An emotional response from mother upon talking about incarceration experience

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And about that time I started asking my mother and my father. They talked a little more but I remember one, really clearly at one point, I said, “What was it like, Mom? What was it like to be in the camps?” I said, “Where did you go?” And she went to Santa Anita. And she was telling me about how when she got there with her younger sister. There was horse stalls. There was hay on the ground. There was dirt. There was horse shit on the walls. It smelled terrible. There was one light. There was no place to sleep, no place to go to the bathroom. And she started crying. And it's the first time I ever saw her, started tearing. She goes, “I guess it was pretty bad.” And then she didn't want to talk about it too much because she goes, “I don't want to talk about it right now.” But I'd never seen her reflect or have that kind of emotional reaction ever before.

Date: February 8, 2003
Location: Washington, US
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda, Margaret Chon
Contributed by: Denshō: The Japanese American Legacy Project.

assembly centers horse stalls incarceration internment santa anita

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