Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Osamu Mori Interview
Narrators: Osamu Mori
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Concord, California
Date: April 14, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-mosamu-01

<Begin Segment 1>

RP: This is an interview for the Manzanar National Historic Site. We're talking with Sam Mori this afternoon and Sam resides at 1377 Sussex Way in Concord, California. The date of the interview is April 14, 2010, videographer is Kirk Peterson, interviewer is Richard Potashin and we'll be discussing Mr. Mori's experiences as an internee at Santa Anita Assembly Center as well as the Jerome and Tule War Relocation Centers. Our interview will be archived in the Park's library and Sam can I have your permission to go ahead and do our interview?

OM: You do.

RP: Thank you so much for taking some time to share your stories with us this afternoon. Where were you born and what year?

OM: I was born in 1928 in San Pedro, California, at home, not in a hospital but at home. In the old days they had midwives or whatever.

RP: What was your given name at birth?

OM: Osamu Mori, Osamu, O-S-A-M-U.

RP: And where did you pick up the Sam?

OM: I think typical, lot of Japanese names, you know, they just dropped the first and last letters and you got Sam. There's a lot of others, people call me O-Sam and but basically Sam. For work it was much easier, all through life, teachers used to mispronounce your name and all that. It's easier to just go by Sam.

RP: Do you know what your Japanese first name means?

OM: Well, it's a funny... it means final, or peace, or ending. Osameru means "finish" and my dad thought I was the last one, then there was another one later on, an accident. [Laughs] My younger brother probably wouldn't like that but that's...

RP: So you should have switched names with him I guess?

OM: Pardon?

RP: You could've switched names with him.

OM: No, no.

RP: Then your younger brother, how many other siblings did you have in your family?

OM: I have a three brothers, three brothers, there were four of us, four boys and a sister. The sister is next to the top, my eldest brother passed away ten years... no, twenty years ago.

RP: Your eldest sister's name?

OM: Shizu, Shizuko. And she's still alive and I have two brothers, one immediately above me and then my younger brother.

RP: Can you give me their names?

OM: My brother above me is Hiroshi, Hiroshi, and my younger brother is Hideo. He also goes by Dale, D-A-L-E, you know, but Hideo was typical right? [Laughs]

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

RP: What was your father's name?

OM: There's kind of story there too. Before the war he was Mitsukichi, M-I-T-S-U-K-I-C-H-I. And then I don't know if it was before or during the war, he changed it to Kokichi, but you use the same Japanese words or characters. Kokichi and Mitsukichi, the first one is hikaru, which is sunlight or whatever. And you could read it Mitsu or Ko, means the same thing. Anyway at the end, his name was Kokichi and my mother's name was Kinu.

RP: What was her maiden name?

OM: Mori, the town where she came from, or he came from, the majority of them were Moris so I used that as my... any time they want a secret, you know, for your name, verification, I used my mother's maiden name. And they always say, "Your maiden name," and I said that's what it was.

RP: Yeah, I can understand that. Where did your dad come from in Japan?

OM: Mie-ken. I guess he was from the city called Yokkaichi, Mie-ken, which is just south of Nagoya. It's a fairly large city and my mother was from a little village south of that called Kuwana, same prefecture.

RP: Can you share with us any information about your father's family in Japan?

OM: My father's family was fairly well-off before they got married, he was married. And then their father passed away when he was young but he had substantial property evidently from, at least from what I heard. And through a kind of a incident, I guess they lost everything. They had to give everything up. So they owned, you know, mountain, what they called yama, which means forest, that means land I guess. But they lost all that so around the turn of the century, 1906 I think it was, my father and his older brother came to this country to seek their fame and fortune or whatever. And they ended up initially going to Wyoming, coal mining, I think it was coal mining and he stayed there for several years. My dad was, you know, kind of a free spender and this and that. Whereas my uncle, his older brother, saved all his money and in a few years he went back to Japan and my dad stayed here. He came here 1906 and I guess he didn't get married 'til 1920s, early '20s, just before the exclusion act came in, he got married and was able to bring my mother over here. But at the time he was already, he came over here when he was twenty... he was born in 1880 and 1906 makes him about twenty-six. So from 1906 to 19, let's say, '20, 1920, that's another fourteen years so that... he was close to forty when he got married. You know, he tried all kinds of occupations including farming, fishing, coal mining. I think he was in the lumber business too for a while, not business, but lumber business, but was not really a success at anything. I mean he made a living but he wasn't very successful. And at the time of the war starting, we were farming. I think the year I was born, 1928, my mother started a poultry business. At that time we were living in San Pedro, that's where I was born. And I guess little by little they built up the poultry business, and I'm not sure exactly how many thousands of chickens we had, but we had, you know, what they called fryers, you know. These days you see it at Foster Farms or whatever but in those days we used to raise fryers and then also poultry for laying hens, laying eggs. And we had a turkey business for turkeys during holidays but she ran all that. And my father did a farming business.

RP: Truck farming?

OM: Yeah, and at that time, you know, leasing land, strictly leasing land. And he built, my father built most of the buildings for the chicken coops and chicken brooders and things like that. So he was a pretty handy man but I could still remember some of the brooders particularly. It was better built than our house. [Laughs] But that's a business kind of thing so that's, you had to have quality, you know. So that's kind of a overview of what he did. But she was much more successful in the poultry business than he was. He was not very good at that, he was trying to baby the... keep everything warm and overheated things. So she did a much better job.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

RP: And tell us about your mom, Kinu. What was her situation like in Japan?

OM: Well she was a... she came from a very kind of a poor family. She was the eldest of three. Two siblings, two brothers below her, she was the eldest and at nine she went to what they call houkou in those days. It's to live in kind of a maid. But she went to a... in those days silk production was a big thing, and where she went she became not only kind of a live in maid but she also worked in the factory. She stayed there 'til she was in her thirties, early thirties, and by that time she had moved up to a pretty responsible position. And I guess that's about the time when, I don't know if it was a photo marriage or what, but he did, he went back to Japan evidently to marry her. And that was around 1920, I think, because around '22 is when they came back. He came back and then called her over. You know, I think he met her the first time she went to receive some sort of award being a boss or supervisor or something. And that's when he saw her the first time. But, you know, around 1920 is when they got married and '22 is when they came to this country, she came.

RP: And they settled right away into --

OM: Excuse me?

RP: They settled in the San Pedro area initially?

OM: No, initially at that time they were in a place called El Monte, I think, which is in the San Gabriel valley. They were... I'm not sure what kind of farming they were doing, but they were doing some sort of farming. And from there, oh, Baldwin Park, that's the place, Baldwin Park. And from there they moved to San Pedro so actually Wilmington. I'm not sure, there's a Union 76 refinery up in Wilmington and just south of that is where we were farming, poultry farming. And there was just a couple, three or four families, Japanese families that lived on that hill. One was a flower farmer, another one was poultry, but we were also farming and poultry. It was tough times. [Laughs]

RP: That was late '20s and then into the Depression era.

OM: Yeah, but you know, I don't ever recall starving or, you know, for lack of food. If you liked chicken, you're well off.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

RP: What are some of your early memories about growing up on the farm and life on the farm?

OM: Well, aside from the hard work, because you know as kids we were responsible for cleaning the chicken coops and feeding, helping feed, you know. My mother would do all the mental work, right, saying put this in there, put that in there and she'd mix it up. But we'd have to go out and distribute it, change the water, pick the eggs up, you know, cleaning particularly the chicken coops was a chore you didn't, it wasn't very good. [Laughs] And then help my dad on the farm, weeding and that kind of stuff, irrigating. That's the things that we used to do all the time but it was still a relatively carefree life. I mean you know, if we didn't have any chores, me and my brothers would go out and raise all kinds of hell.

RP: Doing what?

OM: Doing, well, getting into all kinds of trouble or going to the neighbor's place and play with their kids. The flower farm was one that was really nice. We used to have pretty good times there. But you know, it wasn't that we had money or that kind of stuff. We didn't have a... I didn't have a bike or, none of us had a bike. We just ran around doing what we wanted to do, you know. Even playing with the kids... cats, we used to have cats all over the place because it was a chicken farm and there was lots of rats around I guess. The cats would somehow accumulate, you know, and we used to go up on the roof and attach a parachute to 'em and throw 'em off. [Laughs] That was our form of entertainment. We didn't have toys but we had a lot of fun.

RP: Who needs toys when you got cats with parachutes?

OM: Where?

RP: Who needs toys when you got cats with parachutes?

OM: Oh yeah, that's right, that's right, who needs toys?

RP: So were your parents like Helen's, were they pretty strict?

OM: No, I wouldn't say... my mother was probably more stricter than my dad. My dad was kind of strict in the sense that he wanted you to study but I wasn't the best student myself. I thought my oldest brother was probably pretty smart, the one above me was very smart, my younger brother was very very smart. My sister and I we're not too, too good of students, you know, being a student but we got by. I was able to struggle my way through school and even went to college so that's, you know. But my dad was, I think, wanted us to study a lot. My mother was the disciplinarian, right.

RP: So you say you got... you got into some trouble occasionally?

OM: Well, I wouldn't say occasion... trouble in the sense with the law or things like that. For example, where we used to live it was a very sandy place and we used to dig caves in the sand. And one time I remember my brothers were digging this cave and this whole damn cliff came down on us, you know, that kind of trouble, you know. We didn't say anything about it because we got out of it okay. But we used to have caves all over the place, I mean digging. I mean it was one on another place where I had a big cave where we used to hide out, you know, it's maybe four foot by five foot, cube like, you know, into a cliff. Now that's okay as long as that's stable but if it starts to go... but you know, it was very, even in these sandy places, these brushes, trees would actually grow. And from the cliff, we'd dive into the thing, right, and in facts that's where I broke my toe just before we went to camp. In fact I probably stayed with that broken toe for two, three months in camp, you know, before I got it looked at. But just roughnecking it, more or less, not trouble, you know, against the law or things like that, just bad boys. [Laughs]

RP: Exploring your turf?

OM: Well, just being kids.

RP: You mentioned there was three or four other Japanese families around the area. Were you kind of isolated as this group of --

OM: Yeah, it was probably the closest neighbor there was probably half a mile away. And the others up on the hill were at least a good mile away. It took an effort to go there, you know, you have to have a pretty good reason, good reason to go. You know, like the flower growing family, I would finally... after we left for camp, I didn't see them 'til three or four years later in Tule Lake, you know. We didn't go to the same camps obviously, I don't know where they went but they weren't in Jerome, but I saw them in Tule Lake. The other families were much older, the boys were much older.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

RP: Where did the, you said that the farm produced eggs as well as fryers, where were those marketed to?

OM: Well, we had people come in, you know, wholesalers? They would come and buy the eggs, almost daily and then, but we had a kind of retail, I guess, word of mouth gets around that if you want fresh eggs, go up there, whatever. So she had that going, that was her living money, more or less, just keep us going. But the bulk of the thing was through wholesalers. And then chickens, or fryers, for example, it's not a thing that you parcel out piecemeal, you buy a thousand chickens, or fryers, when they're little chicks and then you grow 'em up. And then once they get more or less ripe, age wise, you sell it all off. So it's kind of a... let's say if it takes ninety days to get 'em to a two pound whatever, that's the goal you have, ninety days from now you sell it all. It's just a matter of keeping them healthy, well fed, no problems. Then you can sell it and that's what she used to do. She was good at that, raising them from a little chicks, to prime size or whatever criteria that they were using. And then like egg laying hens, that was a little bit more... you had to do certain things like in the wintertime when the daylight gets shorter, you want them to produce more, so they'd have a automatic system of lighting that it would keeps the lights on and the chickens think, oh, it's still daylight so they can exercise or eat or whatever and lay more eggs, things like that. She learned all that, she didn't have any idea what was... I can imagine she came here around 1922 or something like that, and she started the business in 1928, that's only six years. And to take on that kind of responsibility, I give her a lot of credit, it's a tough job to learn all that particularly. But she kind of instinctively knew that just keeping a baby chick hot, warm, that isn't the answer, like my dad. He thought, oh , it's cold, he'd sleep in there even, in the brooder. But they died off, a lot of them, because it was too hot or whatever. So she had a kind of a knack for that.

RP: Where did you get your water for the farm?

OM: Well, we had it piped in. I can still remember from down the hill we had kind of a four inch pipe that came up the hill, you know, and that's where the water came from. It was city water, very expensive, we didn't have any pump or anything like that.

RP: You lived not too far from the ocean, in Wilmington.

OM: Well, no, the ocean wasn't there, the harbor was there. I don't know if you're familiar with the area but between Wilmington and San Pedro there's a kind of... on the one side was, there was a lumber yard. I can still remember EK Lumber was there and then in front of that was, next to that was Associated Gas, Flying A Gas, there's no more now but they used to be a kind of loading platform for, I guess, gas or petroleum products that they put on ships that was there. And then on the other side of the kind of an inlet there, there was a dry dock place and then across this waterway was a Kaiser Ship Building, you know, so it was kind of a strategic area for during the war. So when the war broke out, they didn't want you around. In fact right next to our farm was Union Oil 76 refinery. In fact I'll tell you a story. When the war broke out, like I said, we had no radio or anything like that, it was Sunday and we were out there weeding. And there's a chain link fence right next to our property where we were farming and I see a GI with a rifle marching now. He wasn't there yesterday, the day before, he was there today. He's the one that said, "Hey, by the way, we had an attack on Pearl Harbor." That's how I found out the war started, see, from a GI, you know.

RP: He wasn't there yesterday.

OM: He wasn't there the day before, you know, this was Sunday, Sunday afternoon. They were already there patrolling.

RP: Did you spread the word to your parents?

OM: Yeah, I wasn't in any hurry, I mean, the war started, it had no impact on us so I probably told 'em, you know, at dinner or whatever. Because, you know, we didn't do anything different. Monday morning I went to school like it was a regular school day. When I got there, there was all the friends that came from Terminal Island weren't at school, they weren't there. So that was kind of weird. I would say that probably 25 to 30 percent of the students were from Terminal Island and they weren't there.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

RP: Which school were you attending at that time?

OM: Richard Henry Dana Junior High School in San Pedro.

RP: Where 30 percent of the student body was Japanese?

OM: Yeah, from Terminal Island. The people that were farmers, like us, on the San Pedro side, mainland side, went to school just like normal. The people from Terminal Island couldn't get across though, on the ferry. So they weren't at school.

RP: Anything else strange about that day, that first day in school?

OM: Other than the student body, I didn't, you know, there was no animosity or, you know, spiteful words or whatever said, other than I remember my teacher said something about they changed my seating assignment from where I was sitting to a table next to the window. And she appointed me as the official airplane spotter as though I knew a zero from a, whatever, you know, that I was supposed to be able to... I don't know what her thinking was but that's what I was appointed as. [Laughs] I didn't think it was very funny.

RP: Just to go back a little ways, did you take make any trips to Terminal Island?

OM: Oh yeah, we used to go to Japanese school on Terminal Island. Not where her mother was teaching but the other one.

RP: You went to the Buddhist Japanese school.

OM: Yeah, the Buddhist one. It was probably the larger Japanese school. And we started going there on Saturdays. My father would make egg deliveries to Terminal Island stores and we would attend Japanese school during the day. It was an all day, from nine to three, or something like that. And then come home when he came home. But then just before the war, I can still remember, we used to go on weekdays a couple times a week for an hour, you know. And we used to use the ferry to go across. He would pick us up at the public school, drop us off at the ferry and then he'd come back and pick us up, you know. But we did that for some time too. But most of the time I remember we used to go on Saturdays.

RP: How far did you get in Japanese language school?

OM: Not very far, probably sixth grade or something like that. But, fortunately or whatever, I was able to pick it up again in camp, in Tule Lake I went to school, and then picked up one year at Berkeley. So, in fact, I probably learned more at Berkeley in that one year than the rest, ten years that I attended. [Laughs] But I forgot everything now so...

RP: Did they stress reading or writing over... what was stressed in language school?

OM: It was, to put it bluntly, it was hell. [Laughs] I mean just learning to read and write, you know, your interest wasn't there, first of all. It felt like you were forced to go and so you did the best you could but I don't recall doing a heck of a lot. I mean, I remember I used to hate like heck once a year they used to have an annual oratorical contest. And naturally you had to kind of, you have to say it in Japanese, that's what you're there for, right? And it's so embarrassing because you're competing, it's not that you're trying beat somebody, but you're competing with a lot people from Terminal Island who just naturally spoke Japanese. And the farmers like us from the mainland side, we just didn't have it. Even though my parents spoke Japanese, among themselves and to us, we just never picked it up. So that was the one thing I used to hate like heck in Japanese school, was that annual, what they call hanashitaikai, oratorical contest. [Laughs]

RP: How did you get along with the kids from Terminal Island?

OM: You know, there was a kind of a animosity, if you will, because we're from the mainland, I don't know. I don't know what it is. But, you know, among people you knew in school, for example, public school, they were fine kids. They were just like us. But they tended to speak Japanese, you know, and just like any other language I guess you get familiar with the... I always thought that whenever I see, I hear, somebody talking in a foreign language, I think, "Are they talking about me?" you know. I get that feeling even among them. Even though I can understand a little bit of Japanese, I feel maybe they're saying something because they used to do that. I mean, I don't know how to swear in Japanese, I don't know how, but I get to feeling that they were. [Laughs] My dad used to talk like that. Very rough, well, he was a fisherman for a while and he used to use language that I hadn't heard. When he gets mad, he'll use a language that... I know it's Japanese but it's... he's calling my mother something or he's calling me something or whatever. But that's the impression I get with some of the younger guys in Terminal Island. But overall, you know, because I used to see them at public school, they were very... I had no problem with them. But some people, they probably felt a little bit difference towards us more than me towards them because I can get along with anybody.

RP: What about your social life? Did you have community events?

OM: Well, you know, social life, I didn't go to church. We didn't go to church. Our family was not very religious. We used to go to movies once in a while, that was a big deal, Japanese movies.

RP: Where did you go?

OM: Well, the Japanese schools. Either, like there was one up in the hills in San Pedro. I don't know if it's called the Ninth Street School or something. You go straight up Ninth Street and way back in the hills there used to be a Japanese school. I don't how we hear about it but if there was a good movie on or something like that we'd go as a family. And I could still remember some of those movies, it was silent movies, there was no sound, no audio except somebody standing on the side, what they'd call 'em, benshis or something like that. He's speaking the part of everybody, it's amazing, he changes his voice when a girl's speaking and when a guy is speaking he lowers his voice and all that. But you get the gist of the movie, you know, through the action. And then, I mean, American movies we'd go see but I can remember we didn't have any money so we used to save bread wrappers or coupons off of bread, you know, and maybe if you accumulate ten of 'em you can go to see a movie for free or something. Once in a while we used to do that but there was really no social life, no interaction with the opposite sex or anything like that. Well, we were too young anyway. But that changed I think in camp. We never saw any girls before, right, other than my sister. When you saw cute little girls in camp, I go, wow, we're missing something here. So to answer your question, very little social life.

RP: What about... were sports a part of your life?

OM: I like to think so. You know, baseball... I remember we used to just practice pole vaulting at home, you know. My mother used to have little brown sticks, not bamboo, but just round poles and we'd dig a hole in the ground and then put up poles and try to pole vault with that stick. And you know, we'd get up pretty good but I think overall our family, the boys, were athletic. So we played, well, I was still in seventh grade so we didn't... there was no athletic sports at that time. In grammar school or elementary school there's no sports. I mean, you played kickball or whatever but physically we were the biggest in school. I was this size in the sixth grade and my younger brother's even taller than I am and in the fifth grade he was as big as he is now. But the following year when I went to junior high school, I was at the end of the line. You know, the Caucasian kids sprouted up and I was now the shortest guy. But in the sixth grade, I can still remember, you're the man, I was the man in school yet, you know. So marbles, she says she's played marbles, but I was the champ in school, marbles, we used to go to, you know in elementary school, take one marble, or not even take a marble, borrow a marble from some kid, and play chase, you know, win one, and then play rings, win two, go home with a pocket full of marbles, right? That was us. I remember, I guess I was in the sixth grade or something, and a kid from LA came to the school and he was the city champ, he claimed to be city champ, I played him one round, rings, took all his marbles. That's a true story. I still think I could play marbles. [Laughs] No, but getting back to athletics, I think, I don't know, my younger brother played football. I tried to play football in high school but I couldn't do it... too small, played JV. Baseball we played, in camp we played baseball. And in Tule Lake I was a manager of what would be considered today, little league, twelve years and younger. I'll tell you, the kids that I had then, I was probably fifteen, I was managing them, we could slaughter these kids these days, at twelve years old. They were fantastic players, at least what I thought in those days. [Laughs]

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

RP: You mentioned that life didn't change very much for you after the war broke out.

OM: Not really, you know, we weren't really aware of what rights were being taken. We had a very hard life, I mean, you're working, you're going to school, you're working. The fact is, it was kind of a relief from all that work. Gosh, you go to camp and you got all day free, they even fed you. I think if any, I got any trouble from at least my dad's point of view, I learned to play cards in camp. I mean, not gambling but just playing rummy and somehow it was kind of intriguing to me and I used to play it all the time. And I remember I used to miss curfew, I mean in camp we had curfew, when the lights got dark, the lights went out. I don't know how many times I got caught sneaking around the barracks trying to get home. And some guy would catch me and bring me home and then I'd get hell from my old man. It was really a kind of fun times, you know, for me in camp anyway.

RP: You were describing the fact that you lived in a strategic area with the oil refinery and there were other Japanese families that were asked to leave those areas even before, you know, the evacuation orders were --

OM: Well, we left the day we had to leave, which was April 3rd or something like that, 1942. But I know the flower people had left earlier. The people, our immediate neighbors, I think they left same time too. When we left, you know, we didn't leave by bus, we had a truck, as I recall, you know, a ton and a half truck, stake truck. That's what we left in. We threw everything in the back of the truck, they said to meet in San Pedro on Sixth street. So we went there, we lined up, and when they gave us the order to leave, I guess it was convoy, and we went to Santa Anita. After we unloaded, I think my brother drove the truck, there was an infield in the Santa Anita, and that's where they were parked, all the trucks. And the government sold it, I guess. That's the last you saw of the truck.

RP: Can you tell us how your family prepared for the evacuation?

OM: Yeah, that was kind of a... I know my dad had... I don't know if it was my dad or my brother. It was my brother I guess. He was kind of in charge of the farm at that time, he's barely eighteen maybe. And he had contracted with a buyer from the wholesale market and that's the usual process by you have farm products that are ready to be harvested and if the price is right, let's say there's a huge demand for celery, they usually come out and look at your products and say, "Well, in thirty days or whatever it's going to be ready to go, we'll give you X dollars for it." On February 19th when the order came out that you'll be evacuated, it didn't say when but it says you will be. A lot of people came out and looked at the celery that we had saying that, "Oh yeah, we'll buy it from you when it's ripe, ready to go." I can still remember when it was just a matter of days before we're going to go into camp on the 3rd, there was buyer that came out and said, we'll buy it from you. This was on a... I can't remember the exact date it was but the day before we were supposed to go to camp he was supposed to come and harvest it. Well, he didn't come and I would imagine he came the day after we left. But we didn't get a dime, not a dime, off that property... off that harvest. That's... on the farm side of it, that's what happened.

On the poultry side, my mother was a little bit more... it's not laying blame on anybody about the farm, because that's the way business is done anyway. But on the chicken side, she was able to get rid of all of the chickens, you know, before, several days before the due date, drop dead date. So she was able to do things, you know, okay. Paid off all the credits that she had, she didn't have much left but she was able to clean everything out. The only thing left was the building, all the buildings, because this was all on leased land. So she did... they got ready to go. I don't know about mentally whether they were prepared one way or another but I would assume that they were because they did what they had to do to get ready to go. But when we... when I came back, I think we were married, huh? Anyway, we went to visit the site and there wasn't anything standing. What I had heard later on was that the wood that was used to build these buildings were used during the war for other purposes. Because something, like I said, some of the properties, particularly the brooders, I'm not saying, it's wasn't hardwood but it was tongue and groove floors and walls so they were pretty well put together. But I could see where that could be used for other purposes. But the other buildings, I don't know what they did with them, firewood or whatever. There was ten, fifteen buildings, plus the outhouse. So I think they were pretty well prepared when they went to camp. But they stored equipment, brooder heaters and things like that, with our neighbor down the street. They used to have a... it was a cafe, a restaurant and they assumed, I guess, they were going to come back. That's why they stored things. But when we got back they were gone, the whole restaurant was gone, so I don't know what happened to the equipment or whatever.

RP: What was the toughest thing to leave behind for you, Sam?

OM: Gee, I guess it was what I thought were friends but I never... I think I did get a few letters from some of my friends but other than that I don't recall, I can't think of anything that I left behind really. There was some... I had a couple of good friends and then we kept in contact for a while but after a couple years we lost contact. So truthfully I probably didn't leave anything behind.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

RP: You first drove into Santa Anita on April 3rd in this caravan. What did you see and what did you feel?

OM: I don't recall looking out, you know, on the side or anything. I was riding, obviously, in back of the truck. You know, you're going through residential areas, this and that. It was very uneventful. When I got to Santa Anita I kind of woke up and said, I've never seen such a huge place for horse racing... I'd never seen anything like that before. Then you're brought back to earth when you... they said, this is the place you're going to live. They didn't say for how long but it was a horse stable. You got your straw mattress, you know. I think the worse thing was the floor, it was, you know, asphalt, newly laid asphalt, right over the, what was that, I don't think they bothered to even clean it. They just laid asphalt. It wasn't... I guess today they have machines or portable machines where you can stamp it down, tamp it down. Then they didn't even have that, they put it down as much as they could but it was so soft that they crisscrossed like that, the cots, canvas cots, that would go right through the asphalt. Then you started getting some odor. And then they didn't even bother to paint the stalls, it was just... you could see, you know, it's like this and then there's a wall in between the two but it's not all the way to the top. It stops about five, six feet from the top so you can hear from the other side. There's apartments, stalls on the other side. Apartment, you see I said that. [Laughs] But it's stalls on the other side and you could hear from that side and you could hear from the other, both sides.

But we stayed there about a month and then we were moved to out in the parking lot, in the parking lot, yeah, to barracks in the parking lot. They had a whole series of... in the parking lot barracks. And that wasn't too good either because as it got warmer and warmer, we went in April and by the time it gets summer months, the asphalt starts to get pretty warm. One of the bad things, either place, was the sanitation. They had... it was a cesspool system but, you know, for that many people that's just not the way to go because you're overflowing all the time. And can you imagine Santa Anita parking lot when the cesspool starts to overflow? I mean, gee, terrible. I don't know what... I guess the cesspool system is supposed to go into the ground, seep into the ground. But there's just too much activity. It used to overflow anyway.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

RP: This is tape two of a continuing interview with Sam Mori. And, Sam, you were just describing some of the unsanitary conditions at Santa Anita. Can you describe where the latrines were in relationship to your barracks?

OM: Yeah, we were at the bottom, slight grade going up towards latrine and I remember the mess hall, I guess the mess hall was -- I just read recently about the blue, blue mess hall was the one that was in the stable area. And once they, you know, the thousands of people are using this community john, you know, it overflows. And when it overflows, it coming down the slight grade down towards where we were. But it was not only us because when we went to the barracks out in the parking lot, there was probably more people out there than in the barracks... in the stables. Because I understand it now that there was... there was six mess halls, each feeding about 3,000 people. You know, so that's about 18,000 people and that's about what was in camp in Santa Anita. Four of those mess halls were in the parking area so the parking area was much larger than the stable area. And then one was in the grand stand so they probably had the best, you know, facilities and things like that if they were using... I don't think they were using that because I could still remember some of the activities that, you know, you talk about what we did for entertainment, we were just as bad in camp as we were outside.

RP: Give me a few examples.

OM: Any door, we tried every door and any door to see if it was open and we used to sneak into Santa Anita, you know, the clubhouse. And nobody was there, it was wide open, we used to have a good time. They had grand pianos, they had everything in there, you know. I don't want to tell you what I did there but we had a good time. [Laughs] We were fourteen or fifteen years old, just about the time when you're looking for trouble, you know. We had kind of exciting times there.

RP: Do you remember bouts of diarrhea or other problems with the food?

OM: No, I didn't have any. One of the things that for activity we used to do is see if we could hit every mess hall during that lunch period or whatever period. If it was open for two hours, we'd try to hit every one of 'em. Not because we loved the food but maybe they had ice cream in one for a meal, why don't we see if we can hit six of 'em.

RP: Did you?

OM: No, we never caught six, it's too much. The distance was too far. Many times we had at least four, four or five. As young kids... all you had was a button, a red button, a blue button, white, orange or whatever and you just put that on and go right through the line.

RP: That's interesting, some folks in Santa Anita talked about the food distribution wasn't very consistent, especially in the early months, that there was a lot less food getting into the camp than there should have been. And people were, you know, complaining about being hungry.

OM: I don't know about Santa Anita though. I don't recall any... was there a riot or anything there? I read somewhere just recently saying that there was but I don't recall. My brother was a truck driver for food distribution, you know, to the mess halls. I don't recall him ever talking about it and I don't remember any riots or anything like that. Although I read that in the paper just the other day, about somebody's talking about a riot in Santa Anita. And I don't recall that.

RP: My understanding of it was there was some type of search for contraband in part of the camp and MPs went through there and people got worked up about that.

OM: Upset about that? I don't recall. Obviously, I wasn't concerned about it, I don't remember that anyway. I think most of the food... I think every camp probably had rumors flying that administrators were abusing their authority and black market was going on and this and that. I remember in Tule I was a young a kid yet but my mother had applied for a job as a cook. And she couldn't go so she asked me to take her place and so I learned how to cook rice and wash rice, because that was the job, the job was... I don't know if it was a specialized job or whatever but I learned to cook rice in a big pot and measure the water. But they had it all kind of figured out anyway, you didn't have to measure it like this or whatever. But they had a little gadget, you know, you put in and the water had to come to that level, very mechanical, you know. But the idea is you had to steam it so I think the trick was to make sure that there wasn't leakage of the steam any place. And so you spent most of your time going around trying to plug up the holes, you know. [Laughs] But it was a good experience. I was around sixteen maybe.

RP: Get back to Santa Anita just for a few more questions. Were you aware of the guard towers there and barbed wire fences?

OM: You know, I don't recall any guard towers. First of all, I never went near the fence, like I said, I was always messing around near the clubhouse and spending my time in mess halls and things like that. You know, I don't even think there was any guard houses, guard towers... couldn't respond to that.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

RP: During your time in Santa Anita did you ever ask yourself, "What the heck are we doing here?"

OM: Not really. Not really. 'Cause at the end, I think we were the last ones to leave camp, we were on a cleanup crew. Us young kids, I don't know who they were, can't even remember who in the heck they were but I'm sure my brother was there but we used to go around in trucks, in open truck bed, trucks, pick up trash from wherever. We'd just drive along and pick up trash because that's, when people were leaving they were just throwing things out that they didn't want or whatever. I don't even know if we were paid, that was a job or what. Because in Santa Anita, I don't think there was a pay scale, if there was a pay scale, was even lower than relocation camp, you know. I know in the relocation camp, you know, there was a pay structure of nineteen, sixteen and twelve or something like that. I think it was even less than that in Santa Anita. But I still remember maybe the last month we were there in... I think it was around October, we were very busy cleaning up the whole camp.

RP: Were you aware of a camouflage net factory in camp?

OM: Oh yeah, it was in the grandstand in Santa Anita on the high... it was all attached to the rafters there. In fact that's where the school was. If you wanted, you know, not that you got any credit for it. That's one thing, there was no school, organized school but if you wanted to go to a... like my mother, she wanted to go to English school, you went to that... it was high above the... I guess the grandstand in the lower part of the grandstand where there's a flat area for standing, you know, where today if you went to Santa Anita, the poor people would stand there in the grandstand. There they had the nets from above, but as the seating went up like this, that's where they held the schools, just in open areas like that.

RP: So attendance wasn't mandatory?

OM: No, no, there was no mandatory attendance or anything. There really was no formal school organized because it was meant to be a temporary assembly place. I don't think there was any regard to... they weren't even thinking about school then, you know.

RP: Any other memories about Santa Anita that you can share?

OM: Really no memories other than we were just talking it about the other day that if they ever have a get together, I'd like to go, just to see. I understand that they do have, not reunions, but they have a... this last time they had two or three hundred people go to the... I don't know, are you familiar with the "Horse's Mouth"? He's George Yoshinaga?

RP: Right from the Rafu?

OM: Rafu. He, I guess, organizes once last year he did, not a reunion, but a get together of people who were incarcerated there to come and see. In fact, last year they even had a tour, I guess you can't, most people can't get into the stable area. I guess the property values there are too expensive and they don't want any vandalism or whatever. But anyway, you can take a tour, actual tour of the area and everybody claims to be, that's where they stayed there, you know, Seabiscuit, or whatever, you know. And then there, I guess, there's a little statue or memorial place somewhere in the garden area that says they were, you know, talking about the multi-use Santa Anita, about camp. So I'd like to go back, you know, I remember running around that track just to see if I could do it, you know. We snuck in... we used to sneak into the clubhouse and, you know, lay around, they had nice sofas and everything, you know, but I wouldn't mind going back just to see what it's like. I don't think it's changed that much. The grandstand is exactly the same.

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

<Begin Segment 11>

RP: Did you know where you were going to go next, after Santa Anita?

OM: Oh yeah, we knew we were going to Jerome.

RP: Do you remember how you reacted or the family reacted to that news?

OM: Well, we... I don't think there was any reaction one way or another. We knew we were going to go there so we just accepted it, you know. We knew a lot of people that were... that came from surrounding area were going there too. People who were in Southern California, particularly around Torrance, Lomita, they all kind of went to, in fact Long Beach too, went to Jerome. So not that we knew a lot of people when we got there, we were in Block 4, she remembers barracks and I don't remember that, all I know is Block 4. And the people that were in that block were from that area, Lomita, Harbor City, Gardena, I know a lot of Gardena people, Long Beach people, you know. And the neighboring blocks were the same. We lived in the boonies, right? We only had these three neighbors or whatever and rarely saw them but I don't think they were in... they might of left, like the flower people left early so I don't know where they ended up. A lot of people selected, they almost selected what camp they were going to go to by moving. See if you moved south of 99, for example, in Fresno, or not south, east... east of 99, you went to a certain camp. If you were on the west side, you went to another camp. So like her case... like her cousins, they knew that the Riverside people were going to Poston so if you wanted to go to Poston you moved there, you moved to Riverside, you know. So there was quite a bit of that selective, you know, choosing of the camp before you even went there. We didn't... my parents were not that informed, or they weren't that concerned about where they were going to go. They just let things happen. If you went there, you went there, you know. But a lot of people, they're using their brains, you know, trying to keep the family, you know, not family but relatives close.

RP: So tell us your first impressions of one, the camp, two, the surrounding environment that you found yourself in at Jerome.

OM: Well, I wasn't too impressed one way or another about the camp, I mean, when we first got to the barracks in Arkansas, I thought it was a little bit better than Santa Anita. Santa Anita you could tell it was temporary, I mean it was... the knots in the hole or... they didn't even bother. I remember the barracks that we were in, right next to us was a newly married couple. If you were a couple, you got a very small unit, whatever it was. And like we had seven in our family, we had a small unit and a larger unit. But this small unit, I mean, it was really, I mean knot holes like that, I mean, you know, and if you just hit it like that, it just fell off. So what we did was you put burlap and whatever to patch it, so it deadens the sound and all that. But when we went to Arkansas, I thought it was pretty well made. Evidently, the government, you know, through sub contractors or whatever, contractors, they got a pretty good product I thought. But the camp itself was located in a kind of swamp, a cleared out swamp. Because around the camp was a pretty high level... six or seven foot high levees, you know. And this area that we were in evidently, they must have drained it or something, you know. And then that's where they built it because these were built off the ground, three or four feet, three feet maybe. Because when it rains in Arkansas, it rains like... like no tomorrow, you know, it just floods. And then on one side, the side next to the road, where the main road is, and the railroad tracks, there was no levee there but on three sides there was a levee. And then within the camp, within the block itself, there was a slight levee with a channel dug so that the water could flow out. You know, to me I thought it was really isolated, the camp itself, it was square, maybe a mile square whatever, they had forty something blocks in it, I think around forty-six blocks.

And then they had a open space in the middle space in the middle of the camp that was supposed to be a school, which never came about because for some reason that camp was... after the questionnaire came out, because of the camp, maybe because of the people there, a lot of them must have signed "no-no" or whatever because they closed that camp and the remainder of the people went to Rohwer, Amache, wherever, wherever they wanted to go, they sent 'em. And they closed that camp within, within a year after we left. But to me, it was a pretty nice camp... not nice, but better conditions than Santa Anita for example. Although Santa Anita, the weather was better, you can't say anything else. Arkansas rained and it was cold, in winter time it got cold but summer time when it rains, oh man it's... I never seen rain like that before in my life. But, you know, when you say isolated, I think they had guard towers but I don't think, initially it might have been manned but at the end, I don't think it was manned at all. Because nobody wanted to go anywhere, where can you go?

I remember people saying, well, if you follow the railroad track you can leave town, you can, you know, naturally you can, wherever that thing leads you, you know. But it's thirty or forty miles to nowhere, you know. Jerome was, even today, I don't think there's anything there. We went several years ago, but there isn't a... if you wanted to buy a cup of coffee, you'd have to go into town. I don't where that town is, it's not in Jerome. It's really a desolate place. The only thing that's there is a guy that owned... if I'd known now... if I had known then what I know now, I would have gone in... he says you're welcome to come in, you know, not trespass but come in and see... the only that's remaining is a tall chimney that was probably for generation of electricity or whatever, you know. And that chimney is still there like a landmark. But it's way in, you have to go along this dirt road to the guy's house and then it's to the right. But right at the entrance, there's this, probably a fifteen foot marble memorial, whatever, designating camp, the camp, you know. I guess they had a ceremony or something but other than that, there's nothing there, you know. Rohwer, now on the other hand is much much more, she says it's circular but I think it's rectangular and it has numerous grave sites and memorials to veterans. Although, you know, when you think about the 442nd, they used to come to Jerome for R&R or whatever. And a lot of guys went from Jerome, they volunteered 442nd, and in fact one of the great leaders, or activists, Yuri, what's her name, Kochiyama, is from Jerome, you know. In fact she's from San Pedro. Her real name is Mary Nakahara but she's from... I can still remember her when she was active in the USO or whatever for the GIs, you know.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

RP: Sam, did you work in camp at all, during your time there?

OM: Well, I didn't officially work. Well, officially I guess I did work for summer time for maybe around two months. I led a group of young kids, my age, stacking wood, in other words, for wood to be dried after they'd been cut so they wouldn't bend and this and that. You had to restack it and that was my job was kind of foreman, I was paid a great sum of nineteen dollars a month, which is equivalent... doctors were paid that kind of price. You know, I was acting as a foreman, but that lasted a couple of months. And then in Tule Lake I worked for my mother, in lieu of her, I worked and learned a little cooking skills. But other than that I didn't work, I was too young, you know.

RP: Was there a sawmill located outside of Jerome?

OM: You know, I'm not sure where it was located. I know the lumber that was stacked there was in camp, was in the camp. And it was kind of a, when you think about it, I think about it now, it's really kind of damp wood, I mean, the whole area was damp because when we used to go, not that I could swim, but we used to get in the river, creeks or whatever, and go swimming. Everything is just kind of wet and moss covered and things like that, it used to be but I understand that now, because it's been dredged, the U.S. Corps of Engineers... I remember when we were still there, they were setting dynamite to dredge the swamp. And I can still remember when they used to... whenever you hear the swamp being drained, a big bull... what they call, bull nosed catfish, they're big, they're like that now, like that, forty, fifty pounds, you know. And a lot of the local people used to come and with pitchforks in the holes where they set the dynamite, that's where the fish would come because that's the only water remaining, the rest had drained off. And they'd come with pitchforks and pick 'em up and take 'em home, you know. So that was kind of... and that's probably what happened, that's why today you see nothing but cotton farms, you know, all around there is cotton farms. And I guess it made the land valuable and it's all thanks to the Corps of Engineers, right?

RP: Did you have time in camp to fish at all?

OM: Excuse me?

RP: Did you fish at all?

OM: No, no, I didn't think catfish was edible myself. [Laughs]

RP: There was a fish called a gar that some folks remember.

OM: Oh, I don't know, see I don't know anything about fishing, you know.

RP: Like a barracuda like fish that some of the Isseis supposedly would mount on their walls sort of as a trophy?

OM: Oh, is that right?

RP: That was another story from Jerome.

OM: That's all I remember, catfish, those ones with the whiskers or something.

RP: So what else occupied your time at Jerome?

OM: Snake hunting, I remember we used to, you know, if we'd catch a snake, a nice big one, after we killed it or whatever, we'd hang it up, you know, on a trail like that. So unsuspecting people come and they... you know, whatever. Well, we did it because somebody did it to us, you know, we got caught in that same situation so we'd do it to the next guy that comes. But, you know, snakes were plentiful, I mean they had all kinds of poisonous snakes, cottonmouth, what else, rattlesnakes, I know, coral snakes, king snakes, all kinds of poisonous snakes. But fortunately we never did get, you know, attacked or bitten but a lot of close calls. People used to have what they call, they thought it was an exhibit, you know, they'd build a... they didn't have glass or plastic in those days, they used to use thin chicken wire like, you know, narrow ones so that you could see it and yet they can't get out. But that snake had to be big otherwise they could squeeze through these small... so if you had a small coral snake or something like that, you better not put it in there because it's going to disappear, you know. 'Cause I remember we had a gallon, you know, jar and we'd put a, I think it was a copperhead or something like that in it, and by god it was gone. In our unit. It was gone and now if somebody let it out or I don't know it got out because it can't get out... we had a lid on it with the holes in it, you can't get out of that I'm sure. It had to somehow get out, you know, but we searched high and low for that damn thing and never found it. But I assume it got away somewhere. I don't like snakes. [Laughs]

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

RP: What was school like for you in Jerome?

OM: Kind of interesting, I thought, like I said I'm not too bright as far as schooling goes. I didn't like it that much but I guess there was some competitiveness in our family 'cause my kid brother and my brother above me were, you know, good students. They were very good students. They never got a B, hell, there's no such thing as a B. You try to keep up with that, it's pretty tough. But it was... I carried my troublemaker status even into the classroom. It wasn't only me, there was a bunch of us... you know the camp used to have these hot... in Arkansas it was coal, they burned coal, they didn't burn oil or anything, but you burned coal. And I don't know if you've seen those pictures of the heaters that they used to have in the room. You take a rubber comb, you take a tooth of that rubber comb, you'd throw it up on top of that stove and the smell's pretty bad after a while. [Laughs] You know, they just kind of mischievous kind of stuff. Or we used to eat garlic and go to school. We're all garlic and pretty soon the teacher would ask you to leave, well, that was okay with us, you know. Yeah, we were bad, we would've spent more time today in the principal's office than... they didn't have principals in those days. We would've spent a hell of a lot more time there I think.

RP: How about your mom and dad, did they work in the camp as well?

OM: My mom worked in the kitchen. My dad was physically, I guess he didn't have... you know, he used to be a drinker, he was an alcoholic I think. He never claimed that but I think he was. But he kind of ruined his health, either before camp or right after camp. And he didn't work but my mother worked as a kitchen helper, something like that in camp, in Jerome. And she also signed up, like I said, in Tule Lake for that as a cook but I ended up doing that. So they weren't, you know, not that a job was that important in camp.

RP: How about your other brothers and sister?

OM: Well, we were all in school so, except my older brother, after he graduated from school he was, I guess, he could've been a '41 grad or something like that, maybe a '42 '42 summer. And as soon as he got to camp he only had to finish up just a little bit so as soon as he finished he went... he left for Chicago. And that was the first split in the family. And so, you know, if there was a breadwinner, I guess it was him but he went out of camp and I guess it wasn't that much of a... it sounded like it was glamorous to go out and be on your own and work and all that but, you know, even with a high school diploma or whatever you had, you can't get much of a job, you know. I guess he did okay but he didn't, you know, and he was a kind of guy that if he had some money, he's going to spend it anyway. So there really was nobody, my brother my sister, my older brother and sister were still in school so there was really no work.

RP: You mentioned in your write up here that this was the first time that you attended Buddhist services?

OM: Yeah, that was in Tule Lake. That's probably the first time, like I said before, we didn't have... we weren't very religious, although I used to see my mother put her hands together but I think that's... I don't know if that's Buddhist or what you would call Shinto or whatever. Because I don't think she... I really understood what she was praying for or praying to or whatever. But in camp, in Tule Lake first time I went to a church, a church service, a Buddhist one, and I didn't get much out of it then either. But that's the first exposure of a organized church.

RP: Do you recall other social events in Jerome, dances, movies?

OM: Well, we were kind of... our block, one side was, one part of the barracks, each barrack, each block had a barracks that was supposed to be for recreational use. And our barrack, one part was taken over by, I think it was Maryknoll, was a church. And then the rest of it was for recreation and they used to use it for dance. And I didn't know how to dance, we never thought about dances. And so we used to kind of sneak around looking to see a boy and a girl hugging each other, this and that, we thought it was great, you know, but afraid to even ask. Well, I don't think it was even thought of kids our age going to a dance. I think the kids, the kids that went to these dances were out of high school or high school age. And we weren't there yet, you know. We probably thought all kinds of thoughts, you know, but we never had the guts to ask. [Laughs] Yeah, like they say in Japanese, inaka, that means country, country hick, you know, that's probably what we were. Wishing this and wishing that but no guts to do anything.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

RP: Tell us, how did your family respond to the "loyalty questionnaire" that came around I think around February, March of 1943?

OM: I think, you know, I don't know if... our family is not very communicative to anybody, even among ourselves we don't hardly talk. But, you know, that really wasn't a question... you know, I was maybe fifteen, fourteen or fifteen at that time. And there was no question, we're going to do whatever my dad said, you know. And so he never said anything about, you know, philosophical reason why it's this or why it should be "yes" or "no" or whatever. And I really don't know even today why we went to Tule Lake, you know. There's really no good reason to go. My brother had already left camp, he went to Chicago. But for some reason, he wanted to go, he answered "no-no" for the whole family. Well, that could be, that's the only thing I could think about. They had left their equipment with the neighbor down below, they wanted to get back do whatever they have to do because he was in contact with these people in Salt Lake. But we came back to California, maybe that was the reason, I don't know. He never said one way or another but when you think about after we left camp, and how quickly these people, you know, picked us up and we went to Fresno and became a... it tells me that he had some correspondence with them about what we're going to do in the future. So if we had planned to go to Japan, I mean, conviction wise, going to Japan, I don't think he would've done any of that stuff, you know, correspondence. But because I don't remember him being pro-Japan or, you know, like some families I know. They went back and regretted it from the day they got there. I really don't know what the true feeling was on my dad's part because I had no conviction one way or another. We just did what my dad said and that was it, you know.

RP: Now the entire family answered "no-no"?

OM: Yeah it was supposed to be for people who were seventeen and over, I think it was seventeen and over. And I was probably around fifteen or sixteen, my brother, younger brother was even less than that but yet I still remember signing it "no-no," even though I was underage, you know. It didn't bother me one way or another, "no-no," or what. Some people take it as, you know, really take it seriously that maybe you should have but being the age I was, it didn't bother me one way or another. I'd come out of camp, I went in the service, I did my duty, you know, like nothing happened.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

RP: So you went to... you were off to Tule Lake and tell us a little bit about your experiences there?

OM: Tule Lake, well, we were in Block 27 and I guess most of the people from there were from Sacramento area or that ward, nine blocks. Most of them were from the Delta, Sacramento area and there were a few that came from Jerome that were in our block. You know, they were from the L.A. area, where we were from but I thought, you know, we got there in I think it was during the -- excuse me -- the wintertime and it was pretty cold. And I thought, boy, it's kind of a desolate, you know, it's high desert, and it can get cold, it gets snow but it's gone right away. But it stays cold, you know, I mean it must warm up to 32 or 33 or whatever, snow melts but it's pretty cold. But the barracks looked... typical barracks but it was low to the ground. See, in Arkansas it was pretty high off the ground, here it was low to the ground. I remember the steps in Arkansas there was probably, you had to take three and a half steps or four steps to get up to your apartment, here you took one step up and it was very low and it was kind of old looking, I don't know, maybe it was weatherbeaten or whatever. But the barracks looked dingy, it was almost kind of, from a living, lodging purposes it was a downgrade.

There they burned coal too and it was... every place you looked, like in the firebreaks, they'd pour, you know, the used coal, what you get what's left, I don't know what they call it, they spread it out in the firebreaks. And naturally when the wind comes up, dust comes up, but they had within each block, behind the boiler room, they had a big pit, that's where the coal from the boilers, that's where they dumped it. And then I guess every so often when that gets too high, they come with the dump truck and then they pick that up and spread it out on the fire breaks. But that's where we used to play football, on that burnt coal, you know, when we were kids, with no shoulder pads, nothing, just sweatshirt whatever, another stupid thing, see? Overall, a little downgrade, dingy, you know, I wasn't too impressed with it. They had a nice gym, nice school facilities but half of the kids didn't... I wouldn't say half, a lot of the kids didn't go to public school. They went to... the reason they were there were for because they were going to go back to Japan. So they went to Japanese school, see, and then even Japanese school they had two levels. They had so called public school, Japanese school, which was, you know, not too much pressure but then there's another higher level one here. If you wanted to really learn, that's where you went, you know, but we didn't go there. We went to public school and we went... American school, public school and Japanese school. I took up judo in camp.

RP: Did they also have kendo in camp, too?

OM: Huh?

RP: Did they have kendo as well?

OM: I don't recall kendo. It might have been but I don't think so, I think that was kind of pooh-poohed, banned. Judo was permitted and so I took it up there the first time.

RP: Where was the judo dojo in Tule Lake, where was it located?

OM: Well, each ward had their own, you know, each ward, at least in our ward, we had one. We had a teacher who was, he was really from Gardena or Torrance area, Kimura, but he was a fourth dan, fourth degree black belt, you know. I broke my knee there, you know, as a result of somebody being thrown and fell on my knee, and broke my knee. The ironic part is the doctor who fixed it, he wasn't a doctor but he was a bone, what do they call it, martial arts doctor, he put the knee back together externally, by feel you put the bones back together and then patch it up, you know, and he was able to, it occasionally it gets bad but it was okay, you know. And the guy that did it was the father of the son that fell on it, his son is the one that fell on me and broke my leg. But it was worthwhile, judo was worthwhile. I didn't go very far but in the short time that I took it, I took it under a teacher that was very strict and very highly disciplined. If you didn't like... if you smiled while you were practicing, he took that smile off your face by throwing you around like a rag doll. We used to have people come in and jokingly talk... and when you stepped inside that door, you better wipe it off because he'll take if off of you, you know, he was tough. And he was... if a young kid these days thought he could take him on, big mistake because he was probably around 225 himself, big guy, you know, and fourth degree. So if you so much as smiled, he took it off your face, yeah, he was tough. Even after I broke my knee, you would think he would tell you to go see a doctor but he didn't, he expected me to... you have to do meditation five minutes on your knee, sitting on your knee and leg, you know, the way you do meditation for five minutes. And he expected you to do that even after you break your leg and then go the doctor. [Laughs] That's how tough he was. That's why when I come out here and we took our kids to judo here, all they were concerned about was keeping the students happy and making sure that they get a yellow belt or a green belt or whatever to keep them interested, you know. And I thought that's... so we dropped out in about a year. So you could tell I'm from the old school.

RP: That's good.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

RP: Tule Lake was established as a segregation center for all the "no-no" people from all the camps so they had a lot of folks who were very outspoken activist, you know, had quote "caused trouble" in some of the other camps, and Tule Lake had its own share of issues and factions. Do you recall any of that especially a young group called the Hoshidan?

OM: I'm not too sure about Hoshidan but, you know, the two people, I think there were actually three people, I guess there was a person called Reverend Kai, who was a Buddhist minister who was supposed to be, I don't know, brains or whatever. And then there was a guy by the name of Tanaka who was also another guy and then the third guy was, he was supposedly be the strong arm or the physical guy. Two of the guys were in our block, okay, 27, they looked like ordinary people. Sure they might have had different philosophical differences between camp administrators and what they thought, you know. People were running around doing exercise, four o'clock in the morning, "Wasshoi, wasshoi," and all that. I did that. I don't think I believed in something extraordinary by doing that, you know, in fact I was telling you about this flower... my neighbor, he was one of the young guys that were, I guess in this, today terminology you would say, he was a troublemaker or strong arm guy or whatever. But when I saw him, it was just like old times, you know, he was a good friend of mine, you know. He never caused me any trouble, he was doing his thing, I don't know what group he was with or whatever but what is this Hoshidan you're talking about, I don't really don't know?

RP: It was a group of young men who were preparing themselves to return to Japan, taking on the culture, the headbands with the rising sun and --

OM: Well, they must have been the guys that were running around four o'clock in the morning. Because, you know when the sun came up, you faced east and you bowed, well, we did that. I don't think I was more Japanese because of that but I'm sure these guys... they're the same guys that you're talking about. This flower guy, he was one of the strong arm boys, but as far as friendship goes, he was the same guy. If he was after some guy and we told him, "Hey, he's a friend of ours," okay, that's it, you know. So I don't think he was any... because I'm sure he didn't go back either, he didn't back to Japan. All the guys that I knew of, the two guys that were in our block, one guy went back but the other guy didn't go back. Most of them were out of camp before any of us, you know. They knew what was up and they didn't bother to go back. The ones that went back really had strong convictions and they weren't activists, they were just, I don't know what... like my friend, his family went back, you know, he's more American than anybody that I know of. He hardly knows any Japanese, and yet his father went back, so he went back.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

RP: This is tape two, three, excuse me, of a continuing interview with Sam Mori. And Sam, we were talking about some of your friends in Tule Lake and where they ended up going. Were you also aware of a law that passed in, I think it was July of 1944, that allowed American citizens to renounce their citizenship, mostly at Tule Lake and were you aware of, some people talk about many Nisei at that time were quote, "coerced" and urged to sign away their citizenship under duress?

OM: I know that such a law was passed, in fact, I think my sister was probably one of the what you term "majority," was one that did renounce. But it didn't apply to a minor, in other words, a minor couldn't renounce anyway so I probably didn't think about it one way or another. I know my sister did and as a result of that she had to stay in camp. I don't know if she had to or what but she, until that was cleared up somehow, she didn't come out of camp until sometime in March '46, you know. But it didn't apply to me so I didn't think too much of it.

RP: Did you... was there a faction, sort of a split between the Kibei and the Nisei in Tule Lake?

OM: I don't think it was a question... you know in Tule Lake, I don't know if it's common knowledge or not, but Tule Lake was made up of, you know, Tule Lake was a camp before it was a segregation camp, a normal camp. And there was a lot of people there that just didn't want to move. They didn't want to go to Arkansas or Amache or whatever. They decided to stay there but because you signed "yes-yes," that doesn't mean you have to go someplace, you just stayed there. So there was a large group of people there, like I was telling you, that the block or ward that we came in was from Delta and from Sacramento area. And those people are "yes-yes" all the way, and they were stayed there, okay. Now you have that group and you have people like us that came in there that signed "no-no" but were on the border or anyway. And there are the other factions, the "yes-yes," I mean "no-no," all the way, right? So the ones that were "yes-yes" and didn't want to move, they were, you know, like my neighbor, he was a young guy, not young but he was probably in his late thirties or forties, you get up in the morning at ten o'clock or whatever and you hear this clarinet going, that's him. All he cares about is playing his clarinet, he don't care about who's winning the war or why this is happening or that happening, all he cares about is playing his clarinet. There's a lot of guys like that, they were just in camp because they had to be, period. Then there was, you know, the other two factions that were there. And I'm not sure that Nisei, Kibei, I'm sure that there was a lot of Kibeis that were, you know, maybe pro-Japanese, more than the Niseis but there was a lot of Kibeis that went MIS, that surprisingly, I'm surprised at the numbers of those guys. But like her cousin, he's a Kibei and yet he was in the service, I'm sure he didn't volunteer but he was in the service and he stayed in the service 'til the war was ended

Off Camera: No, he volunteered.

OM: No, I don't think so. Oh, yeah?

Off Camera: Because he said at the Presidio before the war started, he was --

OM: Yeah, but the draft was going on then too, see? The draft already started but, you know, whether he did or not, he stayed in the service and all that. But there was a lot of people who did volunteer, Kibeis that volunteered so I don't know about... I don't want to label Kibei one way or another. I know there were a lot of pro-Japanese Kibeis and there were a lot of the other kind, you know. So I don't think it's any different than a lot of Niseis. I think among the Nisei it was not pro-Japanese but indifference. You know, it's just like me, I don't volunteer for anything, I was told never volunteer so when I was in the service, I never volunteered. If they wanted to pick me out and do KP duty, that's fine with me, I'll do it but I don't volunteer for anything. So if they draft me, okay, I'm fine, I'll go but if you don't, I won't volunteer.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

RP: There was one event that sort of stood out in your mind and that was the day that President Roosevelt died.

OM: Oh yeah, that's... I still remember it and the teacher, talking about a teacher, that's maybe her reason for tears or whatever. And she asked me why I wasn't sorry that he passed away. As a human being, yeah, I am. But from his political job that he put us here in camp, I'm not sorry for that, for saying that. I'm still not. I appreciate her service as a Quaker or whatever she was but when she asked me why I'm not sorry, I told her why and that's simple as that. That doesn't make me disloyal or anything, I go to service, funeral services for people I didn't even know, maybe they're a member of the club or whatever. I go because of the person that died, and in this case here, he did something to me that I didn't like so why should I feel sorry for him? That's the way I felt. So she asked me why I didn't cry for him. I thought even today, I wonder, did she ever think about that? Why I feel the way I do, I don't think so. If she'd of thought about it, she would understand. But I distinctly remember that. She was one of the, I think, teachers that are highly respected, she is, I think she was a good teacher. I got along with her great until that day. In a way, even in those days, I didn't let teachers tell me what to do or how to think of whatever. I remember in Arkansas, we were taking an exam and I answered one question one way and she said it was wrong, so I asked her, in class, why my question... my answers were wrong and everybody else's was right. And then she changed her mind saying that I was right, okay. So that changed the whole complexion of the grading system. I was right and the rest were wrong, so now does that change the grades? And she said, no, and then I told her off. She thought, hey, what's this innocent Japanese kid saying to me. She thought I wouldn't stand up and tell her, and so until she changed, I wouldn't change, so she finally downgraded everybody else, okay. But that's, when I'm right, when I think I'm right, I'm going to stand up for it and that's what I told this other girl, you know. She didn't like it I guess but that's okay. And I have no regrets.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

RP: When did you leave Tule Lake, Sam?

OM: Sometime in December, late December of '45. So it was after, quite a bit after the war had ended.

RP: Before we get into that, do you recall anything about that day the war ended?

OM: No, not really. I know my dad had talked to us, I think he had to talked to us about what we were going to do. We're going to go to LA and it came about just the way he said it would. We're going to spend three days in LA and then the contact is going to pick us up and we're going to go to Fresno and temporarily do certain thing. And then in the meantime he had, I guess, arranged almost to be a tenant farmer, like, on a fig ranch. I guess like a foreman, he was going to get paid so much and then we're going to provide the physical labor for what we can do on weekends and this and that. And we stayed there... but anyway I don't recall any special event. We got on a train I think to L.A. and, you know, arrived at the grand or whatever, that union station, I guess it is. And I think we walked from there to Koyasan, which is probably within a mile.

RP: And you stayed there three days and then went to --

OM: And then the two people that my dad knew from long time, they're from Mie-ken, from Japan, they picked us up and we went to Fresno to a farm labor camp and stayed there probably two or three months.

RP: And what did you do there?

OM: Well, we were day laborers, pruning, supposed to be a highly skilled operations I guess, but here we were, I mean, sixteen or maybe seventeen years old. My younger brother and my dad and I, we formed a kind of a crew, I guess, and they'd hire us out on a day basis. And we'd go prune fig, I mean, vineyards, you know, vines, grapevines, I'd never seen a grapevine in my life. And here we're, it's supposed to take some skill and you're supposed to cut 'em a certain way. But it was, you know, it was wintertime, we're talking December, late December, and it's cold and it wasn't snowy or frosty, it was just downright cold. And you're out there pruning these vines and every so often, after you cut the vine, the vine would snap back and hit you on the face or whatever. Oh, it was painful. Well, first of all you're not used to the work, coming out of the camp and you don't know what the heck you're doing first of all. But you catch on pretty quickly and... except for damaging a few vines and things like that, I think we did okay. I think I still know how to prune... I don't know how to prune peaches and things like that but grapevines I think I can do.

RP: And you pooled your money together and what did you buy with it?

OM: Well, first of all, we needed transportation, you know. We lived in the labor camp, as long as we lived there, you know, board and food was okay. Transportation was okay to the job sites but once if you wanted to go somewhere, you needed wheels. So that's what we bought, we bought a 900 dollar 1939 Chevrolet. I would imagine that Chevrolet cost maybe half that much, 600 dollars or whatever, brand new, but here we're paying 900 bucks for it, six, seven years after. But it ran good, it was a good little car. It lasted, I don't know, two, three years I guess. It was a nice little car.

RP: Can you describe the conditions, the housing conditions at the labor camp?

OM: It was almost like camp, the beds were just lined up and it's all male, you know, there was no females there, all male. So privacy wasn't that much of a problem but living conditions were pretty tough, I mean, you're living in, it's cot, one after another. But I always felt that it wasn't only for a couple months, temporary, you could put up with that. But it's surprising, even after we left that labor camp, on weekends my dad and my brother, we would take on other jobs on the weekends. We'd go to school on the weekday, on the weekends we'd go out and take on a pruning job or if it was harvest time, we'd take on a apricot picking or whatever and we needed wheels for that. So that's part of the reason why we bought the car when we did, we needed wheels. California, you can't get any place without a car.

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

<Begin Segment 20>

RP: Did you have any support from individuals or organizations in your efforts to resettle?

OM: No, other than the hostel in Koyasan providing a place, there was no government agency or no, we didn't... see, the thing is we don't have any relatives, I don't have any relatives other than my brother and sister now, since my parents passed away. There's no extended family, so other than relying on friends or distance relatives from back or acquaintance from Japan, you don't have any. But we were able to get by. As soon as we went to Fresno, or Clovis, that's where we ended up, Clovis, things started to turn around, settled down a little bit. We went to school there, high school there, I graduated there. I didn't go on to any college or anything but my brother graduated, he was valedictorian there and he went right on to school. The family kind of went along and provided whatever it could. He got a scholarship to medical school and this and that, the family had to do some providing but we're able to do that. Things worked out okay.

RP: And you served during the Korean War?

OM: Yes, uh-huh. 1950, was it '50 it started, I went in October, or September I think it was. You know I can't remember now, I think it was October. It was a Friday, the 13th, I think, 1950 and I didn't go to Korea, I was in the service then but after basic at Fort Ord, I went to Georgia and joined the... they were putting together the 4th Division to go to Europe and that's where I ended up, in Europe for about fifteen months. And then got discharged sometime in September, I spent twenty three years... twenty three months in the service, you know, as a draftee, not a volunteer but a draftee, and I used that GI Bill to go to Berkeley. And the rest is history [Laughs]

RP: You were an accountant for quite some time?

OM: Yeah, well, I guess, just like all accountants, you end up finally kind of in administrative duties, right, you don't do anymore accounting, you just manage people and that kind of stuff, you know. Yeah, I was kind of fortunate, although I had to drag the family from L.A. to here. But it was all for I guess promotion or whatever, you know. But things worked out okay.

RP: How did you two meet up?

OM: How did we... yeah, mutual friend.

Off camera: [Inaudible]

OM: He was a good friend, oh, he went to Hanford, right but he was about my brother's age, huh, Kiyo?

OM: Yeah. He and I were freshmans at Berkeley and we took chemistry together. He was a... what is it? A geology major and I was an accountant but we're taking chemistry and he had to have chemistry but as a geology major, he was one terrible candidate for geology because if he walked by ten feet from poison ivy, he got it, you know. And he was taking all kinds of anti-allergy kind of pills and he struggled with that for years. Finally he gave it, he says, "I can't do this anymore." Because every time he thought he had it licked, he's walk by and sure enough, he'd catch it. So he was spending more time in the hospital than class so he finally changed his major but he's the guy that introduced us.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

RP: Did your camp experience or your camps experiences, as I should say, because you were at Santa Anita, Tule Lake and Jerome, did it have any impact on the rest of your life?

OM: Camp? I don't think so either way, negatively or positively. I don't think it added... other than because I'm what, thirteen or fourteen years old when I went into camp, it might have had a slight impact on my education, you know, graduating, getting out of high school, maybe a half a year or something like that. But other than that, I kind of grew up. I think if I were living on the farm, as if nothing happened, I don't know, I'd be some naive kid I think. I think camp... I matured a little bit more in camp. I met a lot of these city slickers and you know, grew up a little bit. I think that was helpful. Not because it was camp, but just meeting these people. I hope nobody has to go camp ever again but when you look at things positively, there's some good came out of it, I think. You know, like my mother, she says the greatest thing that she learned in camp was being able to sign her name. To her that's a big deal, and she would've never had that without camp. So you know, you just kind of, I guess look at the positive things if you want to move forward. If you're always looking at the negatives, you don't get any place I don't think.

RP: What were your thoughts about the redress that came up in the --

OM: Well, being a numbers person like I am, and I spent three and half, almost four years or whatever, in camp. And I read about some guy that was illegally put in prison for ten days and got, I don't know how many millions of dollars for illegal, you know, imprisonment. Just looking at the numbers, I think it's totally inadequate, the fact that it even happened, I think it's great. And that's what make maybe this country great is that some government came down and says you're sorry. So in that respect I think it's something great. But when you look at the numbers, I don't know, that's pittance, you know, for what they gave you. But, you know, what we're doing with that money is we're going to save it and give it to the kids anyway so it's not that you needed the money. To me it worked out, I don't know who thought about it, I think deep in our mind we're saying, I think the government did something bad. But to get redress in the form of, not compensation necessarily, but a letter saying that they made a mistake, that's something, I think. So that's my reaction to it, you know.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

RP: Kirk, do you have any additional questions?

KP: Actually I do. From Santa Anita to Jerome, how did you get there?

OM: It was a train.

KP: Had you ever been on a train before?

OM: Well, other than a electric car, you know, one of these red cars that go from Long Beach to LA, no. That was the first train ride that I was on.

KP: What was that like for you?

OM: Well, I think like she had described it before, there was MPs on the car and the shades were drawn but we weren't like her, I mean, we were peeking all the time, you know, particularly at night time, you know. There's no lights in the car anyway so you pull the shades up and the lights outside, you know, is coming in. So besides, the MPs didn't say anything but we were travelling most of the time at night time, you know. During the war time, freight cars had priority over passengers and oftentimes we were just sitting there while waiting for another freight car to go by. But you're out in a... some small little hick town, nothing to see so I don't think it was a kind of exciting ride that... looking at the scenes, you know. As I recall, what scenes I did see were, we're always in the back side of some town, you know. And I think that's true, most of the railroads run, not in the fancy part of town, it's always on the backside of town and that's what I remember seeing.

KP: Did you ever stop and have a chance to get off the train and just walk around?

OM: No, I don't think we ever did that. It took two or three days to get to Arkansas. In fact, you know, when we went back there, that railroad track still run there. It's running right outside of camp and I would imagine it's the same one, railroad tracks.

KP: It's the same railroad tracks up at Tule Lake?

OM: Well, yeah, we went there by train too, Tule Lake. But that... yeah, I think that was the same kind of ride, you know, shades down. In fact, that was I think more guarded because of the character of the people on the train. [Laughs] But most of those train rides... I don't know what the secrecy is about, you go through the backside of the towns, there's nothing secret there I don't think. Other than how shabby most of these towns are, you know, if there's any scenery, I don't recall any grand vistas or anything like that.

Off camera: Wasn't the point being to not show us being railroaded down someplace?

OM: No, but you know, I read someplace where when people went from Santa Anita to Heart Mountain, they had a stop in Salt Lake City. And Salt Lake City, the Japanese American community was not uprooted, they didn't have to go to camp. And they were waiting at the station and gave them nigiri and things like that. So, I thought, wow, that's fantastic. How did they know that they we're going to be there if it was a secret train? But when the train stopped in Salt Lake City, they gave them all these rice balls and whatnot. So, I don't think it's that much of a secret.

Well, you know, like your cousin was saying the other day, in Santa Anita before other people, we were already in camp, April 3rd or whatever, they didn't go until May something. And they used to go visit, can you imagine that? They were still on the outside, and they used to come to the camp, through the fence or whatever, and meet their friends there. I could see some Caucasian friends coming and meeting you, but Japanese friends coming to see you. One is on the outside and one on the inside. That's kind of ridiculous but that's... she says that happened.

Off Camera: My cousin's wife said Sunday that, see she lived in Riverside also, and her sister heard that the people who moved to East L.A. get to go to Manzanar, which was supposed to be a good camp. So they moved from Riverside to East L.A., near Boyle and Third Street or something like that in Boyle Heights in order to sign up for Manzanar.

OM: See, somewhere this information was out there and people were smart enough to ferret that information out.

Off camera: If you live in L.A., to be able to go to Manzanar. And I don't know if my mother knew that because we moved from Gardena Japantown. Like I said, I don't know if that's why. All I know is that I don't know if anyone else did. But that was in Little Tokyo.

RP: If you had stayed in Gardena, where would have gone?

Off Camera: Santa Anita. I'm not going to Jerome like him. [Laughs]

OM: See that's where a lot of us, like my dad was... you talk about us being naive, my dad was really, I don't recall him ever reading a newspaper, you know, later on he did, after the war. But we didn't take any news... American papers, we didn't take any Japanese papers.

RP: You didn't have a radio.

OM: No radio, you know, so we're kind of in a vacuum here and asked him what camp? I don't know we'll go where they tell us to meet there, we'll go there, they'll tell us where to go and that's where we went. But a lot of people were using their heads. I know in Fresno, they said, 99 was the dividing line, if you lived east of that, you went someplace, if you were west of that, you went someplace else. I think west went to Arkansas, Jerome. Because there were a lot of Fresno people, Hanford, Parlier and those people all went there. Certain towns like Florin, they went to Jerome. You'd be surprised... in a way, you're talking about I met a lot of people. These people I still... some of them I still meet, I know. I meet 'em... I met someone at work and occasionally, you know, just enough to say hello, still talk to them. But it's been, what, fifty, sixty years, more than sixty years.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

RP: One last question, do you have any advice or insights to share with young people about the experience of Japanese Americans during World War II?

OM: I don't really have any specific advice but I think, just like my dad said, you got to be, not prepared in a sense that knowing something's going to come, but whenever something comes, that you have to be prepared for that kind of eventuality. That means studying, study hard, that kind of stuff, you know. I don't have anything specific for them but this kind of... I hope camp experience that kind of stuff doesn't happen in their time, but it could be, it could happen again. I think they realize that, you know, we go to these camp reunions, she has friends, I don't have that kind of friends, but she has friends that from camp days, they're best friends still and we still do things with them. That kind of longevity, you know, friendship, I don't think my kids realize how that could be possible, really. I mean, it's not that they stayed in the same place, I mean, they were hundreds a mile apart, and we don't see each other for years sometimes, and yet it's like yesterday when they get together. So I think if anything, I don't know if camp had anything to do with that, I don't think so but -- there's some sort of bonding went on there that, you know, it's more than what you meet in school. Although I have friends that, four of us, there's four couples, that well, we had our golden wedding and we just went to one last week and then the other one was going to be this Friday but his wife got sick and the other one passed away. But the four of us been close couples for over fifty years and no divorces, one death so far. But I don't know what it is that keeps us together but... it's not camp. I really don't know what to tell my kids about camp experiences. But I hope they just don't have any, that's all.

RP: Alright, well, thank you, Sam, on behalf of myself and Kirk and the National Park Service. I appreciate you sharing your time with us.

OM: You're welcome. I thank you very much.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.