Father making shell brooches at Topaz

Parents First Exposure to Animation December 7th, 1941 Father’s Optimism Tanforan Assembly Center Dusty Weather at Topaz, Utah Mother in Camp Father making shell brooches at Topaz Father’s Postwar Barber Career First Encounter with Walt Disney Disney Drawing Tests His mentor, Iwao Takamoto The Dopey bank that survived the war

Transcripts available in the following languages:

My dad was an avid fisherman. He was one of the founders of the Nisei fishing club up in San Francisco. So twice a week he would go fishing. Wednesday he would close up his shop and he'd go locally. He’d go to Lake Merced or go to Fisherman’s Wharf or whatever. And then on weekends he’d go for striped bass up in Pittsburgh, that was near Sacramento. That’s where the bass was running. So that was his big hobby.

But he was a very good handy man. I mean, hobbyist. So one of the things that he perfected while in camp was making fine brooches or floral arrangements because Topaz, being on the Utah dry lake, you go and dig up, and you find clam shells that were bleached. So with fingernail polish and paint, he would match the shells and make rosebuds and nice little, cute, beautiful little things. And then the basket would be spun crepe paper, and then he would weave it. And then he would varnish it, and they would make beautiful brooches.

So what he did is, he made a big group of this stuff, and left camp before we did. But first thing he did was, he went to the Chicago, Lake Michigan area. The big, fancy hotels around Lake Michigan. And went to the gift shop there, and sold the little brooches at the gift shop. And he made a few bucks. Then he went back to San Francisco and started barber school.

Date: August 26, 2015
Location: California, US
Interviewer: John Esaki
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

camps father shell brooches Topaz Utah World War II

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