Densho Digital Archive
Topaz Museum Collection
Title: Helen Harano Christ Interview
Narrator: Helen Harano Christ
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 18, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-chelen-01-0020

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MA: So what high school did you attend in North Platte?

HC: I graduated from North Platte High School, class of '51, and we had, let's see. I was the only one who graduated from North Platte High School who was of Japanese ancestry in that class. I don't know what happened to Yoshio, I think he moved away sometime when we were freshmen or sophomores, 'cause his, by that time, his sisters would have had jobs someplace in the east and would have moved the whole family away.

MA: So your, most of your friends were, were they Caucasian in high school?

HC: Uh-huh. I belonged to a 4-H club that was all Caucasian, and I belonged to the Y-teens at school, which was all Caucasians. I belonged to the Presbyterian church, which was all Caucasians except for us. I guess there was a Mexican family or two in North Platte Presbyterian church. I was active in the Westminster Fellowship, which was the youth group, and I was the only non-white in most all those activities, no big deal. The high school... I did walk home from school with Nettie Okamoto a lot. She lived out on the farm, and she was a year ahead of me. And so I would, she would walk home with me and stay at my house until her brother came to pick her up, and we talked and we just did girl things. Couldn't do too much harm just walking home from school because school was about a mile away from where we lived, and we had to go over the tracks, sometimes between the trains, the couplings of the freight trains to get home. But it was quite safe to walk home from school and no, nothing would happen. Hardly even any car traffic to think about or be concerned about.

MA: So then you graduated in 1951 and went on to, you said Hastings?

HC: I worked for a year at a, at the Mars shop in North Platte to save money, and to help out my family. And then I went to Hastings College and I lived with the Buzza family and worked cleaning the house and taking care of the kids, washing dishes, too, for my room and board. I graduated in 1956.

MA: And what was, what did you study?

HC: I was a sociology, secondary education major. My minor was history, English.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.