Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Sam Ogo Interview
Narrator: Sam Ogo
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Spokane, Washington
Date: April 25, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-osam-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

MA: Okay, so today is Tuesday, April 25, 2006, and we're here in Sam Ogo's house in Spokane, Washington. Dana Hoshide is the videographer today, and also in the room is Sam's wife Chiyo. So thank you so much for, for doing this interview, Sam. I wanted to ask you, when were you born?

SO: September 1, 1919.

MA: And where were you born?

SO: Millwood, Washington.

MA: Where were your parents from in Japan?

SO: Okayama-ken.

MA: And where's the first place they lived when they immigrated to the U.S.?

SO: My dad was here way before my mother, and I think he lived in Portland briefly. And when he got a job as a section foreman they used to call it, for the railroad company, he moved to Millwood. But I don't know exactly when he moved there. And, and my mother, I think, came several years later. So I don't even know exactly what year that was, either, but they didn't come together or anything like that.

MA: Do you know how they, how they met or how their marriage came --

SO: I think it was, the way I understood it, it was just more like -- they called it shashin kekkon, it's a, what is it? Picture bride, that's it.

MA: And what was, do you know what your father was doing in Portland at that time?

SO: No, I don't. I really don't.

MA: And so you said they ended up in Spokane because your father got a job with the railroad?

SO: No, he ended up in Millwood, then he wound up in Spokane when he got injured, I told you. Remember the truckload of logs fell on him? It just smashed his face to smithereens, they had to reconstruct his face and everything, then he gave it up.

MA: So let's talk a little bit more about Millwood. Where is this town located in relation to Spokane?

SO: It's about seven to eight miles northeast of Spokane.

MA: And what do you remember about your life in Millwood?

SO: Not very much, 'cause I was only five or six years old at that time, I don't remember too much. I know I, there's a big pond there, (and) a big paper mill there, and I know I used to play around that pond, but that's about all. There wasn't much to do, it was just a little, little town, not much to do anyway to begin with. That's about all.

MA: Do you have any memories of the house you lived in?

SO: (Yes), it was a boxcar. The railroad company gave all the employees, especially the section bosses, they provided the housing, and that was the housing: boxcars.

MA: What was the boxcar like on the inside?

SO: Well, it's fixed up like a, what little I remember, it was fixed up just like a home, but of course it wasn't. The light was very poor, all it had was oil lamps. We didn't have electricity or anything.

MA: What about in the winter? Was it very cold?

SO: I don't remember. I really don't remember, I was too young. But like I say, I think we moved into Spokane when I was about six years old, so a little -- no, seven, I think. I went to school there about one year, to the grade school.

MA: In Millwood?

SO: (Yes), in Millwood.

MA: Were there other Japanese families living in Millwood?

SO: Not that I know of. I don't remember any. They were mostly transient Caucasian workers.

MA: Caucasian workers?

SO: [Nods].

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.