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-02-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

JN: So after the war, what did your, what did your family do after the war? I know, I understand your father did a lot for Bainbridge Islanders, afterwards and getting them, getting them back to normal. Can you tell us about...

BA: We... to give a little bit of background, my oldest sister during the war was married. And so she stayed and lived with her husband in our house that we, we owned on Fifteenth Avenue in Seattle. And so for us to come back, we had a house to come to. But for the returning Bainbridge Island people, I know Walt Woodward here on Bainbridge Island was very much an advocate for the Japanese. And he did a great work in, in bringing support for them. But coming back to Bainbridge, to the farms, mostly, they were not taken care of during the war, and so they were overrun probably with weeds and, and just lying fallow because of disuse. And so Dad would come over here and bring a party over and help clean up the farms, cut grass, and open up the fields again. And so there was quite a bit of that type of activity over here. And for those in Seattle, it was a matter of doing the same thing. Very few of them had any place to come back to. Of course, there were, before the war, many farms down in the Auburn-Kent area, and Japanese farmers down there, truck farms, and fruit farms, and so forth. And again, he was, rounded up a crew and would help cut grass, and paint, fix up, paint out especially "No Jap" signs that were around. I remember one A&W in the area had a sign in the window that said "No Japs Allowed." And, so there's a lot of getting integrated back into the community.

And, before the war, the, the Japanese farmers in the valley, Kent and Auburn valley, would truck their produce into Pike Place Market. And after the war there was still a lot of anti-Japanese discrimination going on. And the union boss at that time, Dave Beck, he, he was head of the union, trucker's union that would truck some of the produce into the Seattle area. And he refused to take any produce from the Japanese farmers after they opened up their farms. He would not take it in to be sold at Pike Place Market. So my dad found a Filipino farmer who said, whose name I don't know, I wish I did, but he said he would take the produce in for them, for the farmers. So there's a lot of just reorganization and just trying to get back on track after having to leave everything behind. And I, I know very few that had houses to come back to. In... when we moved back to Seattle, I remember a lot of my friends were living in apartment buildings in the Seattle area, and in the hotels downtown, so...

JN: Was your church secured so you could come home?

BA: You know, it was... Dad had locked everything up. And, surprisingly enough, there was not any graffiti on the walls outside the church, minimal vandalism, mostly broken windows, that type of thing. But I think of all the trips my dad came back to Seattle, of course, he checked on the church and was able to make sure it was secure, so... so we just started emptying the gymnasium as soon as people could find a place to go. But the interesting thing, too, is that the, the American Baptist denomination thought that it would be a good idea to integrate the Japanese into the Caucasian churches in the community. And for, for at least a year after we returned, Japanese Baptist Church didn't open up as Japanese Baptist Church, because the denomination was saying, "Well, we need to integrate these people in the Caucasian churches." But finally, about a year later, after my dad's adamant refusal, we were able to open up the church and again exist as Japanese Baptist Church.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.