Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Martha Shoaf
Narrator: Martha Shoaf
Interviewer: John Allen
Date: November 7, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-smartha-01-0001

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MS: My name is Martha Shoaf, and I live in Trona, California on a dry lake.

JA: A dry lake? Take me back in your memory a little bit, and tell me what you were doing prior to Pearl Harbor?

MS: Prior to Pearl Harbor, I was going to school. I went to, I graduated from Eagle Rock High School in '37, I went to City College and got my AA, and then I went to UCLA, and from UCLA, after I -- I graduated in '42, but I didn't have a teaching credential. And I met a friend of mine who wanted, who was working here at Manzanar, and I asked her, "Well, what kind of people do they need?" because I didn't like what was being done to the Japanese people. And she told me they needed teachers, so I went back to UCLA, got my teaching credential. As soon as I got it, I went to the business office and told them -- or the placement office, I wanted to go to Manzanar. [Laughs] They looked at me as though I had taken leave of my senses, but I got to go.

JA: What was your, what was your reaction when you first heard about Pearl Harbor?

MS: I was shocked. It's something, you really couldn't believe it. I lived in, well, not too far -- well, actually, in the heart of the Miracle Mile in Los Angeles, off of Wiltshire Boulevard. And people were beginning to talk about Pearl Harbor. Well, I had been to Hawaii at one time, and I just couldn't feature anything like that happening, but it did. And I think we were all shocked. And then the next day, we went to school, to university, and was out in the quad in front of Royce Hall, and listened to President Roosevelt declare war. And it was kind of a shocking experience. But, and so many of the young men that I knew, of course, went off to fight in the different theatres.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2002 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.