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Samnirmal (Sam) Karipalli and Jessie Karipalli Oral History Interview, August 21, 2016

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´╗┐ST: So my name is Sravya Tadepalli. Today is August 21st, 2016, and I'm interviewing Sam and Jessie Karipalli and we're at their home in Corvallis, Oregon. Could you say your names and when and where you were born?

SK: My name is Sam.

JK: No, tell whole name.

SK: Samnirmal Karipalli. I was born in India, Andhra Pradesh state. And I born in district of East Godavari. The...my grandparents' home, Lakkavaram.

ST: And could you say when you were born?

SK: OK. I was born 1942, April 27. I was the eldest grandson of my grandparents 00:01:00and I was the eldest in the family. And...ask Auntie and you want some more?

ST: So I have the family questions later. So?

JK: My name is Jessie Injety Karipalli. And I was born in November 7, 1946. I was born in India. And my village name is Sakhinetipalli. And then...what else? ST: Yeah, that's just it. When/where you were born. So next question is, what were your parents' names and when and where were your parents born?


SK: I do not know where...I know my mother born in Lakkavaram, East Godavari, in Andhra Pradesh. My father was born in...I think he's born in...Lankalakoderu, in West Godavari, in India. My father was eldest in his family. He has one brother, maybe two years younger to him, but we don't know the birthdates of them.

JK: That's it, right?

SK: My parents are the only Karipallis in that village. I don't know where they come from. They lived in that village. They came and bought property and stayed there.

ST: And what were their names?

SK: My parents' names? K.P. Jeevarathanam. My mother's name is Juliamma. My 00:03:00mother was born in 1920s, I don't know exact dates. I know her birthday was April 19. My father's birthday is--

JK: You don't need?

ST: I don't need. I was just asking if you remember. I was just asking if you remember. So, and what about you?

JK: My parents' names are N.J.T. Srinivas Rao. And my mother's name is N.J.T. Krupabai They also born in same place where I was born in Sakhinetipalli. But I don't know their birthdates. So they passed away. So...

ST: So can you tell me a little bit about your family? Your parents or brothers and sisters? What were they like? What was your relationship like with your families?

SK: They are very close-related family. With siblings and my brothers and my uncles. And...we are all together. I mean...we are Christians and we are 00:04:00Seventh-day Adventists. My father went to school...finished his college in a Adventist Christian college. And he married...when he got a job in Lakkur where my mother was work--

JK: Ayya, question ga answer chepakundi? (Will you answer the question?)

SK: My mother was born. There he met my mother and married her. OK? Day after that they were moving different places in Andhra. And I was born Lakkuvaram. My father was a first teacher for a while and then he became a treasurer for the conference of the church. And we are five brothers and sisters. Sister, only one 00:05:00sister and five brothers...and four brothers. And all of them are...a couple of them are in Washington D.C. My sister and brother. And my younger brothers both of them are over in India. The youngest was passed away three years ago.

JK: That's it.

SK: And we're all very close family. What else is there?

ST: OK, that was it. If you wanted to say more, that's also OK. The question is just a starting point. So if you have more to say after the question too, you can say that as well.

JK: So what's the question?

ST: The...it's just, can you tell me about your family? Brothers and sisters?

JK: So we have four children for my parents. I'm the oldest. Eldest. I have two brothers and one sister. And they all are...live in India. My parents are passed away. So...but we are very close family. But we have...my mother has ten siblings or boys. My mother is only one. But two brothers, they have ten boys. So my uncles, my aunts, we all live in the same village. So then they all, we 00:06:00all...everybody got educated and then they are...you know, schoolteachers, some of them are farmers. So we are...when we go home, then we all meet our cousins and distant cousins and everybody. But otherwise, the...my village...my grandfather, my mother's father, was the...what you call...he's...yeah...no, my village came is...James Patter, which is my grandfather's name. And he donated some land to church and then...yeah, so that's the Lutheran church there. And then...but otherwise, you know, friends and relatives, all my village, all are more...my own people, than someone else. So that's the way you know everybody. 00:07:00So we see them...everybody.

SK: Not only that. We are Christians from...you know, from last hundred years. You know, my families--

JK: Yeah.

SK: ...were all Christians, almost hundred years, you can say.

JK: Yeah.

SK: We went to all Adventist schools, I mean Christian schools--.in our colleges and everything. I worked in a Christian...in the institution in Bangalore for a while. I worked in Pune and Bangalore. And Narsapur, where I grew up and went to school. Then I came to the United States.


SK: In 1980.

ST: OK. So with that...so you talked a little bit about India. Can you share a 00:08:00little bit about what your lives in India were like or any memories, special memories about what living in India was like?

JK: Well...our childhood is pretty much normal. And then we enjoyed so much outdoors. And we have...we have so much farmland. We grow lot of rice and then...all vegetables and everything. And then we are fortunate, we live very close to river and Bay of Bengal. So...so we never had a food problem. So...we had very comfortable childhood when we were growing up. Then...and we went to schools there, schools and college there. Then...but always greenery and nice 00:09:00place, where we came from.

SK: I...I remember when I was eight years old...in India...no, when I was three years old, we got independence. Indian independence. After that, after five years, we got...what is that...elections. Whole country, we had first elections were took place. So I was only eight years old that time. I was enjoying because all these parties are come there, slogans, and we used to go, meet...see all that things. The day they were electing, they brought the...all kinds of vehicles, the buses....any kind of vehicle, they used to come home and took the people with them to the voting booth. And the...the first voting...we were just 00:10:00running around and watching this...the people coming and taking them to the elections. That was an interesting scene. The first elections of India.

ST: OK. What year was that?

SK: That was 1950. I don't know the month or date. I know it was 1950.

ST: Do--so do you remember...I guess you were way too young to remember independence.

SK: I was eight-year-old.

ST: Do you remember independence?

SK: No. Independence night...I don't remember all that. I was only five years.

JK: We know...we know in high school, my high school, President Kennedy assassinated. That time we got the holiday for our school.

ST: Oh. When President Kennedy was assassinated?

JK: Yeah, that was in 1963, and yes.

SK: Yeah. '64 or something '60.

JK: '62.

SK: I was coming from Pune. I was coming on the train when I was coming to Hyderabad. That night, it happened, Nehru--when...

JK: President Kennedy.

SK: President Kennedy died. And I kept my shoes under the bench, you know, where 00:11:00I was sitting. The morning when I got up I lost the shoes. There's no shoes. And then somebody spoke--

JK: I think that was 1962 when he died.

SK: No...

ST: I think '63.

SK: '63.

JK: I was in high school at that time.

SK: And then I walked barefoot. I went to my friend's place. And then wanted to buy shoes. All the stores in the Hyderabad were closed. Nothing is open.

ST: Because of Kennedy's assassination?

SK: Yeah, because of Kennedy's assassination.

JK: I mean it was very--

SK: India was so much--

JK: Respected.

SK: ...fond of Kennedy I think.

JK: I remember that time. The whole school...we went home. We were so happy because the school was closed.

SK: No buses, no trains. Nothing that whole day. I have to travel some more, 00:12:00another two, three hundred miles. I stuck in Hyderabad with a friend's family. I don't have shoes, I have to borrow my friend's sister's shoes, because that's the only thing that fits me.

JK: You know, but when we were growing up, we have floods a lot. Every year we used to get floods.

SK: Godavari.

JK: In our home. In Godavari, river is just like Willamette...bigger than, larger than Willamette River. Willamette River, where we used to live. So every year we used to have floods coming. And then we used to go...and fishing. And then some of the houses were--

SK: Floating on the river.

JK: Floating on the river because of the floods. We used to go and collect some of the utensils. It was lot of fun, I mean, for us. The children, we have fun. And also rosewood and teak wood, because of the jungles washed away like that.


SK: They used to come and--

JK: Yeah, we used to come and collect all those things. And also, when we were growing up, no electricity. So we used to have that...kerosene lamps. Yeah, we are using that one. So by eight o'clock, by seven o'clock, we eat and then go to bed. But then we get up early in the morning because no, no electricity, you know, we used to read on these things...all streetlights we used to have. We used to go and read books there sometimes. So that's the way we were...and also, we always have the moonlight. We used to...all the children...

SK: Used to play--

JK: ...play...until nine o'clock. I mean, until we go to bed, we used to play on the roads. So we never had a fear or anything like that. We can go anywhere 00:14:00whenever we want, whenever we come. Then parents always...the girls should come home before six o'clock. Yeah. But in our area, we can play until eight, in front of our house. So....and also in front of, behind and in front, we used to have canals. So the people used to fish with hooks in front of our house. Because that's the flowing water at that time. It's not like a...it's not like a stagnated water. It always flows, the water. So...and also, behind our house, it's full of paddy...rice fields. So we always get fresh air. And you know, I don't think we had any fans those days because there was no electricity. So...and also when we're growing up, no radio either.


SK: Yeah.

JK: So later...then maybe when I was like a ten-year-old, one of my uncle, distant uncle, he brought the radio from some country, he went there and he brought it there. So by three o'clock, we used to have storytelling and then movies used to come in the radio. So my parents used to tell us, "OK, finish all your work and then by three o'clock, you can go. Otherwise you will not go." Yeah, so we used to...we had lot of fun, all of sitting together in front of radio. Then we used to listen to the songs and stories and things like that. And also in our...when Indira Gandhi's coming to villages in our area, then we sat...we went morning eight o'clock until ten o'clock in the night, and she 00:16:00couldn't come, something happened, her helicopter or something like that. So all...we all the people in the whole ground, we used to go and sit waiting for Indira Gandhi to come.

SK: She came around midnight. Until that time, we were sitting there--

JK: And no food! All the stores are--

SK: Emptied! They sold everything they had.

JK: Twenties. Experienced that one, election. Everybody likes to go and vote in India. From eighteen to all the old women until she's ninety years old. Everyone goes and then they take bullock carts. And some people go on by buses. And some people carry them and take them. Everybody does. That is the greatest in India. 00:17:00Everybody likes to vote. Elections.

SK: We have so many parties. Not two parties, maybe thirty....maybe ten, fifteen parties are there. Everybody, they choose their own.

JK: When we were there, that's what, everybody likes to vote. Especially the...you know, local mayors, then, what you call--

SK: Panchayat raj.

JK: Then who else? Oh, Congressmen. There lot of people, congresspeople, congressmen.

SK: Congress, communists, socialists. Prajaras.

JK: See, in our own family, one of my cousins stood for the congressmen. Yeah. So everybody goes and vote...and telling people to vote for my cousin.

ST: Did he win?

JK: He won. He won.

ST: He won. Oh. So he went to the India parliament or the state?

SK: State.

JK: State, state. Or city.

ST: One of my friend, very close friend of mine, he stood for elections. He 00:18:00stood for Panchet Raj.

JK: That's--panchet raj means--that's a congressman here, in city.

SK: Panchet Raj. Actually, he was elected to be a ward...ward...you know, the wards are there.

ST: Oh, like a city council?

JK: Yeah, city council.

SK: Like that, as soon as he was done, they made him the Panchat president! Because the politics was such a way it happened, suddenly they had to elect somebody.

JK: City council, city council.

SK: Even though he was not ready, he was the first time election. They made him--

JK: And he was young too! He's not that...I think he's in thirties or twenties?

SK: Twenties. Twenties.

JK: Interesting Indian politics.


ST: My question is kind of going back to how your family was all Christian. So my question was how was it like being Christians in a majority Hindu-Muslim country?

JK: In my village, missionaries came to my village. Then my grandfather gave the land for the missionaries. Then he became a Christian, his name was Golla James. Then in our family, his only family, we are Christians than...that village. Rest of them are not. So my Grandfather James has five brothers and sisters. One of his sisters is his (Sam's) grandmother. So we are--Sam and I--second cousins. So then all of them...then we started the school there, in Lutheran high school. 00:20:00Then...but most of them, majority of people, are our own...my grandfather's cousins, siblings, and all those things. So we never come across with any Hindu people. So majority of us, whole...my town, my village, is only Christians. That's why we don't have any other...this thing.

SK: For me, I grew up...you know, I'm Christian. But we have more contact with all the other people. The Hindu families, they come and go. Doesn't matter whether...what...what...any caste or anything...or anything. They all, whether it is Brahmin, Kamas, or Rajas...


JK: We don't know the difference.

SK: We don't have any difference. They all come to our house. They eat with us, we go to their home, their weddings, and their many functions. They come to our places. Even Muslims. We used to go to their Ramzan things. And they come to our homes and we all...because...especially because my family, my parents, they all travel different parts in Andhra. We lived in Nellore, we lived in Ongole, we...Vijaywada. Visakapatnam...

JK: Hyderabad.

SK: Hyderabad. Nellore. All these places.

JK: Because his father was transferring.

SK: My father was travelling to different places and different kinds of people come to our house.

JK: So we don't have any...any, "Oh, you're a Hindu, or you're a Muslim--" We don't have any of those things. We used to go and we all are the same. The 00:22:00choice of choosing God, of religion is a personal. But there, we always meet with everybody. Even Hindu festivals, we used to go. And Christmas, they used to come. But we don't celebrate Christmases like a big deal or any other one. Diwali, everybody will celebrate, because that's the festival of lights. So then, that's the reason we don't...we never felt...tension or stressed out for religion things or caste things like that. Because we went to same schools. You know, if you go...but in our school, all, whole communities--

SK: All communities come.

JK: All communities come to same school.


SK: Christian school, many communities come.

JK: Because mostly Christian school, all Hindus come to Christian school.

SK: I have a couple of interesting experiences I have. When we are growing up in high school, we know one girl, a Brahmin girl, come to school and all that. We used to speak to her and all that. When we went to Pune, I went to Pune, she was married by then, and she was...with her husband she came to Pune. There we met her in a bus and we became very close friends. And she used to come to our school...you know, boarding school, I mean hostels. She used to come with her 00:24:00children, she'll carry and come when her husband went to work. She used to spend with us all the time. We used to go to their home and eat with her family and her husband is so beautiful.

JK: People who are educated, they don't have any problem. The people who are uneducated, they are the one...caste system. Otherwise...because we have education, we only associated with educated people. Right?

SK: No--

JK: So that's why we don't have any differences those days. But nobody ever pinpointed us so that's why we never experienced. So we don't have any other misunderstandings or anything like that. But the present, we don't know, because we came here thirty-six years ago. But when we were growing up, when we were studying, when we were working, we didn't have any other this thing.

SK: All our friends...no difference ,we never felt anything. Religion is religion, personal, nothing to do with our relations.

JK: It's the same thing. If I...my religion I can't impose on you.


SK: That's a problem.

JK: But whatever you choose, that's it. I can't force on my kids, but when they're growing up, I just plant them, this is the way I do things. But when you're growing up, you have your intelligence, and you know...you want to...close to God, you worship. If you don't have...but I...even if I want you to do it...but you won't do it because until you choose to do it. That's what. But many people think...oh, the Christians are coming to...this thing...they're converting people, but conversion is not someone tells. Unless you research, you read, you know what you are doing.

SK: This is personal.

JK: Long time ago, Rama and Krishna, they were kings, but still people are 00:26:00worshipping him. But that's their choice. That's the way we think. Religion is individual.

SK: That's the way we're brought up.

JK: You want to go to salvation. Everybody wants to go to heaven, right? That's only motive. Religion is that. That's what we feel like that.

ST: OK. Thank you. So now I kind of wanted to talk about the United States. So my question is when did you move to the United States and what brought you here?

SK: We came in 19--

JK: We came in 1980, in December. Before that, I applied a job. Before that I was working in a school, residential school. I was a dean of girls, there. Then 00:27:00I also went to school as a nurse, RN. So then when I applied a job, here...The reason I applied a job...lot of my friends, Sam's friends are in--

SK: United States.

JK: States. They always comes...it will be nice, you come there. So, then...but then...

SK: Nen chepthundi. (I will tell.)

JK: Then...we tried many times, but...one of my...through friend, then I applied a job. Then I got a job here, that's why with my kids, with my older daughter is one-and-a-half, then my younger one is six months old, then we came to United States. Then when we came here, then I started working in a nursing home. And 00:28:00then...it was not...nursing home working...it was very hard for me. With small children. But the survival...I have to work hard. Then he got a job in Hewlett-Packard. Then after three years, then I got a job in Hewlett-Packard. In the beginning, we didn't like it...the hard work, you know, and everything is strange. We don't see that many Indians that time. So we...kind of hard. But then later on...

SK: We had a hard time.

JK: And also we are fortunate because our church is here. And then we used to go to church and we associated with all the members. And then we got used to it.

SK: A problem when we first came...we faced...is to raise children. Because they 00:29:00were very small. Both of us working. Unless we both work, we can't survive properly. So we had hard time...

JK: I used to work nights and he used to work daytime. So that we can take care of the kids.

ST: Oh, OK.

SK: We never wanted to put them with babysitter. Babysitter, we don't know them, how they will...

JK: How they are going to treat our children.

SK: So we were scared. So Auntie used to work in the night. Ten or...ten to...ten to morning.

JK: 11 to 7.

SK: 11 to 7.

JK: And he used to work 7 to 3.

SK: I started working when I was working, morning 7 to 3 o'clock. I come after 3 o'clock and auntie will go to--

JK: Work.

SK: ...bed or do something.


JK: As soon as he comes home, I go to bed, because I have to sleep to...in order to go to work. So--

SK: That was a hard time.

JK: Until the kids were twelve year old, I was working nights to take care of them. But once they are twelve, then they know, bus comes, to go there.

SK: But we had a good community.

JK: Community really helped us. Even preschool and kindergarten...and then Corvallis friends, I mean those who are in school, the community, they really helped us...to take them to school sometimes. We used to have lot of snow, those days. So you could come, go, and pick them up, then they used to bring them home.

SK: The community really helped us here. And not only that. We have friends who 00:31:00were in Washington D.C. They helped us...first phone was given to put it in our house. A friend of mine, childhood friend...he sent money to install my own phone. And then my childhood friend, high school friend who sent money to buy a car. Those are the things that helped even when we first came to America.

JK: You know, but we felt so much homesick, because we haven't seen Indians almost one year.

SK: Yeah, in Corvallis.

JK: But you know, the fortunate...because we have no language problem. But otherwise...because we never used to have...no rice here those days. No spices. And then for food we really struggled. You know? I mean everything we don't 00:32:00eat...even the cheese...someone gave us a Christmas gift. We are not used to eat cheese, this thing. We kept it almost two, three months, then I threw it off. So like that, food was very hard for us in those days. Especially we are vegetarians. So we kind of...hard to find food.

SK: We can't go to restaurants.

JK: And when you go to restaurants, they only give potatoes, but not vegetables. Except salad, you know.

SK: Salad also....

JK: We had very hard time. So we used to go to Canada, British Columbia, or Bay Area, San Francisco. Every six months we used to drive and bring all the spices and rice and dal and everything.

ST: You had to go all the way to Canada? Not even Seattle?

JK: Not even Seattle.

SK: Not even Seattle. We don't know Seattle that time.

JK: Canada means you get everything. So six months groceries we used to get. We 00:33:00used to go in the seven hours drive to there. Then we have friends there, so we used to spend night over there, then the evening we used to...next day we used to come. Just like we'd go on Friday then we come. Whenever we have three-day weekend, week, then we used to drive and go and bring that. Same thing in Bay Area. We struggled, we struggled when we first came. But then we worked...we worked hard. Never...

SK: First five years, we were homesick.

JK: Yeah. So then we went home. First we think, why we have to stay here, we have jobs there, we have our own home there. All our relatives are there. Why in the world we have to stay here? We didn't come for the food, or job anything because we already have jobs there. And also, I never put a diaper for my kids 00:34:00there. Because I always have some maid come and do that. So things like that...and parents are close by. They always cook food and send to us. So that's the reason when we first came here, we have from scratch, we have to cook, clean, take care of the babies, go to work. I never dreamt about working so hard in America. We never thought when we were in India. So then after three months I used to torture...I mean I used to force, let's go home, let's go home, why in the world we stay here, like that. Then he always says, God has a plan. Maybe that's why we are here. And you wait for one year, two years, then we'll go home. Then after one to two years, then we got friends and then we got used to 00:35:00it. And kids started school. Then we accustomed with this culture.

SK: And not only that. First...after five years we stayed, we worked hard, we saved some money, after five years. On fifth year I had a gall bladder...in the hospital. As soon as the surgery was over, that's the time we planned to go to India. We saved some money, bought tickets. First when we came to America, we came with two tickets. Children came free those days. Then after we came here, five years, we stayed, we went to India with little bit of savings that we had.

JK: Yeah, we stayed two months there.

SK: We stayed two months. And we came back, then we went to Canada the same year and we came back. After a year, we bought our first house. That was...in six, seven years?


JK: No...in five years. '95 we bought that one.

SK: '96.

JK: '86.

SK: I mean '86. '86 we bought the first house.


JK: '85, yeah.

SK: Every time we went to India, came back, we went to Canada, drove and came back. Then we bought the first house. My friend's--my friend's graduation in Canada.

ST: So my next question is did you ever face prejudice from Americans based on the fact that you were Indian or that you were immigrants?

SK: No.

JK: No.

SK: No, we had lot of wonderful friends.

JK: Friends, and--

SK: Here, I have made friends with all...Americans.

JK: We are fortunate to come to Corvallis. We don't have--those prejudice or facing some problems, like that, we didn't have.

SK: We weren't different culture of people...we blend with all the people here. We never had any problem. We have lot of good friends.


JK: They treat us good. And we treat them good.

SK: We have blacks, and we have whites and we have...all different...

JK: They always come to our home. Our door is open. Anybody can come and eat and a lot of people...they always like to come to our home. Because--especially church members--and we are involved in the community. When our kids were small, we used to work for...what you call...you know, elderly people, giving food? What you call those things? Loving, like a care? You know, we used to go door to door, we used to supply food for the people like that. So many of us, they know us and we know most of them. So...but...kids...schoolteachers and community, everybody. We didn't have any problem with anyone. Not anyone.


ST: OK. Some people that I interviewed previously specifically talked about 9/11. So did that impact you in any way?

JK: No.

SK: No.

ST: Is there anything more you want to talk about, specifically the experience of moving to the United States? Either challenges or anything else?

JK: Oh. Well, see, that's what I told you in the beginning, we didn't like it, because of hard work. Then...before I started working, I wanted to go to school here, but because of children are very small, then I didn't get to go to school. I had to work to survive. So that's the reason...but...before I came, I thought, "oh, I can do lot of things in America." That's what I thought, that's why I came here. After experiencing. School and then again survive. So that's the reason--


SK: We are happy.

JK: But whatever education we had in India, with that, we got a job in Hewlett-Packard. Before that, I worked in Good Sam for three years. And then before that, I worked in a nursing home. That's the hardest part for me, working there for three years in nursing home as a nurse's aide. Then after I moved to Good Sam, then I felt a little bit better. Then moved to HP, then we had a very comfortable...we are able to educate our kids. They both went to a private school when they are up to ninth grade. So then...we were able to educate them here because of HP.

SK: They both went to high school in Corvallis and Oregon State.


JK: Both went to engineering, Oregon State University.

SK: Now they finished their Master's, they're working and they became good citizens, and we are very happy.

ST: Soyou talked a little bit about the general community of Corvallis, so I was wondering what the Indian community was specifically like at the time you moved here and how has that changed.

JK: When we first came, one year, we didn't meet any Indians, because very few people are there.. Then Oregon State University, some students came. Then we went to that...Indian--

SK: India Night.

JK: India Night. We met them there. Then there are three, four families. I mean, not families, single students. So after that, we were so happy, because they're 00:42:00coming to our home, we go there, and when our kids are small, they used to come and babysit our kids, like that. Then your dad and mom came later. Then we are more close families, two, three families that time. But now, most of the Indians...we know everybody. We always get together. And then we call them for dinner or lunch or potlucks or something like that. Any birthdays, graduation parties, all those things we always attend that one. So we have very good relations with every Indian who lives in Corvallis. The students who graduated from Oregon State, we have connections everywhere in United States. Everywhere. 00:43:00We go there, they come and visit us, and this is like their home. So majority of Oregon State University students who attended...who know them, so they always come and stay with us.

SK: Especially in eighties, the students who came from India...and they were...

JK: We used to help them.

SK: Culturally, they were different. Sometimes the language speaking and all that. We used to encourage them, if they need any help, go for shopping.

JK: Yeah, we used to take them.

SK: To find a room, or something or other. We used to go. JK: And we used to give furniture for them. They used to call us. I don't know how they came to know our phone number. They always called us and we used to go to Portland and pick them up.

SK: Portland--after a while...


JK: And they come and stay in our home until they find a room. And some of the students who got graduated but they didn't get jobs, they came and stayed in our home. Then after that, when they get the job, they went there. So we're kind of like godfathers, things like that. They used to come, we used to help people.

SK: Community help.

ST: That's really nice. So how has Corvallis changed as a whole from when you first moved here to now?

JK: Well, there's a lot of population now. There are lot of buildings on the ninth street. There were no shops, nothing's like a...small, small trees used to be there. Now all shopping center scale. And then...Corvallis increased a lot. In HP, to go to work, we never used to have that much traffic. Traffic 00:45:00here...you can see traffic here. Even to go from Corvallis to Portland, so much traffic. Population is really increased.

SK: When I first came, the Walnut Street, they planned it, to make that road. And they connected to the new HP. Circle.

JK: 20.

SK: And there used to be some motels on 9th Street. They are all demolished. New shops have come up. Railway station used to be from this side of downtown, they put it outside. And university, there lot of new buildings.

JK: Yeah, new buildings came. And also in Fred Meyer, Waremart used to be there. 00:46:00Opposite to Fred Meyer, Waremart used to be there.

SK: Food store.

JK: Food store, that's only store. Then after that, Winco, and then Walmart, KMart, Home Depot...what is that...this new one?

SK: Safeway--

ST: Market of Choice?

JK: Yes, Market of Choice.

SK: Payless.

JK: And there's this Natural...this thing All these stores came later. Only we used to have Bi-Mart and Rite-Aid. And then we used to have Richie's Market. That's the only three we used to have. And Safeway is downtown. But now three more Safeways came and two Bi-Marts now. Near Philomath.

SK: Development on the--

JK: And the Wilson's Park, all Indian community helped to build the Wilson School Park.

ST: The Wildcat Park?


SK: Not all, you know, few.

JK: Majority, Shankar, Bhaskar, everybody, they did that one. Then, that...one more park...Walnut Park? I don't whether that one is there or not.

SK: Yeah, there are lot of...new developments after we came.

JK: And new buildings. Timberhill, those apartments, you never had in front of your home. Those things, never had. Then even CH2M Hill built after we came. I look at the Good Sam area, those are wild trees and everything, now the houses came. So much development.

SK: Lot of development.

JK: Lot of people.

SK: They expanded the Corvallis. Especially in southern part. All the way...Willamette...southern part of Willamette River. There also, some houses 00:48:00came. And even Lewisberg is developed.

JK: What else?

ST: Yeah, the next question is just how has America as a whole changed from how it was when you arrived?

JK: Well...there are...I mean...airlines changed a lot because...before, we used to go freely and pick them up. After 9/11...now, you don't have that much intimacy of people. Everybody is typing on the text message. No postal, no letters. Before we used to send greeting cards. Now they're sending on iPhone or iPad. They're not calling anymore. They're always "how are you" text message. 00:49:00That individual...that love connection is gone. Everybody is busy with their own lives. Churchgoing is reduced. Before, everybody used to go to church. Lot of their children and all they're not coming to church anymore. That is a sad part. So...then...the community itself is changed a lot. There is no intimacy, there is no love. People want to do themself. They want to do their own. Before we used to go and visit people, things like that. Now we have to call. That time no cell phones those days. Only land phone. Even land phone was very expensive. So usually, people used to go or come, we travel a lot to help each other. So 00:50:00that's...the communication is changed. The love affection is changed. Even the airlines and...you know, things like that changed a lot.

ST: I kind of wanted to ask Sammy Uncle the same question so I'll hold off a bit. The next question is what change or impact do you think you had on Corvallis either in terms of your work or community service? What kind of impact do you think you had on the town?

JK: We do help. Before I used to...even on and off, we do hospitality. If anyone is sick, we go and provide food and then we go and take them to school or hospital or buy things for elderly people. Children...I used to go to children to give hot lunches. We go every once a week. And church especially. Cleaning 00:51:00schools, we used to go and clean up and do things like that. Then that way, we can help the community. Providing homeless people with food. We also give shelter to the people who are moving away and then they needed help, then we give home and shelter.

ST: Next thing is...what moments in your time...what specific historical events, world or American events that happened do you think had an impact on you?


JK: Not really...I don't know. What...well, 9/11 of course. Definitely. It was very eye-opening. And then also...you know, the wars happened. In Iran and Iraq at that time. How many of our soldiers gave their life. That made me sad because lot of children there under 25...lot of them...and then there was 9/11 of course, we lost so many people. Things like that. That definitely make us sad. What the world is going on. So we believe that God has...still saved good 00:53:00blessings for America. One person is good, God will bless rest of them. That's what I believe in.

ST: Next, I kind of wanted to ask about your children. How was it for your children to grow up here? For example, they kind of had two identities, being Indian-American .How was it growing up Indian-American because of those two cultural identities?

JK: Actually, my kids, both of them, they went to private school. That's a Christian school. So they never had any other relation with any other children 00:54:00because all Christian children only came. Then after that they went to Crescent Valley School. So they were witness to many people there. So they never had any problem with anybody. So they went there for good education and then college they went to OSU. Nothing impacted anything. They want them to study hard and good grades and they finished their college and went off. They're both got Master's degrees. And one is working for CISCO, other one is working for Johnson and Johnson.

ST: I kind of want to go back to the other questions. I have one more question. 00:55:00Actually, I have two more questions. How do you think you were changed by Corvallis?

JK: Actually...I don't think I have changed except wearing pants and shirts! Not really. Nothing much changed. Because there also I was working, here also I am working. Only thing I worked here harder than there. But in the beginning, I had little bit of hard time adjusting here. Once you are used to it, you go...I know we have to get children...to give a good education, comfort for my kids. That's 00:56:00only thinking I was thinking here..but then otherwise, I didn't change comparing there and here. Did we change anything? I don't think so. Because we are...all the time we are working, working. We only know how to work. And taking care of the kids, taking care of...buy the house. Make ourselves comfortable. That's it. It depends on ourselves how we are comfortable or not. When we are busy and you are getting everything, then it's OK...I didn't see any difference. Only thing, we were young there. Here...when you are young, you don't think anything.

ST: So you matured, kind of?


JK. Yeah, right. We are here more mature than there.

SK: We lived more here than there.

JK: We lived more years here than there. We are more Americanized than Indians.

SK: Half of our life is here. There we are young. You know, we wanted to achieve. That's one of the reasons we are here. Now we achieved...quite--

JK: We are retired now.

SK: We don't have any aspiration to do something more. We are just passing by.

ST: So my last question for you is do you want to share either the best memories you had in Corvallis? Either the best memory or the best memories.

JK: The best memories are...everything is best. Best memories...from our church. 00:58:00We always go for hikes and then we have good potlucks. And then our children...in university, all India Nights we used to go. India Nights. And then we participate, we help them. And especially in the beginning, 1980s, we used to go and help OSU students to cook, clean, and all those things we used to do for them. The best memories...my HP picnics. We used to enjoy a lot with all our coworkers. All those things, that's HP picnics with children and all, we used to enjoy a lot. That's the best memories for HP. We are fortunate HP is in Corvallis. That's my best memories.


ST: If you want to go, that's OK. I'll ask the remainder questions. My question is how has America as a whole changed from when you arrived to the country to how it is now?

SK: What are you talking about--politically?

ST: Anything.

JK: Overall.

SK: Overall? The only...the last thirty years. We never...in the beginning, when we came, we never had...very, very calm and quiet. But slowly the gun shootings...you know, there's innocent children who are shot for nothing. The 01:00:00life...life is...the country has created fear in everyone. Your children goes to school, we used to be very comfortable when they go to school and come back. Now we are not able to be that safe until they come back home. This gun control problem is...I mean, they are not able to do anything. It's true some people think...in this modern world, why do we need gun? We don't need gun. In the modern world, we don't need...we don't want to fight with other people. What's the necessity to fight with other people?


In the olden days, we used to live in jungles, less people...some wild animals come, we need protection. But now, we are educated people. And there is a part of reasoning...that...why we need to carry guns? I didn't understand. This gun control should be there in this country. I feel until that is not...this...shootings of children and other things taking place more and more now in America than when I first came. That was the biggest problem. It's like a cancer. We are not in a Middle Eastern country where they always fight...for 01:02:00survival. Here, what survival do we need for guns. We don't need guns for survival. It's a peaceful country and a wonderful country. For everything there's a law, and if you follow the law, you'll be peaceful, happy person, but if you don't follow the law, you'll get into some trouble. Because guns are so prevalent in this country, nobody's safe. Guns make them to kill and just get angry. In order to kill. That's the thing, I don't like...that is going to...happening more and more.

JK: And not only that, one more thing I want to add--because lot of single parents, children don't have both parents' guidance. Mother always goes with 01:03:00work...one parent goes to work, then kids, no one there to guide them. But they always talk about teachers has to discipline them. You cannot control one child at home, how do you expect teacher will control that many children? So actually, first five years, first ten years, parents' guidance are number one. Then teachers are second. Their second parents. They only can help but you cannot...you don't expect them to do everything. So that's why children are not getting education, first thing. Then the parents don't have time to raise them. That's why we did...our kids, we worked one night and the other day time, that's 01:04:00how we take care of kids. That's why our children never gave us any problem. Because every movement, we see them...what they're doing. And we always encourage other kids come to our home so that we know what kind of friends our children are associated. So that is the thing. Community has to open their eyes and see that you cannot expect a child to grow without parents' guidance. That's why they have so many problems. So...that's the thing we have seen since we came here.

ST: OK. So I only have two more questions. Or actually three more questions--so what change--no, actually two more questions. What change or impact do you think 01:05:00you had in terms of your work or Corvallis that you contributed to the town or to your work? Anything you're particularly proud of accomplishing or doing?

SK: That's really hard to...helping individually. But...there's nothing that extraordinary to tell.

ST: What do you think are the best memories you've had in Corvallis?

SK: Corvallis is a beautiful place. Very, very calm, quiet. The people are all 01:06:00loving people. I don't think anything against...people are very, very nice people, try to help each other. They want to be a community. Work together. I think that's the main thing about this town. It's a very cozy, small...all...we know lot of people. Not many people, but as much as we come across. It's very nice. No...patriotism or fighting or theft or vandalizing. All those things are not in this town, as far as I know. I've never come across. It's a peace-loving city. And people are good, help when they ask for help. That's all. That is 01:07:00Corvallis. That's it. I don't know anything else.