Date: April 6, 2006, El Cerrito, California
Date: May 17, 2007, El Cerrito, CA
|Chizu Iiyama was raised in Francisco's Chinatown. She was transfered to Santa Anita Relocation Center where here she lived for six months in a horse stall with her family. She was later transfered to Topaz.|
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My name is Chizu Iiyama. I was born November 14, 1921. I am 84 years old. We lived in San Francisco in Chinatown as Japanese Americans. The Japanese group in Chinatown was very, very close, so that we had a really marvelous childhood. I went to schools in San Francisco, which again, was a wonderful period for me in my life. Then I went to the University of California in 1938. It was on December 7, 1941 which was a big change in terms of my life experience. I was at the university and shortly thereafter we were removed from the Bay Area and I went to Santa Anita. My sisters were living in San Francisco, Japantown, and so they didn't go until much later and we were separated. We felt we would never see each other again. Then, fortunately, I was released from camp fairly early. I lived six months in a horse stall in Santa Anita and six months I lived in Topaz which was up in Utah. When I left, I got married. I met my husband in camp. We got married out of camp, then went on to Chicago. I went on to New York City and, again, great place New York City. That was when I really felt like I was free. Then we went back to Chicago and I worked there with the Chicago Resettlers' Committee. Then I went on for my master's degree at the University of Chicago and I got it in early childhood and in child development and education. Then we came out to California and lived in Berkeley for a short time, then found a home in the Bay Area. We've lived in El Cerrito now for a long time. And I got a job. I worked for a while with young children when my children were young, so that they were with me while I was working. Then I went on and got a job with Contra Costa College. I taught early childhood education and child psychology, development, etc. for about seventeen years. Then I retired and went to Japan. I stayed there for six months and tried to feel what it was like to be a Japanese living in Japan, rather than a tourist. Then I came back, and we have been active in many, many different organizations after we came back. I'm very political and learned that while we were in camp. I have had I think a really wonderful life.