John Terukichi Yoneyama

Brick #1500   Wall Location  Column: 67   Row: 38

Memories of Adrian Camp

My family moved to Adrian Camp in the summer of 1945, after we were able to leave Minidoka when Japan lost World War II. I was 7 years old and in the 3rd grade at the time. We rode in our 1932 Oldsmobile that had a trunk on the back bumper. We lived in a barrack, with 6 of us sleeping in 1 room with 3 double beds. We had no running water, so we had to get buckets full from a faucet outside until Papa fixed pipes to bring water into the house. We did not have flushing toilets. We had outhouses and a central shower room with certain hours for women and men. There was a boiler room, a stove to heat water for laundry and showers, and a laundry room with wringer machines to wring water from clean clothes, several rows of clotheslines to dry the clothes, and lots of clothespins in bags. I remember hanging up sheets in one section and putting towels and underwear behind them – I guess this was to hide them from view. The shower room had canvas curtains at the entrance, wooden benches to sit on and change clothes, and a big cement floor shower room with a lot of shower heads. Some showers worked better than other in the amount of hot water that came out. Outside of the shower area, there was a row of sinks for brushing teeth and drinking water. There was also a canteen where we could go to buy small items such as bread, candy, and other basic stuff.

I also remember Papa’s great garden next to the chicken coop. We got the chickens as chicks, then killed the roosters for eating and put them into the freezer at Langley’s corner on the way to Adrian town. We used to go to movies in Adrian every Saturday. We must have seen dozens of westerns with Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, the musicals with Jane Powell singing, and the Esther Williams swim shows. That was our treat for the week.

Back to the garden…Papa had the best garden. He grew beautiful nappa with no bugs. Of course, he was always dusting them with insecticides. I’m sure he was using DDT (Meiko and I have abnormally high liver enzymes now, which I think may be due to exposure to DDT). Also, Papa used to kill bees and ants with cyanide powder. I remember we used to say how bad the smell was after he used it. The bees would nest in wood siding in the corner of the house. Papa would kill the bees and take out the honey, which we ate. We never got cyanide poisoning.

Summer vacation was working out in the field for 10 hours/day. We made $0.85/hour at first and eventually made $1.00/hr. How I hated summer!! Each of us spent summers working in the hot fields. Saturdays were also work days. I recall the winters when Mama and Papa worked in the sheds, cutting potatoes for seed, and sorting carrots and strawberry plants. Mama used to complain about the frost bites on her toes. What a terrible life, but she never seemed to complain. I remember one winter Papa went to work in Jamison for a man named Kumo to make money for us. He would come home on weekends.

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