Dear Miss Breed: Letters from Camp

JAPANESE AMERICAN
NATIONAL MUSEUM
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Clara Breed
Departure for Camp
Life in Camp
Returning Home
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Oral History

Oral History Interview

Departure for camp...

Karen Ishizuka:
Can you describe how you went to Manazanar?

Archie Miyatake:
It was early in the morning--about eight o'clock. I can't remember exactly, but we were all told to go to the old Santa Fe Station which is right under the 1st Street bridge...We gathered there and were told to wait there and get on the train... As soon as it started moving everyone was told to pull the blinds down so we couldn't see the outside...We got off the train and were hurried to the bus. We got on the bus. From there you look around--it was the first time we got to see outside. Nothing but desert all around. I thought, "My gosh, I wonder where else we're going to go? What kind of place is it going to be?"

We finally arrived at a place where we saw some black barracks built. We could see some dust blowing and I said, "Oh my gosh." We got off the bus and sure enough, the wind was blowing like anything. We had to line up at the table to register ourselves. There was another line where people lined up to get typhoid shots...We were assigned to different barracks.

AUDIO (Format: WAV, Filesize: 232K)

We were given a canvas bag and were wondering what we were going to do with it. They told us to go to a pile of hay. We had to fill the canvas bag with the straw that was out there. That was our mattress.

We went inside [the barrack] and we could just smell the dust in there. Every time there's a strong wind you could see the dust coming through the cracks on the floor. Well, we set up our bed, went to sleep, and got up the next morning. We looked, and there was a clear outline of our head on the mattress (chuckle). Where our head was, was white but the rest of it was all gray with sand. My mouth was full of sand and our hair was just all sticky with sand in it!

Biographical Summary | Oral History Interview



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