Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Joe Yasutake Interview
Narrator: Joe Yasutake
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 9, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-yjoe-01-0005

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And finally I think my, my father just decided he couldn't handle it anymore, so he got another job in Cincinnati proper at that point with a family who was really quite nice to us. But still, he was -- now he was a gardener. I think he was just a gardener, and then my mother was again the cook and maid of the home. But they treated us very, very well, and you could just tell that they had genuine affection for my parents. And so they, you know, they were there for actually for about two years, while I was in my eighth grade and freshman years in school.

AI: And was this again a live-in situation, so you all lived there on the --

JY: It was.

AI: -- property?

JY: The home where we lived was not quite as enormous as the first place. I mean, the first place was literally a mansion on an estate that wouldn't quit, you know, but this house was large but -- and our quarters were actually a little bit more modest. It was right off the kitchen, whereas in the other house it was a wing, you know, in effect that we had by ourselves. And this was just, as I recall, really just two bedrooms off the kitchen, with a bath, but I felt much better there. The only thing is -- I'm kind of ashamed to think about it, but I was ashamed of the fact that my parents were servants, and when I was in school the kids knew where I lived and they assumed that was our house. And I can recall just not wanting to tell people or even bring them home because they would find out then that I, you know, that we were in the servants' quarters kind of thing.

And my father had a kind of a hard time at the beginning, because he knew absolutely zip about gardening. I mean, he just knew nothing, and my mother had to tell him everything about -- oh, I can remember him -- you know, watching my mother go out one time to kind of tell him about something. He came in to ask something, and she noticed that there was this humongous weed growing in the middle of the garden. And apparently my dad thought it was some kind of exotic flower, you know, and he had cleared all the area around it and was just cultivating this thing. [Laughs] And my mother looked at him and said, "What are you doing?" [Laughs] So he was in that kind of, you know -- and he mowed the grass. I used to help him mow the grass and things like that. And they had a pool, so we, you know, had to clean the pool. And, and in those days they didn't have a mechanical cleaner or anything, so you had to dig, dig the scum off the walls and so forth and so on. But in the main, they were much happier simply because the, the relationship between them and the employee, employers, were, were just much warmer and easy to get along with.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.