My first experience with public transportation occurred in May 1942 when I was almost 4 years old, and my brother was 2. My family was living in Yolo County in an agricultural labor camp when we saw a bulletin posted that all Japanese were to report by May 5th for evacuation from the West Coast. A bus picked us up and I remember it was so crowded I had to stand up and hold on to a pole behind the driver's seat.
We arrived at the Sacramento Train Station in the afternoon with our 2 bags of belongings. I remember the large beige-colored train seats. We had no food, so my dad bought Chinese food and we ate from the cartons. We had to say goodbye to my father at the station because he was not Japanese and could not go with us.
We rode the train through the night. I remember being awake when a tall soldier walked by and told me to go to sleep. To a 4-year-old everything looked big. The seat was high and hard. What I also remember is the silence on the train except for the clickety-clack of the train wheels. I can't imagine my mother trying to keep me and my 1 and a 1/2-year-old brother quiet, but she did. Everyone rode along in silence.
The train arrived at Tule Lake relocation camp the next day. The only thing I remember on arrival at Tule Lake was the dust, heat, and quiet.
I became a teacher in 1970 through the Federal Teacher Corps program, which was good for me. I didn't have to commute as I had 5 children by the time I graduated as one of 5 outstanding graduates. I taught for 2 years before becoming the multicultural specialist at my school. It was during this time I recounted my experiences to students, faculty, and school district. I held this position for about 9 years. I also spoke at literature classes that were reading a play about the relocation camps.
Despite this unusual first experience I still like traveling, especially in trains!