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Wilbur Sato spent his early childhood in San Pedro and Terminal Island. When ordered to leave Terminal Island, his family went to Boyle Heights before being sent to Manzanar. Just after arriving at Manzanar, Sato, a stamp collector who’d had to leave his albums behind, had a birthday. To celebrate, he recalled that: “Well, my mother surprised me with a couple of stamps. I didn’t know what to do with them. In the past, I would save stamps and I would admire them for their color and design and dream about the places where they came from all over the world. And you’d study places on the map and learn all the capitals and all that, but, gee, after that experience I just, I just couldn’t do it anymore. Just because of that connection somehow.” The family left Manzanar for Des Moines, Iowa. The transition was difficult; Sato recalled a fellow student punched him in the stomach. Shortly after that, the other students rallied around him. Sato and his family eventually returned to California. Of his Manzanar experiences, Sato said: “This alienation that you go through, that stays with you for the rest of your life. Even now you wonder, ‘Gee, am I a part of this? Are these really my friends?’ You just wonder whether or not you’re a part. But you just have to put that aside and assume that you are, and just participate.”
Manzanar National Historic Site California Revealed is supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.