Although one letter writer criticized the academic community for being "coffee shop idealists," Reed's concern for the wartime treatment of the nikkei was far more than high-minded rhetoric. It was direct and personal. One evening in early spring 1942, Hattie Kawahara found herself on campus later than she had anticipated, hours, in fact, past the recently imposed curfew. She could be arrested for taking the trolley home, and she knew it. But what choice did she have? Two of Hattie's classmates, Bill Clark '43 and Lendon (Denny) Smith '43, noted her distress and volunteered to take her home in Smith's car. Driving across the Broadway Bridge, they saw a phalanx of American Legionnaires armed with deer rifles who had taken on the job of protecting Portland from people like Hattie. She slipped down in the back seat, and they drove on.
After she and her family were settled in at the assembly center, Hattie asked permission to be released for a day to take her final exams at Reed. Accompanied by two soldiers who towered over her, she returned to campus in late May to find her fellow students outraged at what was happening and her professors so sympathetic that they wanted to waive her exams. "Enjoy your day of freedom," they told her. Hattie was warmed by their concern, but she was not interested in special treatment. She sat for two exams that day and took her math and economics tests back with her to the center, where she completed them in the only quiet place she could find, an unused walk-in meat locker.
Reed classmates stayed in touch and continued to show their concern during Hattie's Portland internment. Several classmates visited her at the assembly center, bringing fresh fruit, homemade cookies, candy, and magazines. Hazel Johnson, Reed College librarian, stopped by several times with boxes of books. Her thesis adviser, professor George Bernard Noble, paid a visit. Hattie received her visitors in the mess hall, conscious of her spartan surroundings and her inability to play the polite role of hostess. But she was so very happy to see people from "the outside," to hear news from the outside, that nothing else mattered. Those visits and the many letters she received from her Reed friends sustained her during the long, hot summer of 1942.