Ruby Fukumoto

December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbour was attacked. I was 16 years old in grade eleven, attending Victoria high school and living with my family in Victoria BC. I don’t really remember what my feelings were at the time, it’s all a 69 years ago you know, perhaps a feeling of disbelief. Later in April 1942, we all who were of Japanese descent were told that we had to leave our homes with only a week’s notice to get ready. We could only take what we could carry. And that was on April 22, 1942, that fateful day. It must have been very hard for all the parents, especially the people who had their own business, homes, etc. Being Japanese, nobody really had feelings of protesting and took it in their stride. I think most of us felt it would only be a temporary thing and that we would be able to return sometime later. As for myself, being in my teens, it didn’t worried too much. And that song, whatever will be will be, would best describe my feelings. However, I did feel sad that I was leaving school, my friends especially. I did keep in touch with one friend, but somehow lost track after awhile. One consolation was I had very close Japanese friends my age.

We moved to Hastings Park, Vancouver. My father was only with us for a short time and then sent to a road camp with other men. It was a very sad time, but once again I was optimistic that we would be together again. We had to stay in the section where the animals were kept, not exactly what we were prepared for. My mom and two younger ones were in one section with other families and girls my age were in groups of four or five in each stall. We put up sheets for a bit of privacy. The boys from a certain age and up were in another area. When we were settled, we began attending classes to do our correspondence course, with the help of volunteer university graduates or students. In our leisure time, we would play any kind of sport that was available; basketball for one and also glee club was formed, which kept us busy and was fun as well. We had our meals at a mess hall, which was okay except for one incident when most of us had an attack of food poisoning and it was chaotic to find an available toilet. I remember there was running water under these toilets, so we didn’t have to flush them. We were allowed to leave the park, which was all fenced in, but we had to apply for a pass first. I remember my girlfriend and I were invited to go out with a couple of nice young men. We had a very busy fun filled day. We went to the midway and had an exciting ride on the giant dipper, our first, not just once but two or three times. I think we screamed our heads off. Then we went bowling and then on to a lovely dinner and after that, a live musical performance which featured Sonny Dunham and his orchestra. I will always remember seeing my first live band show.”

Born in Edmonton AB, Ruby grew up in Victoria BC until her and her family left to Hastings Park. They then moved to Slocan City until the houses in Bayfarm were ready. – Courtesy of the Sedai project. For the complete interview see HERE