Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Lucy Kirihara Interview
Narrator: Lucy Kirihara
Interviewer: Steve Ozone
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 13, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-klucy-01-0015

<Begin Segment 15>

SO: What kind of research did you do for Dr. Rose?

LK: Oh, she was doing something. They always have grants or something and you had to use, we didn't have computers, but it was really statistical. And I had to do all this stuff on there. I really don't know what it was, but she, I can't remember too much. But one thing I did remember is she taught me how to sharpen pencils, so they were real sharp. That's about all I remember. [Laughs] But it was good experience. It's always sort of good. And then I was able to... then I was lucky I could either teach in St. Paul or Minneapolis. I went to a small town first because, thinking, oh gee, you want a job, you'll take it, but they don't hire early in Minneapolis and St. Paul. They don't hire early, unfortunately. They hire almost when the school year starts, and then once I got the offers I really didn't want to go to a small town, but in those days again they said you'll be blackballed if you don't, if you break a contract. And they said, "It's not gonna hurt you," my sister said, "It's not gonna hurt you to go for one year to a smaller school." Which it didn't. Because she said, "Half the United States is from a rural area and so it's better that you," and it was a good experience.

SO: So where did you go?

LK: I went to Mora, Minnesota, and that's up about 80 miles up north. And it was all right, because Miki was in France at that time. And the superintendent, it was quite unusual, because when it was time to resign the contract, he said, "I know you're not going to be with us next September," because he must have heard that I had gotten those contracts from both cities and they were nice, they kept it open for me because I said I wanted to eventually teach in the city. And since I grew up in St. Paul it was fun to teach in St. Paul.

SO: What was it like living in Mora?

LK: Oh, it was fun. I had live in one room in a nice home. It was a nice home, the Cadwells' home and they were very nice. But you can't cook or anything, so we had to eat in these greasy spoons. And then all these teachers, we'd all hang out together and one girl had a car so she was nice, she'd take us to other smaller towns and we'd go to all the church dinners and so we'd have lutefisk and so forth, so it was sort of fun. And they'd have a spaghetti night and we'd go, because like I say, we couldn't cook and we had to eat. But unfortunately, every Friday night we caught the bus and we came home to the cities and we'd go back Sunday night, unless someone had a car that we could commute back and forth. But it was a good experience and I still have some good friends from there.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.