Densho Digital Repository
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hal Keimi Interview
Narrator: Hal Keimi
Interviewers: Brian Niiya (primary), Emily Anderson (secondary)
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: February 5, 2019
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-458-20

<Begin Segment 20>

BN: And then after your discharge, did you come back to L.A. then?

HK: Yes, came back to L.A.

BN: And then resumed schooling?

HK: No, I didn't know what to do, so I just ended up picking up jobs, I had to work in the market, at a plastic factory (...). And then I guess I met my future wife Barbara, and because she was going to East L.A. college, then SC, I said, "I better go to college, too." And she's going to SC, so I went to SC. And because I had units from LACC, I just went back to L.A. City College and picked up enough units to transfer to SC as a junior. So when I got to SC, I only needed to go two years to get a degree and then stayed one more year to get a teaching credential and become a teacher.

EA: Where did you meet Barbara?

HK: People have asked me that, and both of us, I think, it was probably when we were in one of the bowling leagues, that there were a lot of Japanese bowling leagues. And there was a small alley right there in downtown L.A. called Angeles Bowl, I think it was on Olive about a block north of Olympic. This is no longer there. But there was a league there, we both bowled in that league, and so just went from there.

BN: Sports really influenced your life in many ways, including meeting Barbara.

HK: Yes. Yeah, bowling was big time, there was one time where I was bowling in three leagues at the same time.

BN: Were you still playing basketball at this point?

HK: Yeah, I think I played afterwards, but mainly after Korea was softball and NAU. And ended up joining another softball team, we had a really authentic softball pitcher here called Yoshito Kido. And the team that he was on, I was able to join, and so we played against the, in a municipal league against hakujin, (...) we were very successful.

BN: Were you still a left-handed third baseman?

HK: No, I played first base now.

BN: More appropriately. And when you... well, actually, I wanted to ask you, were you able to gain benefits from the GI Bill for college?

HK: Yeah, I think because I hemmed and hawed around so long, I lost out on the GI. But California also provided veterans money, so I got, I think, a thousand dollars from California. And so when I went to SC at that time, paying by the unit, it was thirty-two dollars a unit. So a thousand dollars went a long ways at that time.

BN: And did you also work while you were going to school?

HK: Yes, I had a part time job, so that actually took away from my, doing something at the school. So as soon as I finished my classes, and mainly in the morning, I went to do a part time job in the afternoon.

BN: Did you know you wanted to teach from the beginning, or is that just something you, that evolved?

HK: No, I didn't know at the beginning except for a short while because one of the persons I met, some Caucasian person, she was the wife of a... COPNS, the other kind of doctor, not an MD. It's that other medical field.


HK: DO, yeah. So I actually was thinking of that, but I realized that would be too difficult. I was in the science field, so I decided maybe I could become a science teacher, so I went to education.

BN: And at that time, at one time not too long before that, it was very difficult for Japanese Americans to be hired as teachers. At that time, was that not an issue anymore?

HK: No. When I was going through SC, no, I didn't feel or hear any kind of problem.

BN: So when you did become a teacher, there were a good number of Nisei who were also teaching by then.

HK: I would say yes.

BN: Then Barbara is also going to USC at the same time?

HK: Yes.

BN: And what was her area?

HK: In business, so accounting.

BN: And then upon leaving, graduating at SC, you said you stayed another extra year to get your credential. Were you able to get a job right away?

HK: Yes, soon as I got the credential, I applied for LA Unified. So from there, then you go and then they send you to various schools if that school says okay. So I went to a few schools and eventually somebody said okay, so I started.

BN: At which school?

HK: This was, in those days it was called junior high, this was out in West L.A., Mark Twain Junior High. It's about a block away from Venice High. So I was there for four years, and so we decided, because we had now moved to Monterey Park, and that's twenty-plus miles across town, I better try to get closer, so I asked for a transfer, and I ended up transferring to South Gate Junior High. And so I went and I was at South Gate Junior High for twenty-six years.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2019 Densho. All Rights Reserved.