Today we remember and honor all the women who, during WWII, left all they knew behind, packed and moved their families across the country by car, train, and bus, and moved to Vanport, to build a better life for their children and contribute to the war effort. 

Here below a few quotes about motherhood in Vanport from the many interviews we've been collecting through our oral history project, now in its third year.

Join us on May 27th and May 29th for the (free!) screenings of Lost City, Living Memories: Vanport Through The Voices of Its Residents, part of THE VANPORT MOSAIC FESTIVAL 2017

"She wanted to get out of Hughes Springs, and I can see why after I visited. And, she decided she would go as far away from Hughes Springs as she could... And so she found Portland, Oregon, and she didn’t know a soul. But my mother took me, and my sister; I was two at the time, and my sister had just been born. And she got on the train and moved to Portland, Oregon. And so a lot of people who came to Portland, from the South, came to work in the shipyards. But my mother, I always call her a pioneer woman ‘cause she didn’t know a soul." ~Lurlene Samsud-Din

" my father contacted my mother and he said, “Pack up, get a Mayflower transport and bring the belongings; I have a home for you, so we can get settled. And so we traveled. My mother did all this, I don’t really know how she accomplished all these things, but we boarded a Greyhound bus and I believe we traveled for six days." ~ Marionne Endecotte

"I washed an awful lot of diapers. And I hemmed them all by hand everything because she was so tiny and she’s still tiny. You had to wash everything by hand because there was nothing else you could do if you wanted clean clothes." ~Lillie Kizer

My mother was Barbara Kiggins. I'm named after her. And she was very shy and quiet and she did everything that everybody would expect of a mother to do without getting any fanfare for herself. So she never, if she complained I didn't hear about it, she just did what needed to be done. ~Barbara Green

The day of the flood I can still remember my mom was cooking a pot roast because it was a Sunday. So not knowing where we were going to be she made certain that we had the pot roast in case we had to have something to eat.  ~ Sen. Jackie Winters


We particularly honor the Japanese American mothers "who had the misfortune of losing their husband to the Enemy Alien Control Program, as it came to be known, suddenly found themselves alone in a hostile environment, bearing the full responsibility for supporting their children financially and emotionally." Read about them and look at the moving photo essay on Densho blog .