Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Esther Takei Nishio Interview
Narrator: Esther Takei Nishio
Interviewer: Sharon Yamato
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: September 21, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-nesther-01-0019

<Begin Segment 19>

SY: So then you, again, boarded a train.

EN: Right, hopped on a train and took three days and arrived in Pasadena on September 12, 1944, which happened to be Mr. Anderson's birthday. It was really exciting.

SY: That's nice. And he met you at the train station?

EN: Yes, he met me there with, I think it was counselor for the Student Christian Association at school, and the editor of the school paper and some other, a few other students.

SY: So there was kind of a welcoming --

EN: A little welcoming committee, yes. It was very nice.

SY: And it was a pleasant experience when you arrived.

EN: Yes, it was very nice.

SY: No problems?

EN: No, there was no problem at all. And that evening, I think, I met the president of the Council of Churches, something like that. They welcomed me.

SY: They welcomed you and, now, do you remember how old you were when this, when you --

EN: I was nineteen then, old lady. [Laughs]

SY: And you got off the train and it was a very, very, there was no problems, but how was it following that period? Was there a period where you felt a little uncomfortable, or was it --

EN: You mean that day?

SY: That day or --

EN: No, that day was wonderful.

SY: So it was very exciting.

EN: It was really, coming back to California was so thrilling, come back home. Really wonderful.

SY: Really? Even though you were all by yourself, you didn't mind at all?

EN: Yes. Right.

SY: And did Mr. Anderson have a family?

EN: Yes, he had a beautiful wife and I think there were four children.

SY: Wow, all younger?

EN: Well, they were not that old at the time. I think Helene, Margaret, and Richard, and then little Aiko Susan came along after that.

SY: They named her Aiko?

EN: Yes.

SY: And I assume his wife was Caucasian as well, right?

EN: Yes. They named her Aiko because we had a mutual friend named Masao Igasaki, who was an attorney, and the wife's name was Aiko.

SY: So he liked that name, or he liked her?

EN: Both. [Laughs]

SY: And he, so you, he sort of welcomed you into their family?

EN: Yes, I stayed with their family. And not, just a few years ago I realized that they must've, one of the children must've given up his or her bedroom for me and I didn't even think about it until now.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.