Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hiroshi Kashiwagi Interview
Narrator: Hiroshi Kashiwagi
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Date: July 3, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-khiroshi-02-0004

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AI: Well, I also wanted to ask you, in your early grammar school years, what was the rest of the student body like? Were there very many Japanese American kids?

HK: I think there were about a third, a third of the class, yeah. It, the, the class was somewhat divided, and we were... I, I didn't realize it at the time, but by the time we were in the seventh grade, there were two, two classrooms. And one was made up of all the white kids, and most of the white kids were landowners, and then there were a few, few Japanese, I don't know how they got in. Whether they were more, more Americanized, or what. But then the rest, the other class was mainly Japanese, and a few Chinese, and a few Portuguese, and a few Spanish, and a few very poor white kids in bare, bare feet and so forth. And since it was right after the Depression, or during the Depression, yeah, there were a lot of poor people. So, and so there was a division there, and it continued year after year, and I guess some of us in this other, lower, supposedly B class, made better grades in tests. So I don't know, it wasn't based on grades so much.

AI: Well, so during grammar school, who were your friends? Were you mostly friends with Japanese Americans, or with some of the other kids as well?

HK: Well, when, in the lower grades, and being in town, we walked to school, and there were white kids who walked from home to school, and so I had several white kids with whom I walked, and were friends with. And yeah, that was in the lower grades. But as you go up, they, they drop you. And, but, you know, I always remembered the relationship I had with them. And then later on, when we were in high school or something, they would have their friends, I would have my own friends. But if we passed each other on the sidewalk, they recognized that we were friends once, long ago.

AI: So it was a friendly memory.

HK: Yes. And I have to mention that we had the store, and there was a trio of Spanish girls, and they were a grade or two ahead of me, but being Spanish, I guess, they were far more mature, mature than their years. And they had black hair, and very sexy. And they, maybe they had some gypsy blood in them. I don't know. But anyway, they were Spanish, and they spoke a bit of Spanish. Once, my mother caught them stealing potato chip. They came in little bags, they were about ten cents each, and they were hooked onto a little, little stand, and when you'd touch them, it would really make a big rattling noise. And we were living in the back, rear of the store, and we can hear. And whenever someone came in, the door would bang, or they would kind of quietly slip in, and they would take these potato -- and they were caught once, because of all the noise. And they, I guess, to, as a reprisal, they would torment me. I would be walking and these three buxom girls, they would band together and block my way, or... anyway, I was always terrified of them, and they knew that, and they wanted -- maybe they were having, just having fun, but anyway, that left a psychological impression on me, and I think it affected my relationship with girls later. Yes.

AI: Yeah, sometimes those young experience really last a long time.

HK: Yeah. So I would try to find another route and try to avoid them, or go a little later, but they would always be there. [Laughs] These three women, they're really, sometimes I dream about them, even now. [Laughs]

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.