Oral History Interview with Marion Yamabe Wake
Nisei female, born in 1926 in Los Angeles, California. Her father was naturalized under the 1935 Nye-Lee bill as he served in the U.S. Coastguard in WWI. Marion describes a complex parental life in Japan. In Southern California her father started a series of unsuccessful businesses which resulted in periodic poverty for the family. His most successful job was as chef to Cecil B. De Mille. When Marion was thirteen her mother died of cancer leaving Marion to be the primary caretaker of her three year-old brother. In early 1942, Mr. Yamabe returned home very upset by a vote by local Japanese American Citizens League to cooperate with the government and accept evacuation. When the family was due to evacuate, Marionï¿½s little brother had chicken pox and was admitted to Los Angeles County Hospital. In March 1942, when Marion was sixteen, the family was sent to Santa Anita Assembly Center. She describes unsanitary conditions of their horse stall living quarters. Her father was administrator for the food program, thus unavailable to help orient the children to camp life. A positive for Marion was the school for K-12 grades started by Nisei college graduates. School was conducted in the grandstands of the race track: kindergarteners were under the seats and older children were in the stands. The family then went to Rohwer, Arkansas where Marion attended high school. The happiest times for Marion were church-related activities. Mr. Yamabe took his entire kitchen crew and mess hall staff - he was chef - to work at a country club south of Chicago. Marion worked her ways through Asbury college and married Lloyd Wake in 1949. She led a busy life as wife and mother to four children while earning a teaching credential from California State University, San Francisco. She was a substitute teacher, taught emotionally disturbed children, earned a Masterï¿½s degree in Marriage and Family Counseling and served on various projects and advisory boards. As a team, Marion and Lloyd Wake conduct educational and counseling sessions.
Transcript available at Sacramento State University, Sacramento University Library
3 Tapes of 3
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