Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Tosh Yasutake Interview
Narrator: Tosh Yasutake
Interviewers: Alice Ito (primary), Tom Ikeda (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: November 14, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-ytosh-01-0031

<Begin Segment 31>

AI: Well, now then, fairly soon after that you must have gotten engaged. And...

TY: Oh, then, well, there's another interesting thing happened when I was living in the dorm. I got to know, there was one graduate student living in the dorm, I got to know quite well, Ray Pennock And one Christmas, I think, Christmas of, must've been '97 or '98, my guess was '98, I was moping around in the dorms, telling --

AI: I'm sorry, '48, 1948.

TY: 1948. I'm sorry. 1948. And he, Ray and I were in the room. Everybody had gone off for Christmas vacation and it was, and we were lamenting how sad it was that we were there and no place to go to Christmas and I was talking about Fumi and I thought, gee, I wish we could go over to New York and, I must've talked about it a lot because, I don't remember doing that, but one week about three, about four days before Christmas he comes storming into my room and he put three hundred dollars on my desk like that and he said, "Tosh, I'm getting tired of you talking about wanna go to New York. Here it is. I'll loan you this money. Go." [Laughs] So I flew back, luckily I, that late date I was able to find a plane. And that plane I flew on was an old converted C-47 that the, couple of veterans, old army pilots had bought. It was a charter flight. And they're nothing but mostly GIs on that flight except there's a couple of civilians and I was one of the few civilians and we were waiting at the airport to take off and it was so cloudy that they wouldn't take off -- I mean, foggy. It was very, very foggy. It was just really thick as soup and so the GIs went around collecting money to bribe the pilot to take, go take off, but of course he couldn't do it, it was against the law and everything and he didn't. But finally we did take off and it was such a rickety trip, I didn't think I was gonna make it. It was... [Laughs] Oh, that was another flight to remember because I didn't think I was gonna make it. But we finally got to New York and I got, Fumi and I got engaged at that time. When I came back I was engaged. And that Ray Pennock is in Seattle. He lives in Seattle with his wife, I know. And we've, after came back to Seattle we met several times and had dinner with him. We still visit with him periodically. But anyway, that's another side story. I'm sorry. Got on a tangent here.

AI: Well, it's so interesting to hear about how you had this cross country engagement.

TY: Relationship. And then, yeah, it was kinda hard. We did a lot of letter-writing, of course, and a lot of phone calling and, and I didn't get back there again until I, until after I got -- wedding time.

AI: And that was in 1950.

TY: 1950. We got married July 1, 1950 and, about two days, Fumi was madly going around making arrangement for the wedding, making reservations at the church and she even made reservation at a resort in Connecticut, or was it in Maine? Anyway, one of those. And two days or three days before the wedding she got acute appendicitis. And my father was already in, my father and mother was already in New York. My dad had taken the vacation time to come to New York and, for the wedding and I thought, we thought, "What are we gonna do?" And we finally decided we just go ahead with the wedding because Dad won't be able to come back again and so we talked to the people at the hospital and they got very excited and he said, "You know, we've never had a wedding in our hospital." And so they arranged everything and we had, we just had the immediate family there at the wedding. We cancelled everything else. And they brought Fumi down on a wheelchair and we met at the reception room at the hospital and we had our wedding there. And right after the wedding we went upstairs and for our next, almost a week, I think, I visited Fumi every wedding day and our honeymoon was spent just holding hands during visiting hours. [Laughs] So that was a story, I mean, that's an interesting story, too, I guess. [Laughs]

AI: That's quite an experience, a unique experience.

TY: Exactly. And then we, I stayed there until that summer. We rented, sub-rented an apartment and we stayed in New York and then came back in the fall to go back to school. But, and it was some experience for Fumi to come back, too, because when we left I said, "Well, one of these days we're gonna come back to New York. I'll see if I can get a job in New York City." And of course that was a promise that I couldn't keep. But she had just said okay. I think she, even, I mean, now she feels that New York is a nice place to visit but she wouldn't want to live there. [Laughs]

AI: But she had quite a different experience in that she grew up right there in New York.

TY: Oh she, yeah, she -- well, I think her earlier years were spent in New Jersey, but later on I'm, when she was still quite young, the folks moved to New York City and they started a lamp store. And they had lamp stores for a long, long time. And finally, of course, the lamp business wasn't, didn't go all that well, latter part of, oh must've been, oh, about late '60s, I think, things got, I think they had to disband their store and get rid of it. But their kids all went, grew up in New York City, right in Manhattan.

AI: So for her --

TY: Italian neighborhood.

AI: So for her, coming to Seattle in the 1950s --

TY: Quite a, it was quite a change.

AI: -- at that time Seattle was still --

TY: I think there was -- well, luckily we came to Seattle for year or so before we went down to that wild country of the western slope of the Cascades where I finally took a job there.

AI: Well --

TY: At the Fish and Wildlife Service.

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.