Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Helen Tanigawa Tsuchiya Interview
Narrator: Helen Tanigawa Tsuchiya
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Bloomington, Minnesota
Date: June 16, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-thelen-01-0002

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MA: And, so you were born in Selma, but you told me that you moved from Selma --

HT: To Parlier.

MA: How old were you when you made that move?

HT: I think we started grade school at that time.

MA: Do you remember anything about Selma, then?

HT: No, not too much. Not too much. I think we came to Parlier, that's when Mr. Hayashi and his wife, I don't know how they owned it, but he was the boss of that farm that we worked on.

MA: In Parlier?

HT: Yes, uh-huh. It was in, towards the country.

MA: So this was an Issei man, Mr. Hayashi?

HT: Yes, yes.

MA: And he operated...

HT: I don't know if he owned it or what. I'm sure he didn't own it, but he was sort of like a boss. He probably was hired by the hakujin people. And, but he was really nice to us.

MA: And your family moved to Parlier, then, to work for him?

HT: Yeah.

MA: And did you...

HT: And my mother, my mother was, she used to go out and work. I started school -- I always tell this to my sister -- I started school one year late because I had to babysit my sister. And in those days, right now you got to go in September or something, but you don't do that in those days. So I babysat and we had a whole bunch of kids and then we had some Mexican family that stayed there. Can I tell you a little story that happened?

MA: Sure.

HT: I used to act like I was a teacher. I always wanted to be a teacher or a nurse when I was growing up. And I always had a lot of, bunch of kids and we would do school. And my sister was, we were playing and all the guys were coming and she stuck up a little, stuck up her nose, I think it was a bean or whatever, and she couldn't breathe. And I didn't know what to do so I ran over to the Mexican lady and she took her upside down and went "bang" and it came out. I said, I'll never forget that, I told her. But she was a very smart little girl. Like that picture I showed you, she was valedictorian of the class and I always tell her family. She continued, she became a nurse when she, when we came to Minnesota. She became a nurse and then worked for the hospital and then the doctors saw her potential and at that time there was no nurse practitioners and they wanted her to continue her education and she did, and was one of the first nurse practitioners in Minnesota, one of the groups that was...

MA: And this is your younger sister?

HT: Yes, yes.

MA: And what is her name?

HT: Lillian. Lillian Hiroko... what is it? She's right now, now, see, my mind goes.

MA: Oh, that's okay.

HT: Tanaka. It's Tanaka.

MA: Tanaka?

HT: Uh-huh.

MA: And how many children were there in your family?

HT: My oldest sister, she was married with a boy and a girl. And my next one is a girl, and she married John Fujiki in camp. And then my brother, and Lil and me. So there were four girls and one boy.

MA: So five total.

HT: Uh-huh. Five.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.