Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Don Maeda Interview
Narrator: Don Maeda
Interviewer: Carolyn Nayematsu
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 13, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-mdon-01-0012

<Begin Segment 12>

CN: So, that's you, now during this time you got married.

DM: Yes.

CN: And you married?

DM: Kay. Kay Kubo. Katheryn Kubo.

CN: And this is the two of you at your wedding?

DM: Yes.

CN: Is that here in St. Paul?

DM: No, we went back to -- she was from Torrington, Wyoming, but the church that they attended was right outside of Scottsbluff, I can't recall the church, St. Mary's Mission? And I thought at that time there would only be a few Japanese attending our wedding. But there are a lot farmers in that area and down in Platte Valley area and so that church is almost all Japanese, a few Caucasian people, but mainly it was Japanese people so we had a nice wedding out there.

CN: How did you meet your wife? Was she here studying?

DM: Well, she was here working at, she had finished, she was a medical technician, she had graduated the University of Wyoming and she was working at St. Barnabas Hospital, which is no longer here. It was an Episcopal hospital and then the...

CN: Could we just backtrack a bit? She went to the University of Wyoming. I attended the University of Montana in the '60s and I was the only Japanese American then. How about the University of Wyoming?

DM: Well, there were a few at that time. There were a few students out of camp at University of Nebraska and Wyoming and even here at Macalester and Hamline, and so she wasn't the only Japanese student.

CN: And she didn't have to go to camp, right. She would have been in Nebraska. So she came up here...

DM: To finish her training at Minneapolis and she got a job at St. Barnabas Hospital. When we first came out here the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota realized that the Issei would probably not go to neighborhood Caucasian, white churches. And so they bought a house on 22nd and Blaisdell and they called that some kind of Episcopal, if they aren't self-supporting and they need help from the Diocese they call it a mission, And there was a Father Daisuke Kitagawa that was sent here to minister to the Issei people, and there was quite a group of Issei at that time. And the offshoot of that was a youth fellowship that met at that center too. And a lot of us, even the people that you're interviewing here, we met our mates there, at the youth fellowship. I remember a Halloween, she was brand new in town and her sister, her older sister knew Father Kitagawa so she asked Father Kitagawa to show Kay around, introduce her to some Japanese kids. And so he brought her to a Halloween party and that's how we met. And then it took off from there. [Laughs]

CN: You don't hear too much about the Japanese in Nebraska. What did her family do there?

DM: Farm. They were actually in Wyoming. Torrington, Wyoming, which is really on the state line of Nebraska and Wyoming.

CN: What did they raise in Torrington?

DM: Beans, some sorghum and corn, it was mostly beans and corn and sorghum, I think.

CN: Just to backtrack a bit, when all of you moved here to St. Paul, your sister was at St. Paul, where did you live?

DM: Well, our first, we lived in a rooming house just by Hamline University, she found this rooming house. We lived there a year and my dad fortunately had down payment on a house so he purchased a house on Fairview and Idlehart in 1945.

CN: And was your dad able to continue his work?

DM: He did, he worked for a dentist, a very nice dentist, he worked for him for twenty-five... he worked almost into his eighties, too.

CN: So, it's a genetic...

DM: Well, yeah, it's not hard work. My mother used to watch us work and say, oh, that's like women's work, you know. It is, it's more like, it's just handwork, tedious.

CN: It can be pretty detailed.

DM: Yeah. It's tedious but over the years you get used to it.

CN: Did your mother work when she came here?

DM: She never, she loved to garden so she gardened. She had a weed-free garden in the backyard. Oh, and then my second daughter and her husband, when my mother preceded my dad for three years before him, and when he passed away he left all to the grandkids, ten grandkids, and so my second daughter and husband bought the house from the other grandkids and they're living in that home now.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.