Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Art Shibayama Interview
Narrator: Art Shibayama
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 26, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-sart-01-0036

<Begin Segment 36>

AI: Well, then, let's see, at some point you and Betty decided that you were going to, to move and leave Chicago.

AS: Uh-huh.

AI: Tell me about that. How did you, how did you make that decision?

AS: Well, we came on vacation, 1967. And we spent couple weeks, yeah couple weeks here and we really --

AI: Oh, excuse me, when you said "here," did you mean in California?

AS: Yeah, in California, San Jose, oh, I'm sorry. [Laughs] Came to San Jose and visited my sister. By then my sister had moved already. So, so we spent couple of weeks with them. And then, but, at that time I liked it here, but most of my friends were in Chicago and somehow, I wanted to move Betty didn't. She was afraid of the earthquakes.

AI: Earthquakes in, in California?

AS: In California. So, so she wasn't too crazy about moving there. But then a few years later in (1970) -- '71, we went back again for another couple weeks. And in the winter, the early winter of 19-, between '70 and '71, we had twenty-six inches of snow in twenty-four hours. So I was shoveling snow all day long, finish shoveling the front, I had to go to the back, shovel the back and then come back to the front. And then in the news we heard that some of the roofs were caving in because it was a wet snow. And see, in those days in Chicago, the roofs were flat. So then I had to go all the way up to the third floor, shovel, get the snow out of there. So it was, and another thing is, we had so much snow, the grocery stores were running out of milk, they were even running out of powder, powdered milk because they couldn't deliver it. The only thing that was running was the subway, the subways and the El, no buses or trucks. And, in fact, some of the old people were dying because the coal truck were oil, couldn't be delivered, so no heat. They couldn't get in. They couldn't heat the houses. [Coughs] Excuse me. So they were dying, that's how bad it was. And people couldn't go to work, because no, no... I mean, people that lived near the El or subway, they were able to go, but a lot of people couldn't go to work. In fact, they, they had to borrow those semis from Wisconsin and Michigan to, to get rid of the snow, get the snow on the truck and dump it in the lake.

AI: That sounds like a terrible winter.

AS: So then that summer, the following summer we had a -- fourteen days straight -- we had a temperature of ninety to ninety-five, and the humidity was between ninety-five and a hundred. So then, in October I said, "Let's move. We gotta get out of here." [Laughs] That's when we decided to move to California. Plus, my hay-fever was getting bad there. So we moved.

AI: So, that, was that in 1971?

AS: '71.

AI: That you moved to...

AS: '71, October of '71.

AI: So where did you move to?

AS: San Jose. 'Cause I had, by then, I had three sisters there. So, so one of my sisters found a house for us to rent, and so we rented a house in Los Gatos for about half a (year). That's when we found our house.

AI: And what did you do for work?

AS: Oh, I... good friend of mine was, in fact, he moved from Chicago to San Jose and he, we worked at the same place, at the Ford dealership in Chicago. And in fact, he lived across the street from me in Chicago, so we used to carpool to work. And he had a, he got a Shell station in San Jose, well actually, in Campbell, which is next (town) to San Jose. And so he, he gave me a job. I worked there for ten months and then he, he sent me to Shell school for two months, two months, oh, eight weeks, actually. And then, then... and then that was December, so I must've worked for him for about ten months. And then, then we found a station, service station, so then I got my own service station.

AI: Oh, so then you were in business for yourself?

AS: Uh-huh.

AI: Well, that's quite a change.

AS: Yeah, because this friend of mine that I worked, we were so close, we were like brothers.

AI: So how did you like that, having your own station?

AS: Headaches. Not so much the work, getting the help was the problem, especially here, because we couldn't afford to pay 'em much more than, than minimum wages. But then in Silicon Valley, those companies, they were paying much more than that so, so it was hard to get help. Well, you get any help, you get somebody to work for you and then two, three months later they get a better job in Silicon Valley and they quit. So that was a problem. That was a headache.

AI: Oh, my goodness. Well, what about, aside from that, how was it adjusting to living in California, in San Jose? You had enjoyed yourself on the, on the visits, on the trips out, but once you were actually settled there, how did you like it?

AS: Oh, I liked it. The weather was nice. We didn't have to worry about all that snow and the heat in the summertime, humidity, so it was really nice.

<End Segment 36> - Copyright © 2003 Densho. All Rights Reserved.