Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Masako Yoshida Interview
Narrator: Masako Yoshida
Interviewer: Kristen Luetkemeier
Location: Monterey Park, California
Date: August 14, 2014
Densho ID: denshovh-ymasako-01-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

KL: Backing up to your life in Los Angeles before the U.S. entered the war, when did you graduate from Roosevelt?

MY: Summer of '41.

KL: And what did you plan to do with your life?

MY: At the time... actually, I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I entered L.A., Los Angeles City College, which was the only, UCLA was so far away, we didn't have cars or anything. But LACC we could go to. And actually I didn't really know what I wanted to do because we couldn't become teachers then or anything. There wasn't much that we could become at that time of our lives because I guess more or less just working in an office maybe, but that was about it.

KL: When you say "we," who do you mean?

MY: More the Niseis, my friends. My friends, I would say that. My brother was, I don't know why, but in Poston he became a male nurse, and I don't know what he wanted to be, he was going to LACC also. Because to my parents, college was very important. Many of the Niseis didn't get to go to college.

KL: And did you have another job besides waitressing ever when you were a teenager?

MY: When I was a kid? I went to work as a housegirl, I was terrible. I came home, I think I was about fourteen then, I was terrible, and I came home in one week, I think. Other than that, no, I didn't have any paid jobs when I was a child. I guess not. Oh, I helped my father clean the offices, but that wasn't paid for me.

KL: What did the housegirl job entail?

MY: I was supposed to be a babysitter, plus a cook, plus everything, and I was fourteen, I didn't know how to cook, because I never cooked. And I thought it was just being a schoolgirl, but this woman had several, I guess she was divorced because there was never a man in the house. And she would go off and she would expect me to take care of the kids plus cook, and I could not cook. So I didn't even last one week, I came home and I said, "That's not for me, I'm never going to be..." I've still never become a housekeeper.

KL: Did you live with them for those couple days?

MY: Yes, and I didn't have my own separate room either, I had to live with the kids. And it was just an experience that made me know that I did not want to be a housekeeper. Okay, when we went to Detroit, I went to work for a Johnson Milk company and we had room and board and we worked seven days a week. In those days we had, they came to our store to buy milk, milk and dairy products, it was called the Johnson Milk company. And you know, we did all kinds of... everything, all the menial jobs as a storekeeper.

KL: That was in Detroit?

MY: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.