Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Elaine Ishikawa Hayes Interview III
Narrator: Elaine Ishikawa Hayes
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 24, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-helaine-03-0001

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AI: Well, I should say that today's June 24, 2004, and we are continuing our interview with Elaine Ishikawa Hayes, and I'm Alice Ito from Densho, we're here at Densho, and John Pai is on videography for us. And so, as we were chatting earlier, we were kind of recalling that in our last session, you had just been telling us about how your not-yet husband, Ralph Hayes, due to some racial discrimination at Northwestern University, had needed to find another place where he could finish his undergraduate education, and he had left Chicago to come here to Seattle to attend University of Washington. And you had stayed behind in Chicago, and were tying up some loose ends there, and we did talk some about the experiences that you and Ralph had had as an interracial couple in Chicago, and a little bit about your families getting to know each other in Chicago. And then, so now we're just on the point of, I believe it was November 1948 that you left Chicago and moved here to Seattle. And so, when you came out, did you say that, I think you said at that time, Ralph was living on University of Washington campus, in housing for return-, for veteran students, U.S. army veterans who were now students.

EH: That was a Quonset hut in '48 on campus, and there was a lot of construction going on on campus. But, so I had to find -- and I made arrangements ahead of time to, to stay at the YWCA. I knew that that was going to be possible, and then I, for some reason, or somehow, on the bulletin board of the YW was an ad for someone to babysit, and I thought, well, I didn't have a job at that point, I'd better take whatever job I could get. And so just as a start, I took that babysitting job, and after two or three times of babysitting with them, they asked if, would I be interested in living-in with them, earning my room and board a little bit with, helping with dinner, cleaning up dinner dishes and all that. And I, by that time -- oh, let's see, I did get a job at the American Friends Service Committee, which was across the street from the Y, UW campus on Fifteenth, and that didn't take long. I think maybe within two or three weeks of being here, I landed that job. So when I moved in with the Bakers, I said, "I have this job, and I can help with dinner and after dinner, but I'll be gone during the day." And that was all right. It was north end of Capitol Hill, right off of Eastlake. And I could take a bus right in to the UW. And that worked all right, I lived, I lived with them for oh, two or three years.

They were, she was a relatively conservative Republican family, and had trouble coping with Ralph. When Ralph came, she was very tense, and she didn't like it, but at one point, she was having guests for dinner, and her mother was there, and she wanted me to help. So I, I was helping, and when Ralph came to pick me up -- I wasn't (going to) stay around for dinner -- but when Ralph came to pick me up, her mother answered the door, and it turned out that they were in the same journalism classes at the university. And that was so much fun for them, she just hurriedly fixed a, a cup of tea for both of them, and they sat on the kitchen table just yakking away. And Jane Baker was furious. She was just furious, and, but, we got along, and I left, and the next day, she told me that she didn't appreciate her mother letting Ralph in. And I said, "Well, he's a friend of mine. Am I (going to) be permitted to, to at least have him pick me up?" And, and her husband bounced in and said, "Jane, get over that business." They were both Garfield graduates, and they were very proud of it, and she would tell me she knew Leonard Gayton very well, because they were classmates, and he was a jazz musician. And yet, she couldn't tolerate having a black person in the home. This was just the north end of Capitol Hill. But anyway...

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