Densho Digital Repository
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hatsuko Mary Higuchi Interview
Narrator: Hatsuko Mary Higuchi
Interviewer: Virginia Yamada
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: February 4, 2019
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-456-6

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VY: I want to talk more about your mom. I want to talk a little bit more about your earlier years, too. Like, for instance, before your father died, do you have any memories of things that you did as a family, say, on the weekends?

HH: We went to Japanese school on the weekends, on Saturday. And with Japanese school came a lot of Japanese school picnics, Japanese school programs, Christmas programs, speech contests. My mother supported us and helped us do our homework and supported us all through school. And we did very well in Japanese. Not right now, but at that time during school time, she was able to help us with memorizing and reading. And so when Saturday came, we were all ready for school with our homework completed.

VY: It sounds like education was very, very important. How about Sundays? What did you do on Sundays?

HH: Well, Saturdays after Japanese school was our favorite time, because she would always take us shopping. Because after Saturday when we would come home, she would take us to Old Torrance, and we would be able to buy things at the five and ten, dime store, and buy little trinkets and things for ourselves. So Saturdays were really fun. Sundays, I can't really remember that much except for that we played a lot, and my mother, I think my parents kept working even on Sundays a lot of times.

VY: Did you have a family day, or were there times when, it was time set aside for you as a family to go maybe on an excursion, go to the beach?

HH: And I think that's what we did on Sunday a lot of times. We would go visit friends in L.A. or San Pedro or Long Beach. We would go on picnics, lot of picnics, go to the beach and just relax with the family.

VY: Do you remember what the beach was like? Was there like a certain section you were supposed to go to?

HH: You know what? I don't remember that part because we didn't go there really to play, but it was mostly to go to the pier and go fishing.

VY: I see. Well, how about your friends and neighbors? Were there a lot of other farmers in your area?

HH: Because we lived on the farm, there were farmers living next door, some with families, children our age, so we used to play a lot, run around the farmhouse, we would play Annie-Annie-Over with the horseshoe. And I remember I was waiting for the horseshoe to come down, and there it went, right on my head and made a hole in my head. That was a thing that happened, that they had to rush me to the emergency to get treated for that. I remember we used to play on the stacks of crates that my parents used to crate all the vegetables after they cut them, they'd crate them and stack them up while we went. I went climbing, I was a real tomboy, and I'm always the one that, seems like, got hurt because I was a tomboy. But I climbed to the top of the stack of crates and I said, "Okay, when I count to ten, push the crates, and I'm going to fly down." [Laughs] I thought I was superwoman, supergirl. So anyway, they did, and I went crashing down with the crates and slid across the ground on the dirt, gravel and dirt. I skinned the whole side of my face and broke my arm, and my bone was protruding out, and so I was taken to the hospital again. So, yeah, we did all kinds of things like that. I remember box springs from the bed leaning against the barn. We used to climb on those, and we used to just jump, put our feet down on those springs and just go up and down. I remember my little brother and sister always playing Mama and Papa, and they would carry an old handbag and let's go shopping, and they would go up and down those springs. So we did a lot of (things) like that. And since we were going to the picnics, we would always practice. So we would practice the three-legged race, we would tie our legs together and we would practice. And of course we would be, my sister and I would always win first place because we were so fast, we were coordinated, and we would practice running, so we would end up being first on the races and win those prizes at the picnics.

VY: It sounds like you were very competitive. [Laughs]

HH: Yes, we were.

VY: It sounds like a lot of fun.

HH: Yeah, we had a lot of fun.

VY: What else did you do at the picnics? What kinds of food did you eat at the picnics?

HH: Oh, it was always teriyaki chicken, nigiri, rice balls, and pickles, otsukemono, just typical Japanese food, potato salad, except for potato salad. [Laughs]

VY: And how many people would be there at those picnics?

HH: Oh, there would be just the whole place, the park would be packed with people, with their blankets, and there would be so many games, I mean, we just looked forward to the games.

VY: How about your neighbors and the other farmers? Were they also Japanese American?

HH: Uh-huh.

VY: Mostly?

HH: Yes.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2019 Densho. All Rights Reserved.