Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Kay Aiko Abe Interview
Narrator: Kay Aiko Abe
Interviewer: Shin Yu Pai, Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 2, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-akay-01

<Begin Segment 1>

SP: Today is Tuesday, December the 2nd, 2008. We're here in the Densho offices with Kay Abe. My name is Shin Yu Pai, I'm the primary interviewer, and Tom Ikeda is here with us as a secondary interviewer. And Brian...

BH: Hashisaki.

SP: Hashisaki is our cameraperson today. So welcome, Kay. So I'd just like to begin by asking you some basic questions about your early life. Can you please tell us when and where you were born?

KA: I was born in Selleck, Washington, May the 9th, 1927.

SP: Okay.

KA: So I'm an old lady. [Laughs]

SP: Now, were you born in a hospital?

KA: No, at home.

SP: At home. With the assistance of a midwife?

KA: No, they had a doctor in Selleck, but sometimes they were not available. But I think they would come. I'm not positive whether my mother had a doctor there or not.

SP: To assist with the birth? Okay. Now, what was your name, your given name at birth? Was it Kay?

KA: Uh-huh, Aiko Yoshihara.

SP: Aiko Yoshihara, okay. And where are you in the birth order of your siblings?

KA: I'm the second oldest...

SP: Second oldest.

KA: ...of eight.

SP: Okay. So there's one above you, a brother...

KA: Yeah, uh-huh.

SP: ...or sister? Okay. And then you have six other siblings.

KA: Six other.

SP: Can you tell me the years that they were born, the age differences?

KA: Yes. We were all two years apart until my brother George. Let's see, now. He was born... I was born in '27, '29... he was born in '33. That's when my mother became ill and was hospitalized. And after that, she didn't have any children for six years. And Florence, my youngest sister, she was born in 1939. And then two others followed, one in the Portland Assembly Center, 1942, and my youngest brother, John, was born in Minidoka, 1944.

SP: Now, your oldest brother, his name is...

KA: Well, his Japanese name is Yukio, but he goes by Bob.

SP: Okay. And is he the one that wrote Okagesamade?

KA: No, it was Takeshi.

SP: Takeshi.

KA: Uh-huh. He was the first Japanese American to be accepted at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis.

SP: Okay.

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

<Begin Segment 2>

SP: So I'd like to know if you could tell me anything about the community where you grew up, Selleck, Washington. What was that town like?

KA: Oh, it was a real small Japanese camp. It was built by the sawmill company for the Japanese to live in a community. And so it was a very close-knit community. To this day, those friends are lifetime friends. And according to history, I think, at one time there were about, I don't know, nine hundred people working. It was the largest sawmill in, this side of the state. And we lived there, my parents, I think, moved there in 1924 when my mother immigrated from Japan. And the house was already built by the company, and we lived there for sixteen years until the sawmill went bankrupt in 1939, and we were all forced to move out then.

SP: So I just want to back up a little bit and ask, which of your relatives was it that first came to the United States? Was it your father?

KA: Which of my relatives?

SP: Uh-huh.

KA: My father came with his father and my mother's father, according to the records. And I think, 1905 when they first came, he was only fifteen.

SP: Your father?

KA: Uh-huh.

SP: Okay. And where did they come from in Japan?

KA: Yes, they came from Japan in Hiroshima, but it was on an island, Mukaishima, Onomichi. The town was Onomichi. It's a beautiful place, we've been there and visited relatives.

SP: So when your grandfather, father, and mother's father came over, what kind of work were they doing? What kind of jobs?

KA: Well, my father, according to Takeshi's booklet, he worked as a houseboy. But I don't know what the grandparents did. I really don't know what they did.

SP: And after he worked as a houseboy, he went on to work in the sawmills, is that right?

KA: Uh-huh.

SP: Okay. So how did your father come to meet your mother, and how did they get married?

KA: Oh, well, the two fathers were buddy-buddy, you know. And it was my mother's father who had, who was a baishakunin, go-between for my father's first wife. However, unfortunately, she took off and left him shortly after she arrived. I guess she had someone here. And so my father's father would complain to his buddy, my mother's father, saying, "Look what you did to my son." [Laughs] And he said he got sick and tired of listening to his complaint, so he says, one day, he says, "I'll give you my daughter, she's only seventeen." And my mother had no inkling, didn't know him at all. But anyway, the arrangement was made and my father was called to Japan to... I think they were married February the 14th.

SP: Valentine's Day.

KA: Yeah. Isn't that something? It was 1924.

SP: So after they were married, they settled in Selleck where you were born.

KA: Yes, uh-huh.

SP: I'm curious to know what their daily lives were like. So at that point, your father was working in the sawmills.

KA: Yes, sawmill.

SP: And was your mother also working, or what was your family life like?

KA: No, no. She was a housewife. And my brother Bob was born the following year, in July.

SP: 1925.

KA: Uh-huh. So she was a busy housewife, one after the other. Then I came along, my sister came along. [Laughs]

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

<Begin Segment 3>

SP: Do you remember the family having many activities or things that you would do for fun in Selleck?

KA: Let's see. We went to school, Selleck elementary school. It was within walking distance. We walked through the sawmill, and there was a mill pond. But anyway, after school, we went to the Japanese language school from about four to five p.m. And then the children in the community would play ping pong or baseball, hide and seek, tag and things like that. That was our childhood. [Laughs]

SP: So what was it like going to Selleck elementary school? Were there many Japanese or Caucasian students?

KA: No, not that many. It was mostly Caucasian. I think maybe the student body, there must have been about a hundred students from grade one through eight. And then after the eighth grade, the children were bussed to Enumclaw high school.

SP: And how did the different racial groups get along, the Caucasians and the Japanese?

KA: Oh, we got along just beautifully. In fact, even as late as just a couple years ago, we had a reunion with our Caucasian friends, amazing. All in their eighties.

SP: The seventy, eighty year anniversary?

KA: Yeah. We were just gathering, but since then, we've lost a couple of our friends, you know. So one of our friends was saying, "We just have to get together again before we all pass away."

SP: Now, do you remember having any jobs when you were growing up, things that you might do to help out the family?

KA: Oh, yes. Let's see. A couple summers, we went to Sumner to pick berries and beans and blackberries for the summer, at the Shigio farm.

SP: A Japanese-owned farm?

KA: Uh-huh, Japanese. And we earned enough to buy school clothes, and the Shigios had housing for us, so we stayed there all summer. But I think that was just for two summers because that was when my mother wasn't pregnant, those six years in between. [Laughs]

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

<Begin Segment 4>

SP: So when you were six years old, your mother gave birth to your brother George. And she had a pretty difficult birth experience.

KA: Yes, yes, uh-huh.

SP: Can you talk a little bit about what happened?

KA: Yes. She was very resentful that my father had become, was a Christian, and she did everything to discourage him because she thought it would bring a curse from the ancestors, you know, the Buddhists or something. And she fought him. I mean, this is what she told us all through, while we were growing up, how bad she was, you know. [Laughs] She would say, when Reverend Murphy would come from Seattle, maybe three or four times a year, she would say, "Oh, you need a haircut, you look terrible." So she would proceed to give him a haircut just about the time the service started. She said she would set the clock back. [Laughs]

SP: To make him late.

KA: Yeah. And she says, "How come, if you believe in a God so powerful, we're so poor?" And that was because the parents in Japan would always ask them to send money. Anyway, she said, "I would believe if I can see a miracle." And sure enough, she was hospitalized at Harborview hospital, after George was born, and there, God, the Holy Spirit revealed God to her. First of all, she heard the trumpets sound, and she told my father, "Does this hospital play the trumpet?" [Laughs] He said, "No, I don't hear it." And then he realized, oh, it must be God speaking and working in her life. And then she saw herself headed for Hell, and that scared her, that truly... and she saw herself for the first time as a sinner. She thought she was a pretty good person, never killed anybody, or never, you know, did anything bad. But the Lord showed her her heart, how she was rebellious towards God. And then she saw the Throne of God. She said it was, she couldn't see God's face, it was so brilliant, it almost blinded her. And then Jesus was on the right hand -- she never read the Bible, she didn't know anything about the Bible, but here she's telling this to my father. And he just trembled, knowing that it was supernatural. And anyway, Jesus told her, "You become a good woman. Repent," and she did. She asked for forgiveness, and he extended his hand to her, out to her, and he said, "I forgive you." Three times she heard him say that, and that just changed her life. And then he told her, "You go and wash," as a symbol of cleansing, I believe. And here she could hardly get up out of bed before, and she was able to get up and go to the sink, and she proceeded to wash her hair. And the nurse caught her. She thought, "Oh, this lady's lost her mind." [Laughs] So they gave her a mental test to see if she was incoherent or whatever, and I think she told me, told us that they brought a tray with a cup, saucer, fork, knife, plate. And she couldn't speak English, she could, you know, Japanese, osara, or... and so when they asked her the question, the Lord spoke through her in English and answered all the questions. It was truly, truly a miracle of God. And she was completely healed, and was discharged from the hospital on Easter Sunday. And here, we were boarded out, all of us kids. I think the baby was probably at the Ozama family, who was the, sort of the supervisor of the Japanese workers. And we were sent to Tacoma (to) stay with our relatives.

SP: So while your mother was recovering in the hospital...

KA: Uh-huh, while she was in the hospital, and my father would be with her here at Harborview. And they had to take the bus to... you know, we didn't have a car. But it's amazing how the Lord just watched over her. And so she was so happy to come back to her family with the kids, and she was a different woman.

SP: And did she share that story with you right away when --

KA: Oh, yes. She used to share that all the time. But she would close her eyes as she told us, and so all the children heard the story. That's why we have no doubt that God is a miracle-working God, even to this day. And same with the feeding program, it's just a miracle. And so anyway, the Lord has been so faithful, and we can... that's why my nephew is a minister, too, Joe Yoshihara. I believe it's because of the Holy Spirit guiding and blessing. All eight of us are still living.

SP: All of your siblings.

KA: Which is a blessing.

TI: And going back to the hospital, how serious was the illness?

KA: I really don't know. I think she must have had a high fever. I don't know what... because coming from Selleck to a hospital, that meant a real serious illness. Because the doctor, they probably called the doctor, and he probably felt that she needed to be hospitalized. And I don't know what the diagnosis was or anything, but she was very seriously ill because my father had thoughts of sending us to Japan if she died.

SP: How long was she in the hospital? Two weeks or a month?

KA: Let me see. George was born February, and Easter must have been in April.

SP: So about two months.

KA: So I don't know how long she was actually in the hospital. Maybe she was sick at home and got worse. But since she asked for a miracle, it's kind of... it's dangerous. [Laughs]

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

<Begin Segment 5>

TI: Well, in the same way, your father had a conversion experience, too.

KA: Yes.

TI: Going back to that first wife?

KA: Yes.

TI: Can you tell us that story, too?

KA: Yes. He was so, you know, being Japanese, he was so humiliated, embarrassed, angry.

TI: So explain the whole thing. So this is the first wife came -- again, can you tell that full story about the first wife and exactly what happened?

KA: Uh-huh. It was my mother's father who had arranged the marriage, the go-between, and arranged to have her come to the United States. And I don't think my father knew her. But they got married, and shortly after, she left him. And he was so upset and angry and humiliated, that he wanted to find her with whoever she took off with, and then kill himself, commit suicide. Anyway, I don't know... oh, he was in Seattle, or was it Los Angeles at the time when they were married? There were young Japanese seminary students who were preaching the gospel outside, and he happened to stop to listen. And they were telling, saying that, "Jesus Christ died for your sins, no matter how sinful. And that he paid the price, and you can be forgiven." And he thought, "Wow, what kind of God is He?" He wanted to hear more about it. And they took him to the senior pastor, Reverend Kuzuhara, and I've met him, too, he used to come visit. And he explained how Jesus Christ came to save sinners, no matter how bad. Just like Saul, (who was) persecuting the Christians. He was converted. But my father, at that point, repented and asked for forgiveness from God, and transformed his life. He became a new person. And I believe he was able to forgive his first wife at that point. But anyway, it was truly God's working. It was the Holy Spirit. And so my father was converted at that point. And he got so in love with the Word of God, he took his Bible everywhere. Even before he died (...) even while he was working as a gardener, he would carry his Bible. And waiting for the bus, he would be reading the Word of God. That really impressed us.

SP: Was he able to get a copy of the Bible in Japanese language?

KA: Yes, oh yes. Oh, yes. In fact, he would have both English and Japanese, and that's how he learned English. And he wrote beautiful English, and he kept a diary, every day, and he would say, "Praise God. Today it's raining, no job." [Laughs] "But thank God anyway." I mean, it was so cute. I think my oldest brother has it. And he would say, "Went to Kay's house for Thanksgiving, thank you, God, good dinner," something like that. We all laughed when we read his diary, but it was really precious. And then he'd have a scripture for the day. But he really was devoted to God. And like my brother wrote, he had the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, meekness, humility, he was very humble. And I can't remember him really losing his temper. He always was a loving father to all of us. But my mother was the disciplinarian. Somebody had to be.

SP: Thank you for sharing those stories about both your parents. So going back to your lives in Selleck, you mentioned that at one point, the sawmill closed. What year would that have been?

KA: I think... I think the sawmill started to go down in 1937, and it finally declared bankruptcy in 1939. And I think my parents used so say they used to get rubber checks, bounce. I didn't know what that meant, but it was checks that weren't any good, and so they declared bankruptcy. And all the, all the sawmill workers had to find another place to relocate because there was no other jobs available. And, but while in Selleck, there was a little interdenominational church that we attended, my parents would send us, English-speaking, and we had the most dedicated loving teachers. And that's how we were influenced to love the Lord while we were children. And I just thank God for them. And I still keep in touch with one of the daughters of my Sunday school teacher, and she's in her eighties.

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

<Begin Segment 6>

SP: So where did your family go? Did they have to leave Selleck once the sawmills closed, to find work?

KA: Oh, yes. To find work.

SP: So where did they end up going and what did they end up doing?

KA: Well, my father came to Seattle to look for a job. And he couldn't find anything, so I think he heard that there might be an opportunity on Bainbridge to get a strawberry farm, but, so he went over there and found that this family had changed their mind. They didn't decide to sell after all. And so he called (...) his friend in Beaverton who had a big strawberry farm, forty-acres.

SP: In Oregon?

KA: Uh-huh. And they were from the same village in Japan, so their name was Yoshihara, too.

SP: No relation, though?

KA: No relation. And he was willing to come, drive up and pick us up. So I remember it was, I think maybe February. It was cold. He brought his huge truck and we moved down to Beaverton and lived with them. He didn't have any children, he had a wife from Japan, and they took us in. And my parents worked for them as well as us kids. And my parents were paid twenty-five cents an hour, and we were paid ten cents an hour. But I guess that was the going wage then. But we had a place to stay. And it was a learning process of how to have a strawberry farm. My father found a twenty-seven acre field, which was up for lease. But in those days, even leases were not available to non-citizen Japanese. So I think they had to use our friend's wife's name to lease the property.

SP: Was she born in the U.S.?

KA: Yes, she was born in U.S., but educated in Japan and came back and was married to him. And so we were able to work on the farm. And it takes two years before you get the first crop. I know my mother was real disappointed, because it was like a shack, and the barn was better than the house. [Laughs] And we didn't have any electricity, and we had a well, you had to pump the water, and she was used to all that in Selleck, you know. We had electricity and we had running water, bathing in the house. But over there, you had to have an outhouse. And anyway, I know she was very disappointed, but God was with us then. It was amazing how He directed my father. Everybody was, all the farmers were saying, "You have to fertilize your farm, otherwise you won't get a crop," which sounds reasonable. And as my father was praying, the Holy Spirit would speak through him and said, "You do not need to fertilize. I'll take care of it." Because God knew that he didn't have the money. He had to borrow the money to lease the land, you know. And then I remember... oh, yes. These friends, because they were Buddhist, they said you have to have osake, Japanese liquor, in order to entice all those pickers from the skid row. They won't come unless you could, you could treat them. And so my parents fell for that. And even though they didn't have much money, they bought the rice and they made the osake. And then the Holy Spirit spoke again. [Laughs] He knows everything that's going on. Makes you tremble. And when my father knelt down to pray, the Holy Spirit spoke to him again and said, "I want you to dump every bit of osake. You have no need for it." My mother said, "Can't we keep one gallon for sukiyaki or something?" [Laughs] But my father felt it was a test of obedience, and so he woke us up, the kids, and he says -- oh, I think the Lord told him, "You have to dump every bit of it before the sun comes up." So my parents woke us up, and everybody had to carry a gallon jug and dump it in the creek behind our farm. And it was amazing. Art and I and my kids went over to visit the farm, and we knew the fellow who bought it, bought the farm. And I said, "Did you see the gallon jugs out there by the creek?" He said, "Yeah, I was wondering where in the world those jugs came from." So I was able to share what happened. He was a Christian, so he said, "Oh, is that right? God was here?"

Anyway, sure enough, they had no use because... oh, yes, another thing the Lord told him, "I feel sorry for the Japanese, but you will be relocated." He didn't say where, He just said inland. And this was before the sign went up. And sure enough, but He said He will be with us, "Fear not, I will never leave you." And so that assurance really brought peace into my parents' home. I'm sure they were still wondering, "What's gonna happen?" Whether we'll be sent to Japan or whether we'll be separated. Because some of the fathers were being picked up, and we didn't know what was going to happen. But anyway, God was real to my parents.

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

<Begin Segment 7>

TI: So Kay, I want to go back to the story about dumping the sake into the creek. So when you were awakened in the middle of the night to take these jugs with your mother and father and, I suppose, your brothers and sisters, what were you thinking?

KA: Oh, we knew it was God. [Laughs] Because my parents would never dump anything. You know, they sacrificed even a sack of rice to make it. I don't know how they made it, but...

TI: And so what did you think when you were, when you were dumping this?

KA: We knew it was God.

TI: And so that was okay for you?

KA: Oh, yes. I mean, we had to obey. See, because we've seen my father's faith, even about fertilizing the strawberry, that he didn't need to do that, you know. And we would tremble when God would be speaking to him, because we knew that He knew everything in our hearts. I mean, you know? Truly. If you're confronted by God, and you see yourself, because you have thoughts maybe that is not pleasing to God. But anyway, all our kids, I think my brothers and sisters who were old enough, we used to say, "Oh, the Holy Spirit has come." Because my father would be shaking, too, trembling. And it was really awesome.

TI: And in the same way, when he got the word that the Japanese would be relocated, was this after the bombing of Pearl Harbor?

KA: Yes, oh, yes.

TI: Okay, so that was after that, but before anyone knew they were going to be relocated or moved, he got the message that the Japanese...

KA: Yes, uh-huh. But it was after Pearl Harbor.

TI: And in the same way, was he trembling when he got that, do you remember?

KA: Yes.

TI: And how did he communicate that to you and the others?

KA: Oh, we saw. I mean, he would be praying, kneeling, and we would all kneel, too. And oh, he would start out singing, "Sei rei kitareri," that means, "The Holy Spirit has come," it's a hymn. And we knew that God was in our presence in our shack. But it was truly a spiritual... I don't know. A wonderful, wonderful blessing. That's why my faith in God will never be shaken, I pray. Because in the Last Days, it says even those who think their firm might be shaken, God is going to shake everything there is to be shaken. And look at the world today. It's really shaken everybody. But anyway, this is a real unusual -- in fact, my mother used to be afraid to tell people because they might think she was crazy. So she would just share it with the family. Because people will think, "She must have lost her mind," or my father must have gone fanatic, you know, just gone overboard. But it was truly, everything that God said came true. Not only that, one time -- we had two horses to cultivate. We didn't have the machinery, you know, to cultivate.

SP: On the strawberry farm.

KA: Yes, strawberry farm. Twenty-seven acres, that's a big land. And so one horse died -- no, ran away, or was missing. And my father knelt down again and said -- because we couldn't afford to buy another horse, knowing that we would be evacuated, too. And the Holy Spirit said, "Go to your neighbor's barn." Sure enough, the horse was there. [Laughs] And so they were able to -- you know, they said the horse had wandered into their farm, so they just tied it up. And we happened to know them, too, Roscoe Bierley, and they were Christians. But things like that happened to us. It's truly a miracle.

SP: So I wanted to ask you about a story that I read in your brother's memoir about your lives on the strawberry farm. So at one point, your parents are clearing the land, and they're burning a lot of the brush to clear it. And there was something that happened to you kids.

KA: Poison oak, poison ivy. I mean, when they were burning the bushes, all the kids got rash from the poison oak, the smoke.

SP: From being outdoors and exposed to it.

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

<Begin Segment 8>

KA: Oh, another thing that happened, too, was right before evacuation, maybe a couple months before, the Holy Spirit came upon my father and said, "I want you to go to church." 'Cause, see, they were so busy, they couldn't afford to hire anybody to work on the farm, so they would work seven days a week. And the children, us kids, went to Sunday school with our neighbor, Caucasian family, they were real nice. And the Lord, the Holy Spirit told my father, "I want you to go to Beaverton to the Church of Nazarene." My father had never heard of that. He was converted in the Oriental Missionary Society, Holiness Church. And He said, "I want you to go there. Not every church is mine." And we didn't know that, but anyway, and it's a miracle he found the place. 'Cause he had never driven before Selleck, I mean, we never had a car. And the first car was when he leased the farm. And he managed to drive to Beaverton, town of Beaverton, and I believe God directed him. Because to this day, I wouldn't know how to get there myself. But over there, God had prepared a man who happened to live right above our farm, close by, he was a member of that church. And he had prepared him to take over our farm. And his name was Mr. and Mrs. Baker, and since we were just new in the community, we really didn't know them. But here they were at that church, and the Holy Spirit told my father, "Ask him to give you ninety percent of the profit." Now, my father would have never had the nerve to ask, you know. Most farmers had to just drop everything and leave. Just like Art's parents, they had a grocery store, and they were offered such a low amount, that what's the sense of selling it, you know. But He said, "Give Mr. and Mrs. Baker ten percent. But be diligent 'til the very end to work on the farm, to care for the farm. And to make the carriers, prepare the carriers." So my father and mother, they worked 'til the very last day. And it was truly, truly a miracle. And he was so honest that he would send the receipt from the cannery, you know, how many pounds he took to the cannery.

SP: Strawberries.

KA: Uh-huh. And then send ninety percent of the money. It was really awesome how God...

TI: In a similar way, did the Bakers get a message from God to do this?

KA: Probably. I mean, inside, you know? They must have known that it was God. It's just like in the Bible, when Saul was supposed to go to Ananias or something and he prepared (him) that he would be coming or something. And in the same way, God prepared Mr. and Mrs. Baker. And they were the most loving people. And they corresponded.

SP: While you were in camp?

KA: Uh-huh. I'm sorry that us children lost track after a while. But it was truly God who honored my father's faith, because he had such faith in the Lord. And we were all Baptized there.

SP: At the Church of the Nazarene.

KA: Uh-huh. My parents figured we might be separated, we might be sent to Japan, we never knew what was gonna happen. So they wanted to make sure that all the children were Baptized. And so we were Baptized. So anyway, that's the story in Beaverton. And we had the nicest teachers. They were Christian teachers in the grade school. She was so loving, I think I was in the (ninth) grade when I was evacuated. But she would send Christmas presents while we were in camp, and clothes, and here she was a single parent. And kept in touch with us and sent us pictures of herself and her family. I still have it in my album.

TI: So it sounds like, by your parents being Christian, the family being Christian, you were helped by other Christians.

KA: Yes, uh-huh.

TI: How about the other Japanese in Beaverton? How did they fare?

KA: Oh, we didn't know any Christian Japanese.

TI: But how were they treated? I mean, were they treated as well as your family in terms of having their property taken care of...

KA: I don't know what happened to them.

TI: Or teachers writing to them?

KA: Because it happened so suddenly, you know. We only had about how many weeks or months? So I really don't know what happened. Because, of course, I was just a kid then, too. But my father's friend who had forty acres, I think maybe their lease was about to expire. So while they were in camp, the lease expired, and probably the owner took over.

TI: Yeah, I'm curious because I know a little bit about Hood River, and there, it was difficult for the Japanese. I mean, they, for the most part, I don't think the neighbors were that, were that receptive to the Japanese. And so I was curious if Beaverton was different.

KA: Oh, it's amazing how God gave us the nicest friends: our neighbor, who used to take us to Sunday school, they were so friendly and loving. And the schoolteacher, Mrs. Neill, she was so loving and so kind to us; she embraced us. But we were, let me see, there was only one other Japanese family who had children attending that school, Kaga's. But all the classmates were very loving to us, and here we were new in the community, we just moved in 1940. And evacuated in 1942, so we were only there in school for maybe about a year and a half or something. But they were all so nice to us.

TI: Yeah, so this is unusual.

KA: I know. I remember once when we went to Portland, (and walking), I remember somebody saying, "You dirty Japs." But that's the only time I sensed that discrimination. I looked at him and... we were kids then. But that was because of the war. But we never experienced that when we were in Beaverton. It was truly the Lord protecting us and meeting our... and we never went hungry, not once.

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

<Begin Segment 9>

SP: So can you tell us a bit about your memories of Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941? What are your memories of the time around your removal or evacuation from Beaverton?

KA: I remember we had a tiny little radio, no TV at that time. And when we heard rumors that there was a war, my parents were really shocked. But because God had prepared them, they trusted in Him and thought we would just look to the Lord and not panic. And sure enough, the FBI didn't come to our house. But I think they were visiting some of the other homes. And anyway, it was truly a time of spiritual lessons that we've learned, which has impacted each one of us. Especially the older ones, old enough to understand what was happening, my brother, my sister. And when we were evacuated, we were sent to the Portland Assembly Center, and that was the first time that really, my parents had a vacation. I shouldn't say this, but with a baby coming, my brother was born in July.

SP: In the assembly center.

KA: In the assembly center. It was an animal exposition center, where they had...

SP: Like a state fair, kind of, fairgrounds?

KA: Uh-huh. And I can see now what a blessing it was, because being pregnant and harvesting strawberry would have been very, very hard on my mother. But here she was interned just in time to be spared, because he was born latter part of July.

SP: Well, what were the living conditions like at the Portland Assembly Center?

KA: In Portland Assembly Center? Well, because we were kids, we thought it was kind of exciting and interesting. We didn't have to work on the farm. But we had, I think we had one huge room with all the beds, curtained off from one family to the other. But we could hear voices and things like that. But the meals were prepared for us and everything. And so it was an experience. We had never been in such a huge complex with so many Japanese. It was an experience. But the Lord was with us, and we made friends. And then we were sent to Minidoka in September. We were evacuated May the 20th, I believe it was, and left in September for Minidoka. And enrolled in school right away, attended. So I attended high school for three years and graduated in Minidoka. And I took an early graduation in January because I had enough credits, and I felt like I needed to work to help my parents. So I got a job as a nurse's aide.

SP: While you were still in camp?

KA: Uh-huh.

SP: Okay.

KA: After I graduated. And then later on, I got an office job working in the clothing allowance, where we used to figure out how much each family would be entitled, according to age and the children and everything. But it was a good experience; I enjoyed it.

SP: Now, were there other Christians in Minidoka? Was there a community of...

KA: Uh-huh, yes. There were many Christians. And we used to attend the fellowship meetings. Reverend Fukuyama was the minister. And there were quite a few young people.

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

<Begin Segment 10>

SP: And how long were you at Minidoka?

KA: Three and a half years. We were about the last ones to come out because we had no place to go. You know, my parents had no house, we had nowhere to go. And so I know how it feels to be homeless.

TI: What happened to the Beaverton place?

KA: No, we never went back because the lease would have been up by then.

TI: Oh, so the Bakers just took care of it for that harvest season.

KA: No, for three years, until the lease went out. And they took ninety percent after the first year, and they sent my parents ten percent. Isn't that a blessing?

SP: Very generous.

KA: It was really the work of God. And so my parents, since they lived in Washington most of their, you know, life here in Selleck, they decided to come back to Washington, thinking that Seattle was a bigger place for job opportunities. And that's the reason they decided to come to Seattle rather than to go back to Oregon. Because we were in Oregon just for a couple years, whereas they were accustomed to Washington. And I took a job immediately, thinking I'd have to help my parents. Because my father, the only kind of job he would find would be washing dishes, and eventually gardening. But I was able to get a job at the Kenny Presbyterian retirement home in West Seattle. And then in the meantime, my oldest brother was hospitalized. He was a veteran, a soldier, He was drafted in camp, and he became ill. He contracted tuberculosis and was hospitalized for three years. And so with his disability, and my salary, I received eighty dollars a month plus room and board, we would help the family out. And then we stayed at the Japanese Methodist Church when we first came out.

SP: They had set up a temporary hostel, right?

KA: Yes, where a lot of people were staying there until they were able to find a place to live. And finally, the Renton Highlands opened up. It was very difficult to find places to live at that time. And so my parents moved out there, and we stayed there 'til, I think they moved in 1955 to Seattle. In the meantime, my father was commuting by bus to all his jobs. And he worked for, as a gardener for, I think it was Imanishis, Takeuchis. And then he got a job with Kubota Gardens, and then he also got a job at the Seattle University -- or Seattle Prep, the Catholic school, washing dishes or something. And they were all intermittent jobs. You know, if the weather was nice, he'd have a job. But washing dishes... Seattle Prep, they used to have real good food. [Laughs] And he'd carry quart jars and bring home the leftovers. And so the children were able to, they said it was such a treat to have Papa come home with the leftover food.

TI: So this would be like leftover lunch food from the school, the high school there at Seattle Prep?

KA: Yes, uh-huh.

SP: In the cafeteria.

KA: Uh-huh, Seattle Prep. It's amazing, especially holidays, you know, they'd have ham or turkey or something. But my parents always had a garden. My mother was a real good gardener, and so we never lacked for food. And I think some of the Japanese merchants used to come to Renton Highlands to take orders for Japanese food: Furuya, Asia, and Tsutakawa or something. So we never suffered with hunger. My mother was a good cook, and she used to bake a lot, pies and cinnamon rolls, anpan. [Laughs] It's amazing. My kids still remember that, too. On my eightieth birthday, they surprised me with two albums of our life, my life, and they remember, they each wrote a letter to me, and they recall all these things that we experienced with my parents, too. And it brought memories, you know, of my childhood and growing up, and coming out of camp and working.

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

<Begin Segment 11>

KA: But anyway, eventually, after working for the retirement home with Seattle, somebody told me that there's a job on Mercer Island as a maid, and they would pay more. [Laughs] They offered 125 dollars a month, plus room and board, and they had no children. And it was just cleaning the house. I didn't even have to cook. I don't think I knew how to cook very well, anyway, I was only nineteen.

SP: So this is when you were working for the Stryker family, right?

KA: Hmm?

SP: The Stryker family.

KA: Yes, that was for the Stryker family. They used to have a millinery, a hat shop, right downtown, between Bon and Frederick's.

SP: So it was Mrs. Stryker that actually gave you your name Kay.

KA: Hmm?

SP: It was Mrs. Stryker that actually gave you your name Kay?

KA: Yes, uh-huh.

SP: Can you tell us a little bit about that?

KA: She said, "Would you mind if I called you Kay? Because it's difficult to call you Aiko," you know, to pronounce it or something. And she said, "It would be after my sister who died." And I said, "No, I don't mind you calling me Kay." So she would introduce me to everybody as Kay, and that's how I acquired that name. And I used that as my middle name, but everybody knows me as Kay. 'Cause that was, what, sixty years ago? Over sixty years. And well, so many Niseis have these nicknames. [Laughs] But that's my nickname.

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

<Begin Segment 12>

SP: So in this period after the war, you've told us a bit about the jobs that you were doing and helping out your parents. I'm curious to know what was going on with your younger brother Tak.

KA: Oh, Tak?

SP: Tak, the one who wrote the book.

KA: He wanted to attend college, but he couldn't see how my parents could afford it when my father was working, you know, on such low paid jobs and we were helping out. In fact, my sister Amy, too, she helped out, and she came to West Seattle to help in the dining room, too, and attended West Seattle High School as a schoolgirl, and gave her pittance to my parents. And so Takeshi figured, "Well, I guess I'd better do something to find a way to go to college." So he said he applied to many places, especially with no tuition. And he was amazed, he got an offer from... he was selected, I think it was one of the congressmen, Tolletson or somebody like that who nominated him, and he was accepted at Annapolis. And my parents were so happy and proud that he would be serving the country that way. But amazingly, he had a problem of getting seasick in the Navy. [Laughs] And so instead of sailing on the ship, he was able to attend all these prestigious colleges, until I think he has about four or five degrees. That was his career: engineering and MBA, and I don't know what all... but he got a PhD, and he became I think a captain.

TI: So that's a pretty amazing story because he was the first Japanese American...

KA: Yes, first Japanese American to be accepted.

TI: graduate from the Naval Academy at Annapolis. He went to the level of captain, which is one level below admiral, isn't it?

KA: Yes, uh-huh.

TI: So he did quite well, but he didn't, he didn't have sea service. So what kind of things did he do with all his education?

KA: I think he was busy attending school. [Laughs]

TI: Well, he must have done something besides going to school.

KA: Yes, I'm sure he did.

TI: Was he always stationed more back east like D.C. area?

KA: Uh-huh. And he got married right after graduation to Elva Ueno from Hawaii. She was attending Johns Hopkins school, nursing. And so he got married very young, twenty-two.

TI: Well, and just to finish up that story, and then his son later on...

KA: Uh-huh, David.

TI: ...also joined or went through the Naval Academy.

KA: Annapolis, that's right.

TI: So it was a strong tradition in that family.

KA: Yes, uh-huh. And he was stationed here for a while. And he was in charge of some big... Art would know. I'm not too familiar with all these military things, but when they had some kind of a catastrophe or incident, he was in charge of so many ships, David was. And he also was a captain. And then he decided to retire because he had two sons, teenagers, and he figured they needed him at home. And so he retired and he went back to Hawaii and got a job with the government, doing the same type of work as he was in the Navy. So he's still there. I have three siblings in Hawaii: Takeshi and George and my sister Florence. And the others are here.

SP: In the Seattle area?

KA: Uh-huh.

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

<Begin Segment 13>

SP: Now, how did you come to meet your husband, Art?

KA: My husband, Art?

SP: Yes, how did you meet?

KA: Well, I used to work for the Veterans Administration, and I thought, well, I was there for I don't know how many years. But I heard that if you went to Civil Aeronautics department, there's more chance for a promotion, so I transferred over there. And he happened to be one of the employees there. And the agency had a Christmas party at one of the hotels, maybe it was the Olympic Hotel or someplace. And that's how I met him. And when I first met him, he said -- I think he had just bought a car or something -- he said, "I'll take you home." I said, "No, you don't need to, I'll take the bus." But he insisted. [Laughs] And so that's how we met, Civil Aeronautics.

SP: So the two of you married in 1954, and do you have any children together?

KA: Yes, we have four children, Carolyn, Michael, Janet, and Norman. And I have four grandchildren, three girls and one boy. The oldest is fifteen, and his sister is thirteen, and then Carolyn's is fourteen and twelve. So twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen. [Laughs]

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

<Begin Segment 14>

SP: Well, I'd really like to hear you talk about your relationship with your youngest son, Norman. I know that it was his interest in feeding the homeless that really sort of got you started in the work that you're doing. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

KA: Yes. We were attending a small church right close to our house on Beacon Hill. And this Chinese lady, who was an immigrant lady, and her husband whom she had married, she met him at church. She had eight children by her first marriage, and he died, and she was a widow. And she met this David Stark, who became a Christian after having been homeless. And he had such compassion for the homeless people because he had been in that situation himself. He talked his wife into taking food down to feed the homeless. And before they knew it, they were surrounded by people. [Laughs] And I think they used to get the bread free, because they used to bring it to church for whoever wanted bread. And then they never told anyone about their feeding the homeless, but Norman found out and he became interested. And he said, "Mom," he said, "I think I want to help June and David." And I said, "Oh, Norman, we might get sued, you know, if anybody gets stomachache or complains." And I said, "Why don't you, maybe we ought to help some established places like Union Gospel." And he said, "Mom, but I think I really want to help these people out." So I said, "Well, I have to check it out. I don't want to take any chances." And so I went down with him, and they had one table, a wooden table. In fact, I have a picture maybe of it. And one huge pot, I think, filled with noodles. She works at the Su Chen noodle shop, and she'd get the discarded noodles that they can't sell, and boil that up and make the broth and put the broth in there. And it was a very, very simple meal, but all those people were so appreciative and thankful, and she would always say, "God bless you, Jesus loves you," you know. And I was so touched by her simple faith. So anyway, I got involved. [Laugh]

SP: And what year was that?

KA: I started in 1991, and we would, Norman remembers, in his letter to me, this birthday thing, he says, "I remember the first time we made chicken salad sandwiches, and when we went down there, it was gone within five minutes, everything, about a hundred sandwiches." [Laughs] And we were hooked. And so anyway, we'd make pizzas with french bread. I think the bread we were able to pick up for free down in the, one of those places, I can't even remember now, near the ferry. Because that's where June and David were picking up the bread. And so we'd make pizzas or make garlic bread, and we'd make salad or maybe something, stew or something. But anyway, David became ill, 1994. And he really wasn't able to do much work. And so June had to sort of back down, and he died early in 1995. And I was just waiting for her to come back after the funeral, but she said, "God has closed the door." And I said, "Oh, June, I can't do this alone." She said, "No, the Lord has closed the door." Because she started doing this when her children were quite young. The youngest was only four years old, and the older kids had to take care of the young ones. And they used to accuse her of, "You love the homeless more than you love me, or us." And she felt guilty, I think. So she said, "Now, I'm going to devote my time to my family," and I couldn't argue with that. And I told her, "Whenever you're ready, I'll pick you up," because she lives on Spokane street and I lived further south, so I could pick her up. She said, "Kay, I'm sorry, but I feel that God has closed the door." And so Norman and I took over.

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

<Begin Segment 15>

SP: So, Kay, you've been feeding the homeless for seventeen years, basically. And you do this four days a week?

KA: Yes, Monday through Thursday, and I save Fridays because I want to save it for Art. He might, he might divorce me. [Laughs] "You love the homeless more than me." But anyway, I feel that I owe it to him because we have a place in Hood Canal, and he likes to go out there. So when we don't have any commitments on weekends, we try to drive out there. And he has a garden. He's a farmer at heart, I believe, although he was a city boy. So we have a garden there, and we have to weed. And it seems as though the weeds never stop. So we were there this week, too. That was last Friday, I think, we were there. It's been seventeen years, but I didn't take over until 1995, so it was a learning process for me during that time. I think the Lord was teaching me a lot of things in that interim, between 1991 and 1995. And it's just so amazing that I've never recruited a single helper, I've never solicited any funds, and God has sent all these wonderful, wonderful people, every denomination, nationality. And truly, at first, it was mainly Norman and myself and my family. But I remember the first time, the first fellow who came was when it was raining, we were outside, and so we moved into Kinomoto's garage, I think. [Laughs] I think they had given permission to use that, so we were in there. And this fellow came, and he said, "Is there any way I can help you?" And I had him pour the beverages. Walter, what's his name... he still keeps in touch with me, he lives in Everett now. But he used to get, what is it, those juice, expensive juice, Odwalla juice that expired or something, you know. And he used to bring that, he was able to pick that up. And he did that for quite a while. But I remember once when Odwalla caused the e-coli, made the newspaper, but thank God we were not affected, he had stopped by then. But I thought, "Oh, Lord, thank you that you protected us." Because if somebody had died or something, I would have just been, you know, ready to give up. But we have never once had anyone complain of even a stomachache. In fact, one guy came to me and he said, "I've got one complaint. Since eating here, I've put on a lot of weight." [Laughs] And we do fill their plates. And then they come for seconds if we have any left.

SP: So how many people are you feeding on a daily basis?

KA: Usually, well, the city wants a total number for each month, and we've been averaging on a monthly basis, over three thousand meals.

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

<Begin Segment 16>

SP: Now, you'd said this thing earlier that I was kind of interested in. After your family was leaving Minidoka, you talked about how you didn't have anywhere to go, and there was a sense of homelessness for you, and that you, in some way, it felt really relevant to your work now and what you're doing. Can you talk a little bit about that?

KA: Uh-huh. You know, earlier on, we took in four foster children.

SP: You and your husband Art.

KA: Uh-huh. That was in 1961 and 1962. And they were at the Youth Service Center, and they were Eurasian, Japanese father and Caucasian mother, and they were teenagers. And at first, it was, we were attending the Methodist Church at that time, they put out a request for anyone who would be willing to take in four children. They didn't want to separate them, they were fifteen, fourteen, thirteen and ten years old. And they said, "Oh, it'd be only for a couple months." And we had just built our house, new house. And our children were small, Carolyn was five, Michael was three, Janet was two, Norman wasn't born yet. And I told Art, "Maybe we could put them up if it's just for a couple months." Because we had neighbors with children that age, and they were real nice kids, they were Chinese. And I thought, "My heart goes out to them." And I was shocked when Art said, "Yeah, okay." [Laughs] I didn't think that he would say yes. We had three of our own. And so we called the Youth Service Center and they brought them. And I was so surprised because they were all taller than me. And to this day, we keep in touch. But anyway, in the process, they really tested our patience. [Laughs] Sometimes they would strike, you know, refuse to eat because we wouldn't let them do something. They were full of energy, three girls and one boy. And they enrolled in school and everything. But came to the point where -- oh, they tested both of us. I remember John, he would throw walnuts against our stone fireplace and break the nuts that way. They did a lot of things to test us, but anyway...

TI: Well, how long did they end up living with you?

KA: Year and half, close to two years.

SP: More than a few months. [Laughs]

KA: Yes, yes. Oh, yes. It was after Norman was born. But anyway, I had come to the end of the -- I have the date written down, March the 16th, 1961, I came to the end of myself, "I give up." And the oldest girl, she was full of energy, she was just dancing around with a vacuum tube, and she poked that -- Janet was standing behind her, she wasn't aware. But she poked that right into her face, and (we) had to take her to the hospital to have stitches, seven stitches on her, like a harelip. I thought, "Oh, I can't take it." I was like a mother bear. And I thought, "I give up." But I struggled in bed that night, and I said, "God, I thought I was a Christian. What's the matter with me? I can't take this anymore." And I told Art, "I can't put up with this." And so that night, I sensed the presence of God. And it was like a cattle being branded, you know, it was a warmth right over my heart like a branding. And I sensed the love of God, Agape love. And he filled me with so much love for those kids. And when they got up in the morning, I said, "You could continue to live with us." I said, "God has done something for me, He's given me love. And I'm sorry that, you know, I was short in my love for you." And I'm telling you, I just couldn't get over... 'cause I was trying to do it on my own strength, and with my, you know, trying to please them in every way. And I just wore myself out, I think. And, but He gave me His love. And that's what's happened with the homeless, He's given me His love. It isn't my love. Sometimes they test me, too.

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

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: Well, in the same way, what are some examples of difficult times with the homeless? You've been doing this seventeen years, there must have been some times when it's been really hard.

KA: (Yes). In fact, I have a letter that I wrote to the city. [Laughs]

TI: Well, describe what happened.

KA: (Yes). They said that we had to have a restaurant license, and a fee. A restaurant license was two hundred dollars, I think, a year, or something like that. And feeding (permit) was seventy dollars. And I wrote to them and told them that we don't even have a budget, that I'm totally dependent on the Lord, and we're not a restaurant, we don't charge anybody anything. We do it by faith, and please reconsider, because we're not making any money, it's out of our own pockets. And so they cancelled it, that requirement. But thank the Lord. And then they moved us around. When June and David were doing it, when I first met them, they had been moved from the Pike area, Pike Street, down to more the International area, they were feeding right there at the park, you know, in front of the public health -- I mean, what is that? Near Yesler, south of Yesler, that little area where you see a lot of people.

TI: It's right next to the courthouse?

KA: (Yes), uh-huh. And that's where they were doing it. And then they moved us. They weren't under any... what is it, organization or anything, but they formed what they called Meals Partnership, where they became the overhead of all feeding programs to make sure that we were, we had the food handler's permits and things like that. Because before then, they were just doing it on their own, lot of people. And so we're under the city, and they decided that we should go to the Memorial Plaza, remember, where all the people who were killed in service, their names were engraved, on Fourth and James, between James and Cherry. So we were feeding there, and that was an ideal place because it was close to where most of the homeless people hung around. And sometimes we'd have three hundred people. And then they decided to tear that down. I think they're just beginning now to build something, but I don't know with this recession whether they'll have money to do anything.

SP: So where are you now?

KA: Hmm?

SP: Where are you now?

KA: Oh, and then they moved us to Seventh and Madison at the First Presbyterian Church plaza, the city. And they paid them seventy-five thousand a year just for the use of the plaza. Because they had to get a security guard and garbage collection, and honey bucket. And we were there for one year, and the church refused to renew the contract because of the neighbors in the condos, they would complain that they didn't want the homeless people hanging around. And so they sent us -- we were without a home for maybe about three or four months while they negotiated. And they found a place for us under the freeway, on Sixth and Columbia now, and they put a fence and enclosed it. It's in a parking lot, and they built a, they placed a shed where we could store our tables. And they have a little portable sink, but it's not very good, and they have a honey bucket. But the city gave the contract to Beverly Graham, who was the head of the Operation Sack Lunch, and she, I think, gets the funds from the city. And we don't get anything; I do not get any from any public agencies, or federal or city. It's truly by faith and by friends and relatives, my family. But the only thing free that we receive is bread. I pick it up from Fran, day old bread, down on Sixth Avenue. But in all these years, we have never suffered lack of food. And every time I need something, it seems to go on sale. And different ones, my friends sometimes would drop off a sack of rice. In fact, not too long ago, Jean Wakamatsu, do you know her? Lillian Hayashi's, her sister, I think. She brought me about three hundred pounds of rice from one of the stores, what is that, Country Market or something, run by Japanese. And you know, they had a little hole in the sack, and they couldn't sell it. [Laughs] Amazing grace, truly. These things happen. And in fact, today, I've got to pick up some chicken and start cooking for tonight. [Laughs]

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

<Begin Segment 18>

TI: So Kay, for all this work, you were awarded the Jeffersonian Award.

KA: Too many awards. I got the mayor's, I got the JACL, I said, "I don't want any." Because the Bible says if I get it here, I won't get it up in heaven. [Laughs] I had no choice. And Evening Magazine.

TI: Well, so let me ask you, so you get a lot of awards, what, of all the things that you've received, what's the most meaningful to you?

KA: Meaningful?

TI: Meaningful. Whether it's an award or maybe someone, maybe somebody said something to you?

KA: Yes.

SP: Or a thank you letter?

KA: Oh, (yes). I brought the letters from the homeless.

TI: So describe, so letters from the people you served.

KA: Yes. One fellow sent (a) card with a picture of a cat, he said he's been eating at our table for a couple years or something, and he said now he's able to feed himself. And he says he can't believe that I've been doing it for, he thought it was just for a couple of years, but he found out it was for thirteen years or something at that time. And he said, "I am enclosing five dollars for your next spending spree." [Laughs] I thought, "Oh, that's like a million dollars coming from a former homeless." And I remember one Jewish man who came to eat, he was staying at the Y with his teenage son. And he told me, he says, "You know, I'm a Jew," but he says, "What you're doing means more by your action," or something, and he wanted a plate for his son. He said, "My son is too embarrassed to come, and so if you could make a plate for me." And he finally got a job working at a newspaper. 'Cause he came back to thank me, just to thank me. He said "I got a job, and I can take care of my family now." And I thought, "Oh, thank the Lord." These stories really blessed me and make it all worthwhile. And there's one fellow who wrote, it was really something. He said, "Thank you all, not only for food and drink, but for love," he said something like, "When you look us in the eye while others look away," it makes him feel like a person. And oh, another one was, "There's three of us," and it's written like a real big, you know, like a childish hand, "there's three of us who wants to thank you for feeding us," or something, and they signed their first names. And I thought that was so precious. But they're so appreciative and so thankful, that I always tell them, "I want you to thank the Lord because He's the one that enables us to be here." Truly, that's true. In my old age. [Laughs] I was so shocked when I was reading the Bible one night, right before my eightieth birthday, and it said, in 2nd Samuel 19, King David was asking this fellow by the name of Brazilia to go with him. And it said he just turned eighty, a very old man. I thought, "Oh, God, you're saying I'm a very old lady." [Laughs] And he says, "I'm sorry, but you give your favor to somebody else because I'm an old man, and I have to prepare to die to be buried in my parents', where they're buried." And I thought, "Oh, Lord, I'm not ready yet." So God has been truly faithful. And I don't think I've missed hardly a night, regardless of weather. But anyway, I just feel so privileged to be able to do this for the Lord, because He's done so much for us.

SP: Well, we're so grateful for all your stories.

KA: Hmm?

SP: We're so grateful for all your stories, and I just want to thank you so much for coming and talking to us today.

KA: Oh, thank you.

SP: Is there anything else we didn't talk about that you'd like to share?

KA: No. I think I've received a lot of blessing from having had those four foster children. To this day, they write to me the most beautiful letters and cards, and they're now in their sixties. [Laughs] Can you believe that? Sixty-two, sixty-one, you know. And they were gonna -- in fact, Sally, the second daughter's son was the New York Times, one of the bestsellers. The Rule of Four, and he made millions, and he came to visit us, too. And he had a reading (at) Lake Forest Park or someplace, and they were invited. Sally and Ann were going to come -- they live in Boston and Virginia, but their mother is very ill now, and she said Ann, the oldest one, is looking after the mother. And Sally used to be the head of the military high school curriculum, and her husband was, she married a man in the embassy, they were stationed in Spain, but he's retired now. And after his retirement, she took a job with the Peace Corps administrating something to do with education. So it's been such a blessing, you know, that God has been so good to us, and they love us so much. In fact, Sally said now that she has lost her own father, she's never had much to do, but he died, she said, "Art has become our father now." [Laughs] So it's been a real blessing that we've been able to... but anyway, thank you so much.

SP: Thank you.

TI: Thank you.

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