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-01-0002

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DM: After Spokane, your family moved to Seattle. So why did they do that, and where did they end up?

AM: In 1929 when the stock crash took place, I think this is what I recollect from what I know now, and that when the stock crash took place, the Great Northern Railroad was sold to, I think, Chicago Northwestern or something like that. And so the people who were working for the Great Northern lost their jobs, and so my grandfather and my father and my mother and my sister -- at that point, my sister, my brother and I moved from Spokane to Seattle, Washington, in 1929. And the only thing I remember is the house on Yesler, Sixth and Yesler in Seattle is where we lived. And my grandparents at that time, and my father had a younger sister who lived with us. So there was a family of grandparents, son, a daughter, and the son's wife and three kids. That was a big family.

DM: Sounds crowded.

AM: Yeah, it was.

DM: And once they were in Seattle, what kind of work did your parents and also your grandparents do?

AM: Well, my grandfather, at that point... I should back up a little bit, but my grandfather at that point didn't have a job, so one of the things I remember his doing was going to the salmon cannery in Alaska. But then, of course, that meant that he was gone for the summer and the fall, but he would be home (...) spring and winter. But I don't remember that he ever had a job beyond that. My grandmother didn't have work either, but my father did, and he supported all the family. And I think I told you earlier that it was the Encyclopedia Britannica, but as I recall, it was a set of encyclopedias called Book of Knowledge, I looked it up. And my father was a salesman, and he tried to sell these encyclopedias to Japanese families. He was, because he spent time in Japan as a young child, he went to school, actually graduated eighth grade in the grammar school. So because he spoke, read and could read English well, he was hired to sell those encyclopedias to Japanese families, and that's what he did. My mother did not work, but I remember my grandmother on Sixth and Yesler having a big garden, and I now realize that the garden was essential to the family's survival. She had a huge vegetable garden. But my, I have to sort of back up a little bit, when my father and my grandfather and his brother who was two years older than my father, I think it was, registered for the military service in 1918 in Spokane, and I just got some records showing their registering for military service, this is in 1918, it was still during the first world war. But that was a real surprise to me because I did not know such a thing took place.

DM: So how many siblings did you have?

AM: I had a sister a year younger, and a brother that's four years younger than I am.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.