Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Lillian Sato Interview
Narrator: Lillian Sato
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Denver, Colorado
Date: July 6, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-slillian-01

<Begin Segment 1>

MA: Okay. So today is July 6, 2008, and I'm here with Lillian Sato. And I'm Megan Asaka, the interviewer, and the cameraperson is Dana Hoshide. And we're actually in Denver, Colorado, at the Japanese American National Museum conference. So thank you so much for doing this interview.

LS: Uh-huh, you're welcome. I'm glad to be here.

MA: So I wanted to know when you were born.

LS: I was born in December of 1928.

MA: And where were you born?

LS: In Stockton, California.

MA: What was the name given to you when you were born?

LS: (...) I was named Lillian Yuriko Goto.

MA: And I wanted to know a little bit about your, your father and your mother. So what was your father's name?

LS: My father's name was, actually, his Japanese name was Kinnosuke Goto.

MA: And did he have an American name, too?

LS: Uh-huh, after he came here, he named himself Harvey.

MA: And where was he from in Japan?

LS: He was from Aichi-ken, Japan.

MA: And do you know what his family was doing in Japan?

LS: That I don't know too much. He never indulged in that too much, although he was always bragging about his sister.

MA: What was special about his sister?

LS: I don't know what her name was or anything, I don't know too much. But I do know that they're more on the religious side.

MA: And do you know what his motivations were for coming over to the U.S.?

LS: Well, he had an older brother that was already here in San Francisco, and so he called him over, and he came here when he was, oh, must have been about seventeen, fifteen, seventeen years old.

MA: Oh, okay, so young, a young man. And what was his brother doing in San Francisco? What type of work did they get into?

LS: I don't know.

MA: And then how did he meet your mother?

LS: Well, he met my mother through arrangement, I think it was. By then, he went as a schoolboy, and then he started farming in Stockton. Then he met my mother and they got married, and they've been farming there in Stockton until 1935, I think it was.

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

<Begin Segment 2>

MA: And a little bit about your mother. What was her name?

LS: Her name was Tokiye Marie Morikawa.

MA: And she was actually, you were telling me, born in Hawaii?

LS: In Hawaii. She was born in Hawaii.

MA: So her parents were the ones who came over Hawaii?

LS: Yes, uh-huh.

MA: That's interesting. Do you know what they were doing in Hawaii, what type of work?

LS: Well, my grandfather came (...) to Hawaii when he was seventeen years old, and he worked on a pineapple farm. And about the time that he married my grandmother, he became foreman. And then they got married and had my mom in Hawaii. And then she came, they all came here, oh, she must have been about nine, ten months old.

MA: Oh, okay. What was your mother like as a person? I'm just curious what her personality was like.

LS: She was quiet, she was quiet, but very, very pretty. She was a beautiful woman. In fact, they had a beauty contest and she took queen.

MA: Oh, wow.

LS: Uh-huh, yeah, and my grandmother was so proud, she was just hollering, "Tokiye, Tokiye," like that, you know. She was, she was really pretty.

MA: That's great. How many children were in your family?

LS: There was six of us.

MA: And where were you in terms of...

LS: I'm the oldest.

MA: Oh, the oldest.

LS: Uh-huh. And I'm the oldest on my mother's side, first grandchild of my grandparents.

MA: And what's the age range, I'm curious, of, like, you and then your youngest sibling?

LS: About thirteen years' difference.

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

<Begin Segment 3>

MA: So your father was farming around the time you were born, around 1928?

LS: Uh-huh, in Stockton.

MA: In Stockton. When did you actually -- 'cause you didn't grow up in Stockton, though, right? You moved...

LS: No, no, not really. We went to Santa Monica in 1936.

MA: Do you have any memories of Stockton at all? Or you were pretty young.

LS: Well, Stockton is, consisted of a lot of islands. And we lived on King Island, and my dad raised a lot of celery there.

MA: Were there other Japanese families living on King Island?

LS: Around there, no, all I remember is there was a lot of Filipino workers.

MA: Who would work on the farms?

LS: Uh-huh. And then when we went to school, my brothers and I would walk to a ferryboat, cross over, even if the school was just on the side of the house, because of the river.

MA: Oh, so you had to...

LS: So we had to walk a ways to the ferry, cross over the, with the ferry, and then walk back to school.

MA: Oh, interesting. So you actually had to take a boat to get to school.

LS: Uh-huh.

MA: How big was that island? How many families were living there?

LS: Oh, it consisted of, I imagine, about ten or four camp-like. It was a fair-sized island.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

MA: So then you moved to Santa Monica, Los Angeles, near Los Angeles in 1936.

LS: Yes.

MA: So why did your father decide to make that move?

LS: Well, he decided to quit the farming because they ran into depression and all that. So he went to Santa Monica and started gardening, and that's what he did 'til the war broke out.

MA: Did he have his own business?

LS: Uh-huh, and he had one hired hand.

MA: And who were some of his customers in his business?


LS: Then there was Lana Turner.

MA: The famous actress, right?

LS: That actress. But his favorite was Loretta Young, she was a beautiful, beautiful woman.

MA: Wow, so he was working for some pretty high-profile people.

LS: Uh-huh. And he had, she had given him some pictures of her in one of those beautiful ballroom gowns, you know. I don't know whatever happened to those. But she was a beautiful woman, though.

MA: Do you know how he got connected with these people?

LS: That I don't know. I think through his reputation of being a good gardener.

MA: Was it pretty common, then, for Isseis to go into gardening, especially in California?

LS: Uh-huh, that and nursery, there was quite a few nurseries.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

MA: So what are some memories you have of Santa Monica and the neighborhood you lived in?

LS: Well, I know that we used to go with all our friends, walk down to the beach, and then we went to Japanese school, and we'd go there after the hakujin no, you know, the American school at the, be at the Japanese school about three o'clock. And then we studied there 'til five, and then walked home. And then during the summer, we went all summer, and at the end of the school year there, which would be in August, about the middle of August, I think, if I remember right, then we'd have a great big wiener bake on the beach. The whole school, Japanese school would go there, and that was a lot of fun. And it would be at nighttime.

MA: Would all the families come, too?

LS: Families and all the kids, uh-huh, yeah.

MA: Who were your teachers at Japanese school?

LS: Their name was Ono, Mr. and Mrs. Ono.

MA: Oh, so it was a couple that would teach.

LS: Uh-huh, and then they had a son and a daughter.

MA: And there the Onos, where they Isseis?

LS: Yes. Well, Mrs. Ono actually, they said she was from Fort Lupton, Colorado, here. And I guess they'd met through arranged marriage, and then they went to Santa Monica and started teaching there.

MA: So did you speak Japanese primarily at home with your parents?

LS: Some. But my dad was good with English, too.

MA: And I imagine your mother, since she was from Hawaii...

LS: Not too much. It's surprising, because my dad went as a schoolboy, he went to school, so he spoke and wrote in English, beautiful handwriting. And so we spoke a lot of English, and he's the one that taught us to say "Daddy" instead of "Papa." [Laughs]

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

<Begin Segment 6>

MA: So what grade school, then, did you attend in Santa Monica?

LS: Up through sixth grade.

MA: And what was the name of the school?

LS: McKinley.

MA: How many Nisei students were, were in that school?

LS: I would say approximately nine or ten. It could be more or less.

MA: So not, not too many.

LS: Not that many, no.

MA: In your neighborhood in Santa Monica, were there many Japanese American families?

LS: There were, but it was kind of widespread.

MA: And who were your other neighbors? Just white folks, or all different races?

LS: Yeah, white folks, and our landlord was a black couple, they were real nice. And then the neighbors were whites, and we had a Filipino family. And that's about it. And there... no, there were no blacks there in our block that I know of.

MA: So at school, how did the Nisei students fit in, generally, with the rest of them?

LS: I don't think we had that many problems as far as I know.

MA: So you felt like you fit in?

LS: We got along real well.

MA: And especially when you were in grade school, what were some of your hobbies or activities or things that you liked to do for fun?

LS: Well, I liked to, for fun we played tetherball and softball. That's about it.

MA: I imagine you were pretty busy with Japanese school, though, after your regular school.

LS: I, in fact, I enjoyed the Japanese school more than I did (American school) because at the end of the summer, we also had a big competition that we all went to either San Diego or, mostly San Diego, where all the other Japanese school got together, and we have relays and all kinds of things. And we really enjoyed that.

MA: Yeah, it sounds like a fun time.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

MA: What, what religion did your family practice?

LS: Buddhist. But I don't remember too much of that, because when we moved to Santa Monica, then we started Japanese school, and most of my friends were recruited by this Christian couple, and we went to the Christian church.

MA: How were you recruited by them? Did they just...

LS: They just came and talked to my parents, and my mom says, "Yeah, let them go."

MA: Were they white people or Japanese?

LS: White.

MA: And so then you started going to this Christian church?

LS: Yes, uh-huh. A lot of my friends went there, too.

MA: And your parents were okay with that?

LS: They were Buddhists, so, but they didn't go because they wanted us to have some religious background. Because I don't think there was much in the line of Buddhist church there, except to go to Sawtelle, if I remember right, and they didn't go there. My mom was more introverted, for one thing, although my dad wasn't.

MA: So your dad was more outgoing.

LS: Yes, quite a bit more.

MA: So they were okay with you going to Christian church?

LS: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

MA: So I'm curious about, you mentioned Sawtelle. Can you talk a little bit about that area?

LS: Well, they had more Japanese stores there, and I think they had more Japanese people there, too. But Sawtelle was a much smaller town than Santa Monica.

MA: But Sawtelle, was it, there was more of a Japantown kind of feel?

LS: Yes, I would say.

MA: Was there a Japantown in Santa Monica at all?

LS: Not that I know of. Because, see, there was a man that came with a pickup, and he had all the tofu and all the Japanese food and the vegetables, and he would go the rounds in Santa Monica to all the Japanese families, and they'd buy all the rice or whatever from him.

MA: So there was really no need to go...

LS: No, uh-uh.

MA: But if people wanted to go to Japantown, you would go to Sawtelle instead of the, L.A.'s Little Tokyo?

LS: Uh-huh. And once in a while we would go into Los Angeles, which I hated to go because I always got carsick. To us at that time, that's a long ride.

MA: How long did it take you to get to L.A.?

LS: Oh, I would say a good hour, hour and a half.

MA: That's long.

LS: And of course the traffic was slow and you didn't drive as fast.

MA: So Santa Monica compared to the, L.A., what were the differences? Was it just more, smaller?

LS: Santa Monica was a lot smaller. It was, Los Angeles was, they had a Japanese town there, and it was active there. And they had all kinds of restaurant, and we loved going to this one Chinese restaurant, and that was a treat for us.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

MA: So I'm curious about Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. What do you remember about that day or hearing the news about Pearl Harbor?

LS: Well, I wasn't aware of all the political things or the tension between the U.S. and Japan. And so I really didn't know that Pearl Harbor was attacked 'til the next day when my girlfriend told me that, because my parents didn't say anything to us. And so that happened on Sunday, and we went to school on Monday. And like I said, overnight, all my school friends for six years, they kind of turned against you. And that kind of frustrated me, I couldn't understand what was going on, and then we went to Japanese school after that, and that's when my girlfriend told me.

MA: I see. So you didn't know why they had turned their backs on you or they stopped talking?

LS: No. And then we still continued going to the American school, and of course the teachers explained everything, which was good.

MA: What did they teachers say?

LS: Well, said that we were born here, and we shouldn't be treated any differently. And the principal even came and talked to all the, especially the older ones, 'cause in sixth grade, fifth grade, we're more aware of what happened.

MA: So they were supporting the Nisei students.

LS: But of course as far as the children were concerned, they get all that at home, you know. And I think that turned them against us. I'm not saying all of 'em did, but the majority of them did.

MA: Did you continue to go to Japanese language school, or what happened to the Japanese school?

LS: Well, I think it closed down. We didn't go after that because all the authorities were at every Japanese home, and questioning, and taking some away and all that.

MA: Was your father ever afraid that the FBI would come target him?

LS: No, he didn't seem to. But come nighttime, it was a no-no to open the door except for that one time, when my dad asked who it is, and he says, "Japanese." And so he cautiously opened the door, and it was a couple of friends. And how they made it there is beyond me.

MA: Because there was a curfew, right?

LS: Uh-huh. And I think they came to discuss what everybody was gonna do. And my mom's sister lived here in Colorado, so that's what they planned on doing. By my dad had to get permit for all of us, including my parents.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

MA: So right after Pearl Harbor, what happened to your father's gardening business?

LS: Well, I think he sold a lot of his things, and the only thing he had left was the pickup. And then we left most of our possessions there, and left it up to the landlord to do whatever he wanted.

MA: So your father decided to go to Colorado where your mother's sister was living already.

LS: Yes, uh-huh.

MA: How did you feel about leaving Santa Monica?

LS: Oh, I hated to leave, because all my friends were there, and they were all going to relocation center. By then we had heard that they were gonna be sent, and my dad decided against that. And I so wanted to go with my friends to be with them, but then it didn't turn out that way.

MA: So this was maybe March? Or when did you actually leave Santa Monica?

LS: We left, I would say, about the first of March, because we got here, if I remember distinctly, it was March 3rd that we got here.

MA: So you were, before you left, I remember you had told me that there were, there was, like, one incident where you felt a little unsafe?

LS: Yeah. My dad was going to cut across Arizona, and the people were pretty hostile. So he cut across north through Utah and then came into Colorado from there.

MA: So he had to change his route.

LS: Uh-huh.

MA: Do you remember the people being hostile?

LS: No, I didn't see any of them. Because my dad fixed it so that my one brother, two brothers, my two brothers and a cousin was in the back of the pickup. Because he fixed it with a mattress, and we laid there and stayed in there throughout the whole trip. And then my mom and the baby brother and my dad was in the front.

MA: So you were all in that pickup so you didn't see the...

LS: No. And by that time I was so sick it wasn't funny. [Laughs] I didn't care what was going on, I just, I slept most of the time. And I understand that there was one incident where my dad had to stop and get gas or something, and then he didn't come back. And then my mom got worried, and so sent my cousin Harry out to see what was going on. And Harry got out of the pickup, he slipped and fell and hit his head, he was unconscious. And none of us were aware of that, so my dad did come back and then he drove off. And then this sheriff saw that, and he took Harry into his car and chased us, and gave Harry to my dad. That was Nancy's brother.

MA: Oh, Nancy Miyagishima's brother?

LS: Miyagishima's brother.

MA: There was another story you told me before you left for Colorado where you found, someone had put something in your car?

LS: Oh yes, shotgun shells was on the seat of the, of the pickup. In fact, it was there the day or two after Pearl Harbor, and we don't know who put it there. We have no idea.

MA: Are you the one who found the shells?

LS: Uh-huh. 'Cause I remember distinctly, I saw that, I went running inside to my folks to tell 'em, "What is that?" And of course I didn't know but my dad knew right away. And he, and he took that all out and I think he threw it away in the garbage or something.

MA: That must have been unsettling.

LS: Yes. But what was scary was when the sirens would go off. Oh, we'd be shaking like a, like a leaf.

MA: What sirens?

LS: Whenever they thought that there was Japanese submarine along the coastline, then the sirens would go off, or planes. And it really wasn't, but at that time, anything pointed to Japan anyway.

MA: How often would these sirens go off?

LS: Oh, I would say two or three times that I know of. And of course my mom was quite frightened.

MA: So in going back to your move, how long did it take you to get to Colorado from...

LS: About three days.

MA: Three days?

LS: Uh-huh.

MA: And were you also driving with other folks who were going over?

LS: No, it was just us.

MA: Just you in the, in your truck?

LS: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

MA: So where did you arrive, then, when you first came to...

LS: We came to Fort Lupton, that's where my aunt lived, my aunt and uncle and their family lived.

MA: What were they doing in Fort Lupton?

LS: Farming. It was all farming. And we stayed there for just a little bit, and then went to this German farmer that needed workers, someone to help him out.

MA: So how was that for you when you first arrived? I mean, what were your first impressions of Colorado?

LS: That it was cold. You know, March was still cold, and we knew nothing about farming, so it was kind of a shock to us to have to get up early in the morning, work all day in the field 'til late at night.

MA: I imagine, yeah, coming from more of an urban background.

LS: But we had a lot of fun, you know, in the city in Santa Monica with all our friends. And then coming to Colorado, and then work, work, work, work was all we did.

MA: Were there other Nisei children that you met?

LS: Uh-huh, they all did, and not just the Niseis, but there was a Russian family, and there's a German family, Italian, all kinds. But all the children worked; they all worked.

MA: So what was a typical day for you working on the farm? What would you, what type of work would you do?

LS: Well, we would, going right down the line, we would thin out the onions, and by thinning we thinned it out so they were about four to six inches apart, so that they would bulb into regular dry onions, or green beans, lettuce, and sugar beets that came in the fall, which was the hardest work.

MA: What would you have to do with sugar beets?

LS: Sugar beets, they, a tractor would come along the aisle and loosen them up, and then we would have to grab the beet itself and top off the green. And they weighed, oh, they must have weight about five, ten pounds.

MA: Each beet weighed five to ten pounds?

LS: Uh-huh. And then there were times, there was one farm that we went to, when we got done with ours, then we'd help others. And we went to this one farm and there was a huge coyote come running across the field. That's the first time I ever saw a coyote. And they were pretty common around there.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

MA: So you stayed with your aunt and uncle then for a couple months like you said, and then moved with this German man.

LS: I don't think we even stayed there a couple months. Probably, 'cause there were so many of 'em, my grandmother and my grandfather was there, all my aunts were there. And my younger brother and younger sister came to Colorado with my grandma and grandpa.

MA: So they came a little later?

LS: By train. No, they came ahead of us.

MA: Oh, I'm sorry, ahead of you by train. Who was this German man that you worked for?

LS: His name was Heinz, I don't know what his first name is, he had one daughter, he was a widower.

MA: And was he a recent immigrant?

LS: No, no. He had one daughter that was going to college.

MA: And what was your relationship with him? Was he pretty friendly?

LS: Oh, he was nice, uh-huh. He was pretty understanding. In fact, a lot of them in the country were understanding. The teacher was so nice.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

MA: So what, so you left Santa Monica in March. Did you resume school then in Fort Lupton?

LS: Yes, uh-huh.

MA: What school was that?

LS: Independence, and that was grades, through the eighth grade in that school. And then from there, high school in Brighton.

MA: And Independence, your school in Fort Lupton, how many Nisei students were there with you?

LS: Oh, let's see, they were mostly my cousins. There was one, two, three, four, five... about six of us.

MA: And most of them had come from the West Coast?

LS: No. Just my brothers and myself, and my cousin Nancy and her brother Harry.

MA: Did you notice a difference between the Japanese American community in Santa Monica versus the one in Fort Lupton? Were there any big things that you noticed that were different?

LS: No, not really.

MA: So you fit in pretty well with the community?

LS: Uh-huh.

MA: Did you start going to church, or was there a Buddhist church or a Christian church that you went to?

LS: No, we didn't attend any of that.

MA: So how long, then, were, did your father do the farming?

LS: Well, we stayed there with Mr. Heinz for two years, and then Dad went to, came to Denver and bought a home. And we stayed there a very short while, and then he rented that out and we went to farm in Adams City.

MA: Adams City, where is that in relation to --

LS: It's just real close by Denver, just north of Denver.

MA: So he, so he moved to Denver for just a short while?

LS: Uh-huh, and then we farmed in Adams City for just one year, and then we went back to Denver, and he started establishing his gardening business.

MA: So the first time that you moved to Denver, was, was he trying to find gardening work?

LS: Uh-huh. And he found it right away. He didn't seem to have much problem, he succeeded quite well. From gardening he went into landscaping and he had some good, good, good business.

MA: So going back to Adams City, what type of farm did your parents...

LS: About the same thing. But they had different types of broccoli, cauliflower, green onions, and lettuce, that sort of thing. It wasn't as heavy of work as the one in Fort Lupton.

MA: Who owned the farm that you worked on?

LS: An Italian, and I can't remember what their name was. It was an elderly couple.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

MA: So I'm curious about when your family moved to Denver, what your impressions of Denver were.

LS: Well, Dad bought the home in east Denver where there were hardly any Japanese. They were all whites around there.

MA: And how were you accepted by the whites in that area?

LS: Some were good, some weren't too friendly. And then we had to take a bus to East High School, 'cause it was quite a ways. And then other than that, I don't, can't think of too much incidents, not as much as when the war first began.

MA: So you lived in east Denver, then. And what was your house and your neighborhood like?

LS: Well, it was an old, old house, it was a two-story old house, when Dad bought that, he had about three quarters of a half a block. It was all empty lot there, and then he built a little greenhouse there. In fact, he made it so that we had little chickens. That's about it.

MA: And your father, you said, kind of did more gardening, landscaping work. Who were his customers there?

LS: I couldn't tell you, but they were on the higher end.

MA: So he had a good business going.

LS: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

MA: After the war ended, did your parents ever talk about moving back to Santa Monica?

LS: They might have, but we more or less stayed here, my dad decided not to... and it wasn't just that, but the fact that those that went back real early ran into a lot of prejudice, so he wanted to avoid that.

MA: Did you hear stories about that type of thing?

LS: I heard how they were threatened and this sort of thing. So he just didn't want to go back. And besides, he had a thriving business here, he didn't see the point in going back there, starting all over again.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

MA: So you attended East High School. Who were your friends in high school? What did you do for...

LS: Well, mostly there was about one, about four of us Japanese girls, and about, one was a Chinese boy and then my brother... about three Asian boys.

MA: And so you were friends and sort of...

LS: Yes, uh-huh. But my brother was the one that was right below me. He was like my mother, real quiet, on the timid side. And then we would have lunch periods where it was split in three. And I of course had my girlfriends, so we always sat together and ate. But it hurt me to see my brother sitting there all by himself, and nobody befriended him. And that was quite painful.

MA: Did you also work during, when you were in high school, did you have a job?

LS: I did some housework on weekends, and then later on I went into taxidermy, making, finishing fur coats and leather coats.

MA: Was this after high school you did that?

LS: No, during high school.

MA: Oh, during high school?

LS: Uh-huh.

MA: So was the housework, was that typical for a lot of, like, the Nisei women to do?

LS: Yes, it certainly was. Yeah, my girlfriend did housework, but she lived in, and she was from Wyoming.

MA: Oh, she was from Wyoming? That's interesting.

LS: Uh-huh.

MA: So you would work on the weekends or something for families?

LS: Just on Saturdays. And on Sundays, we got together with my girlfriend and we went to the California Methodist church. I must have gone there for a couple years, anyway.

MA: Did the church have activities that they would sponsor, or was it mostly just for...

LS: Oh, actually, it would be like baseball mainly. And then going on picnics, that's about all that I remember.

MA: Was the California Methodist Church mainly a Japanese American church?

LS: Yes, it was all Japanese. So that was nice.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

MA: I'm interested in the, you mentioned the taxidermy work that you did. That sounds interesting.

LS: It is.

MA: What did you do there?

LS: Well, I, I finished fur coats, by that, the bosses would make the fur coats, and then I would make the, and they also made the lining for it, but I would have to sew in the lining of that. And then the same way with the leather coats and jackets. Then the, the big boss would make, stuff the heads, animal heads like antelope and bear. In fact, trouts and all kinds of fishes. It was really interesting.

MA: Who was the owner of this business?

LS: His name was Ammons, a German. They were real nice, they were really nice.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

MA: It seems like there were a lot of German people in Denver.

LS: Yeah, uh-huh, it was. In a certain section there'd be a lot of Italians. And then there was hostilities when I went into town, but I will say this much, that I did housework for this one couple. And they were real nice and understanding, for that reason, that their son-in-law was serving in the Pacific, and they didn't mistreat me at all. They were really good and understanding. So not all of 'em were that mean or hostile or any of that.

MA: Yeah, so it sounds like it was kind of, you know, some people were accepting and some weren't. So what, what types of hostilities did you feel when you would go into town?

LS: Well, like the one time my dad and I got on an elevator to, 'cause I had to get new glasses, and there was this one lady that had on a fur coat, and she was a huge woman. And we went in the elevator and she just glared down at us and stuck her tongue out at my dad. And what would we do? My dad just looked at me and kind of smiled. That, and then, and of course the word "Jap" was common along the streets. That was about it.

MA: That people would say to you, "Jap"?

LS: Uh-huh. It would hurt us, but then you get so intimidated, you just have to ignore it.

MA: Yeah.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

MA: So then what, what year did you graduate from high school?

LS: 1948, I believe it was. That was in January, yeah, January.

MA: And what did you do after graduating from high school?

LS: Well, I continued working at the taxidermy, then I wanted to go see what California was like. So I had my uncle living there in Long Beach, so I went there and stayed there for about a year and a half, and then I came back home because the Korean War started.

MA: So you moved to Long Beach. What were you impressions of Long Beach? I mean, you hadn't --

LS: Oh, it was fun for me. It was exciting to be away from home, you know how that goes. But then I had a brother that went to Korea, and he was killed almost instantly, and I had to get back to my folks. And then I've been staying here in Denver ever since. He was in Japan for almost two years, I think, then the war started and they shipped him to Korea and he landed there towards evening, I believe, next day he was gone. He was an interpreter, they needed an interpreter 'cause they had a POW, and they called him up front. He was on this jeep with three others, and one South Korean survived and the other three... (...) my brother was still living, but by the time he got into the hospital and they tried to revive him, it was too late and he was gone. And that was a shock to my family.

MA: And you heard about this news when you were in California?

LS: Uh-huh. In fact, they have a (statue), they don't have it there, they removed it, but in Camp Drake in Japan, they had a statue of him and two older soldiers. Because my brother was one of the first to be killed.

MA: Where was the statue?

LS: At Camp Drake in Japan, just north of Tokyo, I believe.

MA: And what was your brother's name?

LS: Mitsuru, Mitsuru Goto, he was a PFC.

MA: And was he the second oldest brother, or the second oldest child?

LS: No, the first, he was right under me. So he was the first, in fact, he was the first grandson on my mom's side for my grandparents.

MA: And when did he enlist in the war?

LS: He enlisted soon after graduation, 1949.

MA: Okay, so the war had, World War II had been over.

LS: Yeah. Because he died in 1950.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

MA: So that's, so you moved back to Denver to be with your family.

LS: Uh-huh.

MA: What type of work did you do after you moved to Denver? What did you do... did you live with your folks?

LS: Uh-huh. Oh, I know what I did. I went to work at a cleaner's, and I was there most of the time 'til I got married.

MA: Was it in Denver?

LS: In Denver, yes.

MA: And owned by a Japanese American family?

LS: Japanese, uh-huh.

MA: Were most of the customers also Japanese American?

LS: No, 'cause it was, further down south is where the cleaning was. It was mostly the white people.

MA: Did you go into Denver's Japantown ever? Was there, like, a --

LS: Not very often.

MA: -- community, business community?

LS: Not very often, because my mom and dad mainly went to get the, all the Japanese food, because he liked to socialize, my mom didn't. [Laughs]

MA: Yeah, it sounds like your dad was quite a guy.

LS: Yeah, he was pretty active.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

MA: So then you were working at the dry cleaners, and how did you meet your husband?

LS: That was through arranged marriage, too.

MA: How did you feel about the, having an arranged marriage? Was that just something you accepted at the time?

LS: Well, it just happened. I mean, that was the way things were, you know, I didn't think much of it, but then everything turned out all right.

MA: Had you, did you know who your husband was before...

LS: Before we got married? Uh-huh. He, he drove a truck to Grand Junction hauling produce back and forth.

MA: And what was your husband's name?

LS: Frank.

MA: Frank Sato.

LS: Uh-huh.

MA: And tell me about your, your children that you have.

LS: Well, I had Arlene, did you meet her? Oh, I guess you did.

MA: Yes. [Laughs]

LS: See how my memory is? Yeah, she's, went through college, married her husband, and she works for McKessen. It's a big outfit.

MA: And when was she born?

LS: She was born in 1952.

MA: Is she your only, only child?

LS: No, I have another daughter, she was born in 1955, and she does medical transcribing, and she lives in Portland. And she has two boys.

MA: And what's her name?

LS: Katherine.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

MA: So is there any, you know, any other thoughts that you'd like to share or memories that we didn't talk about?

LS: Well... I can't think of anything offhand, other than that my husband and I, along with his brothers and sister, ran a produce store, and we were there for a long time. And then we went our own way, we had a grocery store, we ran that for about fourteen years, and then we sold that. Then after that we went to a greenhouse, temporary, seasonal greenhouse, semi-retired, you call it.

MA: So you did a lot of small business work.

LS: Yeah.

MA: Was that mainly in Denver?

LS: Yes, uh-huh. Mainly in Denver and north Denver, where we are now.

MA: Are you still active with the, do you still have the greenhouse?

LS: No, we sold it, we sold it after my husband became ill, and he passed away almost two years ago now. And so I go and help the new owner just on weekends when he needs me, but other than that, I don't do anything.

MA: And where are you living now?

LS: In Thorton, north Denver.

MA: North Denver, okay.

LS: Been there for a long time.

MA: Great. Well, thank you for sharing your story.

LS: I hope I was helpful.

MA: You were.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

LS: [Description of photographs] This is Grandma and Grandpa Sato, this is my husband's father, and his name is, was Ushimatsu Sato, and he came here to the States in 1936, I believe. No, no, way before that. He was born in 1876, and he passed away in 1936. And he was seventeen and she was seventeen, and she was a month older, her name is Setsu Sugiura. So when they got married, she was only seventeen -- eighteen, and then they farmed in Stockton 'til the war started.

MA: Where was this photo taken?

LS: This was taken in Stockton.

MA: They look so young.

LS: Isn't that beautiful? And then this is my dad and my mom before they got married, and this was taken in August of 1926, and that was his first car, he was so proud of it. And they farmed in Stockton, like I said, 'til 1936.

MA: So this was in Stockton?

LS: Uh-huh. Actually, this was taken in Sacramento, I believe.

MA: Your mother's wearing a beautiful outfit.

LS: Uh-huh, she was quite vain. [Laughs] So she loved that little fur piece there. My dad was proud of her. And then this was my grandfather, Tomizo Morikawa -- is that all right like that? He was born September 1879, and he passed away in 1967. He was from Fukuoka, Japan.

MA: And this is your, on your mother's side?

LS: On my mom's side, uh-huh.

MA: Where was this photo taken?

LS: This was taken in Sacramento, I believe. And the same with my grandmother, and she was a month older than my grandfather, her name was Yuki Kinoshita, and she was from Kumamoto, Japan. And she was a tiny little thing, came up to about my shoulders, she was that tiny. And she had eight children, two boys and six girls. So that's it.

MA: Thank you, wonderful photos.

LS: Thank you.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.