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Title: Miyoko Tsuboi Nakagawa Interview
Narrator: Miyoko Tsuboi Nakagawa
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: South Bend, Washington
Date: April 30, 2014
Densho ID: denshovh-nmiyoko_2-01-0002

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TI: And tell me about your mother. I know she died when you were young, but what memories do you have of your mother?

MN: Well, I tried, I've been trying to recall. One of the only things that I remember was... oh, a couple of things. When I was very sick, she was there taking care of me, and also I remember we, I think both my, maybe both my father and my mother, I went to get my... what is it, not tetanus shot, typhoid shot or whatever? And I remember going to the doctor's office and that's about all. You know, I can't recall her cooking and all that sort of thing, which I should. And I think maybe it's, could be that I kind of blanked it out because prior to my mother passing away, that one week, she was feeling very bad, and I think that was happening on Monday, and then on Wednesday they took her away in an ambulance. And then Friday my dad and I went... [Interruption] I remember going with my dad to see her, and she was kind of in a coma. And then the next day, on Friday morning, we got a telephone call from the hospital saying that she had passed away. And so that was rather traumatic. I had to accompany my dad everywhere, whether it was funerals or anything, he couldn't leave me home by myself. But anyway, going to see my mother, I can still remember that in my mind. And I also remember the funeral and all that, everything else that happened after that.

TI: And how did your father react to all this? What was he like after your mother died?

MN: My father was... well, he did the best he could. He had to take care of me, a girl... I think if I was a boy, it might have been easier for him. But he had to figure out how to be sure that I was dressed correctly, and had to do the meals and everything. And I think I used... it seems to me like sometime later on, when I was a little bit older, that I did maybe wash the rice or something. But my dad had to prepare the meals and everything, and he never complained or anything, he just went along. And, of course, he was a widow, he never got married. Maybe I might have voiced an opinion when I was little, and I didn't want someone else taking her place, I don't know. But my father endured me during all this time.

TI: You know, I've done other interviews, and other families, if the mother died like this, there would sometimes be talk about sending the young children maybe back to Japan to live with relatives. Did that ever come up, anything like that in terms of maybe having another family take care of you and Setsu?

MN: Well, probably my sister, since she's a baby, it would be hard for my dad. But I could sort of take care of myself, so I don't recall anyone saying anything. I mean, I don't recall my dad saying anything to me about me, but probably my sister, she would be the one to be... it would be very difficult. It was difficult, I'm sure. Because he had to have her being taken care of by another family, and it wasn't a Japanese family, it was a Swedish family.

TI: So how did he choose that family? How did that happen?

MN: Well, he had this friend who lived across the street from this Swedish family. And they said that she was a very... well, she had five children I think it was, but she was a very Christian, very loving person, and they... we didn't know any Japanese people, Japanese families that would take my sister and take care of her. And there was no way I could do that. So anyway, these, they recommended this family that lived across the street from them, and our friends thought that this lady would really be good. So my sister... so anyway, that was agreed, and so my sister went to live with this family, she only knew Japanese, of course. So the conversation was rather difficult for the family as well, but they were very loving, very Christian people. They took care of my sister very well, I would say, and I'm very grateful to them.

TI: And how did you feel about seeing your sister go to another family?

MN: Well, it was kind of... it was rather strange. Not only strange, but kind of a lonely thing. Because even if she was only two, there was someone else to be close to and everything and grow up with. But when we, my father and I would just usually, every Sunday, take a drive out, I think it was about five miles, and we would go in his Model A and putt-putt around twenty-five miles or whatever it was, and go out to see my sister to find out how she was getting along, and if there were any problems and things like that.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2014 Densho. All Rights Reserved.