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Title: Frank Muramatsu Interview
Narrator: Frank Muramatsu
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 10, 2015
Densho ID: denshovh-mfrank_2-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Today is Wednesday, June 10, 2015. We're in Seattle at the Densho office. On camera is Dana Hoshide, and I'm the interviewer, Tom Ikeda. And this morning we have Frank Muramatsu with us. So, Frank, I'm going to just start with the simple, basic questions. Can you tell me when your birthday is?

FM: My birthday is May 29, 1926, that is when I was born.

TI: Okay, so you just had a birthday a couple weeks ago.

FM: Right.

TI: You turned eighty-nine?

FM: Eighty-nine.

TI: You look great.

FM: I didn't think I would make it, but here I am.

TI: Now I'm curious, I've never asked this question. When you think of the Issei generation, if someone kind of reached sixty or seventy, that was doing pretty well. For Niseis, how long do you think Niseis are going to... what's kind of the longevity, is it ninety?

FM: I didn't think I would make it... I didn't think I would make it this long. As a matter of fact, when I retired from Boeing, you know, Boeing retires on the first of the month, and I retired in June. So I retired June 1, except that my last day of work was May 29th, which was my sixty-first birthday. And one of the things that we had to make a decision on was after a while, the taking of social security. And I had a chance of either sixty-five, which is normal, but sixty-two if you felt that you needed... you know, I didn't have to have the money, but I thought, well, son of a gun, my mother didn't make it too long. My dad lived a pretty good while, but I thought, well, at that time, the longevity was something like seventy-six or seventy-eight, something like that. And the crossover point of getting money from social security was, for me, I figured it was about seventy-six.

TI: Oh, so the decision, if you started at sixty-two, if you died before seventy-six or seventy-seven, it'd be better to start at sixty-two.

FM: Yeah.

TI: But if you were going to live beyond seventy and eighties, it would be better to actually wait.

FM: You're right. As it turned out, at eighty-nine now, I've lost the twenty percent that we do lose. But I wish I had kind of taken it, but it doesn't make any difference. But I wish I had taken it a little bit early, I mean --

TI: Later.

FM: I didn't use the sixty-two. I should have used sixty-five for sure.

TI: Because that was like a twenty percent difference?

FM: Yeah, it's a pretty big difference.

TI: Okay, so for all those years, you were taking twenty percent less.

FM: Yeah. So from quite a while. (...) I'm getting less money, but that's okay.

TI: And so I usually ask this at the end of the interview, but this is a good time. So with those extra years that you lived longer than you thought, like say the last ten years from seventy-nine to eighty-nine, what does that mean to you? What difference does that make, living an extra ten years than you think you would?

FM: Well, for me, I have really enjoyed it. I keep thinking, to realize that I have been retired for twenty-eight years, it just kind of boggles my mind. I had no idea that I would enjoy the retirement years as long as, as much as I have. It's a great thing now. (...) I spent some time after I retired with my wife, but since then, I've spent a lot of good times kind of enjoying what I didn't have early on.

TI: And what are those things that you can enjoy now that you didn't have early on?

FM: Well, of course, I do a lot of things for my own personal enjoyment. When I retired, one of the things that I did fairly soon was to determine what I was gonna do, just to keep busy. And I kind of went down the road of volunteering. I lived in the south end of Seattle and I volunteered with the senior center in Des Moines, and I did that for maybe five years. And I did things like Meals on Wheels for a couple of years. And beyond that, I had fifteen years of volunteer driving for Senior Services. We would drive people that could not go to medical or dental appointments. And once a week, sometimes twice a week, I'd drive people that needed help in getting to medical.

TI: Good, so you were able to do things to give back to the community.

FM: Yeah, I did a lot of that. And I felt good about that.

TI: But how about a decision? Earlier you mentioned if you knew you were going to live this long, you would have waited a little bit longer for social security.

FM: For sure.

TI: Anything else that you could think of that you would have done differently, knowing that you were gonna live to eighty-nine? I mean, the last, yeah, would you have done something differently?

FM: I wish I'd learned to play golf better is one of the things. I did play a lot of golf. I joined a couple of retiree golf groups, and had I learned to play golf better earlier on, rather than trying to break just 90, I would have wanted to break 80 probably. That would have been a, not an enjoyable thing, but then, you know, it would have been a goal that I wish I had better done. I have two grandkids, and I didn't do too much with them. I don't know that I would have done any different than I did, really, but they kind of went their ways, and I didn't have a real close relationship with my grandkids. I kind of wish I had done better that way, but it was just the way it goes. Sometimes it didn't, we didn't get together too much. We did when they were young, but as they got older, they really did it their way, and that was all right, too. But I was never not busy, I never looked for things to do as I was retired for that period of time.

TI: Okay, so this was a change for me to actually start with kind of the end of your life or now, versus the beginning. So I'm going to now switch gears here.

FM: Okay.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.