Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Henry Fukuhara Interview
Narrator: Henry Fukuhara
Interviewer: John Allen
Date: November 6, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-fhenry-01-0002

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HF: Now we're talking about the mid-1920s, and from there we moved to Santa Monica, where I live, where I live now, and moved there in 1925. And he planted the palm trees -- he leased 5 acres of land on Marine Street. At that time -- it's all residential now -- at that time there was a dairy next-door, and there was all open land on the hillside, and he started, he planted the palm trees and then he started... and then he was doing gardening in the meantime to bring money in. So, he would get cuttings from the plants and then we would propagate them, then after they were propagated we would plant them in the field and then he had a wholesale nursery started. And by that time I was, I was going to high school, and so after that then, then the Depression came. So then he had the, he had the nursery stock but nobody was -- he would go out to try to sell them but he couldn't sell them. And at the same time I was working in the vegetable market on weekends from seven to, seven in the morning to nine at night on Saturday and Sunday and I was going to school. And this was -- I started to do that when I was thirteen years old, and during the summer, I would get a job to work during the summer, the same hours, and I would work six days out of the week. And that went, that went on until my father couldn't sell anymore merchandise, and then he thought of opening up a retail store in Los Angeles on Thirty and Fairfax, where the farmer's famous, Los Angeles Hollywood Farmer's Market is. And at the same time that my father had decided to open a nursery on Thirty and Fairfax, is when the farmer's market had opened. And at that time the farmer's market was a real farmer's market -- the farmers came in from all over and they sold their merchandise there, but today is not like that. There's no farmers come in, there's... all the produce is ordered over the phone through the central market and it's delivered there and it's sold there today.

But so we opened a nursery in 1935 and it was still, still hard times then. And then... so, my brother and I -- the two of us -- two, I had four brothers, and two, I and my brother next to me, Frank, were the two that were out of high school so we helped my father open the, open the nursery on Third Street, but then I told my father, "If I do that, then we're not going to have any cash coming in because going to, I'm not going to be working in the vegetable stand." And he said, "Well, we'll have to manage somehow." So we opened up the retail store in L.A. and then there was -- there was hardly any business to speak of, and we couldn't even pay the rent and there were, there were times when Mother would say we don't have any, we don't have any rice, or we're low on rice. So then we were hoping that we would be able to sell five dollars' worth of merchandise that we can pick up a bag of, a sack of rice on the way home. In those days we used to buy rice, rice was sold in 100-pound bags, so we would buy the 100-pound bags, and I don't remember how long that 100-pound bag lasted for, for nine of us because there were seven children. We had seven children, then Father and Mother made nine of us in the household. So, but that's how we managed to scrape up or sell enough to buy a sack of rice and Mother had rice to cook.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2002 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.