Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Mary Hamano Interview
Narrator: Mary Hamano
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Denver, Colorado
Date: May 14, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-hmary_2-01-0002

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MA: Okay, so just your parents came back to the U.S.

MH: And they came back and they didn't settle in the Bay Area. They came down to, and San Gabriel Valley to farm, and my father was interested in farming. So then as time went on, they found that she was allergic to veggies.

MA: Your mother was.

MH: Uh-huh. She broke out and the allergy was so bad and the doctor advised them to move to town. So he had to get rid of the farm.

MA: So town meaning Los Angeles?

MH: L.A. Right in L.A, uh-huh.

MA: And this was -- when, how old were you when they moved to L.A.?

MH: I was about three years old when we moved to the city in Los Angeles. And then I grew up there until 1930, my brothers came back to the United States, and they were teenagers. And so they didn't have the full education in Japan, but I would say up to junior high maybe.

MA: How was their transition back to the U.S.?

MH: Well, they didn't know, they had forgotten that they were so little when they left, so they don't know, remember anything. Their English was all forgotten. And so it was start all over again. Start to go to school, grade school and all. My oldest brother went to Opportunity School but he didn't last there very long. But my second brother went to grade school and went to junior high and tenth grade in high school. Then he went on to work. My oldest brother, he dropped out from the Opportunity School and went to work. And they had what they called schoolboys and schoolgirls. That meant like, what they called, homestay now. They call, you go stay with a family, you work, and go to school. Or in that, it's in the same manner. But in those days, they called them schoolboys and schoolgirls. And he did that for a little while. And then eventually, when he became twenty, he went out to work on his own. And so, he really didn't have a thorough high school or school education.

MA: Where did he do his homestay? Was it around that area?

MH: It was in L.A. town. It was just some retired teachers, a couple that took him in for a little bit. And then he left there and went to work in a supermarket. And then he stayed with these people for a long time. And then of course, there is a big supermarket on what they call Grand Central, it was a whole block long, and they had everything in there. They had groceries and veggies and fish markets and everything. And they both worked there until the war started. And that was around late 1930, so it had to be around '30s, '8, '9, somewhere around there. Maybe, and I know that in '41, they were caught in that.

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