Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Bernadette Suda Horiuchi Interview
Narrator: Bernadette Suda Horiuchi
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 19, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-hbernadette-01-0029

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TI: So in Seattle, what did you and Paul do in Seattle?

BH: Oh, we found an old house that was for rent, but it was on Alder Street near where the youth center is now. And the house was an old house, and dirty. When they told us we could live here, we looked and the front room had nothing but tin cans, beer bottles, just terrible. So he and I think my brother took a scoop shovel and just shoved it out the door, made a place to live. The walls were so dirty that the kids would touch the walls. So up to so far where the kids can't reach, I washed the whole wall down. And very primitive. [Laughs] And they had only one bathroom upstairs, and it was filthy. Said, "We can't allow kids in that, to take a bath in that one," so we never used their bathroom. That's about all we did there, nothing else. Then I got pregnant with my third one, so I lived there for, we lived there until he was one, I guess. Because I didn't take him as a little baby. And Paul was working just down the street, we were on Alder and the body shop was on Fir. Was it Fir?

TI: And so Paul worked at a autobody shop?

BH: Yeah, and then he... I don't know how he, he went to help somebody. He said, this is a nice job that he could do, because he was good at matching paint. People would come in with, in those days, of course, everybody had old cars, nobody owned a new one. And so they wanted to make it new-looking. So he was able to match colors, so even if the car was, some of the car was old, but people, when they went to the body shop to get paint, of course, they used the paint that was off of the can. And so, of course, there was a big difference between the place where he painted from the old paint, and they didn't like that. And so Paul learned how to make colors to match the car. And so he mixed the paint up, trying to get it done. And he had a reputation of being able to match colors, so he used to get a lot of calls from people, body, fenders, wondering, "What did you use?" So he told them. But I don't know, that's about all, I guess.

TI: So his painting experience came in handy.

BH: Yes, uh-huh.

TI: That he could mix or match paints.

BH: Uh-huh, if it's rusty looking he would mix it up, so make it look rusty.

TI: And during this time, was he still painting at night?

BH: Oh, yeah, at night, after he comes home from work, he was right at it. Even when it was railroad, the same thing. He'd come in, he'd come in the house, face was all dirty, grubby, his coveralls were dirty. But before he had a chance to do anything, he'd come running over to the painting that he started. It was on his mind all day, so he came and did that. So that's how much he was interested in painting.

TI: Now, when he came back to Seattle, there was more other painters, a community of painters.

BH: Tokitas and Nomura. There were a few others, I guess, but that was before my time, so I don't know. Nomura and Tokita was afterwards. But there were a lot of other Japanese painters that we know by name, but didn't meet them.

TI: And so when he came back, did he see more of them? Did he meet with them?

BH: Oh, yeah. He and Mr. Nomura and Tokita, they'd go out painting someplace, the three of 'em together, someplace to paint, inspired. So a lot of landscapes and things like that.

TI: And so about what year was this in Seattle, when you first started?

BH: It was... when was it?

TI: '46, '47?

BH: Before '47, because Vincent was born in '47. So must have been, well, '43, '44?

TI: Well, it had to be after the war, so probably after...

BH: '46? Something like that.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.