Densho Digital Archive
Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL Collection
Title: Tom I. Mine Interview
Narrator: Tom I. Mine
Location: Watsonville, California
Date: July 29, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-mtom_2-01-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: Well, at some point, you got notice or information that you'll have to leave the area. So what kind of preparations did you have to do with your farm? I mean, you have now all this land...

TM: Yeah.

TI: ...and farm, so what, what did you do?

TM: Well, yeah, naturally, luckily I knew one grower, farmer, he's a small farmer, and he was a German, I mean, his relatives were from Germany. He was born here, but his relatives were from there, so I, he was a small grower, so I said, "Gee, this is a good chance for me to ask if he wants to farm a little bit more." He said sure, he'll take over, so I had a lucky break.

TI: And what was the arrangement? So he would...

TM: Well, I would say, "You farm 'til I come back." When we come back, I don't know when we're gonna come back, so, "You go ahead and take care like it's your own." So I lent him all the equipment and everything, "Take care of it like it's your own equipment."

TI: And then any proceeds or profits he'd make from the crops, he would keep?

TM: You know, I let the lawyers take care of that. [Laughs]

TI: Okay. But the main thing was that he took care of the farm for you.

TM: Yeah, uh-huh.

TI: How about this, the other Nisei farmers? What did they do?

TM: Well, I never did ask other farmers. You know, there were, I guess they did the same thing, or I don't know exactly what, I never did bother to ask. But my neighbor, Manabes, they hired a lawyer that took care of everything. So they weren't afraid or anything, they said, "Well, this is in the lawyers' hands."

TI: And so when you talk about lawyers, who was your lawyer? Was that a hakujin lawyer?

TM: Yeah, hakujin lawyer. We didn't have no Nisei lawyers here.

TI: And so he would kind of, while you were gone, he would kind of watch out for things legally.

TM: Yeah, yeah. I think most of the fellows were in pretty good shape, who had property. But if you didn't have any property, then you didn't have anything to worry about, but they got advice from the lawyers.

TI: Now, how did the war, did the war impact your relationship with the lawyers? I mean, after the bombing, was there, did he...

TM: Well, I guess lawyers, they're smart, so they had a cool head. So, and they're past middle age. I guess, let's see, my lawyer was already in his sixties, or pretty close to seventy, so...

TI: So he was experienced and he didn't overreact, and so he knew that this was...

TM: No, he didn't overreact. Yeah, he didn't try to take advantage of anything.

TI: He knew you and the others, and so there was a trust level there.

TM: Yeah.

TI: It sounds like you were lucky, then, you had all these things in place.

TM: Yeah, yeah. I knew him for a long time, and he took care of my properties I bought, and took care of all the paperwork.

TI: And so in terms of equipment and property, you just kept it at your place.

TM: Yeah, yeah. They started, as long as they used it right there, see. So I made an understanding with the fellow I leased it to, he'd take care of it like it was his own, so I came out all right.

TI: And so at the time the war broke out, how much property did you own at that time? How many acres?

TM: Well, I didn't have too much. Let's see, I had one, two, three, I think I had seventy-five acres all total. So just, just getting started.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL. All Rights Reserved.