Densho Digital Archive
Oregon Nikkei Endowment Collection
Title: Lury Sato Interview
Narrator: Lury Sato
Interviewer: Masako Hinatsu
Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: February 18, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-slury-01

[Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

<Begin Segment 1>

MH: This is an interview with Lury Shiogi Sato, a Nisei woman, eighty-eight years old, in home at Portland, Oregon, on February 18, 2003. The interviewer is Misako Hinatsu of the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center Oral History Project 2003. Lury, where were you born and what was the date?

LS: I was born in Montavilla, Oregon. It's a suburb of Portland. I was born on January 25, 1915.

MH: And who were your parents?

LS: My mother, Chiyo, Koji, her maiden name, Shiogi, and my father Hood Sadaji Shiogi.

MH: And where did they meet and where were they married?

LS: Well, this is a different story. She had been corresponding... no. She had been, he had been corresponding with a very good friend of hers, and her parents didn't want her to leave the country. So my mother took all correspondence letter and said, "I'll go in your place," and that was 1911 when she came and met my dad in Seattle. They were married then and came back to, came together to Montavilla. It was a small farm, place, and this was all new to her. She had never seen farms before, but she learned to milk the cow and work in the field, and she made a lot of mistakes because she didn't know much about farming.

MH: How many brothers and sisters did you have?

LS: I have an older brother, Woodrow, and born in 1913. My... and I was the second offspring. Then my sister, Mary, born February 15, 1916. My brother, Hood, Jr., was born in 1917. We went to Japan when I was about five years old, and Mother was already pregnant then, and my youngest sister was born in Sapporo, name was Sachiko. Not having a citizenship, being born in Japan, was not able to come and join the family. She was raised by relatives and grandmother in Sapporo.

MH: What did your father do? What did your father do?

LS: He was a farmer, and he raised potatoes during the First World War. Then after the war, he travelled to look for opportunities. He would travel all the way to New York and also to Japan. And later he organized an association of farmers, Japanese farmers, which contracted to big factories. And then when the Depression came, he wasn't paid. Produce was sent to areas in the east and on commission, and he was not paid. So eventually he decided to start a grocery store.

MH: And where was this grocery store?

LS: Grocery store is on Killingsworth, was on Killingsworth, and this house is caddy corner from the store. The lady who lived in this house became a widow and wanted to sell the house. She couldn't manage to live here, so she moved away, and it was purchased in my name because he was not a citizen yet. And when the war broke out, she got kind of frantic and wanted to, was afraid that it'd be complicated to get monthly payment, so she sold it, and we paid it up.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

MH: I'm going to go back again. When you came back from Japan, you probably were ready for elementary school. What elementary school did you go to?

LS: There was a small school, Russellville School which is not there any longer. And I was about eight and my sister was six, and we were both put in first grade. But she put me in the second grade immediately, and so I missed first grade.

MH: Did you speak English in your home or Japanese?

LS: Mother taught me English songs she had learned when she was working with the American Mission in Tokyo when she went to college, and I learned different songs from her. And also at that time, they started a kindergarten school in the Montavilla area. There was a Mr. Nakano. She, he had an American wife, and they had all the kindergarten equipment, blocks and sandboxes, and kindergarten was quite a thing for younger children. There he taught English for a while to help us with homework. But eventually after a time, parents figured that we better know Japanese, and so we, they taught Japanese school there.

MH: Can you remember any other songs that your mother taught you? Could you sing any of them?

LS: She... yes. [Sings] I went to the county fair, the bees and the beasts were there. The bing, the boom, the light of the moon was combing its auburn hair. The monkey, he got drunk along the elephant's trunk. Well, I forgot the rest of the song. My mother had good memories, and she taught a lot of things. Also, the Japanese song in the Mikado, Miya-san, Miya-san, she taught us that in Japanese.

MH: And when you went to Japanese school, were there a large population of Japanese where you lived?

LS: There was a community of small farmers in Montavilla area, oh, maybe about eight different families, and people from Gresham also came to join us in the Japanese school, so we had a good group. We had Mr. and Mrs. Fukuda who taught us also reading, writing, also shuuji, and we did a lot of things. Oh, during recess we played softball. Those balls are hard, and I ruined both my little fingers on them. [Laughs]

MH: Where did you go to high school?

LS: The district did not have high school, so we were chosen to go wherever we wanted to. My brother was able to drive, and so he drove to Franklin High School and all of us. He went through four years at Franklin High School, and I also graduated from Franklin High School, my sister, Mary, and Hood too. And of course, by the time Woodrow graduated, Hood was able to drive, so we drove to school every day. There's another family who wanted, a girl who wanted to go to Franklin High School, and we picked her up and commuted together.

MH: What did you do for entertainment at home?

LS: Well, we played tennis. We played, when we were at Japanese school, we played softball with the tennis racquet and ruined the tennis racquet. [Laughs] I learned to swim when I was about fifth grade at Buckman School pool. It was Ruth Cowinol who took me there for the first time, and I learned to swim then. And if we wanted to see a movie, we had to walk a mile and a half over to Montavilla to see a movie. Occasionally, Mother found programs, and we went to see the King of Kings. She insisted we go to see this. She wanted the children to see that, and there were other things that she heard of, and we went as a family.

MH: Did you ever go see Japanese movies?

LS: I'm afraid not. Mother might have. Oh, yes, when, there was a concert, Fujiwara, Yoshi or something. It was a great tenor singer. We went to see, hear him, and he was a Japanese native, and also Michio Ito was a dancer, and we went to his dancing concert. And well, oh, yes, the Japanese schoolchildren had a picnic, and we did racing and other things.

MH: When you were going to grade school and high school, did you, was there a lot of racial prejudice that you could remember?

LS: Not that I know of except once. As a senior, there was a swim party and I went, but I was not allowed to swim, and I felt very bad. My friends were in the pool, and they were all so sympathetic with me. I cried all night I'm afraid, but that was the only incident.

MH: So your friends were Caucasian mostly, and were you ever invited into their homes?

LS: There were not many Nikkei people in high school then; there were very few. Agnes Hiragawa is the girl we picked up to go to school and commute together. I met a girl, Helen. We shared the same locker, and together, we made good friends. And all these years until she passed away, she remembered my birthday and always sent me greeting cards for my birthday. She became one of my best friends.

MH: How did you learn to play the piano?

LS: [Laughs] I'm not a good pianist or musician. It happened, it was during the Depression period. A neighbor of ours daughter, a blind girl, wanted to teach piano. I was one of her first pupil. And being in the neighborhood, she, I was the one who was elected to play piano, start piano lessons. I had to stop at her house every evening after school to practice for a time. Then of course, I didn't get very far. And then I had another teacher at Fine Arts Building in Portland where I went, and I made some progress there, but not a good pianist, not a good musician. I did play on the radio, Oregon Journal Junior Program at Weatherly Building. I remember playing, my teacher insisted the one I played, "To the Wild Rose," that I remember. And at graduation from elementary school I played Minuet, Beethoven's Minuet. But not many people took piano lessons then because it was Depression. I know I had to play, Mother, Dad for one dollar each time I went for a lesson, but it helped Maria who was my teacher, the neighbor.

MH: So your mother and father actually encouraged you to do this, to play the piano?

LS: Well, no. I said I would go, I think because a friend, neighbor of ours, daughter, and we felt sorry for her, and I felt that, I thought that I could being just timely, I was there.

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

<Begin Segment 3>

MH: After you graduated from high school, did you go on to college?

LS: Well, yes. It was Depression time, and they had... let's see... WPA. They had free lessons at the public library, and I attended those different classes then. It was interesting, went on a streetcar. And there was the Oregon extension course started there at the same place. It was at Lincoln High School, so I attended those classes. And I have accumulated enough credit, so I went to Oregon Normal School, and so I graduated there after four terms.

MH: And when you went to the Oregon Normal School in Monmouth, did you live in a dorm or --

LS: No. I had a friend of mine in the area who went to Normal School too, and we had a room, housekeeping room, with other girls. There was a Mrs. Conklin. She was a minister's wife, elderly person who rented rooms. We had kitchenette, and it was quite a time. It was Betty Camlin was my first roommate. And then I met another girl with whom we became very good friend. She called herself Patsy. Her name was Crystal, but it was Patsy, and she looked very much like Pansy in Dogwood, a very interesting... if I had a pipe, I would have put it in her mouth. [Laughs] We became very good friends. And I went to her house over weekend once, and she came here to Portland with me some weekends, and we had a very good time. I heard that she is still living but is quite ill in Salem, and a common friend of mine asked if I remember her. I said, "Oh, yes, I do." I'd like to see her again, but I don't know that I'd be able to. She's bedridden now, I understand.

MH: Now when you graduated from Normal School, what did you expect to do with your education?

LS: Minority people were not hired in public schools. The most other people got was the little, one little schoolhouses, one or two in the country. Well, they propose, and they consulted for me said that, "What will you do? You'll not be able to get a school." Well, I said that it didn't matter. There are other area other than teaching and education that I might be able to use my schooling. So that was where, and then I continued with the extension course in University of Portland, extension classes at Lincoln High School, and I went to University of Oregon to get my BS in education, and I did graduate with a certificate.

MH: So did you come back home after graduating from the University of Oregon?

LS: Let's see... the year I graduated, there were four girls in Seattle who were invited to [inaudible] to tour Japan, and I was joined with them. I think Dad had a grocery store then and means enough to send me to Japan with the group, and I toured Japan with a group of five girls. In 19, it was '38, '39, early 1940, and we had a very good time. The other girls stayed on after three months to go to Korea, but I came back to Portland because I felt I needed to be, help at the store that we were operating at that time.

MH: When you went to the University of Oregon, did you live in Eugene?

LS: Yes.

MH: And what was it like in Eugene then?

LS: I made a couple close friends there too. I had a roommate, and we had a house. Upstairs were rented out to... one, two, three, four, five girls with a common kitchen, and I had a friend Vivian Vernon, Vivian Langtree. She married Vernon. He was a student at the Northwest Christian College which is right off the campus. And for practice, he went to different little villages to preach, and my friend, Vivian, and I always went with them to these church service, and we'd get invited. I think I played the piano once in a while for them, not that I did very well.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

MH: You said when you came back to Portland, you worked in the family business store. What did you do in this store?

LS: Clerking mostly, yes, and taking orders. We delivered groceries then. So it was about then I met Yoshio Sato. We had... let's see. We were engaged, and we were married on the 25th of August, 1940.

MH: And this was after your trip?

LS: Yes. I was already engaged, and then I went to Japan, came back. And for a time, he helped, he was a, he had a... no. He was a Reed College graduate, and he was working for his master's, and he went to Oregon State to complete his master's degree, and I remember typing his thesis. In those times, we had to make seven copies on carbon paper. [Laughs] I don't know whether you could read the last copies or not. It's wonderful that they have copy machines now.

MH: How did you meet your husband? How did you meet him?

LS: Well, I came back from my college on weekends, and I think it was a common friend that introduced us. Let's see, Mr. Matsushima, who was a sponsor of Yoshio when he came back from Japan, and Dr. Koyama went to the family. They said that I ought to meet him, and I think we got along very well.

MH: And so what were your dates like with him when you went out with him? What were they like? What did you do?

LS: We went to dog racing, that was new. We went to movies, and I don't think we did horseback riding, whatever we had over the weekends because he was working for his master's.

MH: Now you said you were married here in Portland.

LS: Yes.

MH: Where were you married?

LS: Right in this house.

MH: Right in this house. Did you have your neighbors come to your wedding?

LS: No, I didn't. I had only a few people, just a few relatives, and Helen Godac from my high school days, and Yoshiye Ito was my very close friend, neighbors way back. Other than that, I don't think we had anyone else right here.

MH: And who married you?

LS: A minister, a Reverend Bennett. There's a church back of our store right there. He acted as a minister for us.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

MH: When the war started, where were you? What were you doing?

LS: We had that grocery store. We were married, and let's see. Yoshio also helped at the store for a time. He couldn't find a job in his line. And let's see, the night of Pearl Harbor, Dad was arrested, taken to jail, and we tried very hard. We had a common friend, Dr. Thomas was a senator from Utah, and we wrote to him. And Senator Thomas and Mrs. Thomas were in mission in Tokyo at the time Mother was going to college, and so we, they're old friends, and we wrote whenever we had problems to write and to correspond with Edna and Albert Thomas and we tried. Eventually Dad did, got released after about six months from camp in Louisiana, and he was released and came to Minidoka. By that time, Yoshio and I had a fellowship to continue his education for his PhD degree, and we were released, went to Rochester, New York, where we met number of his Reed friends who were also doing research work.

MH: Okay. I'm going to go back a little bit. When the war started, you said your father was picked up by the FBI. How did you feel about all of this?

LS: It hurt Mother a lot, but I was just married one year, and I took things in stride. There was this house, we had to go to the assembly center. This house was conveniently located to ship builders, so we had our property manager who rented this house for ship builders, workers. We sold the store to a Greek person, Mr. Papas, and so he took over the store. The store was doing good business until that time, so they agreed to purchase it. And they, for renting this house, I got fifty dollars every month sent to me because Dad wasn't able to be up for it. I was able to, with that we managed.

MH: What assembly center did you go to?

LS: Livestock in North Portland, Northwest Livestock Building. It was hurriedly made out into the little compartments where we lived. We spent a summer there. It was quite hot.

MH: How did you feel about that experience?

LS: Well, it gave opportunity to Niseis to do what they were trained for. I was trained as a teacher, so I took over the summer school business. There were others who as administrator, they did very well, and the assembly center ran very smoothly, and I felt that there were many talented and well-educated people. So among other things, I think it was operated very well.

MH: Was that under the Portland Public School or was it just something that you started for the kids?

LS: No. There was an administrator, a Mr. Tolrich was in charge of recreation and education. And he was very sympathetic to all people, Japanese Americans, and I was asked to set up school for the summer. I knew one of the former teacher at Oregon Normal School who was then supervisor of, superintendent of Portland Public School, and she helped get us old textbooks and other materials, and we did all right.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

MH: Where did you go after the Portland Assembly Center?

LS: To Minidoka. It was on Labor Day. We were put on train. But every Labor Day, we used to make a trip, so it was one of those trips.

MH: And what did you find when that trip came to an end?

LS: Well, little units of six cabins and a mess hall, and well, we both did all right. It didn't matter what we ate really at that time, but I remember eating beets. The food was okay, but it was bad that we had tin cups to drink with at the assembly center. I didn't like that.

MH: What block did you live in?

LS: I can't remember, but I think it was 26 or something like that. We had a little unit, let's see, one on the end, and my mother, sister, my husband and I occupied the first, Room A, I guess. B was bigger. C and D is another small unit. We were at the end. The wind storm, the sand would fly in between the, through the house, and it was hard at times, and we had some snow and ice too. But it was about April or May that we decided to leave camp and go into graduate school.

MH: What did you do in camp during that period before you left?

LS: I also taught for a while, but I gave up as soon as I knew I would be leaving camp. Yoshio was a chemist. He taught chemistry, and there was a Miss Haglund who was a teacher in science there, and we became good friends. And we've visited each other, and she came to visit us when we were in Maryland.

MH: Do you remember any other students that you had?

LS: Where?

MH: At camp.

LS: Oh, I had Matsushima's boy, Yuji, and I had Tyrus Okuda from Seattle. Okuda's family is Hood's wife's family, so, and I don't remember many other. That was such a short time.

MH: The faculty, were they mostly Japanese Americans or were there Caucasians who also taught at the school?

LS: I think there were a number of Caucasian teachers. They were federally employed, and they took over most. But they found number of Japanese who were capable of taking over the class, and so I taught for a short time and another Japanese person, Nisei, took over my class.

MH: Where were the classes held? Were they in another school building?

LS: Couple barracks in about three different units at the school. They also had a high school, did some lab work there too.

MH: Did you have enough books, supplies?

LS: Very little, I think, but I think the government did provide some books for us.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

MH: Why did you leave camp?

LS: Because my husband got a fellowship to continue his work toward a PhD, and there I met a lot of people too. I met a girl with whom I still played tennis with until a couple years ago. Every week, we played tennis; that is, when we came back to Portland. And she no longer plays now, but we meet for lunch every now and then.

MH: Now where did you go, where did he go for his fellowship?

LS: University of Rochester. There we met another couple, Fukushimas, was also working for a PhD; and there was Joe Lynette was also from Russellville area and got his master's at Oregon State; and the Livermores, Janet is who I play tennis with. We didn't play tennis then. We had small children then. She had, Ronald was born, and she had a little girl, Barbara, but it was after a number of years that we both, she's from Reed and her family being in Portland, we got together here in Portland, and we started playing tennis together.

MH: Did you work at all when you were in, did you work at all when you were in Syracuse?

LS: Where, in Rochester?

MH: Yeah.

LS: Yes. University of Rochester has two campus. Women's College is where I worked in the library, in the service section, until I got pregnant. And then in 1946, January, I quit to take care of myself. He was born, my son was born April 12, 1946. My mother came to help me every time when I was pregnant, and it was, she had gone back to, came back to Portland in about two weeks or so. And then I had appendicitis, and I was in the hospital for a week and with a baby, but the baby was already on bottle. And about the same time, a friend, Ginger, had a baby a week before my son came, and she took over my son and put him in schedule. Before I had been up every couple of hours for him. Well she knew, she was a nurse, and she knew exactly what to do with the baby, and so he got straightened out.

MH: When you were in Rochester, did you feel any racial prejudice?

LS: I didn't, never felt that way anywhere except that one incident. Most of my friends had been Caucasian. I was the only non-Caucasian in the normal school. Let's see at the University of Oregon, yes, there was Michiko Yasui was a freshman, and we got together at YWCA, and we had lots of fun together.

MH: How long did you stay in Rochester?

LS: It was 1946, my husband got his PhD, and he got a job at Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, and he stayed there a couple years until after Sputnik. Government put lot of money in NIH, asked him, he made an application for government work, and he was asked to go to NIH. And there he stayed until, let's see, '72 when he passed away.

MH: So Rockefeller Institute, was that in New York City or --

LS: New York City.

MH: So you lived there for --

LS: About four years, I think.

MH: Four years. What was life like in New York City?

LS: We had a Japanese neighbor. We'd go together, and well, it's interesting. My friend Janet was also in New York, and Fukushima was also in New York, and we got together to do things. And of course the baby, housing was very difficult at that time. There's only a small studio room in Coney Island, so we took that for a time, and we stayed until second pregnancy. Paul was born, and the room was much too small, and we had to find another place.

MH: And did your mother again come and --

LS: Oh, yes. She came along to help us.

MH: That's pretty unusual for Issei.

LS: Yes. She did that. And also when Yoshio was very ill, I asked her to come again, and she did in a snowstorm, she did. A neighbor of mine picked her up at Dulles Airport and brought her to the hospital.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

MH: After, where did you go after you left New York City?

LS: To Washington DC for NIH, National Institute of Health where they had quite a program. After Sputnik, government put a lot of money on research, and they employed a lot of people. Also Japanese scientists from Japan got fellowship to come to NIH. And Yoshio was bilingual, and he was able to help these people, and so I met many friends from Japan. I tried to learn Japanese, but I didn't get very far, but I had them over for Japanese New Year's dinner every year, and they appreciated it. And when I go to Japan, I have friends scattered all over Japan. If I keep them in touch, I suppose I could still visit them, but I've given up. I've been too busy.

MH: In your stay at Washington D.C., did you work?

LS: There was teacher shortage, and so I don't know why, but one of the principal, her name was Dr. Laramie, insist I teach, so I taught in that school, Twin Booth Elementary School. About that time, Yoshio became quite famous, and we were invited, he was invited to tour different laboratories in Europe, and I got a leave from, one month's leave from teaching, and I travelled with him through Europe; went from London to Netherlands to Frankfurt to Vienna, Venice, Paris, and came back in one month's time. And of course I came back in time to issue the report cards, but the substitute took care of that, and she was pleased to take over my class.

MH: Did you take your children with you on this trip?

LS: No. The two boys were left at, we had a house in Rockville, Maryland, at that time, and one of the couples was there on fellowship, stayed at my house at looked after the two boys. One was in junior high and, no. One was in elementary school. My older son was in junior high school, and they went to school for that one month. They took care of them.

MH: Now you mentioned you went to Japan with your husband also.

LS: Yes. We were invited to go to Japan and let's see, oh, we had a sabbatical, we had a number of trips. The association invited us and friends of different meetings to Japan Chemical Society meetings held in Japan. We went couple times to Sendai and Sapporo and some other... Tokyo. And after ten years at NIH, we got a sabbatical, and we could go to foreign countries, so the whole family went to Tokyo, Japan, for a whole year. After they make you, we made it from August to, for a year, and I taught at the American School in Japan in Tokyo which was established in 1912, and I taught there which was very pleasant. Class was only fifteen children, and we had special teachers, so I was never, had to take any work home to do any homework for them. And we had our holidays. When I went to Japan, I knew, I called the university close by and asked if there was a student who can help, and come and help with my boys. There was a fellow that they sent me, and this fellow taught, took the boys every weekend and on their holidays to know how to get around Tokyo, how to make changes and went on weekends to hikes. They took kendo lessons and judo and baseball games, they went together, and other places. So they became very familiar, and I didn't have to worry about the boys at all. The two boys went together, and yes, after many years, this fellow came to visit us in Washington, D.C. He had been sent by his company to Chicago and made an effort to come and see the boys, and it was very pleasant. It was a very good thing he did.

MH: Did the boys go to school when --

LS: Yes. They went to American School in Japan. The younger one was first year in junior high school, and the second son, older son was in first year in high school at the American School. It went from kindergarten to high school there, and so they were able to get their credit. At that time, we carried the same course of study so that was good.

MH: After the one year sabbatical in Tokyo, where did you come back to? Did you come back to Washington, D.C.?

LS: Yes. We had a home. We kept our home, but it was rented out to a Naval officer which barely used our house, and it was in good condition. The neighbor who bought our car picked us up at the airport and things went fairly smoothly.

MH: You mentioned an outing with your family to the beach. What was that like?

LS: Oh, yes. That was about, early in our time that we moved to Washington, D.C., we tried to go to a beach, and neighbors said it was exclusive, no Japanese or Jewish people, neither were admitted. And so we felt very angry about that, but there wasn't much we could do. But there, I noticed that when we lived in New York, we took a trip all the way down to Florida on a weekend on vacation, and we were shocked the way the black people were treated. They served, people served us, but the black people had to sit and wait until we were served before they were served in the stores. And there were bathrooms for black and for the others. And we were shocked about that going through from Virginia, Carolinas, Georgia to Florida and back. We felt very sorry for them.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

MH: After your husband worked at Washington, D.C., did he work somewhere else after that?

LS: Yoshio? No. He died of cancer in 1972. I think it's due to the chemicals he used during, they weren't as precautious about chemicals at those times. I think it's much better now. Both my sons are in chemistry or in chemistry and in medical research, and they do some of the things now.

MH: What are the things that happened after your husband passed away? Did you keep working?

LS: I took a holiday. This is incidental, like every winter we used to go to New Hampshire to ski over the Christmas holidays, so I said, well we ought to do, continue like we did, and we headed out to the ski resorts. And the last, they insisted I didn't ski enough. So my son took me, and the first thing I did was broke my leg. And since then, they don't ask me to go skiing anymore. Well it happened that in Vermont there was a very new hospital that started up. And in the cafeteria, there was a Japanese woman married to American was working in the hospital and learned about a Japanese Nisei in the hospital. And so she took boys to her, I think they had a mobile home or something, gave them, fed them sukiyaki dinner, and the boys had to buy me a skirt because they slit my clothes. Well, they bought me a very nice home woven skirt which I still wear. And the next day, I was able to get out and drive back from Vermont to Maryland. And I said, before I go, I want to stop and get a wheelchair, and so before we got back to the house, we got a wheelchair, and so I was able to manage. The doctor said, "No, get rid of the wheelchair or you'll be invalid all your life." Well, I managed, it was, oh, I couldn't, we had number of steps. I stayed in the lower level and was bedroomed there in the family room. And at the same time, a Chinese woman from China is looking for a place, room, and so I had her come, and she stayed in the house, did all the work for me. I stayed downstairs in the wheelchair, and she even paid me for a room. She was a good cook and took care of me until I was able to get around.

MH: So you continued to teach.

LS: No. Not when I had broken my leg. I could I suppose, but I didn't. By then, it was a private school not public school that I went to. And I figured, I better not because that, well, I felt I didn't need to teach. So --

MH: What important thing did you do that you told me about, something very important?

LS: Oh, yes. After Yoshio passed away, I started a memorial for my husband, and I started only with $10,000, and I thought it would pay for maybe ten years at most. This is because I had many Americans whom I thought they need to see Japan and the way they operated. It's a fellowship, I pay transportation to the winner for that year to go to Japan to attend the meeting, Japanese, Japan Chemical Society meeting, a pharmaceutical society, and I arranged for the concern in Washington to manage that money, and we select anyone who is able to go, would like to go to Japan and the papers are, there are three candidates. And among them, the Japanese will pick one person, and he would be given transportation to Japan. And in Japan, the pharmaceutical society took care of their program and their affairs in Japan, and it was quite successful. It was hard work getting that done. And when I sold my house, there was so much tax on it, so I gave whole thing to add to the memorial for the memorial fund, and so it will go on for a number of years, I think.

MH: So it is still in existence right now?

LS: Yes. Oh, it's every other year. I felt that the Japanese ought to be credited too. So alternate year, a Japanese is given an honorarium to speak at the Nikkei.

MH: Now I understand that you went to Japan and got some kind of an honorary --

LS: Oh, yes. They had a 100th year anniversary of the society or maybe it was 200. It was in Kyoto, and I was invited to go there, and they gave me a certificate and a medal and all that which I tried to find, but I couldn't find it in time today.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

MH: When did you come back to Portland?

LS: Dad passed away and Mother couldn't stay here by herself, so I invited her to Maryland, but she wasn't happy there, and she thought she had all kinds ailments. And at that same time, my two sons was in Michigan. The older son was working for his PhD at Wayne State in Detroit, and my other son, Paul, got a job at, teaching at Michigan State, Lansing, Michigan. They were both in Michigan, and I felt I didn't have to stay in Washington. So I rented a house and came to Portland to look after my mother. At the same time, my brother was in a nursing home, so I came to look after both of them and that's in 1978. I was still full of energy then, so I had to find something to keep me busy. I looked into the senior program, and I got involved with the senior lunch program. And also after we got someone to take over Ikoi no Kai, I worked on the housing project, Ikoiso Terrace. That was kind of hard work. I had to go and beg money from different people to fund the, receive money for the project, but it's been successful. Oh, yes, and also when I went to one of the, one of my trips to Washington, I lobbied for the project. I went to see some of the senators there, and I think that helped. Also at that time, I was, I visited other housing project. San Diego had Kiku Garden, San Diego, and it was in a process of building. And I saw the fellow who was in charge, and he says, "Well, you got to be, play politics." So I came back, and I went back and forth to Washington, D.C. and that helped in our road to Ron Wyden who was helpful. He was the one who called me, said that we got that project.

MH: So, actually you were the first director of Ikoi no Kai, the hot lunch program? You were the first director.

LS: Yes.

MH: And then you were instrumental in getting Ikoiso started?

LS: Yes.

MH: You have this real interest in the elderly. Are you still working with the elderly people?

LS: I'd like to stay in touch with the younger generation. So when I was alone here, I had students from Japan stay here. University of Portland, I went there, and I had about three different students who came and roomed and cooked on their own kitchen privilege, and that was a kind of nice thing. We looked after each other. I tried to learn Japanese, but they tried to learn English, so we didn't get, I didn't get much progress in Japanese.

MH: What do you do now for recreation?

LS: I still play tennis, if I can. I can only play thirty minutes because it takes energy. With Janet, I play thirty minutes at Portland Tennis Club right there by Benson High School. For us, since we've been there, they let us use it for thirty minutes, but since, that was in the morning. They were able to give us court when it's empty, when we were able to get a court for thirty minutes. They're always rented out for a full hour. And then when she stopped playing, I thought I'd play with my niece. She works until 4 o'clock and that's busy time. I couldn't get a court at that time. So when weather is good, we might play out in the local tennis court. But it's, and then I swim. At Emanuel Hospital to get, use the pool, you have to be employed or associated, so I volunteer Saturdays at the Emanuel Hospital, and I get privilege to use the pool. Of course, you pay for that, but then it's good. Very often... oh, you have to have a swim partner, so you can't swim alone. Until this year, we didn't have lifeguard, and so I made a friend with whom we met Tuesdays and Thursdays to swim. And today too, I'm anxious to go and swim at 3 o'clock, if possible. What else do I do? Oh, folk dancing. I did folk dancing in Maryland before I came to Portland, and I enjoyed it very much. So I looked around, and I found that Reed College had folk dancing group. So I joined that group, and I've been folk dancing every week for twenty-five years now. It's fun. I want you to join me too.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

MH: What advice would you give to young people? What advice would you give to young people?

LS: To young people, well, good sportsmanship and follow your interest, do what you can as much as possible. I'm getting old now that I have to nap twice a day, but it's okay. I like to continue making friends with the younger people because many of my friends are gone now. It's surprising how the last five years I've lost, oh, over half of my friends.

MH: What contribution do you think the Nisei have made?

LS: I think Isseis have done a lot to educate the younger ones. They push their children to achieve, I think, not that it happened in my family though. My older son barely got out of high school. Of course, I had to help him. I did a lot of homework for him, and then he decided to go to college, and he signed up. He went one term, and he failed ROTC, so he didn't go back, but it was a good experience for him. I think it's good for anyone to not be shy and go ahead with what you think. I'm getting so that I'm afraid to talk to my phone. I don't do much of anything now. By the way, I'm dyslectic, I'm sure I am. I do things backwards, and I have a hard time reading. I have to concentrate. I've had eye surgery recently, cataract operation. Oh, and I take part of research, health study, University of Oregon Health University is conducting a dementia program. I'm to, they give me a complete physical and give me a pill which I take to say whether it's effective or whether it's placebo or what, but I think I'm on the drug now. I feel, I think so. I also was in Kaiser's osteoporosis study. That's been going on for five years now.

MH: You just had a happy occasion. What was that?

LS: My eighty-eighth birthday was very special. My son kept saying we ought to do something. Well, around Christmastime, I thought, well, maybe I could have a birthday party. It happened that my birthday fell on Saturday, and I thought Ikoiso Terrace was a place where I could have the party. I contacted them, and they said, "Sure, we can use it." And there's no kitchen facility there, so I had lunch boxes made, ordered them. And also I, as a souvenir, I had tea cup made. There's one behind there, and I had printed the date and eighty-eighth celebration and the date, and we served tea in that, and they were to take that home for their souvenir. Well, I ordered ten extra, but my niece took them. And when I asked for them, she peeled off all the dates, so it's a blank tea cup. I'm going to put some date on again for souvenirs for those people who didn't get to come to my anniversary. I thought I'd send that.

MH: Well, I thank you very much, Lury, for sharing your life.

LS: Well, you didn't ask the mistakes I made.

MH: What is it? What are those mistakes?

LS: Oh, well, I can't think of them right now, but then I know I've been stupid in a lot of things I wished I could do over. [Laughs] I hope this is satisfactory for your requirement. Thank you.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.