Loss of happy-go-lucky adolescence in Puyallup Assembly Center

Encountering racial discrimination at a public swimming pool Loss of happy-go-lucky adolescence in Puyallup Assembly Center Memories of dusty conditions at Minidoka incarceration camp Making the decision to resist the draft Thoughts on redress Starting over after the war: denial of all things Japanese Have compassion for all of humanity Thoughts on post-9/11 atmosphere: what it means to be American

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During that period was there an experience I had that was very revealing to me. One day a messenger came and said that there was someone who wanted to see me, not a Japanese, someone from the outside. And so I was curious, and I'm thinking gee, could it be Norm Peterson, could it be Tony, could it be...?

So I go, and here it is, my teacher. And I, we shook hand and kind of walked. And he is still quiet, and he says, Is there someplace we can sit and talk? And I said, Yeah. And I'd been up on the grandstand with some date, girls. before, there's, on the fairground, the grandstand still exists. So we went up there, and all of a sudden I just feel that the atmosphere has changed. All of the sudden I had a perspective view of the whole camp area and I never dreamed the rows of barrack that was there. It was kind of a shocking view. Because in the other area there's no, we're all ground level, and all of a sudden you get up in this grandstand and you look and you see all the rows and rows of barracks. They were built in this area where they would have the horse racing and all that.

And this guy, the teacher said, he was telling me about his experience during World War I. And he's German and his father was interned. And so he went through a similar experience, and he said that it was a dirty rotten shame that this kind of thing had happened. And for the first time I really felt the impact of what was going on. It made quite an impression on me. Just prior to then I was a happy-go-lucky, carefree teenager.

Date: August 18, 1997
Location: Washington, US
Interviewer: Lori Hoshino, Stephen Fugita
Contributed by: Denshō: The Japanese American Legacy Project.

assembly center camps internment Puyallup World War II

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