Densho Digital Archive
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Title: Chizuko Norton Interview
Narrator: Chizuko Norton
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: April 27, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-nchizuko-01-0001

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AI: Well, as I mentioned, I wanted to start off, Chiz, by asking you about your parents and if you could tell their names, a little bit about their background, where they came from in Japan, and what you know about their immigration.

CN: Well, let me see. I wasn't going to say that. My, my father's family name is Tahara, but he ran away from home at the age of fourteen and changed his name to Tamaye. And we, in my family, we laugh about that. Tahara is written like ta is the paddy rice field and hara is in the middle of the paddy rice field. Tamaye is "in front of the rice field," so that goes to show you there is something about that, about my father. He had it legally changed years later, but my birth certificate has the name Tahara on it, so, (...) I always thought that was fascinating. But he ran away from home having an intense dislike for his stepmother. And his uncle, and my, later my grandfather, went to try to talk him to go back, and met with him in San Francisco. By the time my grandfather -- well, he refused -- by the time my grandfather came, he had located himself in a place called Fort Lupton, Colorado. And there is such a place. I did go see it. But he worked on the farm, and then spent some time as a, I think he called it a cabin boy, on a ship. It was a navy ship. He was not a member of the navy, of course, but he ran errands and washed stuff like dishes and all, I think. And then he spent some time in Denver. By this time, his oldest brother had immigrated to Denver, Colorado, and they spent some time there. His older brother ran a, worked in a nursery and then later ran his own place there in Denver as well as in Los Angeles. But my father made his way up (to Seattle). My dad, in many ways, was a real rebel, and I guess I took after him. But anyway, he made his way up to the Seattle area and, in Bellevue, and spent quite a bit of time farming and also on the weekends taking his products to the Pike Place Market. And...

AI: I wanted to ask you, did you, were you told anything about what your father's family did in Japan?

CN: Yes. They had a farm. I did visit both my father's ancestral home and my mother's, and I was able to view their, where they grew up. Of course, the houses that, in which they were born were no longer the same ones. They had both been rebuilt, I guess. Maybe many times. The ones that I saw were, were really much nicer than ones that I've been living in. [Laughs] But I, they had...

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