Oral Memoirs of Terri Hamer: an interview conducted on April 3, 2020




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Terri Hamer was born in Tokyo, Japan on January 24, 1932. When World War II broke out, she was 9 years old and in the third grade. She lived with her widowed mother, two older brothers, and one younger brother. Her eldest brother joined the Japanese Navy. In this interview, Terri Hamer recalls sirens warning of airstrikes and remaining vigilant at night in case of attack. At one point her house was destroyed. She was forced to move several times to live with family or acquaintances, sometimes in cramped and uncomfortable conditions, in Tokyo and Niigata. Her interview vividly describes a long train ride from Niigata to Tokyo during the announcement of the Japanese surrender. After the war, she attended a girls’ high school, studied English, and worked for an American couple as a maid and then befriended them. She also studied sewing and typing. In 1958, she got a job as a typist at the U.S. military base Fuchu Air Station, where she met her future husband Charles A. Hamer. Terri and Charles moved to the United States, living in many different places, settling in New Mexico, where they lived for 20 years, and then retiring to San Angelo in the early 1990s.


Includes translation of article by Sakurai Junko, and interview transcript.
contained in: Greatest Generation Oral History Archive