Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Tosh Yasutake Interview
Narrator: Tosh Yasutake
Interviewers: Alice Ito (primary), Tom Ikeda (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: November 14, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-ytosh-01-0006

TY: A group of four of us volunteered to work in this one farm and the farm that we were assigned to was a farm in Idaho Falls. And I think I talked about in the group, group interview but we were assigned to this one farm, Mr. and Mrs. Morgan's farm. And how they picked farms for each of the volunteering groups I don't know. But we were given this -- unfortunately assigned to this one farm that had very small sugar beets and as I mentioned in the group interview, when we got to the farm, latter part of the after-, mid-afternoon, I think it was -- the farm, Mr. Morgan took us out to the field and he says -- we asked him where our living quarter was and he pointed to the far end of the field and there was a big boxcar there. So he says, "That's where you're gonna be sleeping." So we says, "Okay." So we all hauled our duffle bag and our suitcases and walked down across the field and got to the boxcar. And, well, even before I got to the boxcar, I could smell the stench. [Laughs] And when I, when you opened the boxcar we just, the stench just hit our -- it was overwhelming. It was terrible. And we found out that it was used, they had used it as a pig shed. And it was terrible. We had to clean it out. And we took the rest of the afternoon cleaning the place out, scrubbing it. And there was no running water there so they had to haul water in milk cans for us to, so we could clean the place. And after about four hours of scrubbing and cleaning it was already getting dark and we finally got it cleaned. And to this day I can't remember what kind of bed we had. My guess is it was probably just mattress cover with straw in it and just directly on the floor. But, and I think that first night, the farmer, Mrs. Morgan brought our, brought our breakfast for us. As I recall it was chicken. It was very good. And, but that was our living quarters and it was pretty bad. And to make the matter worse, the sugar beets they had were very, very small, unfortunately, and we were paid by the tonnage. And it took us maybe three times as long to fill up a truck and so the bottom line was that we didn't make any money that we, in fact, we think we lost money. [Laughs] We went home with empty pockets. But, that's the way it went. Some of the people were very lucky. They -- as most of people know, the sugar beets are like carrots. They grow in the ground like carrots and most of the sugar beets are huge. They're about this big. But the ones that we had in our, at Morgan's farm was about this small. And so it just took us forever to fill up that truck. It was really terrible.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.