Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Yone Bartholomew Interview II
Narrator: Yone Bartholomew
Interviewer: Tracy Lai
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 8, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-byone-02

<Begin Segment 1>

TL: May 8th, 1998, and this is part two of an interview with Mrs. Yone Bartholomew. Yone, I'd like to start by asking about your marriage to Clarence Arai. Could you start by telling how the families knew each other?

YB: This goes back way before I ever entered my foster parents' life as a member of the family. And Clarence's parents and my foster parents had come from Japan almost together at the same time. And, at one time they had leased the Santa Cruz Island, across from Santa Barbara, doing abalone... whatever you want to call that business. And they had been very successful using the meat, of course, to can and consume as food, and the shells for different things that they could make into. However, during a storm, it washed away all thirteen ships that they had -- boats, I should say -- and so Mother blamed it on the unlucky number thirteen. They had lost everything completely, and they couldn't afford to start again. So they came back to the mainland, to Santa Barbara, and Clarence's folks continued on back to Seattle, (and) my parents remained in California. And I don't recall exactly what he went into, but Father was always doing some sort of a business there. So, Clarence did for a time grow up in Santa Barbara, where he had a neighbor friend, a little boy that he used to play with. Early in the morning he'd jump from his bedroom window through theirs and go in for breakfast there.

And it so happened many years later, when I was grown up and out of high school, and taking active parts among the young people and in church work -- I was superintendent of the Sunday school in our church 'cause I was oldest Nisei there. However, in the meantime they were organizing a young people's organization, and I was thinking of the YMCA and the YWCA, and I thought, "A triangle. Why not start one for ourselves? American Born Citizens, ABC Club." And we had just started one when I knew that there was a JACL organization being organized here in the northern part of the country, here in Seattle. So then we learned later that Clarence was going to come down to California and help organize the same organization that they had organized, here. In San Francisco and Los Angeles. And so I thought, "Well, I'm gonna go over there and find out what it's all about, and maybe we can improve our group." And when I did go there, Mother was so happy. She says, "They're good family friends, and I knew him as a baby, and I want you to go meet him and listen well to what he has to tell you about the organization," which I did.

So we came back on the same bus together and he stayed with us for about three, four days, got to visit his former neighbor friend who was a very prominent attorney for all the wealthy people in Montecito. And he was rich, but Clarence was just starting from scratch. However, they had a very nice visit, and the mother was so pleased to see him, 'cause she hadn't seen him since he was a little boy. Staying with us for three, four days, I got well-acquainted with him, and he helped us organize the JACL, so we changed to JACL rather than continuing with what we had started. Four days seemed very short, but we got to know each other and we corresponded, and he came back again to check over or either to attend some of the conventions and meetings that they had in the California area. And I got to see him again at that time and attend some of the conventions. So the second or third time I think it was, of course there was a proposal. And I thought well, he was a very down-to-earth, open person. I mean, he never covered anything or hid anything; everything was out in the open. And if somebody had to carry a bucket or anything down the road, it didn't embarrass him. He would pick it up and carry it for you, where maybe some people wouldn't want to be seen with certain things to be carried, objects. So I kinda' liked the way he responded to my parents and everything.

Of all the people who were the happiest, was my mother. [Laughs] She'd been after me: I should get married, I should marry a doctor, and she introduced me to one, but I just wasn't interested. So when the time came that Clarence did propose, I very happily accepted. So he gave me his little fraternity pin. I still have the pin, and that was temporarily my engagement, you know, in place of a ring. And a year later, we were married in Santa Barbara at the Presbyterian Church. And from there I came up to Seattle directly, right after the wedding. We stayed a few days there at the El Encanto Hotel, which is one of the nice hotels that I had served tea right after attending the state normal college there, and it helped me, put me through school. So the manager there, the owner there says, "Yone, come up and spend two, three days in the honeymoon suite." So we got a beautiful room, and the meals that they served, and he gave us just everything.

But from there we (went) to Seattle, and all the way I was just... couldn't accept the fact that I had to leave California and the family. And when I did get here, what was worse: the rain. I just couldn't take it. Every time I looked out the window it was pouring. And I think I cried with the rain each time it rained. But he was busy, and I eventually got acquainted with the church members and kept myself busy. And then I went to the office to help him, 'cause he needed a secretary. And of course, I had to learn legal terminology and learn to type a little bit more, but... so I spent most of my time helping him in the office.

TL: Which church did you join?

YB: Clarence belonged to the Baptist church, from the time his parents and he was a youngster. So he said, "You don't have to join my church." He says, "There's a congregational church, Japanese one, that you can join." I said, "No. If I'm married to you and I'm here in Seattle," I said, "I'll join your church." So I was baptized in the Baptist Church. I was originally a Presbyterian, baptized by a Caucasian minister and his wife, who was an artist. And then when I moved to Santa Barbara and attended the Presbyterian church there, the Japanese church learned that I had moved into town, and I was one of the older Niseis. They needed some help and they asked me would I please come to their church and help them out, 'cause they had very few older Niseis that could help out. So Mother says, "Well, why don't you do that," so I (did). They appointed me immediately for, as the... what do they call it? Superintendent? That's how much I recall of what I did then. So I was kept busy with church work, going with the minister. They even thought I was a minister's wife, which I said, "Mama, I don't want them to think I'm the minister's wife." And she says, "Well, that's all right. Just do what you have to do." So I had charge of the Sunday school, and continued until I got married.

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

<Begin Segment 2>

TL: You've mentioned that Clarence may have been one of the very first Japanese American lawyers. Do you remember what law school he attended?

YB: Here in Seattle.

TL: So at the University of Washington?

YB: Yes, yes. And every year they would have a reunion of his class, and I have all the pictures that they've taken. And he went to the very last one too, as long as he was well enough to go.

TL: How did he become interested in law? What made him --

YB: I wished I asked him, which I never had. And I think there must have been a reason for that, and his father encouraged him to do so. However, he's the only one that really went to college. I think his brother might have gone and never specialized in anything, stayed with the Brownells. Which, Mr. Brownell, who is the head man of the Seafirst Bank up until he died. Very nice family.

But Clarence, I think was the first in many things, in organizing the first Boy Scout, Troop 53 at our church, and also one of the first reserve officers. And there was quite a bit of problem at the U when he wanted to join the ROTC, but the officer there was very much interested in getting Clarence to join because he was a Japanese, and was wanting to be an American and join the American army. So he did go into it, and every summer he would go to Fort Lewis for his annual get-together where they have to go through the whole routine. He'd come home all exhausted, he says, "That 'around the corner' is sure not around the corner," [Laughs] had to do a lot of walking and tramping. And so he continued up until the outbreak of the war, and he says, "Now is my chance to go and serve my country."

But, poor fellow, he had high blood pressure. And his friend, who was also in the army with him, or in the reserve with him, was anxious to have Clarence join him and go together, but -- he had a bad heart, but he passed his test. Clarence couldn't pass his, because of his high blood pressure. And he was really down and out. And when he came home, he says, "We're gonna' go on a diet, and you're all going to help me." So his mother and I worked day and night, trying to get that blood pressure down. And the more he tried, the worse it got. I think he got so anxious to try to make it somehow, the boys would say, "That's okay General," -- that was his nickname, General, and -- "we'll go do the fighting up front. Why don't you stay home and do the fighting here on the home grounds for us, and hold the fort here until we come back." And they wrote letters to him so that he wouldn't be down and discouraged, but finally he was able to get a job through Washington D.C., and he had a message saying, "We finally found a place for you. Perhaps not in the army itself," I mean, up front, you know, out in the front, "but we have a very good position for you in the..." oh, whatever it was. Something in security department, because they trusted him and in his experience they felt he could do it. So he went to bed just as happy as a lark, and the next morning we got up, turned on the radio; the news we got was V-J Day. He almost fell through the bed. Happy in one way, but was so sad to think he never made it.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

YB: And he was still offered a very good position in Washington D.C., but at that time our little boy, who was then eight, became very ill, and had headaches. And our very dear friend and classmate of Clarence's, Dave Williams here, who is a lawyer also, attorney, said, "Clarence and Yone, don't worry. We're gonna do everything to get that boy over to the Mayo Clinic. Anything to help him out, and don't you worry about financial problems or anything. We're going to get him there." But Ken just didn't want to go any place; he wanted to return to Seattle. "Daddy and Mommy, I want to get back to Seattle. I don't want to go to Washington D.C.," and he did. He came back here to die, of course. But he lived only three months, and died of a brain tumor which developed into cancer, at the age of nine. And then Clarence took ill. So depressed and down-hearted. And I was feeling the same, then I, all of a sudden it dawned on me, "We both can't go down. Somebody's got to hang in there, and pull one of us out of the pit that we've fallen into." So I had to really snap out of it, and help him because he just kept going down. He was very, very depressed, and very sad. And I felt the same, but I found a way where I came out of it. And his mother managed to get along okay, but she wasn't too well either so I had two sick people on (my) hand.

In the meantime I went to night school at the Broadway night classes, and heard about a very good teacher that taught photo oils. Coloring, they called it tinting. But I eventually learned from another friend how to do heavier oils on photographs for window display, or special orders and wedding pictures. And so I really went into that, and then opened up a shop downtown and had two girls that I trained. So I managed to make a fairly good living until I had two sick people. Clarence's mother got quite ill, and she stayed with us instead of with her daughter. However, Clarence was unable to do -- he had the office and he pretended he was doing legal work, maybe notarizing or talking to friends, but other than that he was really unable to work anymore.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

YB: So I found myself a second job where I had recruited the girls for Mr. Canlis -- who started the Canlis Restaurant here after having had a successful one in Hawaii. And people told him, "Go to Yone. She's the oldest of the group, she'll know a lot of people." And I said, "Mr. Canlis, if what you're looking for, I may have some problem getting the girls to work as a waitress," because in those days it was still, waitresses in the Japanese -- I don't know about the Chinese -- but the Japanese family was sort of looked down on, the geisha girls or the waitresses, which were even -- geisha girls, the good ones were good, but the waitresses are too, I'm sure. However, at the time, I did recruit the girls, but on their part was the understanding that their husband would say, "Well, if Yone is going, why don't you work?" Or the parents would say, "Oh, if Mrs. Arai is working, fine, why don't you go?" So I said to Clarence, "What am I gonna' do? I've got my own shop and the girls, eight girls I've got lined up and a tenth one. And they don't want to go, or their parents or their husbands don't want them to go unless I'm working." And I said, "I've got one job already." And he says, "Why can't you work part-time during the day, train somebody, and then go in the evening and help the girls?"

Well, I had to learn from scratch, 'cause I couldn't hold two cup of coffee, even, or know my drinks. So we had to learn from scratch to call off the drinks, and how to serve, and how to toss salad. I guess we could do it, but I mean you couldn't hold three cups of coffee; I'd come home and burn myself every time, but I learned to hold three. And you can't stack cups, but you can hold three cups, two in one and one in the right hand. And really, really stayed overtime to have the bartender teach us how to call out the drinks, and the names of the drinks. And Mr. Canlis was so strict. One little error, "Who forgot the butter?" Or, "How about the water? Whose table is this? Dollar fine." And I think I got fined $2 anyway. Nobody argued with him. It was [Laughs] a problem in itself, but at the same time the customers would feel terrible for us, but that was Mr. Canlis. He couldn't change.

And we had some very, very good customers that were so nice to us, and we in turn kept a blue book that kept the names of each customer, their favorite drinks, their favorite desserts. The minute they walked in, what tables they preferred. And instantly served a cup of coffee, or half a cup of a coffee, or a high ball that was one chunk of ice. And they were very, very particular, and these are the little things that we put down that pleased them, 'cause they never had to repeat the second time when they came in, what they wanted. And so we really thoroughly had all the customers spoiled.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

YB: And when the time came after twelve years, decided, all of us, we were just so tired we had to quit. We told Mr. Canlis, "Well, what am I gonna' do for girls?" So we tried to recruit as many we could, and train them, and left. And the customers that had been coming followed me down to Frederick's, where I had been, where I had gone in and applied for a position in the cosmetic department. Since I had colored oils, I could work on people's faces. And I learned to cover birth marks, scars, both children, adults, men and women; and so the doctors would send them in with scars or problems. And so I had a very nice job, but it didn't pay that much. But if I could sell a lot, I would make commission from the company. And the customers from Frederick's -- I mean, not from Frederick's, from Canlis, previous customers, "We sure miss you girls. Nobody seems to know what we want and what we like." Like one man always wanted sugar on his tomato. But everyone had some sort of a habit that we had to remember, and this made them very happy. And they'd come by, "Sure miss you girls. Things aren't the same anymore." So the girls that were working, some working in the post office and everybody had a job in different areas, very good jobs after that. And the reason why we couldn't is immediately after the war it was hard to go out and say, "We want this job or that job." You just couldn't get it. It was a little problem there I think, the adjustment on both parts, the residents and the Japanese. But eventually it got so they were able to get most any kind of a job. And things turned out okay, but Mr. Canlis was rather upset that we left, but he managed somehow.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

TL: You mentioned that Mr. Canlis, when he was looking for women to serve as waitresses, that someone mentioned to him --


YB: No, we had a Matron's Club that we organized two years after I came from California. And, I have a picture of our group. But, then there again they had selected me as the first president of the group. And right now there's only about four or five of us left. And so, no matter how tired I am, if they ask me to come -- "Oh, but you gotta' come." So I dragged myself out yesterday. Then I had to go to one last night so I thought, "Gee, will I be able to be around today?"

TL: So were the women who you recruited to work at Mr. Canlis' restaurant, were they all members of the Matron's Club?

YB: No, not really all. Because our group that was originally organized, pretty much stayed that way and this was right after the war. So the group that, the original group was completely different from the one after the war.

TL: Okay.

YB: And I happened to know them and then individuals that I would talk to say, "Oh, I know who else would like to join. If you're going to go, maybe the husband or the father will let her go." And that's how I happened to get them. And they were all really very nice people. And the one girl, the woman, young lady, I should say -- when he wanted to appoint me as the head waitress, I said, "Mr. Canlis, I'm the oldest, I'm the shortest, and inexperienced." But I said, "This one young lady, who is tall and stately and very gracious -- " Rosemary Beppu, one of the Beppu brothers' wife, very lovely girl. And her father had a restaurant at one time, and she used to help her daddy, so she knew restaurant business. And I said, "Canlis, she has everything. Why don't we select her?" He says, "Well, if you say so." So we had Rosemary, but every time she had problems, "Yone-san, will you come to the rescue?" She says, "I'm having problems. Father wants me to come upstairs, and I don't know what he's going to say or do to me, but I need some moral support." So I'd go with her. And he always screams, or yells, or whatever. He can't say it quietly and nicely.

TL: This is Mr. Canlis?

YB: Yes, that's Mr. Canlis. He couldn't be any different. He was nice in one way, but he had to just scream at everybody. And even the customers that came in felt sorry for the girls, thought he was terrible. However, we'd go to the meeting and sometime the girls would cry, and I'd feel so bad for them that I'd end up crying. "Grandma, what you crying about?" [Laughs] He bawled me out! And then I'd tell him, "Mr. Canlis, there's one thing I wish you'd understand. Here in the mainland, those of us who have been born and raised here -- I don't mean to down the girls in Hawaii, but they're much stronger, and braver, and they can fight back. But we weren't taught to fight back when our superiors or boss would speak to us. We'd take whatever was coming our way, and listen to them." So I said, "Would you handle the girls with that in mind, and handle them with a little more kindness?" And he smiles at me and didn't say a word. But then he forgets, and he says, "Whose table is this? Who forgot that? Dollar fine." And you get so busy you can't get at it right away, and the customers used to look, you know, feel so bad for us. [Laughs] But he would never change.

TL: So working at Canlis' restaurant, that took place...

YB: Twelve years.

TL: Well, for twelve years, and about how long after the war, after people had been released from camp?

YB: I think it was about four or five years, I guess. After we came back.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

TL: One time --

YB: 'Cause I was already, I had already attended night school at Broadway. And I had no problem getting work, because I had learned from another friend I said, to do heavier oils on... and even on the canvas that they'd put photographs on, portraits on. And I had some real nice studios from Alaska, Idaho, and all around through Seattle, and Bellevue. I had one of my biggest ones in Bellevue 'cause there were really a lot of well-to-do people living there. And then I'd ferry over once a week, over to Bremerton, and do some of their heavier work and then bring a lot back.

So it was during that time when I got some things going that this job came up, and I said to Clarence, I said, "You know Daddy, after all, you are a lawyer. And among Japanese, what would they think that if a lawyer's wife went out waiting on a table?" Well, in those days this is the way they thought, and I didn't want to get out there and make a scene so he said, "What's wrong? I don't care if a person scrubs floors, sweeps the street, or is a chamber maid. You can go out and do the menial job, but if you're out there to earn a decent dollar," he says, "never be ashamed of it. Go out there and show 'em, help the girls." I says, "How can I do two jobs?" That's the first thought I had, but I had two girls I had trained, that could open and close (shop) for me. And they were very good about that. So this is how I happened to go over there and work for twelve years. And I don't know how I held up for twelve years, but I did. 'Cause I was the oldest, I was into, well into my fifties. And the girls were younger than I, ten years younger than I.

TL: Clarence sounds like he was a very understanding husband.

YB: Not only that, he could talk to someone sweeping the streets like an old pal, and go up to the mayors, and the elevator boys, he treated everyone alike. He never looked down on anyone. That was one, that's the trait that I liked about him when I first met him.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

TL: Do you think that your relationship and your marriage was very typical of other Nisei couples at the time? Or was it kind of... special?

YB: There were still some. I think it was... it was -- what should I say, fate, or...? Just a coincidence that happened. Happily for Mother, she was, I think she was so pleased, someone she knew, the family she didn't have to check. In those days they check into the family background, what illnesses they've had, and I said, "For goodness' sake." She said, "Oh, you can't marry someone that's got leprosy or whatever in their family history," and they go into a whole lot of problems that they bring up. But I used to be terrible and just upset mother to no end. "But Mama," I said, "after all, if someone's walking down the street, a tramp or anyone, if he's a real nice guy, I might even marry him!" "Oh, for goodness," she says, "don't say things like that." [Laughs] Because you're being so fussy.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

TL: You shared with me Clarence's scrapbook, and we looked through some of the articles that he had saved about the many political activities that he was involved in. And I'm wondering if you can tell me more about some of the goals that he had in that involvement.

YB: He was not only interested in being a lawyer, but he got involved in politics. And I thought, "Politics?" All I could see was giving out big lines, and sometime telling stories, or lies. And I thought, "Is he gonna' get involved in that?" And of course, there's a lot of good in it, too. But he was trying to work for the good. And he joined the Republicans, and I happened to be a Republican, so it worked out fine. And Father was a Democrat -- mine -- and I didn't see any wrong in either one, but it was a matter of choice at the time. And so he ran as a representative and didn't quite make it. It was hard for him, I know. But, at least he went over to lobby in over at... where is it now where they have their... our neighboring...[Laughs] Olympia. I'm trying to think of Olympia. And when they were doing that, the wife of one of the men, and Clarence and I would go together to watch them, and it was quite interesting. So he was maybe one of the first that tried running, getting involved in politics.

TL: How did other members of the Japanese American community respond? Did they support him?

YB: Yes, because they were in hopes that he would go in there, and work for them. Whether it's the city, or the United States, or whatever that if he could represent them... and naturally the Japanese Council was very pleased. And he was very active in their group, too.

TL: So was this in, maybe the, this is before the war?

YB: Before the war, when we started.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

YB: And I was involved in PTA, and I was perhaps the only Japanese in there on the board. And they were very good to me, they supported me and supported Clarence in every way, so that was a big help. And I didn't have any children yet, but they got me involved. They said, "Well, you're here, and you've helped us at election." I was on the... what do you call it? Voting deal, and served for quite a number of years there. But in politics, you spend so much money and you don't get anywheres, really. It was still tough going for Orientals. But he wanted to try, and he wanted to keep doing it, so I struggled along with him. And so that was a first for a Japanese, and a lawyer too, he was the first here. And organizing the Scouts, that's the oldest and first one.

TL: And they're still continuing today.

YB: Still continuing it. And so they invite me, every time they give the scout award of the year. I have to go and present it. And I'm hoping when I get wealthy enough that I can donate so much to the group. I give a little, but when I'm ready to go, that I can leave something behind for them. And they do, and they're carrying on very beautifully. And there's a lotta Chinese in there; surprising. And the parents are participating, and taking part, and conducting.

TL: I think it's quite a popular club.

YB: Well, it's always been that way, from the years when Clarence organized one of the first basketball teams; and that was at the church. And it involved Chinese and Japanese, they were in there. The Joo boys. I don't know if you know Willard Joo? The two brothers? Oh, I know them real well. And how I got started in bonsai was, when Willard's wife died -- because Willard wife was part Eskimo, and part Chinese. But we were neighbors, and we were very close. So when she died, Willard says, "Yone, I want to give you one of Amy's bonsais, 'cause you were good friends with her." That's how I got started in bonsai. Took off on that, now over twenty years.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

TL: We've looked at also some other books that discuss some of Clarence's legal work. And one of the most controversial things that he became involved in was with the cannery workers issues.

YB: Yes.

TL: And I'm wondering what you remember about that? Because that did receive --

YB: It was quite frightening because, they feared for me, I had just given birth to our little boy, and I couldn't get out to the office to help him. But he became very good friends with Jack Allingham, who's a private investigator. And he goes around -- and Clarence would go with him, you know, in one room, and then in the next room, he'd connect something to spy in on a double-timing husband or a wife. Excuse me. [Clears throat] And so with that experience, he hired and asked Jack if he would be with him and protect him as his bodyguard. And that's how dangerous it was. It was usually, I think at the time, mostly the cannery workers, the Filipinos, that were after him. But he was fighting for the right for the Japanese to be able to go in, too. And they had been going, but for some reason -- and I don't know too much in detail, how much it involved -- but they were worried for me, if anything should happen to me so I stayed pretty much at home. Yet, he was very good friends with one of the oldest Filipino leaders. Santos.

TL: Bob Santos?

YB: Bob Santos. Knew him very well. And Clarence used to handle a lot of the Filipino legal work. And the Chinese, and the Japanese.

TL: Do you remember anything about how that, the cannery workers issue got resolved? Was Clarence pleased with how it ended, or...?

YB: I think it eventually worked out so that things were ironed out and became peaceful. But later on, I don't think that many Japanese from here went over there to work. Students went because they could earn good money during the holiday, their vacation time, and earn money enough to go to school. And I know a lot of people ordinarily would go every summer to work, and earn enough money and come back. The Chinese would go, too; and that's where Amy came in. Her father evidently was from Seattle, went over there, and had this little girl, daughter, which was part Alaskan and part... part Native Alaskan and Chinese. She was a very brilliant gal, very sharp.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

TL: You've mentioned too that Clarence was collecting a lot of information about Niseis and how they saw themselves, and that if he had survived, lived, he might have been able to write a book about that.

YB: Hopefully he had, having been evacuated at the time, and so many things having come up all at once, he was unable to get back into writing a thesis or to work towards his doctorate degree. And this is what he was doing collecting papers. And he had quite a collection, people would write to him all over. Liked, they liked corresponding with him, and he got a lot of information through that. But for some reason he said, "If I should die at any time," he said, "I don't want any of those papers to get out." But later, I was thinking, I could have erased the names and nobody would've known. But I would have to erase all the, deplete all the names in all the letters. But they would talk about their experience. I have papers down there of Chinese Caucasian mixed marriages, and the first Japanese American and Caucasian marriages, and I think I still have some. I don't know if I ever showed them to you, but I do have them, still have them.

TL: So would you say he was interested mainly in adjustment and assimilation?

YB: Yes, adjustment and assimilation. And that it had started out very nicely, that if it can continue in that manner, he felt that it would be a good thing. And people who had this experience, originally, maybe the first, would write to Clarence about their experiences.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

TL: Since he was a leader and founder of JACL, how did he respond to evacuation? And...

YB: Having been in the reserve army, and a captain in there, he was ready to cooperate in every way to evacuate and keep peace. And the one thing that I think hit everyone's heart was, when we were all on board the bus heading for Puyallup -- that was our first place where we were to assemble, where all the stables were, and they had fixed it up for us. As we boarded the bus and got on, and the bus pulled out, my little boy, who was eight years old, popped up and said, "Daddy, how come if we're all Americans, that we have to leave Seattle?" You could hear a pin drop, except for the motor of the car, and Daddy said to Ken, "Ken, do you remember Daddy telling you about Uncle Sam?" He says, "Yes, Daddy." "Well, Uncle Sam is the daddy of America, of all of us. And he's telling the country and Seattle, which Seattle is part, that there is war going on and it would be much safer for us to leave Seattle right now. But when the war is over, then Uncle Sam will let us come back again." "Oh, that's okay, Daddy." Never asked another question. He was pleased with that answer, yeah.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

TL: What are some of the other experiences at Puyallup, or later in Minidoka, that you remember?

YB: Puyallup, everybody was too busy hustling around because they knew we had to move again. And we were in very crowded quarters then. But we were all assigned a job. I had to go around and check all the rooms, and see there was no fire going on, and see that they kept things in order. Then when we went to Idaho, some I think went... I guess they were in different... the ones all that were mostly in Puyallup went to Idaho.

And there, there were some complications, because Clarence being a reserve officer -- there was also another one that came from Portland, but he joined after Clarence had joined. He's younger than Clarence. And he had a different outlook than Clarence did, and Clarence couldn't see eye to eye with him, but it was never brought to light. I mean, whatever was going on, Clarence sensed it.

And they were very, the one sad thing was, the older parents, or the Isseis, would hear a plane flying overhead and say, "Oh, maybe that's a plane from Japan. Maybe they're coming to pick us up." And then again they'd say, "Oh, that -- maybe they enemies. Maybe they're going to shoot us while we're in camp." So there's this two different outlook. And we had to tell them that, it was neither one.

However, you sense all kinds and hear all kinds of things from both angles, and so you have to sort of be on your toes. I know I had to be, with myself and my little boy, and watch carefully because they knew Clarence was in the army and was really American, and that maybe he would go against the Japanese. Naturally he would if he had to go out and fight, but not in camp. He wasn't fighting the people there. So we had to be very careful.

TL: Did his status in the reserves ever change, as it did for some people who suddenly found themselves reclassified to....

YB: No. He was, he was still a captain. And it was never taken away from him, because he was still cooperating in every way with the evacuation. And then I took over the Red Cross work and we, and those who were willing, pitched in to sew and make things and collect things, and we kept mailing it back to Seattle. But the part that makes me sad was -- perhaps it wasn't done intentionally. Perhaps in the rush and the busyness of all the war and everything, and they might have had a, been overworked at the Red Cross, but they couldn't find our schedules or our timetables, or everything that they had to keep track of what we did to receive the hours and the pins. They had a few. I did get my pin and one other girl, but they hadn't kept too close on that, and we thought one of these days -- I know the lady that was in there originally, she would have, but she had to retire and someone else came in and maybe they just dropped it there. So those who should have received a Red Cross pin for the hour that they put in helping me, should have gotten one.

TL: Did you apply for an early leave clearance, or did you stay?

YB: We stayed almost to the end. Clarence wanted to see what happened towards the end. And... so it was just about almost, I think, at the end that people were leaving.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

TL: Did he serve as a block captain, or in any kind of leadership role?

YB: Oh, yes. He was a project attorney. There was no one else. He was just overworked, and he got the shingles, he was just worked. And before we got out, and managed to get well enough that we could come home, but he really had to work hard.

TL: With his legal training, did he ever consider a legal avenue to question the policy of being in camp?

YB: He was one person that never questioned. He felt that in time of war, there's a reason for an immediate evacuation, and we understood it, that it was actually protecting us. If we were here in Seattle, and the Chinese -- between the Chinese and Japanese, how would they know which is which? And the Chinese might have gotten it too. Because, one of our friends, Tsuneishi, daughter, married a Chinese; and they had two lovely daughters. But she had to evacuate with them. And he stayed of course, and he would come and see her. But when she came back -- I don't know whether he had passed away or what, but the two daughters were growing up and they, I think, married either a Chinese or a Japanese, I'm not sure. But there was some difficulty there, however, 'cause she had to evacuate. It's the same with people who are in Hawaii or in Alaska. If they were married to a Japanese either they could -- if they weren't Japanese, they could stay there, but they picked the choice of coming with their husband to camp.

And this one gal that was part Japanese, part Alaska. So she was constantly with me, she found enough comfort to be with me and talk to me. And she fixed up a Alaskan sort of a stew or a chowder, and put salmon eggs in it. It was rich. It would turn milky putting the eggs in there.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TL: Okay, some of the other activities that Clarence was involved in also included work with the associated businessmen. Do you remember that group? And I'm wondering if you can think of any of the activities that might have covered.

YB: Well, I know after the war there was a, quite a bit of a change going on, union. Everything was being unionized: the nurseries, the greenhouses, which many Japanese owned, and none of them were licensed as union members. And they had to go through certain tests. All the butchers, there were many of them. And the older Japanese, the Isseis, not being able to understand English completely enough for cuts of meats had to have help. So our little apartment -- of course the room was about this big, but every night he'd have the group come up there and be on the floor with all the map and the charts out, cuts of meat going on, and Clarence would really lay the law. He says, "And don't ask me to give you the answer because," he says, "I'm not saying a thing. I want you to memorize it tonight," and really worked on them and everybody passed. And so they were able to continue with their own butcher, meat market, and then many of them went to work for others, like at Uwajimaya they had a couple. And I know, I met one man I hadn't seen, young man that I hadn't seen in years, "You remember, I'm the butcher that used to be on Jackson Street." I said, "Oh, that's right." There were so many faces I couldn't remember them all. But these were the things that he worried about, and he really didn't get too well paid for it, but he was anxious to see that everybody had their jobs, and the positions were not lost.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

TL: Was, did JACL have any sort of program to help with adjusting after the war, was this more an individual effort on his part?

YB: Well, being a lawyer, I think that he just took it on his own and really worked at it. What he was doing for the Chinese, I don't know, but they'd call us 3:00, 4:00, in the morning, "Arai, get up. Come over and have breakfast," or that midnight snack. We're sound asleep. [Laughs] But he used to help the Chinese people a lot, too.

TL: So they'd invite him down to the restaurant to have some food.

YB: And they usually eating about 2:00, 3:00 in the morning. And he'll get up early in the morning, but he likes to go to sleep and stay asleep. And I'm awake about that time coloring or something, but he says, "No, I'm too tired." He says he won't go. And if it's earlier or later in the morning, not 3:00, he'll go, but then they call him at such hours. He says, "When do you people go to sleep?" He says to them. [Laughs]

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

TL: How about his interest, Clarence's interest, in photography and the Photographer's Club?

YB: That came in after his health began to fail. He had to have a hobby, and he had a very good friend who had a bakery down on Weller Street. Dearborn? Dearborn or Weller. It's not there anymore. This was before the war. Or after the war, it was there. That's right. And, so he'd go with him and he began to collect material, and he didn't even go to school to study; he'd read books. And, I still have his books and things down there, but I wish I hadn't given away his good camera to his grandson; maybe they're just kicking it around. However, he took some real nice pictures, which I still have, all put away in cases.

And, then they formed -- I don't know who the others are. I remember one or two, the daughter of one of them I know, and they formed a Japanese group. But there was an old timer Issei man who lived in Tacoma, and I think he later came to Seattle, but did all of the work for one of the outstanding studios for the wealthy people. And he was located near the Group Health Hospital there. It was one of the old homes that was fixed into a studio, and Clarence got to know him very well, very close, and he taught him a lot of things.

So from there on in he took over, and without going to school, he learned to develop and print all his pictures, and started sending them all over. And, managed to get first prize in a photographic contest put out by... something Photography Magazine. And they bought -- two companies that deal with water bought two of his pictures that had to do with scenery of the Sound, or the water, or the ocean. They're beautiful pictures. One is a very peaceful picture beside a mill, and the trees and the lights shining through between a shaft of light. And, so he enjoyed doing many of those pictures. It came out pretty good.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

TL: Since you were the wife of kind of a prominent member of the Japanese American community, did you feel like there were a lot of expectations that other people had of you?

YB: Maybe so, but then at the same time if he had to go someplace, unless I was asked, I wouldn't go because I just felt that it made it harder for me. However, they were all very nice to me. And, we went to a lot of Caucasian functions too, in the reserve officers, or the council... you know, the councils from different countries. And the army reserve officer's formal every year we used to.... I'm the shortest one. One of our good friends, "Okay, put your hand in my pocket, and we'll take off!" [Laughs] Because they're so tall. It's a formal, but they're very informal. The only formal thing is you start out with your husband and wife, and then you have to dance with everybody, and then end up with your husband again. But all those things, once you get used to it, it's nice to mingle with different groups like that. And they all treated me so nice. In fact, I was the only, we were the only Orientals in the group. Whether it's the reserve officers' or whether the legal group would get together and have a New Year's Eve party, way out in the country club somewheres. And I just can't even take a drop of alcohol. So I asked the bartender to fix me one little glass of lemon sour. All you do is barely sip on it, it's so sour. So when the rest of 'em are three sheets in the wind, they'll say, "Yone, what are you drinking?" I said, "Oh, very special. You want a sip?" "What kind of a drink is that? What a horrible taste!" But I felt very much at home with all, they were all very good to us. And I think most of them are gone now.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

TL: Do you remember any instances of discrimination that either Clarence or you faced, that were difficult?

YB: You know, we used to go to the Coliseum Theater and they have... what do they call it? "Nigger heaven"; that's the bad way to use it, but way up on the....

TL: Balconies?

YB: High balconies. But they would put us in the real comfortable area where we liked to sit. And we had -- Pastor Okazaki was one of our first pastors at the (Japanese) Baptist church, his son was a very close friend of Clarence's. And Clarence just says, "What are you doing Bob?" He says, "Oh, nothing." "Okay, come on. We're gonna' go see a special movie at the Coliseum." So he'd bring Bob along. And we had never had any problem. When Bob was there, they sat us in another area. Clarence got kinda' upset about that. I told him, "What's wrong? What happened?" And they either didn't want him there, or whatever. He didn't look that Oriental. He used to be in the movies all the time, so he shouldn't. But evidently, it was Clarence and I, we always got in. Nobody ever said anything to us. So it's getting used to an individual and knowing them too is another thing, I guess.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

TL: To change the topic a bit, you mentioned earlier that your son died shortly after you left camp. And if you don't mind telling us a little bit more, I think that would be important to know about -- a very big part of, that part of your life.

YB: It was -- you mean before he passed away?

TL: Yeah.

YB: Well, camp life was -- he had a very interesting life there. But funerals were held, but it was cremation. No burial, 'cause we couldn't leave them behind, unless the Catholic people would take them and bury them elsewhere. But whenever they say, "cremation," the children would say, "Mommy, I don't want to get burned. When I die, I don't want to get burned." I said, "Oh my, Ken. There's nothing to be scared of." "How come?" So I says, "Let's take an orange for example. What do you do with an orange?" "Eat it." "Skin and everything?" "No." "What do you do with it?" "I peel it first, and I eat the orange." I said, "What's inside of the orange? Do you eat everything else in it?" "Oh, no," he said. "I don't eat the seed." "What do you do with the seed?" "You plant it." I said, "Okay. Your body is just like an orange. If and when we die, God has already taken the best part of our body, the seed that's inside of the orange, the soul, and it goes to heaven where God is. And you're at peace and you stay there forever and nothing will ever (harm) you again. And the rest of the skin, it's not gonna' hurt you anymore, 'cause the best part is gone. So if they burned you, it doesn't make any difference." So he says, "There's nothing to be frightened about." He says, "Freddy, Jimmy, don't be afraid if you get burnt after you're dead, because it's not going to hurt you."

And so the children were relieved with that. But they were frightened about cremation, and that was the only way I could describe it to them. But they seemed to have understood, 'cause he wasn't afraid of death, when he was so close to death. That I was very relieved about, 'cause when I was putting the rack from his bed off so that we could sit beside him, and I went to put it up against the wall, he was talking to Daddy. And I thought I heard him say, "Don't be afraid, Daddy. I'm not scared to die." And I said, "Ken, what did you say?" "Nothing, Mommy. I was just talking to Daddy," and he didn't want me to worry. 'Cause I always talked about death and angels. "And if ever you're sleeping or closing your eyes or dream of an angel, and she puts her hands out to you, take her hands 'cause she's God's messenger. She's the one that takes care of each one of us, and takes us to him when we have to go there." He says "Oh." So when he went to Sunday school he'd bring all these little cards that the church gives you at Sunday school, and he had 'em all pasted up above his pillow. And, so he was extremely religious, and I was glad for that because it seemed to have made it very easy for him, and he understood it all.


TL: You mentioned that Ken had cancer. Do you think that -- or was that diagnosed in camp or after?

YB: They weren't sure in camp until we came back to Seattle, and he complained of headaches even in camp. So this friend, a lawyer friend of ours who was financially well-off, wanted to send him back to Mayo Clinic, but Ken wanted to go back to Seattle. So we brought him back to Seattle and put him in the Children's Orthopedic Hospital, the old one that was up on the Queen Anne. And my friend whom we stayed with -- that is, my second husband's wife then of another person. [Coughs] Excuse me. And we stayed there and Ken got so bad, from bad to worse, that we had to put him in the hospital.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

TL: The loss of your son must have been very difficult for the two of you.

YB: Yes it was, since it's an only child. And, we came back -- of course, we were here in Seattle and had the funeral. I think Clarence, with high blood pressure and not being too well, took it very, very hard. And of course, I did too. And I had to be careful, watch where I was going, 'cause I'd stumble over things... or crossing streets, I almost got runned over once. However, I found out we can't both keep doing that. Somebody's got to lean on someone so, I decided I better take over. So I did, and poor Clarence was ill for eighteen years thereafter. And that's what it started from, but because of his physical condition, he was unable to carry on. And he couldn't practice law any more, but he wanted to sit in the office and have people come and talk to him. And Reverend Andrews, who was a very good friend of his -- "Andy", we called him -- at the time at our church, would come and visit with him and talk things over. So he had interests and he'd walk down to Jackson Street down to Chinatown, and visit with everyone and listen to the day's news that's going on around the area; and then go into doing his pictures, so he kept himself quite busy.

TL: And at this time, did you open your color shop?

YB: I was already in it.

TL: Already doing that.

YB: He took ill after I had started.

TL: I see.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

TL: You've talked at other times about your interests in natural medicines and healing. Did -- is this about when it...

YB: Yes, more so. I believed in it even before that 'cause Mother, at home, always went down to Chinatown to the herb shop, write out a big Japanese character, which Chinese could read as long as it was an herb character, and they would understand. She'd come back with a bag full of stuff, and brew it up, smell it through. "Now, you drink this," and I'd hold my nose and drink it. [Laughs] She says, "Don't do that. Now drink it all down. It's good for you." And she'd have a herb for every problem. And I would take it, but if anybody got sick, she would take care of them too. And she spent more money on herbs.

And I think one of the most interesting thing was -- I will not even mention the race, but it wasn't neither one of our races -- came and says, "Mama-san," he says, "I'm sick." He says, "You give me some medicine?" And she found out that he had gonorrhea. And she says, "Oh. You wait a minute." She ran down Chinatown, got some herbs, brewed it up and gave it to him, saying, "You do this so many times a day for one week, two weeks, or whatever." Do you know at the end of the third week, he came back and he says, "Mama-san, I'm all well. You help my friend now." [Laughs]

And it worked, but Mother was very, very conscious about that 'cause the family had been doctors for thirty-five generation, and she wanted to be one. And no way in Japan in those days, women weren't supposed to become professional doctors or anything. But she got to learn a lot from -- Grandpa says, "That's foolish." He says, "I'm going to get a tutor for you girls." They got to learn more than the boys, 'cause he would teach them everything.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

TL: How did you pursue your own interests when you got into Seattle?

YB: Then when Clarence became ill, the doctor that we went to didn't seem to do any good; and I couldn't afford to be running around looking for another doctor. And he said "Well, why don't you -- " he says, "There isn't much I can do. Go home and try to take care of him." He had extreme high blood pressure, and, "Just stay off of meats or do whatever." And so I went to the health store and checked in on some books, and read them, and asked the health store people a few things. And there would be classes going on that I'd attend.

But in one place, the doctor recommended eating brown rice and fruits three times a day, for a whole week or two. And I thought, "Goodness, it's easy preparing it, but what about the poor person that has to eat it three times a day?" I tried to think of all the different kind of fruits I could give him. And the brown rice is the same brown rice. And he was eating it, he didn't say a word. At the end of the third week, when the doctor -- we went to the doctor, and his blood pressure was down; and the doctor says, "Good. So keep him on the brown rice and fruits." And Clarence came home, and he just sat there and cried like a baby. He says, "Brown rice and fruits, brown rice and fruits, three times a day every day." He says, "How long do I have to?" I cried with him, I felt so sorry for him.

Then I looked farther into it, I could give him fish soup, cook it down, and make a broth out of it. And he wasn't to have salt, so I put lemon juice or vinegar to enhance the flavor a little more; and twisted little lemon peel. And then he would have brown rice with that, and I could put vegetables in it. Or take lean breast of chicken and sliced onion, and put little onion juice, and garlic, and a slice of lemon, and wrap it in foil and pop it in the oven; which wasn't too bad. I had to eat to see what it was like, and think of something that would be interesting to him. And I didn't give him too much red meat; he got chicken, and fish, a lot of fish. You go to fish market and they said, "Here's a big fish head." And Chinese like to make things out of fish head too, so I'd bring that home and stew it down into a soup; and it's very rich. And I had a Caucasian friend, a woman, who would eat, you know... chaga, steamed fish, and she'd go for the head first. And she'd have it lined up like toothpicks eating every bit of it, relishing it. And her husband says, "Claire, please stop eating that fish head." [Laughs] He couldn't stand it, but she loved it.

And so Clarence survived on fish, and vegetables, and fruits, and lived about eighteen years. And when, I was told that he had hardening of the artery. And the doctor, the Japanese doctor that I transferred to, Dr. Ben Uyeno -- and he's always helping at the Keiro and we call him Dr. Ben -- and he said, "Yone, the one thing that I'm worried about is, he (may) have a heart attack one of these days." And that's -- he went in his sleep. When I came he was sleeping already, and he just went in his sleep. So, I found him in bed already gone. And the poodle dog at the foot of his bed chewing on a bone, his pet dog; not aware of the fact that he was gone, 'cause he was a puppy yet. But, he did pretty much what he wanted to do and enjoyed doing, visited all the people down Jackson Street and Chinatown, and the Filipinos, the Chinese, and whoever he knew there knew him. So... it was hard to accept, but I was sort of prepared for it because the doctor had warned me. So I moved immediately out of there. We lived there for his sake 'cause he could walk and go down and visit people (to pass the time).

TL: And where were you living at this time?

YB: We were living in that big white building, which is on Maynard there, the corner of Maynard and Jackson. Rainier Heat and Power Building. Mr. Thumbler says, "Live there as long as you like. We'll fix the rooms up for you." So we had two big spacious rooms, fixed it up. It was very comfortable. And he had an office there all to himself with a big studio window, skylight window, so that he could work on his photography and do everything.

And so right after he died -- remember there was a Takano Studio? I don't know if that far back on Jackson Street, that had photography. A Mr. Miyake owned it, and they (also) had an apartment unit, which is a... what do they call them when you have a front and back entrance through the long row of apartments? And she said, "Yone, please come and live next door to us." She said, "We have a nice apartment vacancy and we don't allow dogs, but you can bring your little poodle dog," which was Clarence's dog. So I moved into the apartment and lived there until I remarried. That was about nine years.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

YB: I didn't want to marry, get remarried. And I was, I finally got into a dead end, I had no way out. But my very dear friend that I knew, a Caucasian friend, remarried, and had married George then. And that's how I happened to know George, 'cause she knew me so well that she talked about me all the time, and he knew me better than I knew him. And I thought well, since she thought so highly of him, that I couldn't go wrong marrying him, and he's been one wonderful person to me; I was very fortunate. We were married for twenty years.

TL: You had just mentioned a few minutes ago that you had gotten into a dead end, and I was wondering what you were referring to? Do you mean living in the apartment by yourself, and...

YB: Well, financially, 'cause I was making ends meet. And my younger brother -- although I was raised apart from my family, my birth family, they were always in touch with me; my brothers were always there helping me. And my brother next to me just followed me around like a shadow every chance he had, not knowing I was his sister. And that shows that blood is thicker than water, as the Japanese would say. And he would follow me to school, sit with me, and watch me do my work. And if I crocheted, he even learned to crochet. [Laughs] But that's how close he was, and he died at fifty-seven with cancer of the throat. So when I get this tickly throat, I am constantly checking. But, I don't seem to have any signs of cancer so I guess I'm okay. Then I have another younger brother that has turned eighty now, and is very active. That is, he keeps himself active. His wife died recently; he was married to a very lovely Caucasian lady, and no children. But he lectures on Zen and Buddhist philosophy, not for money. He says, "I enjoy doing it," and he's got about six coming, two or three times a week. And I says, "You're not charging 'em and putting so much time?" He says, "Better still, they bring me my dinner." So they're doing, he's doing okay and I talk to him about once a month. And there's four of us left now, two of us girls and two boys.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

TL: When George proposed to you -- your second husband, George Bartholomew -- were you at all concerned about marrying someone of another culture and race?

YB: I was raised, even as a child, with nothing but Caucasians. And went to high school with the Danish children that came from Solvang, and they included me as one of the Japanese "square heads." That's what they called themselves, square heads. And I didn't know what it meant, I never asked them, but I was a square head. And went around with a red headed little Danish boy while I was in school, and I might have married a Spanish, or a Danish, or Caucasian, any other Caucasian, 'cause at that time I didn't think myself as a Japanese; they didn't treat me as such until I went to high school. An Irish boy began to call me "Jap" then, and I thought, "Now what's beginning?" I couldn't understand it. I felt a little offended and it hurt. But somebody caught him and they really pinned him down. And it took him about a month, but thereafter he couldn't do enough to make up for it, so I had no problem at all. But I think he had never met a Japanese, and he felt offended to think that there was a person that was completely different, one only in the school, you know. But two more followed after that. But in the meantime, I was the only Oriental in both grade school and high school.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

TL: When you moved to Seattle though, it was a little bit more... well, the Japanese community.

YB: More Japanese. And I had never been completely thrown into... even in church in Sisquoc -- that's the Caucasian church that I was baptized. Then when I went to Santa Barbara, the Japanese church insisted I come there, 'cause they needed an older Nisei to help. And Mother says, "Well, if you can do that, you should go there and do that," so I did. And that's when I first mingled with the Japanese and found that they mix English and Japanese, and I didn't know what they were talking about. Very, not the best of language, but they'd mix the two together, it sounded terrible. And Mother says, "If you're going to learn to speak, either speak Japanese or English. Don't mix the two, every other word Japanese and every other word English." So I noticed that it didn't sound too good. But I had no problem. In fact, I'm here and most of my friends are Caucasian. I have my Japanese friends too, but one of my best friend is -- her name is Agnes Lee, but she is of Swedish background; and she's maybe fifteen years my junior, or twenty. And she wanted me to go with her where she moved, and she worries about me all the time, but she's very, very kind. They've been very good to me. All my neighbors around here are very nice.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

TL: Was George's family as accepting of you?

YB: Well, the strange part is, while I was working at Frederick's, the girl who had the Coty line -- that's a line of cosmetic -- she was a very gracious, beautiful woman. In appearance, in gesture, language, and figure -- tall, slender. She and I would always do the dirty works. They never cleaned up the counter where the cash registers are, or the bags that had to be put away, or the rows of ribbon (for gift wrap); and she would do it on her side, because the old Frederick & Nelson had... I don't know how to put it. I don't know what it's like now that Nordstrom has it, but it was one of the outstanding stores throughout the country, including Europe. Because people traveling would come through there at Christmas, "We have never seen such a gorgeous store, decorated as beautiful as it is, and the people who wait on us..." And we used to get more compliments. It was a beautiful store. At Christmas time, they'd lay out a red rug from the entrance all the way in, and they'd have a string musical going on, Christmas songs, with their old fashioned top hats and everything else to go with it; and people would come in to listen to just that. But, and every aisle had two big square blocks of cabinets. On top there were plants, planters put up. Easter, it was all lilies, Christmas, it was poinsettias; and it was just gorgeous. So people who would travel through Seattle said, "We have never seen a store as beautiful." And they had everything. They covered everything you needed in a home: furniture, tools for the garden. I don't know what Nordstrom's is gonna', how they going to cover every floor, but Frederick's did. They had everything in there: stoves, kitchen utensils, bathroom things, everything. But Nordstrom's is taking quite a while to cover all those stores, 'cause there will be more floors for them there.

TL: So this woman that you worked with, was she somehow related to George?

YB: Yes. It so happened that one day, Marge and George came in because they wanted to see George's sister. And we worked back to back. I don't know if you recall how Frederick's was -- there was a great big built-up cabinet case in the middle, and then there was a aisle. The counters would be on each side, so that there was an aisle that goes through and we'd see each other; and the telephone in between. But, then the counter would be open so that there's a register back-to-back, and then the counter top with the ribbons and the bags and everything, and we'd see each other occasionally.

And that day, when Marge and George came to see Harriet, and Marge looked over and says, "Oh, there's Yone!" So she comes dashing over and Harriet says, "Oh, you know Yone?" She says, "Sure, we used to be neighbors and real good friends." So she brought George over and introduced him to me -- because she had let us know that she was remarrying again, 'cause her first husband drank so much. He was a handsome, he looked like a movie star, and a real nice man, but he just could not stop drinking. And she said she couldn't take it any more, and after five years she decided to part with him. And she was a good telephone operator, switch, she was the head (switchboard) operator. And so she said, "I got a job at Boeing, and then got married to George."

So I met them and Harriet says, "Goodness Yone, I didn't know you knew my brother and his wife." I says, "No, this is the first time I'm meeting George." And, "I didn't know that you had a brother. And that Marge was married to your brother." So there again we became even better friends, very close, and she accepted me as one of her family. And I befriended her son, who is a wheelchair patient, and he had married two, three times to his caregiver. Everyone just took him for everything, and the third or fourth girl, young lady who was a caregiver or aide, came from Panama. And she had a typical Spanish accent, and I could speak a little Spanish so her mother would come, I'd talk to her. But she got to know me so well, and she turned out to be the best girl. To this day she's still taking good care of him. But they moved out of town where the air would be nicer, and rent wouldn't be as high. So I kind of miss them. And Harriet has passed on. But their family have been very good to me, his family

TL: So you got to know...

YB: Meet his mother, too. She was in the hospital over in Spokane, and we went over to see her and she says, "I've been waiting for you to bring Yone so I could meet her. Harriet's been talking about her." And so, I got to meet her before she passed on. And the rest of his (relatives) -- twin sister, there was a big family and I met them all, and the nieces and nephews. So it was kind of nice 'cause I got to know the mother before she passed on.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

TL: How about your family, how do they respond to George?

YB: Well, they were worried about me. Immediately after Clarence died, "We're gonna' come and pick you up, so get packed. And we'll carry everything on the little pickup trailer and bring you home, and then you can ship the rest of the things. So get ready." My cousins, who adopted my sister, their family, and they were just like brothers and sisters. So I said, "Oh no, I can't move yet. There's too many things that are not finished over here and I can't go." She says, "Well, whenever you're ready, let us know 'cause we'll come after you." And they wanted us in the worst, wanted me to -- she says, "We can't keep track of you over there." She said, "If you're here, we can keep in touch."

And in the meantime, a year or two passed by, and -- no, more than that I think, because I stayed there for eight years almost. And that's when I decided to get married. George was after me for three months, and finally I gave in 'cause he said, "Do you know that two people who are lonely and can understand each other, shouldn't live alone." He said, "It's nice to have company and look after each other." He says, "I know you like a book because Marge talked about you every night while she's cooking, or doing something, what you did, what you ate, the good and bad. I know everything about you." And I said, "But I don't know everything about you except what she told me." However, he turned out to be very, very kind, always understanding; and giving and tolerated with whatever I had to do, never complained. And going in with the Japanese group and even joined my church. And his family had been Baptist for years, but he had never joined a church, but he did join mine before he passed on. But no one -- I shouldn't say no one. I don't think anyone could have been as kind, and understanding, and giving, and caring, as he was.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 30>

TL: How old were you when you remarried?

YB: I was sixty-five, I had retired, just retired from Frederick's. And wondered, "What should I do? Should I go to California?" Which I might have done, and be with the family. That's when he came into my life, and he wouldn't let me go.

TL: And was he older than you, or about the same age?

YB: Nine years younger.

TL: Oh.

YB: That's another reason. Why should I marry a younger man and find my, work hardships on him and go first? And I told him, I said, "George, I'm older." And he said, "That makes no difference." He says, "Dear, I know a lot of older people that look older than you," and he said, "Age makes no difference at this point. When we reach this age, age isn't anything." And I had to think that over, and I said, "Look at all the ladies over at the Amaranth, the Eastern Star, and the Masonic temple that you could..." He says, "I know a lot of 'em. They're all nice, but they don't mean a thing to me. I don't want to marry them." So I thought it over for three months and finally decided I would. And I didn't regret the day that his sister Harriet came and stood up... for us. And my very best friend was the one that I asked to come. She's very ill now, but she's the same age as I am.

Harriet was so happy. When she found out George and I were going to get engaged, "Can I tell the girls in the department?" I said, "Please, wait 'til it comes in the paper." [Laughs] So she finally couldn't wait, and the night before she told all the girls. So they gave me a big shower and a party, and when I retired from there -- there's forty-five in our department at that time, and the manager, the lady and the man both came in and joined in, and gave me a beautiful party.

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 31>

YB: So I was the first Oriental that ever worked in the cosmetics, but they were very kind to me. Except one gal that gave me a bad time. And they said -- and there was a German girl right by the escalator a little ways from my... "Arai, is she giving you a bad time? Let me know 'cause if she is," she says, "I'll beat her up." [Laughs] And they were all always sticking up for me. But sad to say that the girl who did work next to me, and took over the line, was having bad habits of taking things from the store. Many of my expensive lipsticks were missing. And I thought, "Where in the world?" And even to the point, they would take my tester and put it in the good new lipstick, take the new one out. And I didn't know it, I didn't check on it that one day and I gave it to this person I knew, sold it to her. She says, "Yone, did you know you sold me a used lipstick?" I says, "No, let me see." Then I caught on, because there was no tester sitting in the front. It was missing and I thought, "Well, somebody borrowed it, forgot to bring it back," so I didn't question it. But, thereafter, I checked every lipstick. And she had been putting in the old one in the box and taking out the new ones, and it caught up with her. I didn't report her. She did many tricks on me and also some of the others girls. But these are things that I think every store experiences. And it was sad, but it had to happen, I guess, and we had to let her go.

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 32>

TL: In reflecting on your marriage with George and your former marriage with Clarence, would you say that the relationships were kind of just different, or were there some of the same...

YB: Completely different. Because -- I don't know how to put it. For one thing you were younger in your first marriage. There were trials and tribulations and hardships that we had to face, along with the war and everything else. And I had to stand by him regardless of what happened. And then our child, too. But I was always there to help him, to support him for whatever he was working for. Only I told him, "I just don't like this politic business." I said, "One time they say one thing and the next time they're saying another." I said, "I don't know where I stand any more." He said, "Well, you don't have to listen to all of that all the time." He said, "That's part of politics." And he's another one; he's so straight, he never tells a lie. And the boys couldn't, the rest of 'em couldn't take it. 'Cause he was the only Oriental in the group, and they were almost all lawyers that belonged to that group.

TL: Is this the Republican Club?

YB: Uh-huh. And I'd go to some of their meetings, and I said, "Do you mind if I don't go anymore?" [Laughs] I belonged to the group, but I go only when we had to vote or something. But when I listened to them talk, I said, "Can't you all come out straight and do it the honest way?" He wouldn't, because he was too honest, he never could lie.

But our marriage -- we weren't rich 'cause he would always give in to people who were having hardships, or, "I knew your parents and your dad so well and we've gone through a lot of rough times together," and he says, "Right now they'll give an excuse that they can't pay." Some of them went, without paying all their debts, to Japan and never come back. So we were left holding the bag in many ways. But...


<End Segment 32> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 33>

TL: Could you tell me a little bit about how you see your marriage with George as different from your relationship with Clarence?

YB: I think having married earlier in my younger years, life was very different. The adjustment takes place first, and then the problem of a mother-in-law that I had, which never bothered to give me any bad time really, and there was a younger sister that we had to be concerned about. And then he had two younger sisters, and a brother who was on his own. And his sister was a school girl, and they'd come over on weekends to visit us, but eventually she came in to stay with us, so that was okay. And then, before we left for -- before we evacuated from Seattle, Mother came, and the youngest sister came, and stayed with us; and Clarence was very strict with the young sister. "You don't stay out at midnight. Be home before midnight." And Mother would protect her by unlocking the door so she could sneak in at 12:00. [Laughs] She wasn't helping matters any. And then there would be a little argument there and said, "You're not helping matters any, just making it worse for her." But eventually she did marry, she married a young Spanish boy in California.

But Clarence's marriage and mine together, I managed okay. I had to struggle a lot because being the first lawyer, and not that many Japanese, and they weren't all well-to-do so whatever they'd pay him, he wouldn't push 'em into how much. And they'd call him on the phone and get free advice, or most of 'em would charge for everything, even over the phone, and Clarence wouldn't so they'd call him on the telephone. And then when they would come to the office, and be charged, they'd give him a hard luck story and then he'd cut it down to nothing practically. [Laughs] So I used to get some little side work to add to whatever income we needed.

<End Segment 33> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 34>

YB: And as far as going out and having to look just so, I mean for formals, I had a very dear friend whose husband was Clarence's bodyguard during that cannery problem, and she was a very good seamstress. She says, "Don't worry." She says, "I'm going to keep you so well dressed, nobody will know." And she'll get an I. Magnin tag and stick it in my dress [Laughs] or in my little jacket that you can open up. And she did a real good job, and it would fit like a second skin. I couldn't wear it now, but even here to a zipper so nothing, everything was just skin tight. One of... Vogue's pattern she made for me, and I finally gave it to a girl; I couldn't get into it anymore. And so I managed to get by on very little, because she knew how to shop and sew. Otherwise, I don't think I would have made it. To go to formals, and then I'd make it formal, and then informal I wear a jacket and zip it up or close it, and change the top so nobody'd know I was wearing the same dress. And she'd worked it out for me very nicely, so I don't know how I got by with it. I had difficulty getting shoes 'cause I wore a one and a half. Now I can wear a four. My feet have grown.

So when I say happy, I had my happy moments, but I didn't have time to really go out and enjoy myself to the fullest because things were always busy; and I had to think about him at the office, what was happening, and what we had to do next, where we had to go, and what few clothes I had, what should I wear, how can I change it. And then for him too, I had to keep up his clothes, and we didn't have that many changes, but no one knew the difference that we did have just a few. Managed somehow 'cause this friend, Caucasian friend, really did lots to help. She was of German extraction. Ellingham, Claire Ellingham, and she really was a life saver.

<End Segment 34> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 35>

TL: When you married George you were at different points in your life, so maybe a little more comfortable and less of those kinds of worries.

YB: Right. We didn't have to worry so much. How we were going -- George had a good position at Boeing; he was an instructor. And he said, "You don't have to work you know, really. For the two of us," he said, "the house is paid for now, and we'll have enough to live on. Just so you don't go splurging and throwing the money around." "But," he says, "you can still spend and live comfortably." And, I had my own, by that time I had my own social security. So he says, "Why don't you get your own social security direct to the bank, and you can use it the way you want, and pay your debts or whatever you have with that." And then he would buy whatever we had to buy for the house, or even for me. But he was always bringing home -- he says, "Every day is Christmas and every day is Mother's Day," and if he thinks of something, he'd bring home some very cute little things. He would find the most beautiful musical cards. And I says, "Where'd you...?" "I'm not gonna' tell you 'cause I'm the only one's buying it."

TL: What is a musical card?

YB: Have you ever seen one?

TL: No.

YB: I got to go down, I got a box full.

TL: Oh, okay. Well, we'll go look at that sometime. It's something that you wind up?

YB: Wind up and it plays music. It's a great, as big as one of those sheet of papers. Plays music, I think it still plays; I've still got 'em. I don't, these are the things I don't know what to do with everything.

TL: So it sounds like you were able to collect some very enjoyable things together.

YB: Now, Clarence was so busy that his friends, his male friends -- not lady friends, but male friends that would go around with him -- and say, and they'd never call him Clarence, they says, "General, why don't you remember your wife once in a while?" He's so busy, he forgets. He says, "Oh, okay," and he'll think of something to bring home. Or in those days they had a -- what did they call those little candy machine with a pulley? And you pull out a car, a little tiny Austin or whatever toy that was in there; and they said, "Even pull a little car out of the candy machine and take it home to her, [Laughs] if you can't get a real one." So he would bring little things home to please me, but that's at the order of the boys. They'd remind him, "Why don't you think about your wife once in awhile?"

He's so busy with his work, and I realize that legal work must be worrying about other people's problems. And then he had JACL on his mind, and several things going, you know, and the union problems. So every once in a while he might blow up or something, and he can't do it outside, he'll do it at home. And then he's sorry later, but it's got to come out someplace. So, this is something George never did do. If he did, he might go out in the garage and take it out on the tools or something, but he never -- if I'd be quiet so that he'd blow over, he'd say never anything. Then before he says, "I'm sorry, honey." And then it's always kiss and make up, so everything is okay. And I don't know if it was, was it Chinese, but the Japanese, even with the Niseis, very few were real warm, outgoingly warm. The Sanseis are more so. But they still have instilled in them, I think, the Japanese custom of holding themself aloof and being more like a Japanese man, and not show their affection or their feelings either one way or the other. And he was more or less like that. But when he blew up, he did blow up. [Laughs] Not at me, but he did blow up. And if he could do that, one extreme or the other.

But I think that, with George, he was a very warm person, always thinking about your problems. And if he'd go out -- every morning he'd put that flag, because he has a beautiful collection of flags of history of America. The first flag to the present day flag, and all the stars in it; and a story to go with each one, and how it came about, and the song that goes with that period. And people who have studied history, or been in the army or the navy said, "Never knew we had so many flags!" Or there was a story like that. And he used to put it on for the different organizations, and for the Masons and for the Scottish Rite group, and schools and clubs, and everybody's just amazed at the story that goes with it. So that was his hobby. He and Marge put that together, and later I helped him put it on at different functions.

But I used to tell him, I says, "You know George, I am older. And I'm the one that should be going..." "Oh, no you don't. I'm not getting left behind this time." 'Cause I think, pardon to the menfolks, but I think it's harder on the men to be left behind, they tell me, than the women. And so George says, "Not on your life. I'm not gonna' get left behind." So he did, he went on ahead. And it'll be nine years now, that he's been gone. So I've been here for twenty-five years.

<End Segment 35> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 36>

TL: Your interest in healing, have, you've been able to apply that for your own health and also George?

YB: Yes, and I think it comes out more when someone is ill. You feel for them. And I have never seen another patient that pass on peacefully as George did. The color was beautiful, the most beautiful, peaceful face I've ever seen. And I'd have to bring a mirror to make sure if he was breathing. He wasn't drinking, talking, moving, or nothing for a whole week; and it worried me. But he said, "When I come to that point, please don't press me to revive me." He says, "I want to go." And I was hoping and praying that he wouldn't be in pain, but his facial expression didn't show any signs of pain. So I stood by until the last -- the last breath is when they open their eyes and won't close it. That's when they're gone. And I dreaded that moment 'cause I've experienced it before, with my mother, and my foster mother, and other loved ones. And that is the most awful feeling, 'cause they look up at the ceiling, and they won't close their... you have to immediately close it, or it won't shut, the eyes won't shut. But I knew that he went to meet his maker peacefully. His face was just as gentle, and relaxed, and peaceful, as if he were just sleeping. And that's the way I wanted it to be. And up until the time he could just squeeze my hands to say, "yes" for one squeeze, and two for "no." I say, "Are you comfortable?" And he'd say one squeeze, 'cause he couldn't talk any more. So when he got to the point that he couldn't squeeze anymore -- they say the hearing is the last thing to go. So if you can say anything nice to him up to the last, that's the last thought that they take with them.

<End Segment 36> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 37>

YB: But I was fortunate, I... my nephew through marriage and his wife happened to pull up, and I called the minister and he came. And, I don't know if you know Art Susumu? He's the one that's in charge of the Japanese department over at Butterworth, and Clarence was the one that got him in there after he came out of the army. [Ed. note: Butterworth-Manning-Ashmore Funeral Directors is a Seattle-area funeral home.] He had, his mother was living, dad was gone, and mother had a whole big family to take care of and raise; and Art was the oldest one. And he says, "Clarence, my mom is alone and we've got a bunch, big family. I gotta' help her to raise the kids and support them. I got to find a job." And right after that, jobs were hard to find, and Clarence says, "Well, I'll see what I can find for you." So he went to Kal over at Butterworth, the oldest brother of the Butterworths, which was a very good friend of his that went into the army and Clarence couldn't. He came out of the army with his bad heart, all in one piece, remarried, and died on his honeymoon. But before then, he told Kal, "I have a young soldier just out of the army, a real nice kid that has a family he has to support, and he needs a job so bad. Do you suppose you could get him a job?" "Sure. Send him over." He liked Art so well he sent him to the mortician school in Chicago, and he came out a full-fledged mortician. And he's partners, he has a share in on at Butterworth, they liked him so well. He took care of all the Japanese funerals, and he took care of Clarence's for me, and Clarence was the one that really got him in. And maybe he might have been one of 'em that went into the army too, at the time when they were volunteering. And it was quite a heartbreaking moment 'cause the parents didn't want them to go, and they wanted to go. They said to Clarence, "What are we to do?" They said, "It's up to you. If you feel that's you, it's your duty at this time, it may hurt your parents, but they'll be mighty proud when you come back." And they were. Some were Gold Star mothers. Others were proud of the ones that did come out and won honors. And so Clarence said, "See, the parents are completely changed. Their whole attitude is changed.

<End Segment 37> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 38>

TL: On a different topic, in 1981 there was a commission that came actually to Seattle Central Community College to the Broadway Performance Hall, and they had the hearings where they invited people to talk about the internment. And I was wondering, do you remember when that happened, and what you thought about that whole process?

YB: I don't think we had -- 19... what was that?

TL: That would be 1981.

YB: Oh, Clarence wasn't here. Gone.

TL: Right, he had passed on, yeah.

YB: Personally, I don't think it's good to repeat over. I read a -- oh, I wished I had kept that paper. There was an article of one person that was about to relate of his experience that happened over at Port -- no, what is it across the Sound? Is it Port Townsend?

TL: Bainbridge Island?

YB: Bainbridge Island? Where the Japanese were evacuated?

TL: Right.

YB: And what took place. And then, below it were two letters from women. I forgot who they were or what they represented, but written in a very nice way, and they're true, "What about the ones in Japan, when our people, the Americans, were there interned and suffered and were mistreated." We don't bring it up all the time, in other words. And why repeatedly bring the same thing up over and over again. And I believe that they're saying the right thing. Why repeat it when it's all over? It's all behind. And the Americans aren't constantly repeating it over and over again. Or, I mean, we're not saying, we weren't mistreated here, we were treated well. They might have said something about it, but I don't see anything that we were mistreated in camp. We were lucky to have a safe place to stay in. And free to come and go when we had pass, passes to go in and out of.

And sometimes I was frightened because those who were against Clarence, because he belonged to the U.S. Army and was a member of it. And I was always in fear of that because there's always someone that can go berserk or say bad things. But we made it out okay. But he was in there representing them as a lawyer. And so he was overworked, and that's why he came down with the shingles. There was no one else in there that could help him. He had the American staff, but they couldn't speak Japanese, so he was the only one that had to do it. And it was a huge place.

TL: I think with the commission, the interest there was to have a better public understanding of what happened during that period. And eventually there was legislation, around 1988, where the government made kind a formal statement and apology and later on issued checks, reparations, redress checks to...

YB: Evacuation claim checks.

TL: Right, right. So, did you... how did you feel about that at that point?

YB: Well, I felt very grateful. I thought, "What other country does this for them?" And if people are complaining they didn't get enough, well, they're lucky they even got that. And I think there are still, though, Japanese among us that are very grateful. There are always two sides to the whole set up, and I don't care where you go, whether it's here or in another country, I think you're going to find two groups of people. One for, and one against, no matter what comes up. It goes on and on. But I don't think that we could have been as fortunate as we were if we were in another country. This wouldn't have happened. So I feel very grateful. But they will not pay you, and I think another thing that I don't think it's fair of them to expect it, is those who were evacuated and died and they tried to collect on that. But I don't think that's fair, because what's done is done; they're gone. And they're helping the ones that are living, that have to carry on. So there was some complaint on that, too. Like our little boy that died, they might have thought that at least they could, but it's not gonna' bring him back, and he's not gonna' be here to spend it. And if we get what they give us, that's covering that person, so I should think that would be enough. And more than enough because, lots of times you don't even get that. And another thing that was nice was they gave you the $20,000, and you didn't have to pay tax on it as an income tax.

<End Segment 38> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 39>

TL: It's remarkable that you've led such a rich and rewarding life, and I'm wondering if there are certain lessons that you feel that have been especially helpful in guiding your choices.

YB: Well, I think my foster mother's one that was always -- I don't know if I should put it in the form of a lecture, but always speaking to me about something. And I would think to myself, "Here we go again. I should close my ears and it will go in one ear and out the other." But, as I said before, somehow along the way -- you know your mind is a wonderful thing, your memory. It's there, blocked in and saved for a rainy day, and it comes out. I was quite amazed that many things that Mother told me -- how to put it in English, I don't know. She always says, "a human being" or "a human person should or shouldn't..." Always, she would follow that way and tell me, "If you are an individual or a human individual, one should do this, " or "One shouldn't do that" or, "It's proper or incorrect..." And she'd always come and I used to think, "All those lectures. I'm just sick and tired." I wished I could just close my ears and take off. And when you're young it gets too far gone, and they overdo it on you, and I don't want to hear any more. But as I look back I think, "Gosh, I'm glad Mom told me all those things. It's coming back." And I think that -- and she'd say it in a quiet, nice way; she wasn't screaming at me, hoping that I would listen. And I pretended I was, but half of the time I was thinking of something else, but I think a lot of it stayed there.

<End Segment 39> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 40>

TL: Are there any other topics that you'd like to talk about, that we haven't addressed yet?

YB: Well, right at the moment I really can't think of anything, unless you bring it up for me. I guess my memory doesn't always come up with something that... [Laughs]

TL: Well, how about these last years. After George passed away, you maintained some interests and you developed new ones. And so what are some of the things that have been important to you in the last...

YB: When Clarence passed away, I had a difficult time adjusting myself. We had lost the child and then the father, and I felt very much alone, even though I had friends. With George, they said, "Yone, we don't want to see you sleeping here at the house the first night or so. Come and stay with us." I thought it over very deeply, and thought -- and the Japanese Buddhist have this feeling, never leave the house empty without a light if the person passed away in this house. Leave it lit because the soul is still here, is what they would tell you, and it used to scare me. But as you grow older, it's a feeling that your memory and the person is still with you. And these girls wanted me to go home, but I said, "Do you mind if I stay here? I'll be okay." I said, "I'll phone you, so just listen to the phone if I have to call you."

And I felt that if I left the house that night, it would be so difficult to come back in to a empty house, that if I stayed here for a period of time, I would get myself adjusted to the thought that he's still with me, but no longer here. And so I did and I didn't find it as hard. It's funny, but before I found it very difficult. 'Cause everything around here would remind me of him, what I would do. And I had to adjust myself to that thought, knowing that he wasn't here, but still thinking of him. And so I didn't find it as difficult as if I had left it, and had to come back and start all over again.

But he was so good to me. He was so thoughtful in everything he did, and lots of husbands don't do it. He'll go and put up a flag and maybe pick a rose that I was expecting to make a little corsage for somebody. He'll pick it and he says, "Here's a posy for you. Good morning." And he'd bring it in and put it in a little vase for me, or tack a little note on the refrigerator, or I'd put a little note in his lunch. And he says, "Everybody's envious of my lunch," and I said, "Why? Isn't it good, or what?" He says -- they play pinochle. He says, "I can play pinochle with one hand and eat with the other, and they can't because they got to use both." I said, "You have to eat with both hand." "Yes, but the orange you fix for me" -- I slit the sides down and opened it up like a little lotus flower, and then put it back together again. And then put it in a little bag, so when he opens up the bag, it spreads open and all the oranges are just like this, see, so he can pick it up. And they'd say, "General -- George, how did you train your wife to do that? I can't get my wife to do anything for me." [Laughs] But he wanted to play cards and I thought, "Well, I'll make it easier so his fingers wouldn't get dirty." And everything was made so that he could eat with one hand.

But there was always cute notes. Some of 'em are still on the ice box. But the P-I used to put out a comic strip of "Love Is." It was two little cupids with no clothes on, stark naked. And there was always something written with "Love Is." And one day it was "Love Is" with a little baby crib and the mama cupid was looking into the crib and instead of the little baby, he took a little potted bonsai plant and put it on the pillow. So I thought, "Uh, oh. I'm paying too much attention to my bonsais, maybe he's trying to remind me that I'm forgetting him." But that's what he had posted on the refridge one day.

But he does things in a way without hurting me, but reminding me or asking me. And I often thought, "I wonder why everyone can have a little of that, but it's either all or nothing, or part of it." But he was very, very thoughtful in every way. It wasn't a real expensive gift, but it was a little thoughtful gifts that he'd bring. And the cards -- I got to bring up some of those cards for you, they're beautiful. Musical cards. People are asking for them so if I take the name off -- 'cause if I move into a little apartment, all the things I want to take, how am I going to take everything? All my books? I may take one of certain things to sort of remind me of him. And his one Ho Tei, I think I want to take that one up there, with the gold on it and bronze, sort of a bronze-like.

TL: Did you start your interest in tai chi while you were married to George, or after?

YB: After George passed. Well, before that, I took up the ki of aikido. The ki part is the training part before they flip you over and everything, the intensive part. And I went to that for about seven months and George... I says, "George, come on." "No, I'll watch you." So I took it, and it's different in many ways, but they still train and teach you how to generate the ki in your system and to be able to bring it out, and I had learned to do that before. I was able to do it.

But when I went to this class, which is a sort of a religious group, but, curious me, I had to open any door that came along that sounded like healing. I had to look inside. So I opened this door, and I thought, "Fine, there's a class." So I paid for it, and took it up, and they presented me with a medallion that you wore around your neck. And I thought, "Gee, is this for membership, or what?" And then they wanted me to come to church, and pay so much, and mail so much to their church. I said, "I did not take this class with the understanding that I was to become a member of an organization, a church particularly. I already belong to one." I said, "I like to be out of it." So I officially had to request, return the medallion.

But in the meantime, they tried to teach us that if you learn this course, you can preserve a strawberry, an egg from spoiling or rotting, keep it fresh, and do anything with your hands. Well, nobody would prove it and I thought, "Gee, nobody has proof or a sample of it." I thought, "Well, I'm going to try it." So I've got three strawberries in there. One's ten years old and another one younger, but if the strawberry's green, it's a little different. It's just like people. Some firmer ones look younger, and the overripe ones get squishier. And that's just the way my strawberries are. And you can preserve -- that's just like the strawberry you cook, that has no sugar in it. But when you cook strawberry, it turns brown. Remember, we used to can strawberries? And that's just the way, and it's still not spoiled. There's no mold. So in one jar, I neglected and ignored it, put it away where I wouldn't even go by it. And the jar was just full of mold, fluffy gray mold.

<End Segment 40> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.