ORAL HISTORY HIGHLIGHT –
In June 2016, Yoshiye Okimoto Hayashi reached out to us at Manzanar to let us know she would like to record her story with us in an oral history interview. We’re so glad she did. In this brief excerpt, Yoshiye, who graduated with Manzanar’s High School Class of 1944, describes how she and her parents and brother felt when they first saw Manzanar:
“It was very windy, just as it is today. Desert all around us. It was April so it was kind of cold. And we looked at the barracks and the places we’d have to sleep, straw mattresses. I mean, we were poor, but at least we had a fairly clean place. My mother worked very hard at keeping the place clean. So this was really a disaster for us, and being stuck in with so many strangers, to me, it was the worst part. We didn’t have a big enough family to get a room of our own . . . We had one side of the room and there was a couple and two bachelors on the other side.”
After a few months, the living situation grew even more uncomfortable for her family.
“The fact is, one of the bachelors had an affair with the married couple, the woman. So my dad goes down to the housing department and says, ‘I have two impressionable young children, teenagers, and there’s something going on. There’s business going on in my room. I can’t have that.’ We were in Block 16 and we moved all the way down to 31, which . . . was a new area that was opening up. They had just finished it. So there at least we had the same size room for the four of us rather than the eight of us, and we had a little bit more privacy.”
This photo of Yoshiye, her brother Jun, and her parents Yoneji and Miyano was taken in Manzanar a couple of years later.
Though we received some snow on the Sierra Nevada in last week's storm, we're still looking for our first snowfall on the valley floor -- perhaps something like what 4th grader Ronald Osajima wrote about in February 1945:
________________________________________________________"In Manzanar we had a blizzard,
The wind came very fast,
Everything hid, even the lizard.
And very long did it last..."
Come with us as we journey to Manzanar for the 49th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage! We’ll be taking a bus there on Apr 28th to join the hundreds of pilgrimage participants to honor those who were incarcerated. Interested? Click on our website! (link in bio) Questions? Give us a call or shoot us an email!
Manzanitas🌳🌳🌳 de huerto. Comer una manzana 🍎que ha crecido de manera normal, sin apenas tratamientos se nota.
Si tienes oportunidad no dudes en comerte una jejejeje. Por que últimamente los alimentos que compro no saben a lo que recuerdo. Jejejeje.
Hace un tiempo fui a una finca donde sembraban tomates🍅 y los que más caro se vendían eran los que se dejaban crecer de forma natural, tienen un sabor más intenso; un sabor a tomate de verdad. 🍅. Gracias @nasledith abrazos de osoo. 😍😘😗 #comidasana#comiendoconjoha#manzana
Rainy day visiting Manzanar Feb 2017... very dark moment in US history... spent one day here during the rain storms last year... a very strange experience to be there completely alone, to learn the stories behind the unlawful detention of Japanese Americans, many of whom were citizens of this country... we must never stop learning, we must pay careful attention to events of the past, and realize how close we can always be to this... know the past, let it form the future. Focus not on the abstract discussions this country's leaders want you to have, but instead travel and see firsthand the devastating effects of ill conceived plans, inspired chiefly by fear... this country is changing, let any radical shifts be tempered by reason and understanding, and a constant desire to seek the truth, even if it seems utterly impossible #neverforget#manzanar#important#fdr#easternsierra#cold#rainy#wet#iwasonlythereforaday#gohere#gothere#goeverywhere#america#learning#iuseinstagramwrong
8 days ago224
Manzanar got quite a bit of rain today, and the Sierra Nevada and Inyo mountain ranges were painted with snow. This puddle formed atop the historic foundation of what was once the Block 14 laundry room, and vividly reflected the reconstructed women's latrine. #findyourpark