Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Mary Hirata Interview
Narrator: Mary Hirata
Interviewers: Beth Kawahara (primary), Alice Ito (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 27, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-hmary-01-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

BK: During this time when you were in Seattle, what did your father do in order to make a living?

MH: My dad was retired at that time already. My brothers found a gas station on Twelfth and Jefferson. And so they took that, my two older brothers. Ken was going to Franklin, and Ted was going to Broadway, and I went to Bailey Gatzert. And we lived there until these people came back to the hotel, and then we moved up to Spruce Street at one of the apartments, and we stayed there for a little while because it was so close to the garage. And then the house next door to the gas station opened, and so they asked my brothers if they'd like to have it, so we, that's where we were until the war broke out.

BK: Could you tell us more about that house?

MH: Well, it was right next door, so the dining room and kitchen windows looked right at the gas station. So it was very convenient, they could run over and get something, and still keep track of it. My dad would always go every day and he washed the windows with his little box, because he was real short. And the boys were trying to start, start it up, so they had put in a hoist for repairing cars. And then the war broke out, so they lost everything. And the house we lived in was -- of course, we didn't have much furniture, so my brothers thought, well, we better furnish the house, so they, I think they went to Sears and bought some of the furniture. And they put it on time, so when the war broke out, the people that took our house just took over the payments. I don't think I ever heard of any money crossing hands.

BK: Oh, so you didn't get any of the equity or any of that back?

MH: But I think about, when I left it, it was -- Mother got up and we had breakfast, and she washed the dishes, put them away, made the beds, and my doll -- the one and only doll I ever had -- was still sitting on the couch. And we took our suitcase and walked out. And that's the only thing I can remember about leaving it. I, for me it was an adventure. At fifteen, why you're... it's something new. I always felt bad that my brothers, who had worked so hard, had nothing. They just walked out.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.