Densho Digital Archive
Oregon Nikkei Endowment Collection
Title: George Hara Interview
Narrator: George Hara
Interviewer: Loen Dozono
Date: February 5, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-hgeorge_2-01-0019

<Begin Segment 19>

GH: Anyway, it was in July of 1949 that we were married in a church, Sunnyside Methodist Church, and so began another phase for me with Yoneko. I was quite fortunate, I think. I was able to afford medical school because I was in the army, took advantage of GI Bill of Rights. And for spending money, I married a girl that had a job, and she was working. And between those sources, we were living, you know, a thrifty life, but a comfortable life for a medical student. We progressed from one apartment to another, eventually ended up in a one-bedroom apartment right by the medical school with a pull down bed with thin walls. I remember having guests, and our guests would hear strange noises and probably be a newlywed next door in the phase of whatever they were doing. Anyway, life as a medical student was very exciting, entirely new experience for me. My freshman class, I and two other Niseis were part of the group plus one Chinese American. There were four Asians in that class, so I think that sort of debunked the theory of a quota system for Oriental. Those three were much better students than I, but we studied together and I finally got my degree in medicine. This was a landmark time for me. I think my dad was extremely happy that I had finished medical school. As for myself, it was a long sought after goal in having graduated from medical school. There was a great sense of relief with a sense of accomplishment in another sense. Anyway, from medical school you continue your education, internship, and then if you wanted to specialize which I did, I continued at Emanuel Hospital in residency program studying obstetrics and gynecology, and I was probably the only Nisei doctor that was an OB/GYN practicing in Portland after I had finished.

And this was interesting in that at that time the shousha, the people from Japan that worked for different companies with the offices here were bringing their wives, and their wives were getting pregnant, and most of them chose to come to a Japanese speaking OB/GYN, so I had a lot of shousha people. And another group was the Chinese cooks working in the various areas who had married girls from China who were becoming pregnant, and so there not being any Chinese speaking OB/GYN, I was the next best substitute and ended up delivering a lot of Chinese patients. The benefit of that was very cordial, hospitable, reception at a lot of the Chinese restaurants. Having accomplished, you know, my getting a medical degree at, it gave me a certain amount of status as a professional -- as a profession, as a professional person, and I think this helped me in my sort of a quest to become Americanized in a middle-class American family and take my place among the rest of my American, you know, friends. I was now, after living for a long period of time in a Portland housing project, they finally kicked me out after I was in practice, and Yone and I purchased a nice colonial building in northwest Portland where we stayed for a number of years where our older kids went to grade school, and then we found another location on the west side of town, and we moved to our present location in Forest Hills right above, well, it's in the Hill District this side of Skyline, and we have nice lovely home with some acreage. Anyway, my kids grew up in this atmosphere.

And during this time, I was ambitious. I wanted a, gain and own things that qualified you into this so-called middle-class level. And one of the things that interested me because I was taking up golf in a more serious manner as did my wife, was a dentist friend of mine in the medical arts building where my office was located invited me to play golf at the Oswego Country Club and asked me to join the club. He thought I would make a good member. And I brought up the subject of racial discrimination in most, in the country clubs, which was a basic policy at that time. He inquired and found out that, you know, if I can come up with the dues that I would have no trouble gaining admission. So with some degree of trepidation, I joined the Oswego Lake Country Club. And through the course of years, I was fortunate enough to make some very close lasting friendships, and I enjoyed my play there, a little high class, but I enjoyed that high-class living. It was a little expensive. My wife didn't enjoy that part but things went along.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.