Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Judy Murakami Interview
Narrator: Judy Murakami
Interviewer: Carolyn Nayamatsu
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 13, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-mjudy-01-0014

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CN: And backtracking a little, at some point you met your husband, so can you tell us where you met George?

JM: When I was in high school at Central High School, so I was probably fifteen, sixteen years old, and one of the organizations that the local Japanese Americans had was a young people's group, and it was composed of all young people. And I really didn't belong that much because most of them were older than I was. But George was in the Air Force, and he was stationed at Fort Snelling. So I happened to go to one of the picnics or something that they, the group had, and I met him at that function. He was a little older than I am. [Laughs]

CN: And a dashing Air Force.

JM: I know. The funny story was that my mom, of course, thought that... my parents were not too excited about my going out with somebody, because I was only a junior in high school and he was in the Air Force. So we did have him over, and she thought that maybe he was Hawaiian. And so the joke was that she thought she would put a little toy ukulele out, and if he picked it out and strum it, she would know where, that he was from Hawaii, but he wasn't.

CN: Tell us a little bit about George, then. He was from, came from where, California?

JM: My husband George was, his family was, at that time, from Mountain View, California. And he was stationed in the Air Force. He was in his last year of four years in the Air Force. And he had gone to school for a year, college, at San Jose State for a year and then he went into the Air Force for four years, so this was his final year. And he was at Fort Snelling, and he had kind found out about this young people's group through... I'm not sure through who had found out about it, but he had gone bowling with them, and so he belonged to their bowling league and a bunch of things like that, and I met him at this picnic. And so he was about to be discharged, I think I met him in his last four or five months before he was discharged. And then he went back to California, drove back to California when he was discharged, and then I finished my high school year as a senior and started the university in the fall of '58, and George came back in the fall of '58 and came back and started college, he had transferred then to the U.

CN: Oh, okay, so George was very dedicated. So you got married and you have four children. Did you continue on, I know you taught, but then as I recall, you worked at Medtronic. Was this after your children were somewhat grown?

JM: After our children were born, or while we were still having children, I did some part-time teaching through Roseville School System. I did homebound teaching and then I also taught adult high school diploma programs at night. And then when our youngest one Mari -- so we have four children -- Chris is the oldest, and then Steve... Chris is the oldest, and then Lisa and then Steve and then Mari. And Mari was in kindergarten, there was an opportunity to teach at Roseville in social studies. I really was kind of planning to wait until our kids were in third grade, but jobs were hard to come by. They asked if I would just start this class because the regular teacher was not able to start in the fall. I thought I'd just do it for a couple of weeks. And I ended up not coming back so I applied and I got the job. I ended up teaching in English and history for about eight years, seven and a half years or so. And then I got laid off in 1982, came back and taught for another year or so part-time, and then ended up getting a final pink slip because of declining enrollment in Roseville and the budget cuts and so forth. And then I switched careers because I had an English major also. And I went into public relations and marketing communications and worked first for a company called MCT, Micro Component Technology, in public relations. Then I went to ETA Systems, which was a supercomputer subsidiary of Control Data and worked there for three years and they shut down. And then when I got laid off from there I applied at Medtronic, and I got a job at Medtronic in their marketing communications department in the neurological division. I worked there for fifteen years and retired from there in 2004.

CN: And George continued, he was an engineer at...

JM: At Honeywell.

CN: Honeywell.

JM: He started at Control Data and then he went to Honeywell.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.