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Title: Jane Hidaka Interview
Narrator: Jane Hidaka
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Skokie, Illinois
Date: June 16, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-hjane-01-0008

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TI: Okay, so now going back to Chicago, we talked about you going to the Hyde Park High School. What are some of your memories from high school?

JH: Well, they were pretty, I did well and I liked school, and I was probably one of the few girls that went on to college. And so, I don't know, I lost track of everybody after I graduated because I was going to, going to school. I don't know what happened to, I kept up with some of the girls. We got together maybe ten, ten years ago. In those days, you see, all the girls, all the Japanese girls and the boys all belonged to a social club, and so we got together, our club got together. And we also always, usually you had a basketball team, and in those days that must've been about when the CNAA started, because all the girls' clubs had a team. All the boys' clubs had a team, plus the churches had teams, and you had to belong to the church in order to play on their teams. Now, after, now I'm in school, I can't play basketball. I don't have time for basketball, and I get married, and children, three children and they're growing up, and one day my husband says to me, he says, you know, Jeff -- Jeff was our oldest son -- he says, "I don't like the kids he's running around with." He says, "I think we have to get him involved in the CNAA. Let's see what's going on with that." And so he called up his old coach. Sure enough, he's coaching a team from the Buddhist temple. He says, well, he says, "What age are they?" He says, "Well, they're all sixteen, seventeen years old." And Jeff was like fourteen. He says, "But I'll take Jeff." He says, "He's not gonna play a lot, but I'm glad to get him started and teach him." So that's how we started, but, and then we found out, okay, they have a clinic for eight-year-olds, starting at eight, seven or eight, and they have leagues for all these kids. They have a E, D, C, B -- Jeffrey would be in the B league, that was high school -- and then they had adult guys playing. So that's how I got started in the CNAA.

TI: Okay, the CNAA, I'm guessing, is Chicago Nisei --

JH: Is the Nisei Athletic Association.

TI: And so this was going on when you were in high school.

JH: When I was, it started when I was in high school, and in fact, probably before that. But the girls only played when they were in high school, so, because I remember playing when we first started when I was a freshman in high school. We played this older girls team. They were all out of high school, and I think they all had to be at least 5'6" or 5'5" to be on this team, and so needless to say, we weren't much competition for them. [Laughs] But so this organization, this athletic organization is huge by the time my sons were ready. They used to have baseball, volleyball, basketball, of course, and the volleyball teams, that, oh my god, I don't even know how many teams there were it was so huge. I think it was co-ed and girls only. I don' t know if there was men's volleyball, but almost all the girls played volleyball. So anyway...

TI: So you said you got involved with this --

JH: Well, I got involved because the Midwest Buddhist Temple asked Richard to coach 'cause Richard had been playing basketball, he probably was on one of the first teams that they ever played. They used to play at the Y to start out with, before they got their own leagues going. And so a lot of, everybody knows everybody. Okay. But they're asking Richard, who's not a member of the church, of the temple, so Richard says okay. He says, "But if some, some boy wants to play on the team who's not a member of your temple, he gets to play. I'll take anybody that wants to play." So they were, I don't know if they were desperate or what the story was, but they couldn't get anybody to coach, so they asked Richard, and so that's how we started. And that's when my youngest son started playing, and he was eight years old, so I used to go to keep score. That's all I did was I kept score. And so I did that for I don't know how many years, maybe a couple years, and then get more involved, doing stuff here and there. And then president of the league said to me one day, he says, "You know, Jane, he says, we want to invite," -- I don't think that's the word he used. He wouldn't say that. He says, "We want to have some women on the board." I says, "Really?" I says, "Okay." I said, "That's a good idea, but don't think you're getting us women because you want us to work in the kitchen on All Star day," 'cause I could see what was, what would happen on All Star day. That was at the end of the season. They'd have games and prizes and so forth, give out the trophies. I said, "I'm not working in the kitchen, but if there's something else you want us to do," I says, "we can do that." And so we did. We took charge here and there, mostly for the girls' leagues. We started out that way. Then they asked me if I would take charge of all the referees, scheduling them, including for the adult men. So, and then I would get in charge of this and get in charge of that, and it really evolved into a lot of work. [Laughs] But it was worth it 'cause my kids were getting a lot of benefit from it too.

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