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-01-0029

<Begin Segment 29>

SY: So after you were married, then did you stay working?

EN: Yes.

SY: And you continued what, I'm trying to remember.

EN: I was working at the war surplus store as a secretary.

SY: I see. So you really utilized your business degree.

EN: [Laughs] Yes.

SY: You were able to do secretarial work quite...

EN: Yes.

SY: And was that a job that you...

EN: Yeah, I enjoyed it very much.

SY: So did you stay working very long after you were married?

EN: Well, until I became pregnant, and then taking the streetcar ride made me really urpy, so I had to quit.

SY: So you were working downtown?

EN: Yes.

SY: And you had to, and so you, did you kind of semi retire after you were...

EN: Until John was older, yes.

SY: Your son.

EN: Then I guess when John was in junior high school or so, I think I decided to go back to work, so I found a job with Craig Associates, who, it was an industrial design firm in Pasadena. So I worked there for many, maybe twelve years or so. Or maybe not that long. Anyway, quite a while. And then later I switched to the Henry Dreyfus office. I worked there for about twelve years.

SY: Wow. So you had long term jobs.

EN: Yeah, but they were really wonderful jobs. They were so much fun.

SY: And in the meantime your, when your husband didn't have to go into the army, what did he do?

EN: Well, he left his, the farm. His family had a ranch in Whittier, so he had to leave them because he got married to me, so he worked as a gardener. It's an entirely different occupation. But then he became a real estate broker, so that was his occupation, and an insurance broker.

SY: And had he been able to go to school for that?

EN: Yes.

SY: So he left his job, he left his parents' farm and then he went to school?

EN: He studied, yes. He studied.

SY: While he was working.

EN: Right, he had to work as a gardener to support us when we first got married, but then he went to school and became a real estate broker and insurance agent until he retired.

SY: Well that was lucky. And his family, did they stay working on the farm?

EN: Yes.

SY: So that was their, they were able to regain whatever, they came back to a farm that they had before the war?

EN: I'm not sure how that worked out. I don't know whether they owned their property or whether it was leased or whatever.

SY: Left with someone.

EN: Yes.

SY: So he, so he was able to support you while you were, had your child, and then --

EN: Yes, definitely.

SY: So tell us a little bit more about John. John is your son?

EN: Our one and only. I wanted a huge family because I was an only child and I envied all my friends that had siblings, but as it turned out I just had my John. [Laughs] And he was a cute little rascal when he was growing up.

SY: And kept you busy.

EN: Yes. But he was very artistic, so I guess he took after my mother.

SY: I see.

EN: So he became a ceramics artist and pursued that for many years, and then he retired and he said, "I've always wanted to be a sushi chef," so he went to sushi school and worked for a sushi restaurant for a while. But he discovered that you would have to be on your feet from morning 'til night, and his feet were too flat to take that long hours.

SY: And strain on his feet.

EN: Right, so he had to retire from that.

SY: I see. So he still pursues his art?

EN: Yes, he's very, he does all sorts of videos and things. He's really wonderful.

SY: That sounds like it definitely was handed down through the family artistic genes.

EN: [Laughs] He's really, really very good at that.

SY: Wonderful.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.