Densho Digital Repository
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hubert Yoshida Interview
Narrator: Hubert Yoshida
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Emeryville, California
Date: April 7, 2022
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-506-17

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TI: Okay, so you were just talking about the school, attending a two-room schoolhouse, so talk about that.

HY: Yeah, that was fun. I mean... well, it was fun, but there was two rooms. One had grades one to four and the other had five to eight. My brother was in one room and I was in the other room. And I don't know how many kids were in one, maybe twelve, fifteen kids, maybe. But all four grades were being taught, so I was in second grade, so I could listen to what the other kids were being taught. I didn't have friends, so most of the time I would read. And instead of playing with the other kids, I would just read. And, of course, the teacher was kind of encouraging to me, so she let me read the other books.

TI: When you say other books, like you're reading the upper grades, like third and fourth?

HY: Upper grade books, yeah.

TI: So I was going to ask, in some cases when I talk to people who were going to school, the war years were pretty disruptive in terms of their education. It sounds like it didn't affect you that much in terms of your reading, your writing, that you were able to be on track for all those things?

HY: Yeah. Because of this two-room schoolhouse, I think, is where I got the most, because I could follow what the other kids were doing. I mean, fourth grade they were doing California history, and that was really interesting to me because they were talking about the Gold Rush and the Spanish. So I would listen to what they were doing and I would learn.

TI: But what would happen when you were in the third and fourth grade? Was it like repeating what you already knew then?

HY: Yeah. In fact, the teacher made me skip the fourth grade, so I skipped the fourth grade. But by that time we were in a different type of school and they started consolidating all the schools. We were in more of a consolidated school environment, so we were then in separate grades by the time I was there. But my teacher was Mrs. Toof, T-O-O-F, and she probably had the most influence on my life. She encouraged me to read whatever I wanted to read, and she, I say made me skip fourth grade because... see, my birthday is in April so I was always kind of the older in my group. But then when I was skipped there, later on I regretted that because in sports I would be young. I mean, I was playing varsity ball at sixteen in my senior year when I wish I was, had another year to catch up physically. But so I guess I made my biggest advance in education by going to a two-room schoolhouse.

TI: That's good to know, especially after the, kind of the horrible experience you had in Colorado.

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