Densho Digital Archive
Friends of Manzanar Collection
Title: Sam H. Ono Interview
Narrator: Sam H. Ono
Interviewer: Martha Nakagawa
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: November 28, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-osam_2-01-0002

<Begin Segment 2>

MN: When you were born, what were your parents doing?

SO: When I was born my parents had a grocery store, a small neighborhood grocery store.

MN: Was this in the Sacramento Japantown?

SO: Yeah, it was on, in Sacramento on Sixth and P. Japanese Town was on more like Fourth and M.

MN: So it was kind of on the fringes of Japantown.

SO: Yeah.

MN: Who were their customers?

SO: I really don't know.

MN: Now, when you were three years old your mother left the home. What happened to her?

SO: She contracted tuberculosis, and at the time tuberculosis was like the plague in the Japanese community, you know. And it was pretty hush-hush, but when I was three she went to a place called Weimar, which is a sanitarium up in the more or less mountain area.

MN: How often did your father take you to visit your mother at Weimar?

SO: I don't remember, but I do remember whenever we went they wouldn't let the children associate with the people who had tuberculosis, so when he visited her we, we stayed in the car, my brother and I.

MN: So you didn't get to talk to your mother at all.

SO: No. So I really don't know her, and the only thing I know her, about her is from my aunt.

MN: So you're talking as if your mother never recuperated.

SO: No, she didn't. She was in the hospital for three years, or the sanitarium for three years, and then she passed away.

MN: Do you have any memories of your mother?

SO: No, none at all. Only pictures.

MN: So after your mother passed away, did your father remarry?

SO: No.

MN: Now, your family now doesn't have a female. There's no mother. Who did all the cooking and the ironing and the washing?

SO: Well, my father did all of the cooking, washing and ironing, but as we grew older we had to do it ourselves, not the cooking part of it, but the laundry and the like.

MN: So what kind of foods did your father cook?

SO: Primarily Japanese food. I guess it was wholesome. [Laughs]

MN: So you had rice every night?

SO: Yeah. I know we had bread around the house.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.