Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: George M. Yoshino Interview
Narrator: George M. Yoshino
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Bloomington, Minnesota
Date: June 17, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-ygeorge_3-01-0004

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: Can you describe the house that you grew up in, what that was like?

GY: House was, well, regular house, only it wasn't, didn't have no indoor plumbing or anything like that. But otherwise it was your living room, dining room, bedroom, separated. Of course, all I know is we had electricity later on, but before that, we had kerosene lamps. [Laughs]

TI: To you that may seem normal, but to the people who watch this tape will think, "Well, George didn't have electricity or indoor plumbing." That was a long time ago. So like just water for cooking, was that brought in? Did you have a pump of some kind?

GY: Yeah. Each family had a well, dug into there and add a well. Either had a pump or drop a bucket in there and pull it up. Tough work.

TI: And so growing up, were there certain chores that you had around the house?

GY: Oh, we did everything. Go out there and feed the cows or whatever, we did it. I mean, nobody was assigned to it, you know. It was all growing up.

TI: So when you think about, kind of, growing up, say you're maybe ten, eleven years old, what would be a typical day for you? Like would you have to do chores before school? I just want to get a flavor of what that...

GY: That part, I don't think we did anything before going to school, maybe feed the chickens or something. But aside from that, I can't remember that. I just get up and go.

TI: How about breakfast, did you have breakfast before you went to school?

GY: Yeah, miso shiru and something like that, I guess. [Laughs] No, we had toast and eggs and stuff. We had our own chickens, only thing we had to buy was milk. We got along.

TI: And then would your mother wake up and make breakfast for you?

GY: Oh, yeah.

TI: And then when you went to school, did you bring a sack lunch?

GY: Yeah, sack lunch, yeah. Carry it with you.

TI: And then after school, what would you do after school?

GY: After school you come home and do whatever work we had to do. I mean, something around the house or out on the farm. It was during the harvest season, naturally we were out in the field. But during the spring, nothing blooming, just played around, you know. That's about it.

TI: Now, you mentioned how the produce that the farms produced was for the Seattle market. Did you ever take food for produce to Seattle?

GY: No. We had a -- well, some of these, some of 'em did because they had their own trucks. My family didn't have a truck, so we had a guy come in and take it in. He had to take it to the produce house or the commission house and they would sell it for us. That's about it.

TI: Now, do you recall how that was done? Was that done by consignment or did that person buy the produce from your dad?

GY: Take it to this guy, he'll sell it for you. And I don't know how much commission he took, but he'll send the balance to you. He'll take his commission, I don't know what, five percent, two percent, I couldn't tell you that.

TI: And then what happens to the food that he couldn't sell? If you brought lettuce or peas and couldn't sell it in Seattle, what would happen to the food?

GY: That part... actually, I don't know. I think they got rid of it cheap or something, you know. But, well, if the farmers brought it in themselves, they had a stand, and they sold it from there. But like us guys, we just shipped it and depended on him to get rid of it. I imagine he got rid of it, cut the price or something. What else are you gonna do? [Laughs]

<End Segment 4> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.