Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Laurie Sasaki Interview
Narrator: Laurie Sasaki
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Richmond, California
Date: April 16, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-slaurie-01-0016

<Begin Segment 16>

RP: Do you remember the day that your father came back to Poston?

LS: I do remember it. Yes, it was, it was really great to see him and I do remember his coming home. It was, it was quite, quite something. I couldn't tell you the date or anything like that. I just know that he was coming home and it was so good to see him.

RP: The government issued this so-called "loyalty questionnaire" in... I think really in 1943. And...

LS: You had to say the "no-nos" or the "yes-yes."

RP: "No-no" and "yes-yes" and I know you didn't have to personally answer that but did it affect your family at all?

LS: I don't think so. I just remember saying if you're a "no-no" you're gonna go to Tule or something like that and there was discussion about that. But I couldn't tell you what that was all about. We must have said "yes-yes" because we ended up in Poston.

RP: And in the pursuit of that was sort of a prerequisite for actually relocating out of out of camp too so you would have to have those answers if you wanted to go to Minnesota or that type of thing. So who was the first to leave, leave camp?

LS: Probably my brother Hiroshi probably went to work in the sugar beet fields in Ogden. And then probably Michi went to Minneapolis because my oldest brother was at Camp Savage at that time. And so his wife went out to be with him and so then everybody started to go to Minneapolis because they all, you know, one got a job here and one got a job out there. So my sisters went out to Minneapolis.

RP: Where did they find work in Minneapolis?

LS: My sister found a job at the hospital, St. Paul Memorial Hospital or something like that. She was working at the hospital in St. Paul. My sister was doing housework I think in, for a family there.

RP: So that was the sister that had worked in the Poston hospital? She...

LS: Right, yes.

RP: Then she... based on that experience she was able to land a job at...

LS: I believe so, yes.

RP: Did she continue on in the medical, in the medical field?

LS: No, after she came out here, after they came out to Richmond I know she was working at the naval supply. But I don't think it had to do with anything with the medical field.

RP: So your sisters went out to Minnesota, Minneapolis.

LS: Uh-huh.

RP: And then you were next?

LS: And my sister met a girl from Richmond, California. She had relocated to St. Paul, and her family had a greenhouse, flower business here in Richmond. So when the war ended, they came back to Richmond. And then she's the one who found out that there was housing here and told my sister about it so that's the reason why we ended up here. Is that, because of the housing availability.

RP: Right. So you stayed in camp...

LS: 'Til the very end. We were the last ones in camp. We were the last ones in camp.

RP: So for you, as a ten year old, did it feel, did it ever feel like home to you? Or was there that sense of, "Mom, when are we going home? Are we ever gonna get out of here?"

LS: No. Poston felt like home to me. I didn't think we would ever go back to Imperial Valley so you know, we were sort of kicked out of there in mind, so I didn't think we would ever go back there. So, yeah, Poston felt like home to me.

RP: We were talking about this opportunity that kind of fell through the cracks about originally going to Ann Arbor, Michigan. And why didn't that happen?

LS: Oh, my sister had rented a house for us in Ann Arbor but, when the people who owned the home found out it was for a Japanese family they just said, "No, we're sorry, the house isn't available." So I remember my father had made up these things for our belongings with the Ann Arbor address and everything on there, you know, all ready to get on the train to get out there. So that was, that just fell through. 'Cause they just didn't want us there. So that was okay. It ended up all right.

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