Densho Digital Archive
Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community Collection
Title: Dorothy Almojuela Interview
Narrator: Dorothy Almojuela
Interviewer: Hisa Matsudaira
Location: Bainbridge Island, Washington
Date: February 17, 2007
Densho ID: denshovh-adorothy-01-0002

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DA: And I'd go home, back to school, and I... when I was in the third grade -- they had three school rooms in the third grade -- one morning the teacher said, "Dorothy, you have to go to the other room." I told her, "I don't want to." She says, "But you've got to." And I said, "I don't want to." "But you've got to." So I went into the other room. Because the little children said that that teacher was mean, but I didn't find her mean. I got hit once. I was reading, and I didn't know this word, so I pronounced it and she hit me with a ruler right on my little finger. But I told her, "I don't know it. I don't know how to pronounce it," and so she told me. So I stayed in that schoolroom and they had three grades. And then she told me, "I'm sorry, but you have to go to the next room." She says, "You're too advanced for this room," so I went to the next room. Oh, every day, walking from home to school, even in the winter. But I'm not gonna say that the snow was that deep, no. It was just several.... and it was fun in school, too. I mean, we had our recreation time. The teachers were nice, I felt, at least to me. But I don't know what it was like for the boarding students. I guess some of them had a hard time. And so I stayed in there until the eighth grade.

And then the eighth grade, you were sixteen, and you had to finish school. So before we finished school, they told us, told me and my cousin, "You'll have to go and take a test for high school." And they said, "You have to go to a white school for that." I said, "I don't want to go." But she says, "I'd like you to try to see how you can do." So we decided to go. And we came before the superintendent of schools and we had to take the test for two days. And a little while after that, they said, "Well, you passed the test. The passing test was 360, and you had over 410." So, I was ready to go to high school and so was my cousin. So I told the teacher, "I'm sorry, I can't go to high school." Because I have an invalid -- my mother was starting Parkinson's disease. Her eyes would turn up, then she started shaking, then her legs started shaking. And soon after that she was in bed and if she wanted to go someplace, my dad had a car. My dad wouldn't carry her out to the car, I had to carry her out to the car. I'd carry her out to the car and sit her down, then we'd go take her out for a ride, come back, and I'd carry her back in the house. So this went on for about, oh, I'd say eight years. And she got worse. She, you could just see her... very soon she couldn't talk. You had to ask her, "Do you want this? Do you want that?" And she'd say, well, she... you could tell her eyes, so we'd do it, I'd do it. And very soon after, she couldn't eat, so I had to feed her. I had to chew her food and put it in her mouth. But I had to stay with her like twenty-four hours, I had to sleep with her to turn her over.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.