Densho Digital Archive
Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community Collection
Title: Brooks Andrews Interview
Narrator: Brooks Andrews
Interviewer: Joyce Nishimura
Location: Bainbridge Island, Washington
Date: October 7, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-aemery-02-0012

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BA: I mentioned that for many years I really compartmentalized or kind of blocked out the internment story in my mind. And part of that, behind the internment story, is a very personal story of the cost to our family. Again, it's very personal. But, I remember my dad telling me one day, when I was young, that he knew, not too long after he married my mother, that, that this marriage was not going to work. But they stayed together for many, many, many years, until they divorced in 1955, my mother divorced my father then. But up until that time, my dad, I don't know, over, maybe it was grief over the failure of his marriage, I'm not sure what. But, the, the personal cost to us a family was that my dad took that energy that maybe he should have put into his marriage and he put it into the Japanese community. My dad, we never had a really close personal relationship. I know my dad loved me. I'm very proud of what he did. He's an important figure in history. But, there... the cost to the family was high, it was pretty high. And... [pauses] I forgot where I was going with this now. Oh, yeah, he put so much energy into the community to the detriment of his family, maybe that was the best he knew how to do it at that time. And maybe he didn't know how to, to bring the family unit back together. And the way I put it is -- speaking for me personally -- my dad, we never had one-on-one conversations or times together. We did a lot of things together, Boy Scouts, trips to California to my uncle's farm, in the summer, other events around the community. And so my dad never really spoke to me one-on-one. But he, as I put it, he spoke to me through the group. In other words, he modeled things about virtue and integrity and leadership through the group as we interacted in that way. So... that's a side that I didn't visit for a long, long time. And, so, it did come at a cost. And it's not unusual for anyone who is in a high-profile position, or high-profile in the community, that the family or the marriage suffers. So, there's many stories of people who, who did not have a family that was well-taken care of, that those were high-profile. But I've made peace with that, and I've reconciled that. So, but out of that story, again is my dad, I'm extremely proud of him.

And my mother was, my mother was... I often muse about this. My mother is very silent in this story. She was not high-profile, she was not one to be up in front in leadership or preaching or talking or teaching. She did teach Sunday school. But I know she was a mentor to many of the young Japanese women and brides in the community. I remember in our house, when we lived on Fifteenth Avenue, that quite often a young woman or young mother or bride would come to our house, and talk to my mother and she would counsel with them and help them. And I think, when I think of my mother, I think of John Milton's poem on his blindness. There's a line in there that says: "they also serve who stand in wait." And I, and I see my mother in that, in that picture. Very quiet, behind the scenes, but very much effective in her own ministry and in her own way, in her own quiet way.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.