered? Also, the other important event would have been the, the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan. Were you still in camp at that time?

NM: Yes. We were in, but I don't remember exactly the impression I had. I don't think we had newspapers or I don't even know if we had a radio or not. But somehow we learned about it, I think. That was in Gila. My husband wasn't subscribing to all these papers and magazines anymore 'cause he was in the hospital. And so, yeah, I think I probably heard it from my neighbor or something like that.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.