Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Helen Mori Interview
Narrator: Helen Mori
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Concord, California
Date: April 14, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-mhelen_2-01-0010

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RP: So did your mom, did your mom work in camp?

HM: I don't know. I know she helped out with the schools in the beginning, since she taught Japanese school. And I think she helped set up the PTA and that kind of thing. But as far as working, I don't think she had regular duties. Maybe she did. I don't know. And then my brother was born the year after they were married, so, you know, she was busy with him. He was a allergic kind of kid. He was allergic to her breast milk. He was allergic to SMA. So we had to, I had to make a special hypo-allergenic formula. I had to make it in our room for him 'cause I was, by then I was eleven.

RP: Huh. And how did you go about making it? Did you have a...

HM: It was in cans and the...

RP: Did you have a, a hotplate or something?

HM: I guess so. We had to get water from the bathroom. We didn't have running water in the barrack. So I had to get water from the bathroom I think. And they, the thing came in cans, like SMA. And I guess I cooked it and made it... we must have had a hotplate. Yeah. That's so long ago.

RP: Did the Marukis live in the same room with you the whole time you were at Manzanar or did they move out?

HM: No, after my mother got married they gave us our own room. So then we moved to 21-2-1.

RP: Same block or just down...

HM: Same block but different room.

RP: Do you remember some of the other folks who lived in Barrack 8 at the time that you...

HM: Besides the Marukis?

RP: Yes.

HM: Kitayamas lived in Barrack 8. they're the only ones I remember, Kitayamas. At eight and a half, you know, you don't really get to know all... you forget too if you knew it.

RP: So did you get, suddenly you had a lot of, a lot of kids to make friends with. Did you make friends there?

HM: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Made a lot of friends. In fact, three of my very best friends even now are, two of 'em, are Janet Fujino, she's a Kishiyama now, and my girlfriend in Fresno, Amy. She was Yoshimura and she's a Nishikawa now. We're, I still consider them one of my best friends.

RP: And they were in Block 21?

HM: Oh yeah, Block 21. We went to school together. Yeah. We're still close, like when we first met. Yeah.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.