Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Peggie Nishimura Bain Interview
Narrator: Peggie Nishimura Bain
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: September 15-17, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-bpeggie-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

AI: Okay, today is September 15, 2004, and I'm Alice Ito with Densho, John Pai is on videography, and we're here with Mrs. Bain, Peggie Bain. And thanks so much for having us here in your home, Peggie. I wanted to just start off by asking you when you were born.

PB: I was born in 1909, March 31st.

AI: And what was the name that you were given when you were born?

PB: My given name was Fusako, and then later on I got the name Margaret.

AI: And tell me a little bit about your father. What was his name and when, about when did he come to the United States?

PB: As far as I can determine, my father came to the United States in 1900. His name is Kumataro Nishimura.

AI: And what kinds of things did you know about him, and just a little bit about his family background.

PB: Well, really, I didn't know too much about him, because in our younger days, we just never questioned. When I think about it now, I wished I had asked a lot of questions, which we failed to do, I think, as youngsters, and as we grow up we should question our parents, so that we would know more about them.

AI: And what area of Japan did he come from originally?

PB: Oh, Mother and Dad both are from Kumamoto.

AI: And speaking of your mother, what was her name?

PB: Her name was Kaju Shima until she got married.

AI: And do you know, how did they come to be married?

PB: They were kind of promised to each other, because my father's brother and my mother's sister were married. And so they decided that Mother and Dad should get together.

AI: And tell me a little bit about their early life, before you and your other siblings were born.

PB: Well, as far as I know, Dad was working all over. He worked up in the Fraser River, and he worked in Startup, Washington. I think he worked in the sawmill, 'cause there was a picture of him, I think he operated a donkey engine. And I guess Mother came in 1906, I believe, and at that time they were living at Green Lake, and I guess that was a sawmill or something, I'm not sure.

AI: In those days, Green Lake was not really part of Seattle the city, it was, it was considered somewhat the countryside, wasn't it?

PB: Oh, it was quite wooded. [Laughs] He said -- there were trees all over -- and he said he picked mushrooms there. So it must have been pretty wooded.

AI: Well, and tell me a little bit about your mother's family background. I think you mentioned that she had quite some, some pride about her background in Japan.

PB: Well, Mother always said that her, her father was a samurai. She was very proud, and she said even coming over to this country, they had a different status when they came on the ship because of her father. And she was always reminding us that we were grandchildren of samurai, so we should be proud, and we shouldn't do anything that was below our dignity. [Laughs]

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