Densho Digital Archive
Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community Collection
Title: Tomiko Hayashida Egashira Interview
Narrator: Tomiko Hayashida Egashira
Interviewer: Joyce Nishimura
Location: Bainbridge Island, Washington
Date: March 24, 2007
Densho ID: denshovh-etomiko-01-0010

<Begin Segment 10>

JN: Can you tell us a little bit -- this is a little bit on the side on farming -- if you can tell us a little bit about the history of your family and the family land and how it was farmed over the years. You say you had property in Manzanita and did they have a large farm there? And did they have that first and then they came here? Or how was your family's...

TE: Well, I really don't know too much. Before, I think the Hayashidas used to farm out in Bellevue somewhere. Then they moved to Bainbridge Island and I think they farmed a little bit over by where Rotary Field is. Then they, I think Uncle Sub got old enough that they could buy this property in Island Center. Then they bought some property over in Manzanita. So they farmed this Island Center first. Then they cleared land over there in Manzanita. I think they had it cleared by Ray Peterson's dad. I cannot think of his father's name. But he cleared it for them. He used... I think they, well, it was the first time they used a bulldozer on the island to clear land.

JN: So was your family's farm all of this area and going to where Hisa lives and everything from Brooklyn Road over to this?

TE: No. Just sort of towards the end of Strawberry Hill Park, the north end, or just south of that a little bit.

JN: Down to Fletcher Bay Road?

TE: Uh-huh.

JN: And then in Manzanita, it was by Bayhill Road?

TE: Uh-huh. Between Bayhill and Koura Road... and below Koura's.

JN: So it went over the hill toward the golf course area then?

TE: No, not quite. Just towards, before you hit Koura's house I guess.

JN: And they mostly farmed strawberries and rhubarb.

TE: No, just mostly strawberries. I think rhubarb was only about a year or two before we had to leave. But I remember carrying rhubarb to school, bunches of rhubarb to school for school lunch or for Mrs. Hinkle to bring home. I mean, I think she bought it. But then it was just...

JN: So you brought rhubarb to school for them to serve the kids?

TE: Yeah.

JN: Did they buy it from your family?

TE: I don't know. I was just the transportation.

JN: Yeah, we talked about that. Do you have anything to say about the "loyalty questionnaire"? Or what do you remember about your parents filling them out as far as that "yes-yes"...

TE: I don't remember a thing. I mean, they were probably talking about it and I didn't know what they were talkin' about so I didn't pay attention to it.

JN: Did you have to take care of your younger brothers and sisters? Do you remember like even before the war or during camp, being a babysitter for Hisa and Hiro?

TE: No, not really. I mean, you sort of keep an eye on them, but there were other people who were keeping an eye on them. It was like a village. Everybody can... 'cause you're from the island so you'd know who belongs to who and...

JN: Tell us, do you feel like you're, as a community, with the Japanese community on Bainbridge, you got closer in terms of watching out for each other, since the war? Because you mentioned that before the war you were pretty isolated because you didn't have transportation. Do you feel that after the war the Bainbridge families were a little bit more connected?

TE: Maybe they were before, but I didn't know, from my viewpoint. But, probably were. We sort of got to know them a little better because we sort of saw them every day. I know my mother... well, probably the older generation, they didn't have to work on the farm. So they could, especially the mothers, they probably do their cultural things like flower arrangements or, or crocheting or knitting and... my mother learned how to knit and crochet in camp. I mean she didn't really have to cook. Well, she had to do laundry of course and watch kids, but still she had a little more free time rather than work, help my dad work on the farm a little bit. She didn't really have to go out in the field either. 'Cause they always hired Filipinos or Native Americans to help.

JN: Do you remember what the men did at camp? They were so busy at home and then they were at camp. How did they use their time?

TE: I just remember them playing cards and playing go. Well, I guess talking, carving, doing carving with wood, scrap wood. I don't know, finding sagebrush or mesquite out in the desert and polishing it and making cane or maybe a table or other things that they... useful things. There were some decorative things that they made also.

JN: But it was like totally learning new skills or doing things that they never really had time for earlier that they could...

TE: Yeah, and they could socialize a little more I think.

JN: Do you have anything more you want to add to, anything more that you can think of that you might want to tell us?

TE: Well, one thing I could remember, I used to walk with Kay and Sam Nakao. I mean, they used to ask me to come with them. I think it's 'cause they were... like I was a chaperone. So... 'cause her father was pretty strict. But then I didn't know what was happening behind me 'cause I used to run up ahead before...

JN: This was at camp?

TE: Yeah. Well, then I used to get to go out to a different block. 'Cause I never, I was not allowed to leave a certain area. And they used to take walks over, a couple blocks over, so that's why I went with them.

JN: That's a great story.

TE: I don't think I was a very good chaperone myself. [Laughs]

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.