Densho Digital Archive
Oregon Nikkei Endowment Collection
Title: Yoneko Dozono Interview
Narrator: Yoneko Dozono
Interviewer: Margaret Barton Ross
Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: June 7, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-dyoneko-01

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MR: You said you went to Washington High School. Where did you go to grade school at?

YD: Buckman, Buckman.

MR: Do you have any memories of school you'd like to share?

YD: Oh, at Buckman, I remember that one year there was a fear of the thyroid glands, and so every one of us used to have to take thyroid pills. And of course, we didn't know why, but we were told that because if you took the thyroid pills that you would not have goiter. And another thing that I remember was Buckman was one of the schools that had the big swimming pool, and my sister and I were good swimmers, and so we enjoyed the swimming pool there, and we were quite well known as athletes at that time. During the time when my sisters and we were living down at the North Park Blocks, there was a wonderful girl who was named Jill Tojer, and she was a student at the University of Oregon. And during the summers, she would work at the Park Blocks to teach all the foreign children there, and I have pictures of the different nationality children who lived there. And she would, Miss Tojer would teach us, or my sisters, how to knit or do different crafts. And at that time, I was four and my sister was, the next to me was my sister Masako and Miss Tojer took a great interest in us. And so during the formative years, she would take us to the YWCA and taught us how to swim. And because of that interval of learning how to swim at the Y, we were quite well known in the community because we were her Japanese children. And she, being a young person herself, loved the two of us, and so she would buy clothes for us and dress us in nice clothes and take us to the Y to swim or to Peninsula Park to swim. And I really think that we had a better advantage of learning American ways more because of Miss Tojer. And through all that training, I think that we were more Americanized than many of the other Japanese children who lived only in the, in Japantown. And because of that, my sister Mas and I were known for our swimming abilities.


YD: Going back to Buckman School, I remember that I used to go to the bible studies in the summer. And those are the kind of things that still stick to my mind because the things that I think you learn in your childhood, in your formative years, you never forget.

MR: You said you went to Washington High School after Buckman. What memories do you have of Washington High School?

YD: Washington High School was very hard for me because after I graduated from Buckman, all the friends that I had made, we were scattered, going into high school. And I think that in looking back that I always had sort of an inferiority complex because of the fact that my sister, Mas, was an outstanding student. And every place I went, they would say, "Oh, you're Mas's sister. I know you're going to do well." And that really put me at a disadvantage because I was a very shy, more of an introverted person, and I was, I guess I could say that I was more sickly. That's probably why I tended to like to sew and knit and do things that were more sedentary than being active. Although when I went into high school, I did excel in swimming and tennis, and I tried out for the tennis team, and that was very invigorating for me because of my feeling of being inferior. I was not an excellent student.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.