By Betty Shibayama
We went to see Minidoka, when we were returning from the 1995 Portland Reunion/Ruth & Sus' Golden Anniversary celebration, enroute to taking Ruth & Sus home and matsutake hunting.
We had a difficult time finding the camp and after some help from a local resident, we located it. (We should have remained on the main highway and we would have come across the large wooden Memorials. ) We didn't get toTwin Falls, which I wanted to do because I wanted to cross the bridge that spanned the Snake River Canyon.
I remember crossing that bridge, when we used to the take the bus to Twin Falls on day trips. I can remember going, at least twice. There wasn't much left of the camp. Just a part of a "holding" place for those who were visiting the camp to receive clearance. Sus said that he remembered waiting there with Ruth, when they visited us in Minidoka on their honeymoon. Even though he was in uniform, at the time, he had to wait for clearance. The only thing left of the structure was a large stone fireplace and chimney.
Next to it was a long stone memorial wall about waist high, honoring the soldiers, who were from Minidoka, who died in the service. Frank's name was on the list.
I guess, even though, he was not from the camp, if a parent was, he was considered "from" the camp.
While we lived in camp, I don't recall seeing the canals that bordered part of the camp. But I do remember hearing reports of a girl or others, drowning in one of the canals. I was surprised to see how wide they were and one of them had a very swift current. I can see how a child could get swept away and drown.
Were the canals a "natural boundary" of the camp? Maybe, Paul, Claude or Jr. would remember.
Ruth and I wanted to walk into the area that we assumed was the camp and see if we could see the foundation of barracks or some other reminders of camp but the man who showed us where the camp was, warned us "there are rattlesnakes in there." Needless to say, we didn't take another step in that direction. It was full of sand, sagebrush and weeds. Its no wonder that Mom had such bad hay fever and asthma. Remember, how she used to have a wet handkerchief across her nose and mouth?
The Camps: Tule Lake, Minidoka