Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community

Registering – Matsue Watanabe (OH0062)


I do remember we had to go down to the Anderson Hardware and sign up for, for our numbers and, as a family. And, so we did do that. And there’s, of course a big sign up, up there telling us that that’s what we’re supposed to do. And, and I suppose we came home with those little tags that we were to wear when we were taken away. But I just remember that building. And of course I’m accustomed to that building ’cause the grocery store was right next to it. And we used to go into both the grocery store and Anderson Hardware and also the dry goods store which was across the street from there. So, that whole area is very familiar to me because I was the one that had to do the grocery shopping.

Well, I think preparing to leave was probably the hardest thing for, for my mother especially because she had to, she had to help with my brother, of course, and my sisters. She had to move things out. We had good friends by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Hyde who my dad leased land from, to plant his strawberries. And they had a big barn so they said that you can bring a lot of your goods over and put ’em in the barn, like, you know, my mother’s sewing machine, which was one of the mainstays in the house ’cause she always sewed our clothes. And, and I suppose, I don’t know whether they took the refrigerator and things like that which were awful large items to take. But they took things that, that she felt were very important to have back. And I’m sure they were very busy doing that while we were gone to school. ‘Cause I didn’t see all of it going at all. And, I guess that’s, that’s just one of those things that we were lucky to have a friend like that that would take everything that you wanted to, to leave behind.

Video Interview — October, 2006
To see this interview in its entirety, go to the Densho website archives. You will have to register to be allowed access to their archives. Once in the archive, visit the Visual History Collections: Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community Collection.

Matsue Watanabe

Matsue Nishimori Watanabe was 15 years old, in the 9th grade, when she was evacuated. She is the second youngest of six children. The Nishimori family did not move with most of the Bainbridge Islanders to Minidoka. They stayed in Manzanar. When the government started to allow the Japanese Americans to leave camp to travel east, Matsue's older brother and sisters moved to the Chicago area. When she was 18 years old, she moved to Evanston, IL to finish her last year of high school. She lived with a sponsor family.