Dear Miss Breed: Letters from Camp

Clara Breed
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Gift of Ms. Elizabeth Y. Yamada, Japanese American National Museum (93.75.31N)

Sept. 27, 1942
Dear Miss Breed,
I was overwhelmed with joy to hear from you. I was very glad to hear you like the little "geta". I'm sorry to say they were not made from a knot. Yes, the knot-carvers are very skilled people. I was very interested to read about your doll collection and Fusa. I can imagine how Fusa stole the show. Miss Breed, I wish you told me about your doll collection when I was in San Diego and I would have been more than happy to add something to your collection, as I remember, you often had doll exhibits in the library -- were they yours?
Thank you Miss Breed, for asking questions because it has helped me a lot -- for then I know this letter has something of interest to you. Now to answer them -- yes, we do have chairs and tables. Father made them out of scraps of wood which we found here and there. They may not be the best but they are substantial. We also have pillows which we brought from San Diego. But we do not have mattresses. We use some of our blankets as mattresses. In Santa Anita we were issued a spring bed and mattress, but here we were just issued a cot. Many people who are skilled are making beds. They say a wooden bed is much better for your posture. The cot sinks down in the middle while the wooden bed stays straight.
Miss Breed, it's a good thing you didn't see me eat my first meal with a knife. I would have been embarrassed and you probably would have grown impatient writing for me to finish that you would have told me to eat with my fingers. If Emily Post saw me then she would throw a fit.
The movies are just grand. We see one every Saturday evening. It is shown outdoors. The screen is placed right in front of the oil tank and we sit (bring our own chairs) or stand and enjoy the movie. So far we have seen the following:
1) There Goes My Heart -- Frederick March & Virginia Bruce
2) The Last of the Mohicans -- Randolph Scott, Bonnie Burns
3) Doomed to Die -- Boris Karrloff
4) Topper Takes a Trip -- Roland Young & Constance Bennett
5) Abraham Lincoln -- Walter Huston & Una Merkel
The water and electricity is turned off on Sundays when the men work on the water pipe, or while making canals etc. It has not been turned off for a long time now. The first Sunday we were here it was turned off. I'm glad it is not turned off regularly because oh, how inconvenient it would be!
The police and the post office and fire dept. is run by Japanese Americans. As yet I have not seen any persons connected with the army. There are no fences around this camp has there was in Santa Anita.
School has begun yet and I do not know who the teachers are. But I shall write more fully about it after school begins. Yesterday we saw how a teacher's room is going to be furnished. There was a nice bed was a spring and mattress, nice Spanish style bedroom set, a soft chairs, lamps and linoleum on the floor. I was almost tempted to sit on the soft chair, sit before the large dresser and lay on the bed.
You may have read about the boys leaving Poston to work in Idaho and Nebraska on the farm. About 45 San Diegans went. We expect them back in a couple of months. But while there if they find a job they can call their family and stay there. ??? Kawamoto (twin's brother) Sammy Shimamoto, Walter Hayashi, George Watanabe (June's brother) were among the ones who left for Idaho. A few more boys left for Nebraska too.
Here's something quite interesting which I read in a very recent edition of the Pacemaker -- The man who lived in Santa Anita forgot and left all the money he had, $218.00 in a money belt under his mattress, and left for Heart Mt, Wyoming. One of the working men found the money while picking up beds and mattresses. Then several days later the loser wrote back for the money and requested that 10% of it be given to the man who found it. This may sound incredible but I guess when your mind is on moving you can even forget your most precious possession.
I received a letter from a friend who is now in Lamas, Colorado. During the days they were on the train, they had -- fried eggs for breakfast -- fried chicken, fried turkey, cookies, cakes, and canned fruits. When I read about this, my mouth watered and I certainly envied them. If I can only eat fried eggs and fried chicken just once more -- maybe, as the saying goes, if I am a nice girl my wish will soon be granted.
The food here is grand. Every Sunday morning we have 2 pancakes, 1 boiled egg, cocoa. I think that's a grand breakfast. This evening's meal was the best we ever had here 1 piece of steak, 1/2 sweet potato, lettuce, rice, veg. salad and catup. If you are interested I shall keep the menu for one week and inform you of it.
Oh my -- I should be ashamed of myself for rattling on without thanking you for the padlock and keys. Thank you!!
Thank you!!
Thank you!!
I have enclosed $1.50 in money. If that isn't sufficient please do not hesitate to say so I will be angry if you don't.
All the ink I have is what's filled in this pen so I'd better say "good" luck to you and I hope you will write soon" -- before it runs out. Until I heard from you again loads of happiness to you and please watch your health as it gets colder everyday.
Most sincerely,
Louise Ogawa

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