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_2-01-0023

<Begin Segment 23>

TI: Were you one of the first ones to come back to Watsonville?

TM: Yeah, well, we all came back about the same time, yeah. We left Poston, and trainload of people come back to Watsonville, we came back.

TI: And so how had Watsonville changed in that time you were gone?

TM: Well, I came... well, it's before we came back here, my brother was on furlough, so I walked down Main Street, and I was just curious, he and I walked down Main Street, my brother was in uniform, so they just kind of looked at us. They didn't say anything, and the Caucasian I saw didn't say anything. But the fellows that I went to school with, they were all in service or something, so I didn't see any of 'em. So I said, well, they didn't, like I said, some places, they put signs, they didn't welcome you, so I didn't have that fortune of being, being, say, "Don't come back." Well, I had a home and you know, so I said, well, I had no other place to go but home, as long as I let 'em know when I'm coming back. And I was in the contract that, I let him know when I'm coming back, I'll be coming back.

TI: Oh, for the farm?

TM: Yeah, for the farm.

TI: And what was the condition of the farm when you...

TM: Oh, fine. I had a good tenant, so he kept up my equipment, tractors that he had to use, the pickup, so I left the pickup, so that was the only source of, for me to get around, to get my pickup and ride around. [Laughs] I sold the car because it was already fairly old, so no use hanging onto it. Got a few bucks for it, but I had the pickup, luckily.

TI: And so how soon after you returned did you start farming?

TM: Well, I, returned in '45, I started farming in '46.

TI: And were there any, kind of, barriers or obstacles for you to get started up again?

TM: No, no. We had no problem in Watsonville. People all understood, you know. Because there weren't too many farmers, I mean, that had acreage in Watsonville area, it's small, we were all small growers, so we didn't take up a lot of their, you know, land or anything like that.

TI: And so with, you mentioned earlier about the company T&A, so were you working with them at that time, too, or was that, that was a little bit later?

TM: No, that was later, yeah.

TI: So when you first started, who did you sell your, your produce to?

TM: Well, T&A, well, Mr. Antle.

TI: Okay, so that was before he started T&A, but...

TM: Yeah, yeah, the T&A formed later on.

TI: And then later on he formed T&A. So did the number of Nisei farmers or farmers change before the war and then after the war? Were there, like, fewer after the war?

TM: Well, I think the farmers that kept onto their property, they came back. They had some, same kind of deal like I did, and they started farming again. So there weren't too many Nisei farmers. Like the Sakatas, they're a corporation, see, and corporation, well, you don't have to be around, because corporations take care of the, so they were okay. And as far as farming, row crop farming, but rest of 'em were berry growers, so they come back and start leasing the property and started farming berries again, I guess.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL. All Rights Reserved.