Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Mary Blocher Smeltzer Interview
Narrator: Mary Blocher Smeltzer
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: La Verne, California
Date: July 17, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-smary-01-0012

MS: Well, they, they had to stay on the floors where the single women or the men were. And they had apartments around there for the family, but they didn't stay there. They had to stay with the single men and the single women, like it was one floor for the women and one floor for the men. We had an apartment on the first floor. And we just, we had a little office there, we had room for an office. And we had, Virginia Morimitsu was our secretary, and she kind of ran the office and took care of correspondence, and people had to apply to get there, you know, from camps.

RP: Right, right, you had to fill out an application and be cleared to come.

MS: Yeah.

RP: How about, can you give us a little insight into the, the feelings of people when they arrived in Chicago? Were they nervous, were they anxious?

MS: Yeah, I think they were scared. And as I think I said since we were talking, the parents were more worried, and we started out with the young single people. And, of course, eventually, we had families.

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