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Alice Endo Aikens Oral History Interview, April 14, 2007

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EU: How is, um, you're Sansei, right?

AA: Right.

EU: Of third generation. Can you tell me about your grandparents? Do you know when they came from Japan?

AA: I don't know what year my grandfather came, but he came as a worker. And I do know that he worked on the railroads in Montana. And he did jobs, odd jobs, in Utah-- like worked as a handyman for wealthy families, just did odd jobs. And um...so what happened is he would earn money and then he would send it back to his family in Japan-- to his wife and children. I never met my grandmother - 00:01:00because she live in Japan of course - and I've only seen pictures of her. And uh, my grandfather actually died in, uh, Utah. So, uh, after he died we had a burial, I mean sent his ashes over to Japan, to his wife. But I think he came originally to Santa Monica, California in...the early...maybe in the 1920s. And actually at that time his whole family was with him, and they lived in Santa Monica. And then they all went back to Japan so that the kids could go to school in Japan. And the kids and the wife stayed in Japan and he came back. And then continued to work in the United States-- in Montana and whatever jobs he could 00:02:00get. He kept sending money back home and with that money they could buy land, uh, right in the...it's not in Tokyo, but it's quite a ways south of Tokyo. And uh...so my grandmother was of course taken care of by the eldest, uh...let's see, what would it be? Oh, the eldest daughter in the family. And so, I never really got to know her.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: Um, with my - that was with my maternal grandparents - for my paternal grandparents, I never knew my father's father because he died of a heart attack when he was...probably in his late forties? And he had, by this time, had twelve children. So my grandmother was left as a widow with twelve kids. And uh... So, 00:03:00I don't, I've never seen my paternal grandfather - only in pictures - but I remember my grandmother because we would go visit her and she would come visit us. And, you know, I still remember her has a very strong willed person and all of her kids and everybody obeyed her. You know, whatever she said was law. She was just a tiny, petite woman, but I do remember she smoked. And I thought it was so odd that somebody, a woman would smoke. And it ever struck me, uh...it made it more of an impact for me later on, but I guess she did what she wanted to do, you know? Here she was smoking-- it wasn't good for your health. But, uh, maybe that was the only vice or sin she ever had because she had to put up with twelve kids. [laughs] But she actually could not cope with twelve young kids 00:04:00without an income, so she sent the older six to Japan to be raised by her sister in her birth town. And so they were raised in, uh, Japan. But uh...

EU: Were all twelve of those children born in the states? Or...?

AA: They were. Well, actually, let's see... Maybe one or two were actually born in Japan, but they...those two became citizens of the United States. And they were, my parents were, my grandparents were very, very tradition Japanese-- very traditional Kibei. And uh, always kept their Japanese-ness, or whatever, when I think about it now.

EU: You said, "Kibei." Could you explain...who Kibei were?

AA: Um, her kids, her older kids were all raised in Japan and they were - 00:05:00culturally I think they were more Japanese like and they thought more Japanese even while living in the United States. I mean they were living America, but I never considered them what you call Americanized. Because if I compared them with my friends' parents or relatives, to me they were so, um...traditional and strict and, uh, whereas a lot of my friends they didn't have to eat with chopsticks. Because their parents didn't want them to be Japanese-like, they wanted them to be Americanized. But I know we all had to eat with hashi [chopsticks] and we always ate the same menus-- they were all Japanese menus [says with a laugh].

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: My father always had to have rice for dinner. I mean, we never had bread for 00:06:00dinner. So my mother just always did whatever he wanted without complaining-- that's just the way it was.

EU: Did your grandmother ever learn English then? Did you, could you speak English with her? Or was it Japanese?

AA: I could speak English with her, and my grandmother, she understood, but she always answered in Japanese. And she could speak broken English. For instance, when she was talking about one of her cars she'd call it a Shopolrey [sp?]. And of course I knew, but my friends said, "What is she talking about?" You know, I said, "Chevrolet. Don't you know that?" But you know, I was so used to hearing broken English, I guess you'd call it, and your ear just gets used to it after a while, you know. But, uh...

EU: What did she do to raise all those children? What kind of work did she do?

AA: She and her husband had a dry cleaning store. And so, when the kids were old enough she got, uh, the older ones to work in the dry cleaning shop. So they all 00:07:00had responsibilities working, delivering, you know. And, uh, they were all set to work right away. So when her husband died it was she and the kids and she did all the alterations and they did the pressing and whatnot. So...

EU: Was that in Salt Lake City, or where...?

AA: That was in, uh, Oakland, California.

EU: Oh, in Oakland.

AA: Uh-huh.

[EU} Okay.

AA: My grandmother had a, uh, a huge - to me it looked like a huge - Victorian house on Myrtle Street in Oakland and it was in the black neighborhood. But the house was big-- it was, uh, two story house. I remember going there couple times and remember thinking, "Wow, this is really a big house." But of course they had, you know, she had twelve kids. And they all had to live in that house. So, uh...

EU: Where was your father in these twelve kids? Was he the oldest or youngest?


AA: My father was next to the oldest. So there was pressure on him to, you know, be...uh, I mean there were more responsibilities on the older siblings.

EU: Uh-huh. Um, did your grandmother ever go back to Japan?

AA: She went back and visited perhaps once or twice. Especially the sister her raised her, that raised six of her kids. She just went there for visits. And, uh...but other than that, she lived with always her oldest son, Ichiro, who took after - you know, looked after her-- he and his wife, family. And so it's was very traditional. Uh...and she died actually at age 82, I believe. You know, in spite of her smoking. And she, towards the end of her life though, she'd sit and home and watch TV because everybody was working, you know, and there was nobody 00:09:00her age to relate to. So it's really kind of sad.

EU: Uh-huh. You said that their home was in a black neighborhood in, um...in...

AA: Oakland.

EU: Oakland. Was there a Japanese community - a Japanese-American community that they were involved with?

AA: Oh, definitely. There was a Buddhist church and my uncles were very active in the Buddhist church. And, uh...I don't know what other clubs, but I know that they had picnics every summer and they were the Kanagawa-ken, uh, groups. So everybody from Kanagawa-ken and Japan would get together for a picnic every summer. And that was a big thing, you know, once a year and they would all connect and talk.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: I went to that once, uh, and there were a couple hundred people there. Yeah, it's a very tight group.


EU: Uh-huh. Hm. Um, how did your parents meet then?

AA: It was an arranged marriage. Um... My mother lived about ten miles away in Matsuda. And my father, um, he was one of the older kids who was shipped to Japan and raised there for awhile. He lived in, uh, Odawara, which is quite close-- two villages quite close. And so it was an arranged marriage and my mother was eighteen and she married my father who was, I believe, about maybe nine years older. And my mother actually was US citizen 'cause she had lived in Santa Monica and was born in California when my grandfather was still working in California. So they were both US citizens, but both their upbringing was in 00:11:00Japan. And they to the States and started a, uh, Asian grocery store in China town in Oakland. And it was called a Yamato Shokai.

EU: What was your mother's name?

AA: Yoshiko Shibuya.

EU: And your father's name?

AA: His name was Kikouhei Endo [sp?] and in school they couldn't pronounce his name, so he named himself Frank.

EU: Frank. Okay.

AA: So he became Frank Kikouhei Endo [?] from then on.

EU: Uh-huh. So they, they established that grocery store...

AA: They did...

EU: ...in China town.

AA: It was probably financed by my grandmother and, uh, some of his younger brothers and sisters would some and work too-- in the grocery store. And I 00:12:00remember, uh, I was about three then when we had that store. And it's funny, but I can still remember, I know we lived in upstairs of the store and I remember having to climb stairs to go upstairs to sleep every night. And I remember this - coming down the stairs and to the left - there was this little doorway and it had curtains hanging and that's where we had our meals. It was very dark in there. And if you go out this way [makes some unknown hand motions] it led into the, uh, grocery store. I remember right in the middle was this ice cream...they used to have these ice cream boxes and you had'a open up the top and get your ice cream bar out. But I remember it was right there. And I just remember a few things like that-- just sort of visuals, you know? I'm pretty sure I can remember that. Uh...but, uh, for most of my life I always lived in back of the 00:13:00store-- of whatever store they were running.

EU: Was this a Japanese grocery store? Was it Asian? What...?

AA: It was Japanese grocery store. We sold tofu, Japanese canned goods, rice, uh, fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact, my father, he told me he would peddle his vegetables with a cart in the streets to sell them. And he would deliver to in his truck, to whoever wanted to order. And so I think it must have been a pretty tough job-- you know, peddling vegetables and also delivering rice to different places. Then my mother would always be there to take care of any customers who walked in. But it was, it wasn't very big, but it carried all the staples.

EU: Yeah. [short pause] How many brothers and sisters did you have?


AA: I had one brother at the time, Tom, and then my sister was born, uh, five years later when we, after we evacuated to Utah. She was born in Murray, uh, Utah in 19...probably in 1942.

EU: How old were you then, um, in 1941, 1942?

AA: In 1942 I would have been, I was turning three.

EU: Just three.

AA: Uh-huh.

EU: Do you have any memories of the evacuation and how that, how that happened and how that...?

AA: [Sighs trying to recall] No...uh...I just remember, you know, being with lots of relatives, you know? Lots of people. And I remember in Keetley - where we ended up at initially in Utah - uh, somebody was always holding my hand and 00:15:00we were always walking down trails or down rocky roads and I would always stumble because there'd be rocks and stones and I had to get up again. I think in those days girls just wore dresses. So you were always getting bruised knees, you know? I remember that and I just remember being with a lot of playmates-- a lot of my cousins and other people.

EU: So your family wasn't evacuated to an internment camp?

AA: No, because if you left by March 29th, you could leave on your own from the west coast - and that meant from either Washington, Oregon, or California - at your own expense. And you could just leave for another state. And the government wanted you to do that so they didn't have to pay for these camps. But 00:16:00only...five, about five-thousand people managed to do it because the government actually didn't give you that much of a warning...or they didn't set the deadline farther away so people could manage to do it. So, there were only about, under five-thousand people who did it. And they were the ones who had maybe some reserves and could, or had relatives or contacts in another state to go to. They just wanted the Japanese-Americans out of that area, military zone. And most people of course couldn't do it and so they ended up in internment camps. We were supposed to go to Topaz [referring to the Topaz War Relocation Center in Utah]. But my grandmother had a couple of relatives who were arrested by the FBI-- two relatives, the Iomotos [sp?]


And he, she was very upset about that and she just didn't trust the government and she wanted to keep her family together, the huge family together. And, uh, so she was the matriarch and so whatever she said, you know, went. And so she sent my brother, my father and, uh, another relative, Roy Tachiki, a brother-in-law of my father, uh, to Utah to find a place to move to.

EU: What happened to your, to, to the, um, to your parents' store? Or your grandmother's, the dry goods, the dry cleaning store?

AA: Uh...my father had to terminate his lease-- he was just renting the store. And then they had to sell things, uh, for a fraction of the value of the goods. 00:18:00And, uh, he hired three car loads, three cars, and he sent three car loads of, uh, canned goods and rice and the dry cleaning equipment to Keetley, Utah on the train. And, uh, some of their possessions and, uh, while in Keetley, you know, it saw us through-- eating the canned foods and rice. And so, I thought it was pretty smart of them to do that. Because there was a very small train station in Keetley. And because he had sent all the dry cleaning equipment ahead, after the war he was able to start his dry cleaning shop in Salt Lake City. 'Cause that's something he knew he could do, you know, as a skill.

EU: Why did they, um, why did they go to Keetley?

AA: Because they didn't know anybody, uh, in the hinterlands. Although, a 00:19:00relative of ours, Mrs. Suzuki knew of a lady in Salt Lake City who owed the US Cafe and they happened to be from the same Prefecture in Japan, Kanagawa-ken. They had met on a train or something and she knew Mrs. Tsuiki [sp?], uh, lived in Salt Lake City and owned the US Cafe. And my grandmother knew about this conversation so she told my father and Roy Tachiki that, "Get on the train. I'll give you two-hundred dollars. Go find this US Cafe. Talk to Mrs. Tsuiki about a place that we could come to." And so they did and they were able to find the US Cafe. Mrs. Tsuiki and Mr. Tsuiki got a, um, a friend, um, Mr. Aoki, who had a 00:20:00car. And he had Mr. Aoki drive them around the state if Utah. And also a Mr. Wada from Oakland. And he was a prosperous, uh, merchant and he was also looking for a place for his family. And, uh, Mr. Wada knew about a George Fisher in Keetley who was the sheriff also of that little town. And he was, Mr. Fisher was looking for labors to farm his ranch. And they went up there and they looked at his ranch and it was, I think, about three-thousand, nine-hundred acres, but it was covered with a foot of snow. And they didn't know that underneath was just sagebrush and rocks and it had never been farmed before. So Mr. Aoki drove Mr. 00:21:00Wada, my father, and my uncle to Roosevelt, Utah in Duchesne County and that's like nothing, I mean there's nothing, it's like Siberia there's hardly anything there. But in this little town, in Roosevelt, they had to go to a town meeting and meet everybody from five-hundred miles around and they just said, you know, "Can we bring our families here? We'd like to start a new life." And they had this big meeting and they were told, "No, we don't want any Japs here." And so that only left this prospect in Keetley so they decided to go to Keetley. And actually about a good two-hundred people ended up in Keetley, Utah. Because Mr. Fisher was one of the few people who was willing to risk having Japanese come to his place. And actually in that area a lot of people had never seen a Chinese, 00:22:00or Japanese, or, uh, as they called it in those days, a Negro ever before. So we were novelties. In fact, we were so unusual that the Salt Lake City Tribune sent a reporter out there to do stories on us periodically.

AA: And, and they took a picture with me with all the kids, uh, one time. And I have a picture of it that I received years later. But, uh, they took pictures of my aunts knitting, you know. Knitting socks to send to the soldiers and so forth and so on. So, uh [sighs], that's why we ended up in Keetley, is just, you know, just by circumstances.

EU: Do you remember the travel, the trip out then? From California?

AA: I remember, um, sitting in my father's, it was a navy blue International 00:23:00panel truck and very uncomfortable because I think we were sitting on benches that probably my grandfather made-- you know, just wooden benches in the back. And all I remember is we would, we hit a lot of jackrabbits along the way [laughs].

EU: [laughs]

AA: And we kept saying, "Oh, those poor rabbits-- we ran over some more." [laughs] But I remember something about rabbits and killing the rabbits. And, uh...so, I so remember my mother and father and my brother and I in that car and probably there were more too. But I don't remember that much, since I was three.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: Yeah.

EU: So where did you live in Keetley? What kind of house or home did you have there?

AA: They were, um, units made for miners, because in that area there was silver, zinc, and lead mining. And the miners had left and these were really quite old, 00:24:00dilapidated dorms, but livable. And so, we were in one of the many units. There were several buildings there on the premises.

EU: How long did your family stay there?

AA: We only stayed the three months, because we were not farmers and didn't know very much about farming. And we decided we'd be better off, uh, going to another place to try to find actual jobs that paid. The people who stayed at Keetley for a whole year only netted sixty dollars per family for the whole year. And you know, the people who went camp, I think only got paid sixteen dollars a month, but they were fed every day. But in our case, we had to feed ourselves. And if 00:25:00you don't have income coming in, it's hard. So, um, my family moved to three or four places. One was, we lived in Holiday, Utah and this family, they were willing to let us rent their, it was an abandoned warehouse. And I think it had three rooms, no toilet, no hot water, but we lived in it and the owners helped us move in. They were really nice people actually. But we rented that for a while. And before that even we lived in two other places. My father tried chicken farming, but the owner came back from the war because it turned out he was 4-F. So we had to get out and he had to get back into his house. [laughs 00:26:00slightly] I think that's one of the few times I remember living in a house. But it was not very long. And then we also lived in Crescent, Utah - the country side - and it had a farm house, and chicken coops, a bath house... But there were thirty or forty people living there and we all crowded and I know the Hironos lived in the chicken coop...and I don't think we lived there too long. And then from there I think we moved to 67 Westford South to start the dry cleaning business, and we lived in the back.

EU: I'm going to stop here for a minute.

AA: Okay.

EU: So, Alice, your family moved to Salt Lake City?

AA: Uh-huh.

EU: And had the, um, the dry cleaning store?


AA: Right. And here again, it was the Tsuikis [sp?] the US Cafe, they let us rent one of their stores. They were, there was a barber shop and then a, another store and we rented that from the Tsuikis who ran the US Cafe two places down. And there we had a, uh, dry cleaning shop. It was just my mother, father who ran the entire operation and we lived in the back. And, uh... They got up at, uh, oh, by six and the store was open 7AM to 7PM every day, including Saturdays. And then on Sundays, uh, they cleaned the store, you know, and they cleaned the, uh, living quarters in the back. So every day there was something going on. And, uh, 00:28:00on Sundays if we finished we would go visit relatives, you know, in Midvale or Alberta...um, as an outing. And in the summertime there was a lot of Japanese-American picnics going on, so we would go to picnics on Sundays. But, uh, they always worked at least twelve hours a day. And, uh, because my mother worked up front - had to wait on customers, pressed, ironed, and she did all the alterations - uh, I did all the cooking in the back from the age of nine on-- so I did dinner every night. And then we ate right at seven. And if they were still busy, you know, they had to do more work in the front. Uh... So...and-

AA: Your grandmother lived with you then? Or, what did your grandmother do?


EU: She actually lived with my Uncle Ichiro who, who is older than my father, who was older than my father. And then when the war was over, actually Ichiro and his family, and my grandmother, went back to Oakland. Yeah. And, uh, I don't think they went back to their house. What they left there was stolen-- everything was stolen. Uh...and you know, my grandmother actually sold the house, I think, after a while. I can't remember the sequence. But she ended up living with my Uncle Ichiro as she aged and they took care of her until she finally passed away.

EU: Your parents though decided to stay in Utah? Rather than move back to California?

AA: Yes, because there was nothing to move back to in California-- their store, 00:30:00you know, had been terminated. And, uh, they had all this dry cleaning equipment. So they started up the store with the equipment that was shipped over by train. And even Ichiro came over and helped at first. And he even knew how to do hats-- how to steam hats and how to clean them. And they didn't do that after Ichiro left, but... The only thing they did was send the clothing out and it was dry cleaned, but they did all the finishing by hand. And it was, you know, it's very tedious work...to keep track of. And as I got older I also helped in the stores and waited on the customers. They also took in laundry and, uh, Eco Laundry [sp?] would come and pick up the laundry and deliver it in the evening. I think it took probably two days, but we saw the driver at least twice a day-- Joe would come bring in things, take things. So, you know, it's just constant 00:31:00when you have a smaller business-- you're just never done.

EU: Did they live then within like a Japanese-American community then?

AA: We were right on the fringe, uh, we were part of the Japanese-American community on First South, because if we looked across the street you would have Sage Farm Market, Amy's Magazine...uh...and then if you went down the street one block you would have all the Japanese stores. Uh, Sunrise Fish Market - and I went to school with the daughter - and you would have Family Market, and you would have California Market, you would have this Jewish store owned by, I can't remember his name; it started with an S, Mr. S.... But then you had the Imperial 00:32:00Hotel, which was just a very old hotel that there were many Japanese-American people living in there, especially older men because it was inexpensive to live there. And then you had the Colonial Hotel down the street. A lot of families lived there-- it was inexpensive. But then again, there were a lot of old men living there too, probably because it was not too expensive.

EU: And...Seagull [sp?]

AA: Cleaners, our competitor, but she was my best friend. [laughs]

EU: Yeah.

AA: And, uh, and there were other, and the Buddhist Church was down the next block and there were some apartment houses that a lot of Japanese-Americans lived in. And the Eagle Laundry was there too, so. Within about two, three blocks was all Japanese town. And so we all knew each other. And I had to shop 00:33:00for groceries every day, so I made my rounds as soon as I got home from school and did that. And, uh, there was a meat market across the street to the right - Miller Meat Market - but that wasn't Japanese. They were Polish. [laughs]

EU: [laughs]

AA: But anyway, I went there regularly, you know, And, uh, it was just part of growing up-- just doing all the grocery shopping and then coming home and cooking.

EU: And you cooked Japanese?

AA: Uh-huh. We called, well we had... If we had like, uh, cube steak, uh, we would still have rice and, you know vegetables. And we'd call it Yoshoku, which means American style, but you still had to have the rice. You know, I can't ever remember not having rice, for dinner. And, you know, for breakfast it was, you know, toast and cereal and lunch was just basic, but for dinner it was always 00:34:00rice. Probably green tea too afterwards.

EU: What was it like living in Utah? I mean, did you face many, much discrimination you felt? Or...?

AA: You know, uh, it's so, um...you're surrounded by a lot of Mormons. I mean in school all my friends were Mormons. Um... The Japanese-American friends I had were all Buddhist. But, uh... You know, it just felt like they dominated, you know? The, uh, the Mormons dominated, you know? They would talk about their passion or this and that. So...I think it made the Japanese-Americans stick together even more.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: And I didn't feel like I was really into that big group-- assimilated. 00:35:00Somewhat. Uh, I think, I think we gravitated more...towards our friends, you know, Japanese-American friends and things and the Buddhist Church and Japanese-American school, Japanese language school, which we were forced to go to. We were, had a choice of either going to Japanese school, um, three times a week from four to six, on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays or you could go on Saturday for half a day. Or until two o'clock. Because we wanted to go see the movies, see all the cartoons, we opted for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from four to six. And then on Tuesdays I had to go to my music lessons, uh, violin lessons, at the McCune School of Music and Art up the hill from Lafayette School. And I remember I was always so embarrassed I'd have to ask my teacher if 00:36:00I could keep my violin in her closet, you know, in the morning on Tuesdays and then get it out before I left for my lesson. Uh, but you know, to me it just seems kind of strange-- here I lived in this, in the back of this cleaners - it was actually one room - and, uh, yet my parents sent me to this really fine music school-- McCune School of Music and Art. They were Europeans, very wealthy, who built this huge mansion on the top of the hill. At the end of Main Street in Salt Lake City. It's still there. And it was, uh, they taught everything there. You know opera, piano, violin, uh, dance upstairs-- Virginia Tanner's famous dance troop. And uh, but you know I really got a good education 00:37:00in music just because they sent me there. And, uh, for a while we had a trio going - two other, two or three other Japanese-American girls and I - we played in a trio. And I remember, I don't think we weren't that great, but we were asked to play at like the governor's house...and different places around town. [laughs] My friend reminded me that we used to play at such and such Cafe and I thought, "I don't remember that!" [laughs] But we were like about, uh...probably in junior high school?

EU: And these were other Japanese-Americans friends?

AA: This were other Japanese-Americans. Maybe it's kind of rare to see three or four Japanese-Americans playing the violin, I don't know. But, um, we had, we did that for a while and we all, all our mothers sewed our dresses, you know, the same dresses. Because in those days you sewed, you know, everything was hand sewn. Um... But, um, yeah, it was, it was, uh... At the time it didn't seem so 00:38:00odd because at the time my best friend also lived in back of her dry cleaning shop. And the friends I had, uh, lived in Colonial Hotel. And that was really a rundown hotel-- you took the elevator and sometimes the elevator would get stuck. You know? You didn't know what to do. And the hotel really had a very bad odor to it. And it was a very terrible place to live. Um... But most of my friends all lived, you know, on it [laughs] in not the best places. But we still were happy. And we thought we had a good childhood.

EU: Uh-huh. It's interesting that your parents, um...I mean, basically would with the two different cultures. I mean, you studied Japanese, but you studied Western music. So, you were assimilated in certain things, but you were still very Japanese.


AA: Uh-huh. My mother sent me to the Singer Sewing School when I was twelve in the summer. 'Cause she felt like I should know how to sew. So that was my introduction to sewing. And that was two years before we were required to take home-ec. and a little bit of sewing in the ninth grade. So, uh... And of course, she went to a professional sewing school when she was young to get that skill-- she, she was really an accomplished seamstress and could do drafting and knew all that, you know.

EU: Hm.

AA: And so she would teach me how to do certain things. But she sewed all my clothes. And very patient person and very accomplished in sewing.

EU: Uh-huh. [short pause] So you went to, you stayed there for high school then. 00:40:00Of cour- and then university?

AA: Yes. Yeah. Uh...we, uh, actually lived in back the store until I think I was in high school. And then we bought our house. We would still go to the same schools-- we didn't opt to go to the school where the house was. Every morning we'd get up at six - whole family - go to the cleaners, eat breakfast. From there we would go to our school-- the same school that we went to when we lived in back of the cleaners. And, uh, after I graduated from West High School I went to the University of Utah-- and graduated from there. And then, my brother did the same and my sister did the same. So, I don't know, it's just funny how...they didn't push us to go to college, but I think we knew that if we did not we would end up working like our parents. You know, you just see it.


EU: Uh-huh.

AA: So I graduated in business education. And, uh, I did teach school for two years, My brother became an engineer - a mechanical engineer - and he went to, uh, and got his masters at the University Michigan as well. And then my sister graduated in Elementary Education and taught for many years in Salt Lake City. So... I don't know how my parents did it, but we just, naturally just went to college...without any...they didn't say one thing. [laughs] You know, it's just kind of a natural sequence.

EU: Did all of your friends go to college too?

AA: Not all of them.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: Uh, my best friend went and she graduated a year early actually. And she ended up going to medical school. And I just met her last year after not seeing 00:42:00her for about...thirty years or so [laughs], forty years. Um, I would say half of them went on to college and maybe half did not. And then when I go back to visit, most of my friends are still living in Salt Lake City. Most of them have not left town. Maybe ten percent may have left, you know, for some reason. But I always find it interesting how you can go back to your roots and they're still there. You know, and I keep thinking, "I can't place myself as still being there," you know. It's really hard for me to imagine myself, self still living in Salt Lake City, Utah. I'm just really glad I had a chance to leave and then gain some other experiences.

EU: Do you still have family back there?

AA: My sister still lives in Salt Lake City, yeah. So we go back for that, to 00:43:00visit her. But, uh, and then I have cousins, quite a few cousins who still live in Salt Lake City and surrounding areas like Bountiful and Ogden. So, once in a while I'll see our cousins if it's a funeral or a wedding. But my sister I'll [clears throat] see more often. Yeah.

EU: You said you taught school for three years-- at high school?

AA: I taught [clears throat], uh, middle school for two years--in Granite School District. And I taught, uh, typing.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: But, uh, I was what you call a traveling teacher-- I didn't have a home room.

EU: Oh. Ah.

AA: Because it was so crowded. The school was so crowded and didn't have enough room, classrooms. So I would teach typing for most of the periods, but I also taught math, I also taught English. And I traveled from whatever room was empty 00:44:00I would [laughs] go there and teach and that was my first year of teaching I got. And so, you, when I think about it now it's pretty rough because I didn't really have any prep in math or English-- you know, I just taught it. And so, you know, you're, you're always doing your lesson plans the night before. So I did that for about two years. [short pause] And it was in an area where the kids came from very low, uh, income. And so there were many problems there-- they didn't want to learn and a lot of behavioral problems. It wasn't the ideal school to teach at if you're a traveling, a traveling teacher in your first year of teaching. But, but it was series of experiences.

EU: Uh-huh. Yeah. Did you, I mean...when you left Utah was that a purposeful 00:45:00decision? You wanted to, to see a wider world? Or how...?

AA: Actually, that's when I got married and so I left.

EU: Okay.

AA: And my husband was finishing up his PhD at the University Chicago. So, actually we eloped-- we eloped and left. Because at that time you could not get married in Utah, if you were Asian.

EU: Where did you, did you meet him in Utah?

AA: I met him at the University Utah, yeah.

EU: Okay.

AA: But there was, uh...what'd they call it? There was some rule there - Anti... - which was repealed I think the next year. But that was still in nineteen...sixty...two-- that you could not, an Asian could not marry a Caucasian.

EU: Hm.

AA: Legally.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: You know. I think Utah was one of the last states to have that ruling. So, 00:46:00it was in 19, early 1960s still that was still in effect. So, uh, I ended up in Chicago, Illinois-- the University Chicago in those, uh, University of Chicago area where those ghettos are, you know?

AA: Where the student housing is.

EU: Uh-huh. It's on the south side.

AA: Yeah, south side. And that, for me, was quite an experience-- where you had to have double locks on your apartments. And then, uh, so I lived there for a while-- in Illinois. We did come back and we traveled up to New York and Canada, came all the way back to Utah. And then we lived in Utah for a couple of years. And Mel luckily had a job at the University Utah, when he finished his studies he taught at the University Utah. And then, uh, he got a job at the University 00:47:00Nevada. And so we moved to Reno, Nevada for two years. Lived there. And then he was hired at the University of Oregon and so we came up here and we've been here ever since. And that was the very last month of sixty-eight, so we got here in 1969 during that terrible snow storm.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: And, uh, we didn't, we were towing my car and, uh, we could, we did not come the regular way-- we had to drive all the way up to The Dalles. And then come from north to south to Eugene. And there was ice and snow up there. It took us, I think, three, four days to get here.

EU: Hm. Uh-huh.

AA: And, uh, I remember we had to disconnect the cars and I ended up driving the towed car. But we hadn't prepared it for a trip. And I remember spinning up in 00:48:00The Dalles on ice all the way around and...we had all kind of problems coming. And I remember we stopped and we picked up a Native American who was hitch-hiking in the snow [laughs].

EU: Hm.

AA: And [laughs] Mel, you know, took him in the Pontiac. And I don't think the guy said a word. I don't know, maybe they had a conversation. But that was our introduction to Oregon was ice and snow. But when we got down closer we saw our first rainbow. And then we saw clean cows-- you know, because it rained so much they were clean looking, not dusty. And then we lived, we got a house in Santa Clara through the Registered Guard [laughs] newspaper. And we rented this house, uh...probably about six months or less. But when we got there, of course, it was snowy and we were the only ones for quite a ways that had a authentic snow shovel.


EU: [laughs]

AA: And everybody was using plywood or fir to make these snow shovels to try to clear their front. And, uh...our furniture had not come-- we didn't have any furniture in the house and I got the flu. So I remember sleeping on the floor [laughs]...

EU: [laughs]

AA: ...and, you know, with the flu. And, uh... It was Santa Clara and it seemed like quite a ways from the University at the time, but we were able to find our present house and we've been there a long time, the longest we've ever been anywhere. And so, now we're firmly planted.

EU: What does, what did your husband teach? Or what was his field?

AA: Anthropology. Um, he's a...archeologist.

EU: Uh-huh.


AA: And his interest is Great Basin archeology. He's revising his book right now on archeology of Oregon. He's writing a couple of other books. He officially retired last year. Uh...he retired from teaching actually in the year 2000, but he kept on as, uh, director of the Museum of Natural and Cultural History until last July. And, uh, he has a lot of writing in the works and thoroughly enjoys [laughs] retirement. He's busier than ever.

EU: Uh-huh. Okay. Let's take a break here.

AA: Oh. Okay.

EU: Okay?

EU: Alice, when, uh, when you moved to Eugene then, did you continue working?

AA: In Eugene I did not, because I was raising my sons. Um...I worked part-time, 00:51:00uh...for a friend. And then I started looking for permanent work when the kids were older, like...when they were twelve and ten. And I applied at, uh, 4J? Tried to get on as a substitute classified worker. And my first assignment was, as a sub, to work in the instruction department at the education center. So I worked there for six weeks because the secretary was leaving for another job out of state and they started to interview people for that job. And ordinarily substitutes aren't allowed to interview for a job I was told. But, uh, my boss 00:52:00said she would interview, she wanted to interview me, so I think there were fourteen candidates? There were quite a few people they interviewed. And, uh, just by luck, I got the job. But of course I had been there for six weeks, you know, and I was kind of training. So I worked there for nineteen years. And, uh, worked with the coordinators, curriculum coordinators, mainly. And my job was sort of, my title was Program Coordinator Assistant. So, what I did was, um...I set up meetings and workshops for [clears throat] the administrators and I was kinda like a liaison between the administrators and [clears throat] principals, and teachers in 4J. I also worked with school transfers. And, um...just, what I 00:53:00liked about the job was, even though it was intense, every year it was different-- because you changes within the department and different shifts, [coughs] responsibility. And I liked, now that I'm retired I can say, I really liked the classes they sent me to, such as, uh, computer classes.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: And, uh, different classes to enrich your you know, work, uh, work style or whatever. And, uh... So, I, I, I really glad that I was able to, uh, have that experience there.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: I really don't miss it that much because now when the phone rings I try not to answer it within the second ring.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: I've had to train myself, because working there I was answering by the second ring. And I learned, because I had one boss - usually I had three bosses 00:54:00at one time - one boss was multi- [clears throat] very good at doing multi-tasks-- she was good at multi-tasking. So I learned how to do two or three, two or three things at once because she was what I saw every day and I thought that was normal. And even now, [coughs], I have to be doing at least two things at once or I don't think , or I feel like I'm wasting my time.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: So, I just find that interesting-- I can see that now that I'm retired. It's very hard for me not to do anything.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: Because that's just not me. [laughs] So, although I've been retired for six years - almo- well, this is going to be my seventh - I don't feel like I'm retired because I'm always doing projects or hobbies or interests.


EU: Uh-huh. You said you raised two sons?

AA: Uh-huh.

EU: What are their names?

AA: The oldest one is, uh, Barton Hiroyuki Aikens. And his name is, uh...combination of my name and another Kanji, another character. And then, uh...Quinn, the second son, is Quinn Yoshihisa Aikens. And Yoshi is from, that part is from my mother's name-- her name was Yoshiko. And, uh, I can't remember where Hisa came from. But my mother, uh, father both came up with the Japanese names. You know how the older people get together and say, "Well, this would be a good name," and in order to write it why don't we use this characters. You know, there are different ways to write different names. But they decided which 00:56:00combination [clears throat] of characters to have. So, uh, they both have very old fashion Japanese middle names I'm told, by people who live in Japan.

EU: Did you have Japanese name?

AA: I did. And it's...

EU: Or do you? [laughs]

AA: I do. It's, uh, Hiroko.

EU: Okay.

AA: And, uh...it means, I think the character, the characters mean, like to propagate. Sort of that sense.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: And uh, it's a very easy name to print, I mean to write. And Endo is very difficult I think, but now I appreciate it more. But when I had to go to Japanese school I envied my friends who had really simple names-- their Kanjis were so easy and then mine consisted of maybe eleven strokes, you know? And the teacher would make corrections. We had a very, very strict teacher who actually 00:57:00had, um, one of these sticks, you know, you actually hit you if you misbehaved.

EU: Hm.

AA: And he was also the Buddhist, uh, reverend.

{EU] Uh-huh.

AA: And so, he was very strict. And he even did not like us to bring snacks to, uh, the school.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: But we were so hungry right after school we would stop and buy something and then take it to, uh, Japanese school and eat it there. And we just had tables and benches we sat on. And it was downstairs of the church. And we had just the regular black, black boards. And we received report cards. And it was, it was really strict and it was, it was like real school.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: Because we knew we had to, uh...study our books and then we had to read out loud. And, uh, we didn't have any take home homework, but while we were there we 00:58:00were expected to study and perform.

EU: Did your sons, have your sons studied Japanese?

AA: Our first sabbatical year in Kyoto, um....Bart went to... Jinjo Shōgakkō in Kyoto, just, very close to Kyoto University.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: Uh, that was the neighborhood elementary school. And so he was just thrown in there-- he was, uh...I think, uh...five years old at the time probably. And, uh, it was really hard on him because he was the only foreigner in the entire whole school-- nobody spoke English to him. The teacher was an older woman who 00:59:00did not know any English. There were forty-five kids in the class. And nobody was willing to spend any time with him. But this one classmate, Mariko Kitamura, took him aside. And she, uh, coached him and told him what to do and taught him things and this is all done by body language or, you know, in Japanese. But, by the end of the year he was doing well -- he knew Japanese quite well. And he has still retained it, uh...I mean his pronunciation is authentic. I mean, he did take Japanese a little bit I think in college. But, um, he has retained it much better than my younger son who was probably three when he went to a, uh, nursery school, and there must have been over two-hundred kids in that nursery school.

EU: Yeah.

AA: And, uh, it was run by, oh, two, three teachers in an Anglican church, in 01:00:00Kyoto. And he was just petrified and traumatized and had a very difficult time. But, uh, every day I would walk both of them to school, drop them off at the various places and picked them up again. But the younger one has not retained his Japanese at all. I think maybe it was such a negative experience he didn't want to.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: But, uh, both of them love to travel. Because we've been traveling since they were young, they've had opportunities.

EU: Why did you go to Japan, to Kyoto at that time?

AA: Uh...Mel received a, uh, well, he, it was because it was his sabbatical year. And he had received a, uh, I think, was it a Japan 01:01:00Foundation?...Fellowship one year. And we were supposed to actually go to Tokyo University because our sponsor was there. But he, uh, unexpectedly died. And so, it was arranged that Mr. H-, Dr. Higuchi would be the sponsor, but he was at Kyoto University. So we ended up in Kyoto instead, which I think [laughs] was probably the best thing he could ask for. And we back again seven years later, to Kyoto University, and, uh, lived at the same place. And by this time the kids were much older so they went to, uh, international school in Kyoto.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: Yeah. I can't remember the other f-, uh, fell-, we're, Mel was lucky he got...uh, funding both times. But I remember when we were on the Japan 01:02:00Foundation Fellowship we went to meetings in Kyoto and they would have films on like national treasures and...it was so enriching, you know? And they would invite us to places. We saw films on the woman who does the indigo dying.

EU: Yeah.

AA: Maybe someplace in, maybe Kyoto. But she pas-, she had passed away, I think right after the film was made. But she grew and then did all the dying of Indigo, did the weaving. And, uh, while, the first time we were in, in Kyoto a couple of us went to a mountain village where they made handmade paper.

EU: Yeah. Uh-huh.

AA: A famous, uh, village. And that was really interest to see how they raise the material and then they make the paper right in their house. Just the idyllic 01:03:00little village.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: And so, to me, Kyoto has always been, kind of a traditional town, and traditional arts and crafts. It's, it's just full of riches. And you would see people, uh, oh, dipping cloth in the Kamo-gawa River. You know, they were dying and then they were dipping it in and letting it dry. And I think we did go to that silk, uh, textile factory or store once, Nishijin.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: But to me Kyoto is so authentic and...it doesn't change as much as Tokyo does. It's not as Americanized.

EU: Uh-huh. Did you, were you able to study anything? Ikebana or...?

AA: While I was in Kyoto I, I did study Ikebana. Um, I think it was, uh, Ohara 01:04:00style. I had already studied, uh, oh...it starts with an S style here a little bit. And then we, uh...it was Ohara that I studied. And, uh, I remember my mother was s-, s-, studying Saga Goryu. That type of flower arranging. And I was able to get the Saga school to send me some of their written books to her-- she was really thrilled. And, uh, my parents were able to come to Japan when we were living in Kyoto the first time. And, uh, we were able to buy, we went to a bamboo store, shop, and we were able to buy Ikebana receptacles. And, when I was taking Ikebana we went shopping to the ceramics store and to the kiln and just 01:05:00wonderful, uh, ceramic, you know, vases. It was just so much fun just to go there and buy these things. But I did study Ikebana, I studied the tea ceremony as well. And, uh...what else did I do while I was there? Oh, also doll making, but this was all paper dolls. Uh, it's a very old I guess Kyoto style, but you use really nice, heavy paper, and it's all paper, and you'll crumple of the paper. The body is made with cotton and they're all upright dolls. They're similar to Kokeshi dolls, but they're taller and slimmer.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: And I remember, I still have my collection of dolls I made. Um... [short 01:06:00pause] And...but I was just taking everything in in Kyoto. Um...

EU: Did you live in a Japanese neighborhood?

AA: In Kyoto we lived in a guest hall on the Kyoto University Campus and it was all concrete and very Americanized. They were actually, they were Western apartments built Japanese style in that everything was small-- small refrigerator, small stove. But it was very well designed, it was just sort of one big room with partial walls. And, uh, we had four floors. Downstairs was an office and there was, uh, people in the office who would help you, you know, find places or answer questions. So we felt very lucky to have that service.


EU: Uh-huh.

AA: And it was air conditioned and we had heat too, so we were very fortunate, um, to have those accommodations. When we lived in Tokyo - Mel had a grant to study at Tokyo University for a while - we lived in the authentic Japanese house. And that was very uncomfortable because, like, you know, you'd, there were earthquakes and things would fall off, you know, part of your entry way would fall off and owner wouldn't care [laughs]. But, uh, it was very dark in, in that authentic Japanese house...and cold and... I don't know, it was very nice looking, but very dark inside-- not enough lighting. I always felt like I was, you know, in the dark. Yeah.


EU: Did you, so you liked Kyoto a lot better than Tokyo huh?

AA: A hundred percent better. I really enjoyed Kyoto. I just found there was so much pollution in Tokyo-- just crossing the street in Tokyo there was a lot of the emissions and, and, uh, even more crowded. A lot of tourists there. I don't know, Kyoto just seems to be a little but more laid back and, and traditional. And, uh, it just seems to me like, what Japan used to be like, probably.

EU: Were you able to visit any of your relatives?

AA: The first time we were there we did visit relatives and, uh, very, uh, kind of a highlight in...because my parents came and they hadn't been to Japan for 01:09:00over thirty years. And we visited their relatives, our relatives. And it's very heartwarming and, uh, went to different houses and it was very nice. Yeah.

EU: Um, since the seventies then, have you been back to Japan?

AA: No, I have not. No. You know, it's just the, it just ke-, keeps getting more expensive and it just keeps changing. And I would like to kind of remember Kyoto as it used to be [laughs].

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: You know?

EU: Yeah.

AA: I don't know.

EU: What are some of the other places you've traveled? You mentioned A-, Africa? Or?

AA: Well, we just got back from a safari to Africa and, uh, it also included going to Olduvai Gorge, which is the cradle of mankind. And that's why Mel wanted to go on that trip. It was sponsored by the U of O Alumni Association.


EU: Uh-huh.

AA: And, uh, it was through Tanzania. And we, we opted for the five day extension to Kenya as well. But we went with a couple of friends that we've traveled with before. Uh, the group was twenty-four people and there were only four of us Oregon, a big contingent from USC, some from Georgia, Wisconsin. But it was mainly being in these vehicles and going down these bumpy roads and seeing these animals and very interesting animal behavior.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: And then of course, you know, just seeing the people, I kind of expected all that, but still...it, it was really a very intense trip. Uh, the animal behavior I couldn't believe-- we saw hippos in this big pool, and you could only see their ears and eyes. And there was this one mother hippo that had died and it 01:11:00was upside down and the legs were like this [unknown gesture - likely gesturing to show the legs up in the air]. the little baby was right next to it. And this crocodile lunged at the mother and the body went to the middle of the pool. And all these other hippos noticed the dead body, the corpse, they looked and they screamed - they kind had this eerie cry - and they all went half way up in the air and landed on each others' shoulders and we could see this pool just full of all these hippos-- they're all kind of freaked out. And, and then they all kind of subsided. And that little baby kept following the mother and it was so sad. And the driver said the baby probably only had a fifty-fifty chance of surviving because only if some other hippo would nurse it. But apparently this was the second hippo that had died within a week and he was going to report it to the warden. But just to see how these animals reacted to this dead body was very human like, you know? And we were lucky enough to see a cheetah, uh, go after a, 01:12:00a little, uh, wildebeest. Kill it, carry it back, and eat it and... What amazed me was we saw thousands of wildebeests migrating north.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: This was the Great Migration-- that was the title of our tour. And we were watching them, we had paused, stopped, and the animals has stopped to graze, and I saw two calves being born right there in front of me. They just came out. One came out, dropped. Another came out, dropped. And then we kept looking and we thought, "Is the calf okay?" And in two minutes the calf was struggling to get up. By the third minute it was up. And they started walking, together. And to me I thought, you know I'd never thought about it much, but I guess animals are 01:13:00really tough. You know, they can do that. They can just start walking. Human beings don't do that. But just to see all these things, it was really, very, uh, had a huge impact on me. Of course we took lots of pictures. Oh, we visited a Maasai village-- went inside their huts and, wow. And, uh, we saw the Sambutus [sp?] dance and we had to go in and dance with them [laughs]. And, you know, we had a lot of new experiences.

EU: During the break you mentioned you went to a Women's Cooperative?

AA: Yes. This was in Kenya. And it was a way for these women to earn a livelihood. And so they were teaching them how to weave. Each woman had her forte, like one would do one of elephants with these, uh, umbrella, acacia trees in the background. Another one, woman would do lions, you know. I guess each one 01:14:00had a favorite thing to weave. But they did rugs, wall hangings, uh, beautiful wool stoles. Uh, they did purses out of, is it sisal, sisal [pronounces two different ways -

EU: Hm.

AA: Very tightly, uh, woven. And, uh... Anyway, these things they made and then apparently they sell them on their website or something. But we all bought things because, you know, these women you could tell were not that well off.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: And they were saying, "Oh, it's so tiring to have to work here eight hours a day." But at least they had a job. 'Cause there are a lot of unemployed people. A lot of people with AIDS, you know, in Kenya.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: So, uh, yeah, Africa was so different. A lot of poor people. But the rich - 01:15:00who are usually Europeans, the British, Dutch, and Germans - they own the big ranches. And they hire the local people. They have a huge floral industry in Kenya-- they raise roses in these huge greenhouses and they export them every day to the Netherlands. And then they're sold throughout the world. But the weather is just perfect for raising flowers in greenhouses because of the light-- they get enough sunlight.

EU: Have you traveled in Asia, to China? Other places?

AA: We've been to China-- Mel's been to China three four times. I've only been there I think once. We've been to Taiwan. Uh, when we were younger Mel was asked to be a assistant tour leader to South America-- to Ecuador and Peru. And these 01:16:00were - he did that for three years - these were a three month tour to South America. And it was mainly targeted to teachers who needed to renew their certificates, to get credit.

EU: Hm.

AA: And so, the third year we all got to go one month in Ecuador. And we had lectures in Spanish at different universities on different topics. And we also visited archeological ruins in Peru and Ecuador. And that's why Mel was there. And Ecuador was one of my very favorite places, still is. Because when we went there it was not touristy at all. And then my favorite place, just to go view was Machu Picchu in Peru. That's one of my favorite places. So... We've been to 01:17:00those parts of South America, we've been to Japan - Mel's been there quite a few times - he's been to Korea two three times because he's writing a book with some Korean scholars on, uh, archeology and the tie with Korea and Japan. Actually, they have proof now that the Koreans have contributed more than what the Japanese think.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: So [laughs], this is probably going to please the Koreans, but not the Japanese, you know? Um... We've traveled, we've gone to Canada. Uh...Alaska-- we've been there three four times because our younger son got his first job in Alaska. He worked for Unocal until he was, uh, displaced, or, uh, last hired, first fired. That case-- he was very young. Um...where else have we been? We've 01:18:00been to Mexico. And also Mexico's Copper Canyon. Um...oh, we've been to Europe too. We took one of those tours where you go to nine countries in eleven days.

EU: [laughs]

AA: You know, Japanese style.

EU: Right.

AA: But we would like to go back to some of those countries again. And, uh, oh, we've been to Spain, twice. We went to the, uh K-Bart [sp?] tour in Spain. And we went and did the K-Bart tour in Portugal. Let's see, Spain and Portugal... We've been to Portugal to the different cities as well. Oh, excuse me, it was K-Bart in France we went to. And then the K-Bart in Spain as a comparison. And 01:19:00then last year we went to Portugal with our sons.

EU: Okay, I'll stop here.

EU: Alice, you men-, you said before you're good at multi-tasking. And I think when, um, I think you've been very active here in the Eugene community, at the, at the museum for example. Could you talk a little bit about the work you've done at the, at the university at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History.

AA: I was on the, uh, Friends Board, the Museum of Natural and Cultural History Board for several years and, uh, I actually had the experience of, uh... Well, we actually gave birth to the Winter Solstice Program....


EU: Uh-huh.

AA: ...when I was on the board, uh, we made it into a reality. And now it's just a regular event at the univer(sity), and the museum. And...ID Day, uh, at the museum, used to be held inside the museum and I always thought, "Gee," you know, when I used to go there I thought, "It's so crowded and you can't really, uh, see anything...." Anyway, I thought there were too many pitfalls, so anyway we decided to do outdoors. And ever since then it's outdoors, uh, in the summer, or, well, I think it's going to be held pretty soon. And they usually have, uh, canopies and they're prepared for rain. But, [sighs]. I think, uh...it's just sort of turned into a different event in that it's held, you know, in a 01:21:00different manner so that it can handle more people and crowds and I think it's improved since I first, uh, attended it. So, um...I don't know, I think when I was on the board I just wanted to see things happen so I just go into it and just did things until things did happen. And then, uh...actually when I came to Eugene I really didn't know anybody. And the people I knew were all at the university and there weren't any Asians that I knew at the university really-- they were mainly professors' wives or students or acquaintances. So, I really was not active in Japanese-American events until recently I have to say. Although, I did, I was introduced to Japanese-Americans, I really did not 01:22:00connect to them. You know how it is, you go to event and you meet somebody, but you don't ever see them again.

The only Asian I really knew on a regular basis was Betty Singlou [sp?]because she worked at 4J in the same department I worked at. And she was part-time but I did see her regularly. And she, uh, persuaded me to give a talk on my voluntary evacuation experience. And from there on, uh, and this is only probably in the 19-, late 1990s when this happened. From there on I started to give talks and then I met more people. Then I went to this meeting that Cindy Carlson had four years ago at her house, proposing a Eugene Japanese-American memorial. And I just went there as one of many people there and for some reason I guess I stayed 01:23:00on and just became really involved. And, um... As a result of that, I've done the Day of Remembrance events for the last three four years. And I don't want to be doing it every year actually [laughs]. I'd like [laughs], you know, other people to handle it. But while I've done it, uh, it's been-, it was held every time at a different place. We've done it at the U of O Law School. And then it was held at the Longhouse, Native American Longhouse. And then, the very first time I went to a DOR was, it was held at Sheldon High School. And I understand, oh, and the very first time I ever went to one actually was at EWEB.

EU: Hm.

AA: When Betty asked me just to light candles and that was my task. That's [laughs] my introduction to DOR was to light the candles. So...


EU: C-, could you explain what the Day of Remembrance is?

AA: Oh, the Day of Remembrance is February 19th, uh, 1942. And that's the day when Franklin Roosevelt signed, uh, the Executive Order 9006 [correction: 9066], which, uh, caused Japanese-Americans to be removed from the West Coast-- people on the West Coast were removed because, uh, they were thought to be possible, uh, people who might help Japan in WWII and they wanted them to get out of that military zone. So it's an annual event held throughout the United States by Japanese-American groups. And, uh, this year they had Day of Remembrances in 01:25:00Portland on February 17th, they had one in Hood River on February 18th, and we had ours on February 19th. So, um, we try to have ours on the 19th as close as possible. This is the first year we've actually had it on the 19th. But, um...

EU: And what kind of events do you, what kinds of things take place then as part of the Day of Remembrance?

AA: We usually have people, uh, talk about their experiences while interned in an internment camp. And, um, we also invite speakers, such as, uh, Lawson Inada and perhaps like Peggy Nagae-- people from out of town who have, you know, a wealth of experience or can just, uh, talk about such things.


EU: Peggy Nagae? Who is she?

AA: She's a former Assistant Dean of the Law School at the U of O who, um, actually I think she left several years ago and has had various positions from then on in the legal profession, but presently she works as an independent consultant and lives in Whitefish, Montana. But she still continues to work, uh, with, uh, Japanese-American topics.

EU: And Lawson Inada is a poet?

AA: Lawson Inada is a Sansei from Fresno who is, uh, actually the same age as I am-- I think he just turned 69, or will? And, uh, he is a former English 01:27:00professor from, uh, Ashland--Southern Oregon University is it? Or College. And he was designated the, uh, poet laureate of Oregon in 2006. And I believe it's a two year, uh, responsibility. And, uh, his job is to travel throughout Oregon to...um, help people if they want poetry workshops or to speak or to, uh, I guess enrich their lives with poetry somehow. And so I'm sure he has a very busy schedule.

EU: When you participated in the Day of Remembrance what did you do? What kind of presentation did you make?


AA: I talked about my, uh, personal voluntary evacu-, evacuation experience. And, uh, it's actually a PowerPoint presentation with visuals and, and, um... It's, um, not your typical internment experience, uh, and a lot of people would say, "Well, you know, you didn't go to camp and so you probably didn't suffer." But actually I think in some ways we suffered even more because we didn't have a place to, although it was camp for these people, I mean, we were on our own-- we had to find a place, we had'a find a way to get income, you know, work. And then you were actually in this hostile environment, you know, and it was just kind of, you never knew what was going to happen. And, so, in some ways I think it 01:29:00was just as difficult not being in a camp for my family. And I was so young at the time I was probably oblivious of a lot of things.

EU: But you think it's important that, to share that experience with people today.

AA: I really think so because otherwise people will never know and, uh, they just won't realize what really went on. Uh... And so therefore, the Japanese, Eugene Japanese-American Memorial is very important because I think, uh, education and it being an educational vehicle is what's most important about it. And I think it's really working because every time I pass the memorial there are people there reading the plaques and people reading the stone pavers and they 01:30:00seem to linger there. And, uh, once we get the bronze sculpture there I think it will attract even more people who will be driving by and will say, "Oh, I've got to get back there and see that when I, at the first opportunity." It's in a place that's so accessible and there's so much traffic there on West Sixth, in addition to the walking path, which is actually Willamette Street-- it's an extension of Willamette Street. And there are a lot of people who walk that path that I think it's very fortunate that we have that site.

EU: Can you tell us why you chose to have the memorial at that particular spot?

AA: The Civil Control Office was located very close to that spot-- it's where the Hult Center is. It's actually less than a hundred feet away from where the 01:31:00bronze sculpture will be. Uh, The Civil Control Office was located upstairs in the building. Ah, and at one time it was called the Bearing Supply Company. And we have a picture of it that we obtained from the Lane County Historical Society. And, uh, it, it's, uh, it was taken in 1943 I believe, or 42. So we know exactly where it was.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: And so it's, it's a historical site is what it is, because of its physical proximity and its location.

EU: Could you describe the, the, the memorial then? The pavers-- what are those? And, and what are the...?

AA: The memorial consists of three large, uh, monoliths-- three large basalt rocks that are upright. And three, and each on one has a bronze panel. And the 01:32:00first panel is, uh, "Justice" and it depicts three Japanese-Americans - Korematsu, Yasui, and Hirabayshi - who defied the law and purposefully were arrested and put in jail. And, uh, these were, they were all heroes actually because they knew that it was wrong to send Japanese-Americans to camp and they spent time in prison and they were later exonerated. But, you know, they were, they suffered, you know, when they were in prison. The second plaque is called, um, let's see...the last one is...

EU: Is it "Perseverance"?

AA: Yeah, "Perseverance". And it shows a, a Japanese family standing behind 01:33:00barbed wire in an internment camp. And then, let's see, "Justice", "Perseverance", oh! The third one is "Honor" and it is to explain, uh, and tell about the 4-42nd, uh, Regimental Combat Team composed of, uh, Japanese-Americans. Actually, I was told there was one Korean in that unit so we can't say all Japanese-Americans. But, uh [sighs], they were called upon to fight in areas where they were having problems and were sent to really tough, they had really tough assignments. And they were a highly decorated group. And, so, uh... Their motto was "Go for Broke." And there have been movies made about 01:34:00them. So, um, the three big boulders with those three topics. We have, in the forefront, a bronze sculpture of a young girl about five feet tall and she's looking at a butterfly sort of distracted. And she's sort of an example of innocence. Not aware that, uh, any moment now she and her family will be boarding a train, which is just a block away, with their belongings that they can carry. And the girl will be, the likeness will be, um, that of Michi Yasui Ando.

And, um... Michi Yasui was the sister of Minoru Yasui, the first U of O 01:35:00Japanese-American law graduate. And, uh, she, uh, in 1942, March, uh...actually got a phone call from her brother who said - who had fled from Eugene, Oregon to I believe Denver, Colorado - said, "You better come too or else you're gonna end up in a concentration camp." And so he told her to get on the bus and get to Denver. And so she, um...was very nervous about going to the bus station, but she succeeded in buying a ticket. And, uh, the man who sold the ticket was so distracted because there was so much going on he didn't even bother to look up at her. And she got to Denver safely and then continued her education there, as 01:36:00did her brother. But, um, there's a, um, post-script to this-- she never received her graduation diploma in 1942. And in the 1990s Keith Richard, or Richards, uh, the Archivist at the University of Oregon in the library discovered her diploma in a file. And he told her to come back and get it. And she was still bitter about the whole experience and said, "I'm not coming." I think it took several more tries before she decided to come back. And when she came back she gave the Commencement, uh, Address. And Mel said he was there and she, he heard her give the talk. And she was awarded her diploma. And I, I heard it was an outstanding talk.

EU: Hm.

AA: And so, the likeness is of Michi and, uh, of course the Yasui family, um, 01:37:00many of them contributed money for stone pavers. And our memorial walkway consists of stone pavers-- Pennsylvania Blue Stone. And they're all irregular shaped stones, stone pavers. And they have different words, mottos, family crests, sayings on them. And, uh, actually, it's still open if people want to have words engraved, uh, this summer. Because Lisa's willing to come with her equipment and engrave the words on some of the blank pavers, stone pavers. And, uh, she will this summer engrave "Justice", "Perseverance", and "Honor" on the big basalt boulders. So we hope this will occur around June, at least by July 01:38:0020th at the latest. And then our memorial will be complete. But the stone pavers to me are very interesting because I've handled each one as the orders have come in and I've worked with Lisa Ponder, you know, on the graphics of it and the wording and getting them down so they're concise. And it's just been very rewarding. And, uh, I just feel like we're very fortunate to have that site.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: Uh, it's not a big site. It's very intimate-- it's like a pocket garden. But it has a very serene feel to it. And, uh, the gardening style is definitely Japanese because Jim Robinson who de-, well he didn't design it, Kenge did, Jim Robinson who...

EU: It's Kenge Kobayashi?

AA: I mean Kenge Kobayashi, yes. Uh, designed the garden. And, uh, Jim Robinson 01:39:00landscaped it with his crew. But Jim was trained by a Japanese-American in Portland, Mr. Kurisu, who has a international landscaping company. And he worked with him for nine years, trained with him. And, um, his boss donated the three large, black pines by the big basalt boulders. And they're twenty years old, they've been in training for twenty years old. And they did that because, uh, his father, um...his fath-, oh, what was his father's name? Anyway, his father was interned during WWII, so it's to honor his dad. And we wanted to thank him for that, for the three trees, and so...we have his name on a big boulder. And 01:40:00we put, um, three sets of black pine needles underneath because Mr. Kurisu didn't want anything else on it-- he just wanted his name, his father's name and that was it.

EU: Hm. Finish up with, uh, do you have any comments about the, the Japanese-American and the Asian community here in Eugene. Do you think it's become stronger? It seems to me it's become stronger over the years, with so many events-- the [unintelligible], Asian Celebration, now the memorial?

AA: I find that there is this momentum of, uh, more people being involved and more people attending these events. You've got your July Bon Odori.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: And, [clears throat], you have your Japanese-American Association activities. And these are regular events throughout the year. Um... Including 01:41:00your cooking classes, your plant exchange, your holiday party complete with Santa Claus. And then the Asian Celebration seems like it's a very popular event. And the Japanese-Americans are certainly involved with that in many ways. So...[sighs], I think, and then the Japane-, Eugene Japanese-American Memorial has brought in people I've never met before. They kind of appear, you know?

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: So I just feel like I've met more people as a result of the Memorial Committee, but at the same time there seems to be a lot going on.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: And, uh... Uh... I think, uh, perhaps this is good because one thing I 01:42:00notice in Eugene is you don't have a Buddhist Church or Japanese Christian Church where you regularly go and you see people on a regular basis. So, unless you're maybe like a Japanese-Hawaiian where you see them every week for your hula lesson or your ukulele lesson, uh, you don't really see people regularly, you know, it's just at these events. Or maybe at a lecture, or talk, or party. But, uh, in Salt Lake City when I was growing up we always saw people regularly every week at church - at Buddhist Church - or at the language school. Or... Like, uh, Saturday evenings they would have, in those days they would show, Mr. 01:43:00Komatsu would show these Japanese black and white films from Japan. They'd always have a chambara, you know, a samurai film first. Then they'd have a tear-jerker, one film for women. And everybody would cry. When the lights came on [laughs] everybody was crying [laughs]. And it was always a double feature. But, um, I don't think there's a Japanese community here to speak of.

EU: Hm.

AA: Because everybody lives...you know, in Eugene, Springfield, outlying areas, and you don't have a Japanese town.

EU: Uh-huh.

AA: Everybody's kind of like just out there. [short pause] And so...I think, uh, it's really, I th-, I think it's really hard to get to know people for that reason.

EU: Uh-huh. Well, is there anything else we didn't talk about?


AA: Oh there must be. [laughs]

EU: [laughs]

AA: [laughs] I'm sure there is.

EU: Yeah.

AA: Yeah. Um. I'll probably think about it tonight maybe.

EU: Well you can give us a call then.

AA: Yeah. I can always e-mail you and say, "Oh, by the way!" [laughs]

EU: Okay.

AA: [sighs]

EU: Well, Alice, thank you very much.

AA: Oh, you're welcome.