Densho Digital Archive
Preserving California's Japantowns Collection
Title: Kay Ikeda Interview
Narrator: Kay Ikeda
Interviewers: Jill Shiraki (primary); Tom Ikeda (secondary)
Location: Fresno, California
Date: March 10, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-ikay-01-0012

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: And you mentioned your first son, George, was born in Arkansas.

KI: Uh-huh.

TI: Do you remember delivering George, and what kind of conditions there were?

KI: Well, I was taken to the hospital, they had a hospital. So he's an Arkie. The only son that is an Arkie. [Laughs]

TI: Now, in terms of the medical personnel, do you remember anything in terms of who the doctor was or nurses?

KI: I think Dr. Taira.

TI: So the same doctor that explained menstruation to you was also the doctor who delivered?

KI: Yeah, because he also was getting paid sixteen dollars. Everybody, professional or what, got paid sixteen dollars from the government.

TI: Any memories of delivering George or afterwards?

KI: Yes. I remember the doctor let me stay six more days than the average, because it was winter, he was born in January, January 30, and he said, "Oh, we'll keep you here a little longer," for me to get more stronger. So that was nice of him.

TI: Oh, because he realized that if you went back to your apartment, it'd be cold and be harder for you to keep the apartment warm?

KI: And then the baby, you know. So that was nice.

TI: Oh, that was.

JS: So did your husband come when you gave birth to George, did he come to the hospital?

KI: He must have, you know. I don't remember those things.

JS: But if you stayed a long time, he probably had to go back, huh?

KI: Yeah. I think they kept me in the hospital for two weeks.

JS: Wow.

KI: Maternity case, I guess they don't keep you that long.

TI: But eventually you had to go back to the apartment with a newborn baby.

KI: Yeah.

TI: So what's it like having a newborn baby at Jerome, Arkansas?

KI: Oh. Well, it's like all mothers, you know, you have to experience making the milk and stuff, and feeding them and changing diapers. Kept you busy, you know.

TI: Now, were there any other women there that gave you advice as you, as a new mother in terms of how to care for a baby? 'Cause there were lots of other, maybe, Issei women or others? Did anyone kind of share information?

KI: No. I think... I don't remember anyone giving me any advice, but then I enjoyed talking to the next barrack people that was close to me, just conversation, and such as that.

TI: How about, like, things like babysitters? Did anyone help you with babysitting anytime?

KI: Well, the twins were nearby, so next barrack. So they used to like to, you know, play with George and carry him and stuff, because he was cute, you know. [Laughs]

TI: Okay, so the twins were, so the twins went to, followed you with, so they were at Fresno and then at Jerome during these early days?

KI: Yeah.

TI: Oh, that's good. Yeah... so that must have been, for the twins, a fond memory for them to have a baby to play with, take care of, and it was probably nice for you, too, because it's like an extra couple set of hands.

KI: Uh-huh.

TI: In thinking about your twin sisters, was that unusual in the community to have twins? Were there very many other twins?

KI: I don't know any other twins.

TI: Yeah, I haven't heard of many, so I'm curious, how did people react when they saw them together? They're identical twins, right?

KI: Yeah. People kind of couldn't, didn't know which name belonged to which one.

TI: Yeah, I'm wondering, in terms of Japanese culture, is there anything about twins that Japanese think? I'm just curious if there's anything, that people said anything.

KI: I don't know.

TI: Okay, yeah, I was just curious. So at Jerome, what kind of job did Hi have?

KI: He used to be on the truck delivering commissary. Isn't that what they call it? Commissary?

TI: Right, right, okay. Yeah, so I know he did that, you mentioned, in Fresno. So he did that in Jerome, okay. Okay, so he drove around, delivered goods.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2010 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.