Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Yukiko Miyake Interview
Narrator: Yukiko Miyake
Interviewer: Sara Yamasaki
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 4, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-myukiko-01-0001

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SY: Yuki, you were born in Seattle almost eighty-eight years ago. Your birthday will be next month. For some people, turning eighty-eight has special significance. So what does that mean to you, turning eighty-eight?

YM: Eighty-eight. To be very honest, to me it didn't have any meaning. I was just eighty-eight and I was getting old. And I don't know. One day I thought, I've lived through so many different things that happened in Seattle, and I feel that eighty-eight isn't bad after all. And I'm enjoying eighty-eight. I'm enjoying my...

SY: Your age?

YM: My age. I think I really am enjoying it, and I have done quite a few things, and I thought I would never be able to do, so I like it.

SY: One of the things that you'd said that you've really enjoyed in your life was cuddling, and you cuddled for about five years?

YM: Five and a half years because I think I told your mother I wanted to cuddle 'til I was... 'til ten years, and I was going to retire, but I started losing my eyesight so I think, and then...

SY: How did you lose your eyesight?

YM: It's some kind of a syndrome and I hear it's hereditary, but at first when I got this thing, I thought how awful. I'm the only one that had it. Of course, my father, my mother, they probably died when they were quite young and my sister or brother -- my brother had cancer, but outside of that I have never heard of...

SY: Anyone else in the family.

YM: Having this.

SY: Well, so how long have you been legally blind?

YM: With this syndrome?

SY: Uh-huh.

YM: Gee, I was living on Beacon Hill when I started having it so... has it been more? I think...

SY: Maybe seven years.

YM: Seven years, maybe eight years.

SY: So what made cuddling so special to you? Why did you like cuddling?

YM: Well, I liked cuddling because I was carrying a baby. [Laughs] No. No. Maybe it's because I didn't have -- I always wanted four children and I never had them. I only had one, but I lost her early so maybe that's why cuddling made up for all the feeling I had. And then these were premature babies and so they were really, to me, they were special. And some of the mothers used to call me Grandma, and they were -- but the thing that used to impress me most is there was one blind boy. I forgot his name, but he was born blind. So he stayed there a little bit longer than the rest of them, but, you know, whenever I went to see, whenever it was my day to cuddle him, I used to go up to him and I would say, "Good morning, this is your Japanese grandma." And he couldn't see me, but he looked toward me and he used to smile. Then there was another boy. His name was Jack. He couldn't see and he couldn't talk and yet when I went and touched him, he seemed to know who I was. And it's really surprising. I thought these children -- they're so small, but...

SY: They could sense so much, even in their blindness.

YM: Yeah.

Yukiko M. Interview - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved. - <End Segment 1>