Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Aya Uenishi Medrud Interview
Narrator: Aya Uenishi Medrud
Interviewer: Daryl Maeda
Location: Denver, Colorado
Date: May 13, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-maya-01-0001

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DM: Well, good morning, I think it's still morning here. We're here today on May 13, 2008, in beautiful Denver, Colorado. I'm Daryl Maeda, and this is Mariagnes Aya Medrud. So let me just start out by asking where were you born and when?

AM: I was born April 9, 1925, in Malden, Washington, M-A-L-D-E-N, Washington, it's just south of Spokane.

DM: And what was your full name when you were born?

AM: Aya Uenishi.

DM: Okay. I want to hear a little bit about your mother's and father's stories. So where were your grandparents from in Japan?

AM: My grandparents were from Wakayama-ken in Japan, and my father and my mother were married. My father came to the U.S. in 1906 with his parents, went back when he was twenty-three to find a wife, and they found my mother who was a nurse in Kobe, Japan, who also came from the same community, Hoshikawa, in Wakayama-ken. And so that's how they met. And my father married my mother in Japan, I believe it was a Shinto marriage ceremony, and then they came to the U.S. and they got married in a Christian church. And there's a wedding picture of her in a white dress and a veil, I suspect that the veil and the white dress was rented, it looks like it, anyway. So they got married again when they were in Seattle, and then they moved to Spokane, Washington, from Seattle. And a couple months after they arrived, I think they were married in June of '23, 1923, and came to the U.S. immediately after that, and they landed in, she landed in Seattle, but my father brought her, 'cause he had gone back to Japan to get the marriage taken.

DM: What kind of work did your parents do in Spokane?

AM: They started off, my grandfather was the one who started, I think, working for the Great Northern Railway, which was building the railroad across the northern tier states like North Dakota. I think they started in Minneapolis, and they went through North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, and then ended up in Spokane. And I think Spokane was sort of a central point where most of the railroad construction took place. And my grandfather, as I understand it, was in charge of the roundhouse, it was called a roundhouse, where they refueled and got coal and water for the trains. And so that's as much as I know about what, how they happened to be in Spokane. And my father, after he got married and he brought his bride back to Spokane, they lived in a railroad community, I think.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.