July 5, 2008
We have collected some really great interviews so far. The narrators (most of whom are conference attendees) come from such different backgrounds and consequently their stories are very diverse. Yesterday I interviewed Yae Aihara who is originally from Seattle, but currently lives in Los Angeles. Her father was picked up by the FBI on December 7, 1941, and was sent to Missoula internment camp. During this time he decided he wanted the family to repatriate to Japan. Yae and her family took the train to Ellis Island to meet her father and go on the ship SS Gripsholm, which was part of the prisoner of war exchange with Japan. The ship was full, so they stayed in Ellis Island for 4 days and then were transfered to Crystal City internment camp in Texas. They stayed in Crystal City for the duration of the war and then resettled to Boyle Heights in LA.
George Fujimoto, who I interviewed today, also told an interesting story. Born in California but raised in Ault, Colorado, George’s family operated a produce and sugar beet farm. George’s father suffered a debilitating accident when George was 15, forcing him to drop out of school and manage the farm. George was drafted into the army in 1942 and was injured in 1943 while guarding German POWs in Alabama. After the war George moved with his family to South Texas, where he lives currently. George is a real southern gentleman – it was fun talking with him!