Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Bob Fuchigami Interview
Narrator: Bob Fuchigami
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Denver, Colorado
Date: May 14, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-fbob-01-0015

BF: Merced was like a prison camp, surrounded by barbed wire, guard towers manned by military. I'm sure they had rifles or machine guns or whatever, and they had the jeep patrol come around, around the perimeter of the camp, and they would come fairly often. At night the searchlights were there, and they would crisscross the camp. ... Well, we moved there in May, and of course, by June, the grapes were ripening. And we happened to be, the camp happened to be next to a vineyard. And when the grapes get ripe, there's a distinct smell, and I thought, "Gosh, it wouldn't take much to cross that little road beyond the fence to get the grapes." I mean, you could see them, you could smell them. I know several times that I thought about crawling under the fence and just getting some grapes. But you're sort of trying to time the lights because, but they weren't, they weren't set into a standard pattern, so you couldn't judge where that light was gonna show the next, next point. And I tried, I figured, well, the lights were shining over there and they would be swinging over here and so forth, but they, I could never figure them out. And we were told, "You go beyond that fence, you're gonna get shot." So I guess I just didn't have enough courage to do that, and never tried to get those grapes.

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