Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Kazuko Uno Bill Interview I
Narrator: Kazuko Uno Bill
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 7, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-bkazuko-01-0005

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MA: So you started in grade school, right, in South Park elementary school?

KB: Right. Actually, I think as soon as we reached five, we could go to kindergarten. So I started kindergarten in South Park school.

MA: Do you remember struggling with the language barrier at all, or having to learn English?

KB: I just don't recall that it was any problem. I think when we're young, we pick up languages much more easily than when we're older. I just, I never thought that it was any more difficult for me than the others. I must have had good teachers. [Laughs]

MA: So how many -- going back to South Park elementary school -- how many Nisei students were in your class or in the school in general? Was it mostly Nisei or what was the demographic?

KB: I was trying to, you know, I was trying to think. Maybe, like, one-fourth of the class, South Park school was a very small school, so I don't think we had more than, like, twenty, twenty-five in a class, and maybe four or five would be Japanese.

MA: And in general, who were your, during that time of your life, who were your friends, or who did you sort of socialize with?

KB: I think just the neighborhood children. We used to play games, play school. We didn't have television, we didn't have -- well, I guess we had the radio and the phonograph, play records. Also, I think we learned some Japanese games. I'm not exactly sure what they were now. There's this one where you use the paddle with the little ball and the feathers on it. I remember playing with that, and the Japanese dolls. We always played house. We also played school, and I was always the schoolteacher.

MA: During that time when you were sort of a young child, did you also work on the farm?

KB: After we were old enough, we worked on the farm, we helped with the weeding and bunching carrots and things like that.

MA: How often would you work? Was it like every day after school, or just on the weekends?

KB: After we were older, we would probably, we probably worked every day after school.

MA: What age did you start working on the farm then?

KB: Oh, I don't know. Maybe like nine or ten. I'm not sure. I think even the young kids were just, we just got used to just being in the dirt, you might say. [Laughs] Because our parents were out on the farm, then as children we would just follow them and they would say, "Oh, pull an onion or pull a carrot," or whatever, and we'd do it, so I think we got kind of into it quite young, even though we weren't very helpful, maybe.

MA: So can you describe a little bit, maybe the house you grew up in and the area just surrounding the house? What was that like?

KB: Okay, we were living in this very old house, and it was a frame house. We had a kitchen with, actually, I think we had either a gas or... I mean, it was fairly modern as far as the equipment went. But we didn't have a refrigerator for a long time, I remember that. We had an icebox where we had to get the ice, put it in there, and there was a delivery truck that came every so often and brought ice. Also, there was a store in Seattle owned by Japanese who would come out and deliver tofu and fish and some Japanese type foods. And then we'd have to put those things into the refrigerator. So, and also we had the milk truck, that's right, milk and ice cream truck. These services were available to us, so my family didn't have to go grocery shopping like we do now. A lot of the things were delivered to us. Also, my father, when he went into town to deliver the vegetables, would bring back some food that he would purchase, probably like in Japantown, so fish or whatever was available there.

MA: Would you ever go with him into town, to Seattle?

KB: I went, he used to take me to the market, and I used to really enjoy that because I got a lot of attention. And this was probably when I was, before I started school, and I was really little. And I still remember how these men would gather after they finished their business of delivering the vegetables, they would go and have coffee and pastries or whatever was available there and chat. And they would give me candy and pay a lot of attention to me, so I kind of enjoyed going to the market with my father. And I don't know whether he did that, I'm sure he must have done that with my brothers, but I'm not sure he did that with the younger ones. So that was one of my treats when I was growing up.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.