Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Paul Bannai Interview I
Narrator: Paul Bannai
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 28, 2000
Densho ID: denshovh-bpaul-01-0005

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AI: Well, now then, you mentioned that after your very early days in Colorado and then the time in Utah, then after your father had, had the pool hall and it wasn't doing well, he decided to leave that. Then you moved to Glendale, Arizona? Is that right?

PB: Where?

AI: To Arizona...?

PB: Yes.

AI: farm? Is that right?

PB: Uh-huh. Right. According, and I don't know why we did, but if you read my father's diary, he was looking for ways of making more income to support the family, because now we had more, he had more youngsters to support and everything. And we went to Phoenix, Arizona. And there was a melons and, mostly melons. But I do remember the family that we lived with and helped. That was the Tadano family. And they were prominent for quite a long while in Arizona and Phoenix in particular. In fact, I went back several years later. I like to just go back and look over where I'd been. So I was in Phoenix again for a conference, and I went out to the area that we used to live in. Well, I would say not surprisingly, the entire area, the farm was gone, housing projects had sprung up, and it was just a mass of homes. I went to look for the school. I remember the school I went to was called Osborne School. And I went there to see if the school existed. No, it was gone. But when you go back after, that was about seventy years later, it's, you have to realize that there's so many changes in areas because the people from back East came out to Phoenix and settled there. And as a result of that, the homes were needed, and they just cleared all the farm land.

But I do remember the farming there because in Arizona we would, we were raising cantaloupe to ship. And they would pick those and put 'em into crates and ship 'em back East. Watermelon primarily was sold locally. But I remember the joy of working on those farms because walking up and down when the watermelon was ripe -- I would drop 'em on the ground, you eat just the heart. You throw the rest away. And I remember the cantaloupe -- when they picked 'em, if they were ripe, the, very tasty, the best time, we wouldn't ship them because they were ripe, and they said they'd get -- so we shipped them partly green. So what did we do with the ripe ones? Oh, we had mountains of 'em, and we would sell them to people or give them to people for cattle feed. And I thought, "My golly, the best tasting cantaloupes we give away." [Laughs] The watermelon, but we did raise a lot of 'em. And Tadano family were very prominent. And they became, you might say, the center of activity in the Phoenix area. But it was real good to go back there again, too, and to say, "Well, I've been here, and I remember now what it was all about."

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