Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Nancy K. Araki Interview II
Narrator: Nancy K. Araki
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: July 19, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-anancy-02-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Okay, so we are, so today, Nancy, is Tuesday, July 19, 2011, and we're going to jump into our second interview. On camera is Tani Ikeda, and again interviewing is Tom Ikeda. And where we ended the first interview was when you were ten years old, your grandmother had just died, so you talked about that. You talked about also your aunt and the whole thing about the dance, which, I think, is how we ended the interview, and we had just started talking about your father wanting to reestablish farming up in the coast, Mendocino, and so why don't we start there? Why don't you first tell me, so before the war he was leasing the land and farming up there, what happened during the war to the farm?

NA: Well, it's one of these kind of catch twenty-two situations at the beginning, I mean, when the war started, because according to my dad if you didn't farm you were definitely not loyal. So he says, and yet at the same time they'd, they didn't know what was gonna happen to the crops or anything, but indeed they started farming. And so it was all put into the ground, and as, I think I told you about the second equipment going to the Keatley Farms in Utah, so he had tried to figure out what to do with his now planted crop and turned to a person he had gotten to know when he was down in, as a young person, down in Half Moon Bay helping the Morimotos. And there was a, what you called a field buyer, a person who goes and checks and buys different fields of crops and for a certain market, produce market, and this man's name was Paul Pera, and Paul, I guess being young enough so that he and my dad occasionally hung together, so he called Paul and asked whether he'd be interested in overseeing and looking after the farm. And I guess the deal was that eventually, and they didn't know when it would be, that he'd come back, that Paul would then turn everything over back to my dad. I think there was some other agreement that there be a certain amount of exchange because they knew that he's already planted everything and it was just a matter of them letting the crops come. So that's who took over, Paul Pera.

TI: Okay, so now after the war, your dad's now back, and so when he goes back what happens?

NA: Well, Paul apparently wasn't really happy to let go of this kind of, like, very lucrative, or at least it was the first crops, and so he wanted to continue. And my dad thought, okay, well he's gonna have to figure this out, so he continued with working in the city. I think he'd start to do some day work, day labor at, basically doing maintenance, house cleaning, all that. And at the same time, though, I guess he continued to have relationships with people in the produce market, and the people in the market was encouraging him to hurry up and get back out there farming. In fact, willing to even, what do you call it...

TI: Like invest or...

NA: Yeah, how do you say, yeah.

TI: But, so going back to Paul, so it was kind of like this agreement your father had, and was it like Paul just saying, "Well, give me another year or couple years and I'll do it," or what?

NA: No, not really quite clear, because when I did interview my dad is was quite, pretty much like, well... [laughs] And meanwhile, while Paul was doing there, other people saw the success in there, and there was another man who came up there to also lease a whole bunch of land named Mr. Furtado. A long story short is that ultimately Paul does decide to leave. My father goes to farm, Mr. Furtado has his own pea ranching going on, and it was kind of interesting, my, the strong memory I have is that one day there was a kind of showdown, or it felt like a showdown. We must've been, like, around eleven years old, ten, eleven, and what I could distinctly recall is that we were, we were at that time, my dad had leased out what was known as the Welsh's ranch and farming there, and Mr. Furtado was in the other's, Taneta's, another ranch which we were familiar with. But all the pickers now assembled in the yard of the Welsh's farm ranch where we were living in the south, and it was quite interesting 'cause you know that something's coming down, and there was discussion -- now, we kids couldn't be part of that discussion, obviously, so we were outside watching all the other activities happen, and we just knew at the end of which, then Mr. Furtado says, well, he'll continue and my dad will continue, right? And what ends up happening is that ultimately before the season ends, Mr., what I recall is Mr. Furtado just doesn't get anywhere because his, and my dad was, continued to keep control of his quality so he eventually made it.

TI: So was the showdown over the workers?

NA: Workers.

TI: And who were the workers who would help out on this side or that side, kind of?

NA: That's, the showdown, I thought, was much more like who's gonna continue on, because what was happening was that the peas were being flooded into the market, and so it was like flooding in and Mr. Furtado was just not as particular as Dad, and so Dad wanted to keep some kind of quality control and so it was either buy out or whatever. And I will look into that more as, I could review what my father says about that.

TI: Okay. No, it's interesting.

NA: What I just remember as a kid is it was, we all thought, oh boy, this is a showdown, and at least the two camps of Chicano workers were there and it just felt like a showdown to the kids.

TI: Okay. So your, so your father...

NA: He prevailed.

TI: Prevailed and reestablished his, himself as the pea farmer up there.

NA: Yeah.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.