Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Emery Brooks Andrews Interview
Narrator: Emery Brooks Andrews
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 24, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-aemery-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Today is March 24, 2004 and we're in the studios of Densho, of the Densho offices. On camera is Dana Hoshide and then I'm Tom Ikeda, and I'm the interviewer. And so, Brooks, why don't we get started by asking the question where and when were you born?

EBA: I was born just not too far from here, from the Densho house -- or the building here -- at Providence Hospital. I was born November 14, 1937 on a cold and snowy night at one a.m. in the morning.

TI: And so what was the name you were given when you were born?

EBA: My full name is Emery Brooks Andrews. Emery was, is my dad's first name and Emery is also my grandma's maiden name, so that's a name that has been passed on. My dad's, it'd be my dad's mother's maiden name. So that's a name that's been passed on for, for a couple generations or more. In fact, it still goes on because I named one of my granddaughters Emery, or her mother did. I didn't name her, but, so that name Emery continues on.

TI: So the Emery name, where did that come from in terms of country of origin?

EBA: As far back as I can find at this point, it goes back to England. But that's about as far as I know at this point.

TI: And do you recall how many generations your family was from England in terms of...

EBA: I think about three or four generations from England. I mean, what I've documented so far goes back to mid-1800s in England and I'm not sure about another one, maybe early 1800s in England. But beyond that, I'm not, I can't... I don't know for sure.

TI: Interesting. Let's go back to when you were born. At that point, what were the, your siblings, I mean, talk about that a little bit in terms of who was around when you were born, in terms of siblings.

EBA: One more comment about my name, the name Brooks is what, is the name that I go by and Brooks was my mother's maiden name. And that goes back to somewhere in England and Scotland also.

TI: So that's interesting. So Emery was your grandmother's maiden name and then Brooks was your mother's maiden name.

EBA: Mother's maiden name. Right, exactly.

TI: Okay.

EBA: So I have all surnames, I guess. I'm sorry, your other question?

TI: Oh, it was just about your siblings. And so, at the point you were born, why don't you talk about the family. What did the family look like when you came into this world?

EBA: Okay. Well, I have, I did at that time have three older sisters. My oldest sister, Melverna, was born in 1919 and so she was a lot older than I was. And then my other two sisters, Betty Jean, who is the middle sister, and Arleen is the younger sister. And Arleen is the only surviving member of my family now besides myself. And Betty Jean was born in 1927 and Arleen was born in 1929, I think it was.

TI: Okay. So that's a pretty wide range --

EBA: Yes, and then I was born --

TI: -- from 1919 to 1937.

EBA: Yeah, yeah. And my mother was forty-two when I was born. So I'm sure I was a, maybe something of a surprise. But it's interesting, it was a huge, it was a big deal in the Japanese community, especially the Japanese Baptist Church, to have a son born to us. And so I was a kind of a star of some magnitude in the Japanese Baptist Church.

TI: Talk about that. So when you were born, because, so your father had, and mother had three daughters, and then you came along. So what was the commotion? I mean, so people were really excited? They...

EBA: They were excited, I think -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- but I think boys are a big deal in Japanese family. And after having three girls in the family, to have this surprise boy come along, I think stirred the imagination of Japanese Baptist Church and thought, this is really great, someone to carry on the family name, someone to follow in dad's footsteps or however that might fall out down the road.

TI: Good.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.