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Title: Paul Bannai Interview II
Narrator: Paul Bannai
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 29, 2000
Densho ID: denshovh-bpaul-02-0007

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AI: And now, to get caught up again, you told us how you did then get back to the United States. You landed in Vancouver, Washington...

PB: Right.

AI: ...and then went down to the Los Angeles area...

PB: Right.

AI: ...found out where your family was...

PB: Uh-huh.

AI: ...and decided to re-enlist for one more year. And now, at that point you found your family, and where were they living at that time when you first got back to them?

PB: Well, they found a trailer in Long Beach. And because...

AI: California.

PB: ...I had money that I had accumulated -- I never drew money when I was in the army. I could eat and sleep on military. So I had back pay. It wasn't a lot. I had enough money to make a down payment on a little house on the south side. It was Broadway and Fifty-first. And I bought a little house for the family so that we wouldn't have to pay exorbitant rent. And I had in mind that now that they were settled that I could go back to Japan if -- so I had re-enlisted, as I say, for one year. When I went back to camp, they said, "If you enlist more than one year, two or three years, we will let you go overseas. But we have a law that you cannot go overseas if it's one-year enlistment." So I said, "Fine. I will stay." Well, during that interim, one year, I had a, you might say, furlough, and I met my future wife, Hideko, in Chicago. And we decided to get married. So we were married in Chicago. And I then was ordered to Fort Lewis, Washington, right here near Seattle. So we came out to Seattle. She was working for the government, so -- she worked at Madigan, I think it was Madigan General Hospital which was part of the fort. And I eventually got a house at Fort Lewis, and we moved in. So I was there for the one year except for times that I spent out on other duty.

AI: Now, would this have been 1946 that you got married?

PB: Yes.

AI: Approximately?

PB: Yes, I think it was '46, right.

AI: 1946 or so you... now, how did you meet Hideko? Did you meet her...

PB: Well, I had...

AI: ...earlier in...?

PB: ...heard of her because I told you that the Bainbridge people came to Manzanar. Her sister married a fellow, Nishimori, from Bainbridge. So I didn't know my wife at that time very well, but she had gone to, as I say Chicago. So through my sister, and my sister was working at a theological Presbyterian seminary in Chicago, and I would go there because I could stay at the dormitories without charge. And it was through that that we decided that we'd get together and get married. In fact, because of my sister's association at the seminary, the dean of the school, the pastor married us without charge and even took care of our little reception. So being a soldier with very little money, it was some incentive. It was very good.

But we came here to Fort Lewis. And my wife's parents had originally from Japan had settled in Tacoma. So there were a lot of people that they knew. One of the families was the Fujimoto, and we lived right across from Buddhist church on Fawcett Avenue, I remember that. And even though I was not always at the fort -- I was being sent to San Diego to help the marines. I was over in Yakima because I had a tank company. I did have a house on the post at Fort Lewis until my discharge. So that was a military type of a life. And I spent a lot of time in Seattle also when I was up here, and it was a very pleasant experience. And one thing I remember, and I'm sure that since I'm in Seattle I can say this, is that I had one day -- or not one day -- but one month it, we had twenty-eight days of rain at Fort Lewis. [Laughs] And as I tell people, if it was February it would've been every day of the month. But it was not. I always joke about that because it is a rainy country up here.

AI: So you had no thought of staying here in the Northwest.

PB: No...

AI: You were definitely planning...

PB: ...because, yeah.

AI: return to Southern California.

PB: Right. Because my folks were there and I was concerned about my family.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2000 Densho. All Rights Reserved.