Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frances Midori Tashiro Kaji Interview
Narrator: Frances Midori Tashiro Kaji
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary); Martha Nakagawa (secondary)
Location: Torrance, California
Date: September 21, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-kfrances-01-0019

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: So we're going to start the third hour. And where we ended up the second hour, we were in Colorado. You were, I think your mom and oldest sister were looking in Denver to see if they can find a place.

MN: Right.

TI: And you were talking about how rugged those sort of seasonal sort of shacks were, that the seasonal workers would stay.

FK: Right.

TI: So what happened next?

MN: That was the early part of our arrival from Poston, so my sister Aki and Mom found this house in what's called north side of Denver, and it was a nice, quiet street. We stayed at, I think it was 4125 Vallejo Street, north Denver. And it was near North High School that I went to for two years. And it was a nice middle class neighborhood. And first the neighbors didn't know who we were, what we were, but they accepted us, it was quite nice. And it was an old house with a yard adjacent to it that my parents made into a victory garden. And I went to high school there at North High for two years. And the neighborhood was, or the high school was mainly Italians, Caucasian, and some Jewish kids. So that was the first time I experienced Yom Kippur or any other holidays, and all of a sudden the school is empty. Even the Italian kids would take the day off, just to get out of going to school. And I didn't know about Jewish holidays 'til then. But we moved in there and at least that place had indoor plumbing. So I thought, "Ah, this is great."

TI: You know, Frances, you mentioned your parents did a victory garden. Did your father join you?

FK: Eventually he did, after about a year.

TI: And when you saw him after these years, had he changed very much?

FK: No, he looked more healthy, 'cause he looked relaxed. And he always did like planting things, so it was good to see him out in the garden.

TI: And when he was in Denver, did he practice medicine?

FK: No, he didn't have a license.

TI: And in terms of his personality, did anything, did you notice any changes about him or when he first came, describe the reception for him.

FK: Oh, people started to come over to visit, and he was supposed to have been under doctor's care and in pretty good health. But he still liked to smoke, so he used to sneak cigarettes off of visitors and light up after they would leave, and try to get the smoke smell away.

TI: Now, he did that because who would disapprove of his smoking?

FK: All of us.

TI: Oh, so everyone in the family would...

FK: Oh, yeah, we were supposed to keep an eye on him.

TI: So eventually, from Denver, you go back to California.

FK: Well, we had to wait for the war to end, and this was in '44, I think. And he, in the meanwhile, big news in the newspaper was this story about... what was his name? A doctor from England who had found a miracle drug...

TI: Penicillin?

FK: Yeah, penicillin. That something could, some miraculous thing could come out of mold. He was doing his own research on the man and really got excited and started writing in Nihongo, and wanted it written up in the local paper in Denver. I guess it was a Japanese paper in Denver, and wanted everyone to know about it, because it was the miracle drug at that time. So he wanted to make sure everybody knew about it. But somehow or another, he liked to keep up to date.

TI: So he was planning to return to medicine after the war ended.

FK: Yes.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.