Densho Digital Archive
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Title: Molly K. Maeda Interview
Narrator: Molly K. Maeda
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: April 17, 2014
Densho ID: denshovh-mmolly-01-0022

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TI: And then when you got to Portland...

MM: Portland, and lived with Grandpa and Grandma Maeda in their house.

TI: And what was it like living in Portland for you?

MM: Upstairs they had a room, so we lived there. Diane was born (at Emanuel Hospital), they were only eighteen months apart, so Diane was born when I lived at Grandpa and Grandma Maedas'. And then we bought a house in North Portland.

TI: And then what kind of work was Milton doing at this time?

MM: What was that?

TI: What kind of work did Milton do in Portland?

MM: (...)

TI: But then Milton worked at the, at this time, at the BPA? Is that where he got a job?

MM: Yes. He had to start again, he got a job where he used to work before. He got a job as junior engineer, he had to start over at the bottom again. And then when they laid off a lot of the engineers in '55, came up to Seattle.

TI: Where he got a job at Boeing, you said? MM: (Yes).

TI: So I want to go back to your family. So what did they do after the war, your parents?

MM: Came back to their farm that their good friends took care of, and moved right in there, and they started to farm again.

TI: And how was it starting up farming again? Was it easy for your parents to do that?

MM: They said it was in good, the farm was in good condition, but the haiseki in Hood River was terrible at that time still. But they couldn't, you know, go buy paint, they had to go to Portland, my brother-in-law did. But then gradually... and now it's just completely, practically, maybe a few, they say, turn around (in) Hood River. It's just from so bad to, it's just friendly as can be.

TI: Yeah, so describe that a little bit more. So you said the haiseki was bad, so explain what haiseki means.

MM: Took all the (Japanese soldiers') names off, (...) you've probably heard of that. And they just didn't want to deal with Japanese. They really... well, I was gone, but then I heard all this, that they were so bad. But it just, now it's just as friendly as can be. They said, well, they can count maybe a couple people that still don't like the Japanese. But there were some people, like Reverend Burgoyne, Methodist minister, and then I remember there was Mrs.... what was her name? Lady who had an electrical company right across from the Yasui store. Those people were with us all the time. They tried to help, but there were so many against that it was really hard, I guess, at first.

TI: And how was it in Dee? Was Dee the same way, where people were against Japanese returning to Dee?

MM: They were accepted, gradually.

TI: So it might have been easier in Dee.

MM: But I guess it's with the American Legion people that were really hard. But they said now, everybody in Hood River tells us, "How is it?" and they said, "Just a complete turnaround, so friendly."

TI: Did most of the Japanese families return to Dee after the war?

MM: Quite a... most of them did. But then they gradually have given up farming and moved to town. They retired, they're aged, or their children have taken over, but not as many. But there were still quite a few. But the Isseis, a lot of them had passed away. My mother was the, I think, about the last person, she said, it's samushii, it's so lonely. Nobody, Isseis there. And she was about the last person, she died at ninety-five.

TI: And did she stay in the area?

MM: With my brother, uh-huh, with my brother and his wife. She stayed in Hood River.

TI: And so your brother stayed there. What kind of work did he do?

MM: He took over the farming after my dad. But after he sold that, he worked for the... I don't think they called it Apple Growers Association, they call it Hood River fruit company or something a little different. It's the same company they worked for. He was working in the warehouse, different spray companies sell, managing sprays and things for the fruit farmers. He worked there. But that's near Hood River, so he lived right there in Hood River.

TI: And your older sister, who married Chop, they went back to Hood River also, did they also farm, too?

MM: A big house, and now the son lives there now.

TI: So they stayed there and they farmed.

MM: They stayed there. But then they transferred it all to the two boys. They went, after they graduated college, they took over.

TI: And then how about your younger sister? Where did she go?

MM: She married (a Ontario, Oregon), Japanese fellow. And they (...) bought a fruit farm. First he worked for my brother, I mean, my sister's husband, like a foreman, and then he bought his own place. So my younger sister lived (on a) big farm, too.

TI: So it sounds like all your siblings kind of stayed in farming.

MM: They all... let's see. Anybody else go into... oh, my brother had a daughter and son. They didn't go into farming. (Brother's) daughter lives over in Sequim, and she commutes to Alaska Airlines office, and works for Alaska Airlines. And (her) brother (is) a purchasing manager at Barrier Motors in Bellevue. So they didn't go into farming.

TI: But I think that's probably common. Most of the Sanseis probably...

MM: Something else.

TI: ...did something else. It was too hard.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2014 Densho. All Rights Reserved.