Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Tom Akashi Interview
Narrator: Tom Akashi
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary); Chizu Omori (secondary)
Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Date: July 3, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-atom-01-0005

<Begin Segment 5>

TI: Okay, and then shortly after, you came in 1929.

TA: Yeah. And then what happened is that he, he had the farm in Le Grande, and he had, he was helping his brother out on his farm. He couldn't handle both. He didn't have enough money, so as a result, he decided, hey, he'll withdraw the lease on that land and then go to Le Grande to farm on a permanent basis, on a full-time basis.

TI: And that's where you were born, (Merced).

TA: Yeah, full-time basis. And then at part-time during the busy season, he was managing the Cortez Farmers Association. So he sort of part-time, and then also he was, taught a little bit of Japanese while he was in Atwater, to supplement his wages.

TI: But you mentioned earlier how, although he was doing pretty well, at one point it got really hard and he lost his money. At that point, what happened?

TA: Well, he lost his money, sold up everything to pay off his debt, we went to our grandfather's place temporarily, and then it was a decision-time as to what he wanted to do, and he loved teaching. He was teaching part-time at the, at Atwater, so when he saw this ad for Mount Eden for a schoolteacher, he sort of jumped at it and says, "Hey, this is, this is great," so he took the job.

TI: Good. And so this is Mount Eden, this is probably where some of your, probably your earliest childhood memories probably take place.

TA: Yes. Yes, we moved to Mount Eden 1934, and I grew up there.

TI: So what was Mount Eden like for you? What was that like?

TA: Nice, quiet, small, very small town. And they had a Japanese community, maybe about 300 families, scattered throughout there. The farm, and the town consisted of mostly Germans. In fact, at one time they called it "Germantown." And then nearby, they had a place where... oh, God, memory's slipping. Another race people. And they...

TI: Was it, not Polish?

TA: Not Polish. Some Scandinavian. I could go by my book, but right now I have a "senior moment." I blank, I don't know why. [Laughs]

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.