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Title: Floyd Schmoe Interview I
Narrator: Floyd Schmoe
Interviewer: Elmer Good
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 10, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-sfloyd-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

EG: Today is Wednesday, June 10, 1998. I'm Elmer Good. We're at the Ida Culver home, house in Ravenna, talking with Floyd Schmoe. Mr. Schmoe is a lifelong pacifist, a peace activist. Through World War II era he worked for the safe and well-being of the Japanese Americans before, during, and after the war.


EG: I wonder if maybe you would like to say something about Aki for the tape?

FS: About Aki? Aki?

EG: Yeah. Would you like to put something on tape about her?

FS: Aki Kurose is, to my mind, one of the most remarkable women I have ever known, and I have known quite a few remarkable people, including Michiko, Empress of Japan, Liv Ullman, the famous Norwegian actress, and so forth. But Aki had everything. And the thing that made her, kept her alive was optimism, enthusiasm. Everything she did, she did enthusiastically. I don't think she would have lived as long as she did live, if it wasn't for that optimism of hers.

Unfortunately, her whole family seemed to be... well, let's say cancer seemed to be endemic in the family. Hugo, her oldest son, is in remission now. Ruthann is in chemotherapy, I think, and Aki was hit hardest of all. First she had a kidney removed, and then it went to her spine, a tumor in one of the vertebra, and that was extremely painful. She was in sedation, she was treated by acupuncture, she was... she was in constant pain.

But when she was active, she was still... she was a remarkable person. An elementary school teacher with a master's degree, working for a doctorate in science, physics. She was named a member of a commission on elementary education by President James Carter, when he was president. She was able to teach arithmetic, language, other elementary subjects during the day, and then go on to the campus and teach microbiology to graduate students. Her classroom was a museum, a laboratory, at one time, a fish hatchery. She got a big tank, aquarium tank, about 4 by 8 feet, full of fresh water; and she got a few thousand fertile salmon eggs from the College of Fisheries. And her students watched the little elver hatch out of the eggs, and then they fed them every day a prescribed diet until they were so-called fingerlings, about the size of sardines. And then it was time to turn them loose. So they put 'em in plastic bags full of fresh water, took 'em down to Carkeek Park, Carkeek Creek, and turned 'em back to salt water, turned 'em to salt water. There they, those who survived -- probably only a small percentage -- those who survived would have gone through the normal salmon migration pattern, three or four years at sea and then back to the source of their beginning, to the roots in fresh water where the eggs were laid, two or three years before. I don't know that any of them came back to Carkeek Park, but I'm quite certain there are some big fat salmon out there trying their best to get back into Aki Kurose's classroom. [Laughs] She had a 6-inch reflecting telescope. If there was a comet in sight, they had class, they had night classes to watch and to learn something of astronomy. If a Monarch butterfly came by while they were at class, they immediately began learning the remarkable migration of the Monarch butterfly. She had...

EG: Well, she was a great teacher for the children.

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