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-01-0023

<Begin Segment 23>

SY: So you were able to go, come and go from Gila.

EN: I think it was, were there two camps there, or I don't remember what we were doing.

SY: Yes, there were.

EN: So we must've been going from one camp to the other.

SY: I see. And then, but as far as you having been recruited to go to Gila, then were you able to leave whenever you wanted as far as --

EN: I believe so.

SY: So you just, you were the one who decided what was --

EN: Well, I wasn't the only one there on this project. Haruo Ishimaru was another one, and the family that I stayed with, Kiyoko, or what was her name, Araki, she was another one on the project, so there were three of us that I remember were doing the same thing.

SY: And they were all part of the Nisei --

EN: Part of this project.

SY: The student relocation.

EN: Relocation Council thing.

SY: I see. So did Mr. Anderson have anything to do with your going there?

EN: No, this was an entirely different matter.

SY: And then when you came back you went back to live with his family?

EN: No. By that time my parents had returned, so were living in, at an apartment in Pasadena.

SY: I see, so how did that happen? How did your parents end up coming back to Pasadena?

EN: Well, they were able to leave camp and Mr. Anderson had found this apartment for us, and it happened to be just almost next door to the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. And so we lived there and, since we'd lost our business of course, my dad went to the hostel where, in Pasadena, where all the Issei people were going for help, and all the gentlemen were learning how to become gardeners so he studied, I guess the, whatever it was you needed to learn to become a gardener. He bought his few tools and started a gardening route.

SY: Wow. And with no experience at all.

EN: No. None whatsoever. [Laughs]

SY: And his, was he still being helped by Mr. Anderson?

EN: No, he did this on his own. And my mother became a cleaning house, a cleaning lady. She hopped on a bus and went to these wealthy homes and cleaned house every day, a different house every day. So they worked really hard. Really, really tough for them.

SY: And at the same time you were going to school.

EN: Yes.

SY: So they, did it, it took a while for them to reestablish, and did people bother them at all when they came back?

EN: I don't know. They never talked about it, so I don't know.

SY: Did, they came back early?

EN: Well, I believe they came back in '45.

SY: So it might've been as the war was ending.

EN: But they were both such charming people. They, they were so nice. People loved them, so I don't think they had any problem, really.

SY: That's nice.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.