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Mori, Perry and Chiyo Transcript Part 3
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TitleMori, Perry and Chiyo Transcript Part 3
Date2008-03-15
IntervieweeMori, Perry and Chiyo
InterviewerUhlig, Elizabeth
TranscriberYee, Marrssa and Ockert, Ingrid
SubjectJapanese Americans
Business--Study and teaching
Travel
Geographic SubjectDenver (Colo.)
Albuquerque (NM)
Original FormatMicrosoft Word
Data of Digital Converstion2012-02-28
Original CollectionJapanese-American Association of Lane Co., OR, Oral History Collection
RestrictionsPermission to use must be obtained from the Oregon Multicultural Archives, OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center
File Nameperry_and_chiyo_mori_part3.pdf
LanguageEnglish
Full TextJapanese-American Association of Lane County, Oregon - Oral History Collection Perry and Chiyo Mori – Part 3 Date: March 15, 2008 Place: Perry and Chiyo Mori's home Eugene, OR Length: 00:38:17 Interviewee: Perry and Chiyo Mori Interviewer: Elizabeth Uhlig Transcriber: Marissa Yee and Ingrid Ockert [00:00] [EU] Okay, this is part three. Chiyo, while you have your book out, why don't we get some of the dates down? [CM] Okay. [EU] Well, let's see. [CM] Ichitaro Sato. [EU] That's your father? [CM] My father. He was born on August 10th, 1881 and he died August 28th, 1950. My mother is Toki Sato. Her birth date was August 30th, 1897 and she died January 27th, 1964. [EU] Okay. [CM] And my brother was November 11th, 1923 and he died July 27th, 1986. [EU] Okay. What – [CM] My sister is three years older than I. My brother was two years younger. [EU] Okay. You said your sister had graduated from Berkeley. [CM] She majored in Economics. [EU] And then she got married? 2 [CM] Yeah, she got married in 1950. [EU] Okay and where did she live then? [CM] In Sacramento. [EU] Okay. Is she still there? [CM] Yes, and then my bother graduated – got his Bachelor's from Denver University in 1944 and then he went to Harvard and I think in '45, I think he was in '45 or '46, he was drafted, so he came back to Denver and joined the service from there. [EU] When he was at Harvard, what did he study? [CM] Law. [EU] Law. And then so he was drafted, too? [CM] Uh-huh. So he came back to Denver and then from Denver he joined the service. After the basic, he went to Fort Snelling to the language school. [EU] He was very similar to Perry. [PM] Oh, but, I didn't go to language school. [CM] My brother went in as a Lieutenant and from there he – from language school, the war ended, so he used to go to Japan – what did he do? He used to go to check something. [PM] I don't remember. [CM] He – and then after he finished his service, he went back to Harvard and he finished up in 1950. [PM] Was it '50? [CM] Yeah. [EU] And what did he study then? 3 [CM] Oh, he finished law school. [EU] He finished law school. [CM] And then he went to California. He was married in '46 I think. '45 or '46. And he went to work for the – wasn't it the Attorney General's Office in California? [PM] Yeah, I think so. [EU] In Sacramento. [PM] Oh, he was working in the Bay area, wasn't he? [CM] I thought it was in the Bay area. And then he got a job a teaching at Boalt Hall, the University of California Law School and that's where he ended up teaching. [EU] Okay, and where was that? [PM] Boalt Hall? The University of California Berkeley Law School and that's where he was until he passed away. [EU] And then your parents after they came back from the camps in Denver, they had a nursery? [CM] Mhm. [EU] In Sacramento. [CM] Mhm. They had the one hotel and they hired someone to run the place. [EU] And so they stayed there? [CM] They lived at the nursery. [EU] They lived at the nursery. Okay. Could you go over the dates for Perry's family? I'm not sure we got those on the tapes. Do you have the birth date and – [05:00] 4 [CM] Perry's father is Kanichi Mori and his birthday is February 28th, 1890 and he passed away May 7th, 1943. Now, mother is Yoshi Mori and her birthday was December 24, 1898 and she passed away February 13th, 1991. [EU] Okay. [CM] Now, the grandparents, I've got that. [EU] Okay. [CM] Perry's grandfather was – on the mother's side was Bunichi Jumura and he was born in 1868 and he passed away 1931. The grandmother was Suru Ura. [PM] That's an unusual name. [CM] And her birthday was 1872 and she passed away 1937. [EU] Perry, your mother lived until she – 1991. Where did she live? [PM] Denver. [EU] In Denver. With your brother? [PM] Oh no, she lived with her sister for a while and then she was staying at this – [CM] Tamai Towers. [PM] Which was kind of a senior resident place. [EU] Was that in downtown Denver? [CM] Yeah. [PM] It's on Lawrence, isn't it? [CM] On Larimer and Lawrence. [PM] Between Lawrence. On 18th street. No, no 21st / 22nd? 5 [CM] 20th. [PM] 20th? [CM] Maybe where the Pacific Mercantile – the Japanese grocery store. [PM] The Buddhist church is right there. [EU] That's a big – I remember that's at Sakura Square? [PM] Yeah, that's where it is. That's where it is. [EU] There's a big square. [CM] That's where she was until about two years before she passed away. She went into a retirement – [PM] An assisted care type place. She lived until – how old was she? 92? [CM] Yeah. [PM] When she died. There's longevity on my mother's side. My aunt – her younger sister – would have lived to be a hundred in a couple of days. [CM] At the end of the month, she would have been one hundred. She died at 99, but she would have been one hundred in a couple of weeks. [PM] And the one that was living in Japan, we think she lived to over a hundred. [EU] Wow. [PM] But, we're not sure of it. [EU] So, you were married in 1950 – [CM] '49. [PM] '49. 6 [EU] '49. And in? [PM] Denver. [EU] In Denver. And when did you move to Albuquerque? [CM] 1951. September of 1951. [EU] And then Perry you started teaching – [PM] Yeah. Well, I was working in Denver. I had this job with a small CPA firm and I was there about a year, and I told the boss I was going to try it for a year – teaching. I came back in a year and he looked at me and said, "You're not coming back are you?" And I said, "No". [EU] No? [PM] Yeah. [EU] So, you like teaching? [PM] Yeah. [EU] And what did you teach? [PM] Accounting. Basically. I taught a little law. [EU] So, you were in the Business Department? [PM] Yeah, in the Business School. [EU] The Business School? [PM] Yeah, mhm. [CM] And at night when it was raining in 1960, he started taking law classes. [10:00] [PM] Yeah. [Laughter] Part time. 7 [CM] While teaching full time, he was taking law classes. And then he finished in '65, he got his law degree in '65. [EU] Why did you decide to study law? [PM] Always wanted to. I got the opportunity and I thought well, I'll go to law school and get my own answers. Well, you find that by going to law school, you don't get the answers [laughter]. [PM] But, it's a different type of training. It's worth the time you spend there and after I graduated there, well, every now and then, I teach a law class and I taught one class in the Law School and I taught one class in the Business School. But, basically, I was teaching accounting. [EU] So, when you taught in the Law School, what kind of courses did you teach? [PM] Oh, well, I was teaching a business course or something in accounting – financial statements. [EU] Did you ever practice law? [PM] No. [EU] No? [PM] I figured to practice law would be the same as practicing accounting. I was just going to stay in teaching. I enjoyed the classroom. [EU] What did you enjoy about it? [PM] Oh, matching wits with the kids. That was fun. You had to be on your toes. I mean you got some good, smart students. When I was a student, I always remembered I used to – if I could get the prof up a tree, boy, that made the day. I'm sure there were students there trying to do the same with me. So, you had to be on your toes and it's a good class to keep your mentality up. [EU] So, how long did you teach there? [PM] 30 years. 8 [EU] 30 years. Did you also participate – I mean, in the whole academic – I mean with committees and tenure? [PM] Oh yeah, you had committees. Oh yeah, you worked for tenure and as they say if you want to become a full professor – tenured – then you put your time in and if you do your job right the you'll get there. So, by the time that came, I got my tenure – I got my full professor, you know? I got everything up as far as I was going to go. [EU] So, you like the academic setting? [PM] Oh, I like the teaching. I didn't care for the little stuff that went along with the committees, and this and that but it was fun. And you found similar professors you know taught like you did and you got along well with them and you had some you didn't get along well which is true in any place, you know. [EU] Well, what – was there a Japanese American community in Albuquerque? [PM] Not a community. There was – [CM] A club. [PM] A JCL club was there. [CM] A Japanese American Citizens League which is national. [EU] So, you both joined JACL. [CM] Yeah. [PM] Yeah, we were members and we participated in the operations of it, but – [CM] But, that was the only thing that they had for the Japanese community. [EU] What kinds of events did they have for you? What kinds of events did they have for you? [CM] Oh well, they had meetings every month – was it month or every other month? [PM] I don't remember. They had meetings. 9 [CM] Luncheons. Luncheon meetings. [PM] They had a – [CM] Like a festival once a year. [PM] Not as big as the one they have here. I was surprised by how big it was here. [EU] The Asian celebration? [PM] Yeah. [CM] But, over there, it's just a Japanese American Omatsuri. You dressed up also. [PM] But, they had the same kinds of things, the dancing and the drums and – [15:03] [EU] Did they have Japanese stores you could - Japanese grocery stores? [CM] They had Japanese grocery stores. Two of them before – oh, until what? About 10 no more than that– 15 years ago? [PM] Yeah, 15. [CM] All the old folks all closed up. And now they have all the Vietnamese stores. [PM] Or Korean stores basically. [CM] Yeah, Korean, Chinese or whatever. [PM] They had Japanese restaurants there the same as it is here. The thing is today, most of the Japanese restaurants are Koreans. [EU] What part of Albuquerque did you live in? [CM] Well, I would say the – not the old Albuquerque but not the new either because there was only two high schools at the time that we moved. Albuquerque High and Highland and we lived south of – a couple blocks south of Highland High School and a few blocks east of us beyond 10 there was just open mesa – nothing and not it's filled to the foothills, so it's grown quite a bit. Not the same place as when we first moved there, I thought that was the most backward city I had ever lived in…'cause they had outhouses in town and midwife signs out and I had never seen those things before. [PM] Of course, that's your typical old town, you know? New Mexico was settled about the same as California and you know they – California, the padres came up from Mexico and they did the same thing in New Mexico, they came up the Rio Grande River. They had the same kind of names, same Spanish, Indians. [EU] Did you like living in such a dry – [PM] Oh yeah, we like that. [EU] Oh, you like that? That take a while to get use to that? [CM] Oh, in the beginning, what got to me was we lived in the faculty apartments when we first moved there. When the wind blows under the door and on the window sill would be dust and I mean the sand would blow in. [PM] Well, that was you know, not much was settled there and now it's pretty well enclosed now, so you don't see that. [CM] Well, in the beginning, that was something that I'd never come across. [PM] In fact, going down there between Santa Fe and Albuquerque on the highway you have Indians with their big lean-tos on the highway you know selling their potteries and Chiyo saw that and went "oh my god" you know. But, they don't have that anymore – on the roads anymore. [CM] Well, I was just saying, growing up in the city, you don't run into a lot of those things. [EU] Yeah. [PM] Chiyo always says she grew up in a city. [EU] She grew up in a city. Yeah. [CM] Well – 11 [PM] In fact if she ever made something, you know, the old customs or things, her answer used to be "oh yeah, stores" [laughter] [PM] The kids are doing the same things that we were doing when we were kids and going right back and making mochi and things. [EU] Oh mochi and things. [CM] Oh yeah. We had stores. Order it and pick it up. [PM] We went to Albuquerque and that was the first time she ever made mochi. [EU] Who did you make mochi with? Did you have your own – [PM] Oh, yeah, they had our own everything. Yeah, the usu. [CM] The people who had been there longer, they took us in like nothing flat and they made us into a family. Even after the kids left, we always, we were invited to the family affairs. [EU] What was their name? [CM] The Yonemoto's and they were really good to us. [PM] Yeah, they were. [CM] From the old folks in, from the beginning, they were very kind. They took us in. [EU] And tell you how to make mochi. [PM] Oh, I mean, I had done it before, but she had never done it before. Now, we have the machines, you know? Things have changed. [EU] Did you – were you close friends with other Japanese American families there? [PM] Yeah. And there were not a lot, but there were many war brides – oh, you know the – remember the GIs? We got to know them pretty well. 12 [CM] Because most of the Nisei girls were working. They were working and [sneeze] these girls were not working. They took me in. I couldn't understand everything they were saying, but that's all right. They were very good to me. [PM] We had the Sandia base there, which part of an atomic, Livermore? Then Los Alamos outside of Sante Fe and then Sandia where they, the corporation, was in Albuquerque which did parts you know. They hired a lot of oriental people out there. In fact, there are a lot of Chinese out there now. We never met a lot of them, a lot of professional people, doctors and things that we never did meet. They would never associate with the clubs or anything so we never did have a chance to meet them. I met many at the University. I was the first one hired there, Japanese, at the University. [EU] The University of New Mexico? [PM] Since then, you know they've hired a lot, which makes it a lot easier. You know, someone breaks in and makes it a little easier. [CM] Even after the alteration at DNF, I was the first one they hired. And my boss there at the department told everybody "You better be good to her." And after that the others were hired. [EU] Was it difficult for you being the first Japanese American at the University? [PM] Well I was worried. At the beginning, you don't know what is going to happen, you know? And every time I met someone, they said, "Why, we've heard about you." I mean the Dean talked to almost everyone. [CM] And the school was small. [PM] And he talked to most of the faculty to see what their reaction was going to be. They knew I was coming, you know, which made it easier. And even in the classroom, the first time you meet them, you're scared what's going to happen. Of course after a couple of meetings, then you don't worry anymore. But the first couple, you wonder, oh I wonder what's going to happen, you know? [CM] That was a good atmosphere. They were all very kind. [PM] The faculty was very nice to me. 13 [CM] The school was a small enough where they had faculty picnics. And then they had a ball where the governor came. [PM] The Regent's Ball. One of those command performance things. You show up [laughter]. It's a lot bigger now. [PM] You know the same is here. They say that Eugene is a pretty big place, but it's pretty small. [EU] Sometimes it seems like it's a small town. [PM] It does. I look at it and think, it is a small town. [EU] And Albuquerque, the town's just spread out so much. [PM] It's spread out and it's big now and we have these other little towns around it. We're a lot bigger than Eugene now, you know. [EU] Did you go to Sante Fe or Taos much? [PM] No, you know we go through it… never spent much time up there. Above Taos, we use to go fishing. [CM] In our younger days, we use to go more. [PM] Then Sante Fe got to be a rich man's town. The artists came in. [CM] Yeah, actors and actresses. [PM] Yeah they started buying up the land there, and it really started going up. [25:00] [EU] Chiyo, did you work then, in Albuquerque? [CM] No, we moved there in September and our first child was born in November and I never worked. [EU] So what's his name? Your first? 14 [CM] John. [PM] And Mary Jane, well she was born, what? [CM] '54. [EU] And where's John now? [CM] He lives in Clarksville, Arkansas. [EU] And Mary's here in Eugene…and what did they study then? When they went to school. [CM] John got his Bachelor's out of University of New Mexico and he got his Masters in Fine Arts out of Southern Illinois University in-- [PM] Carbondale. [CM] Then Mary Jane got her Bachelors at the University of Colorado and got her Masters at the University of Oregon and then a law degree from the University of Oregon. [EU] And when did you retire? [PM] ‘82. [EU] ‘82. And when did you move to Eugene? [PM] Last year. [CM] Last year. So 2007…May of 2007. [EU] So you were retired in Albuquerque for what…25 years? Did you do traveling? What did you do? [PM] Oh yeah, we did traveling quite a bit while we were still physically able, you know. [CM] Mary Jane came to Oregon in 1975, and then after he retired, we use to come every year, once a year. And then we would go to Sacramento and the Bay Area once a year because I had family there. And then we would go up to Denver two or three times a year. In between, we use to take trips with a group in Denver, golfing with a group that he played with. 15 [EU] Did you play golf? [CM] No. [PM] That was a big group. [CM] But I went along. [EU] Where did you go on these golfing trips? [CM] Well, we went to Hawaii, what, about three or four times? [PM] Yeah. [CM] We went to New Zealand, Australia; we went to Ireland, Scotland, and England. We use to go to South Carolina, you know, Myrtle Beach. We went about three times, four times. [EU] So these travels overseas were always around golf? [CM] Uh-huh. [PM] Yeah, they'd play golf and I could do, but there was enough time that you did whatever you wanted to do. And Chiyo would go along and go visiting or sightseeing. [CM] Well, overseas trip, we use to pay extra and have the man who had the travel agency go with us. Then he'd take care of all the gratuities and all the restaurants. [PM] He took care of everything. [CM] Everything. He'd line up all the places to eat, he'd been there before, so. [PM] Yeah, made it really easy. [CM] Then he'd take care of all the luggage and it was very enjoyable. [EU] so you'd like the traveling overseas? [PM] Yeah, that was fun. 16 [CM] Then there were two couples in Denver that we use to travel with and we use to go to Myrtle Beach, we went about three times, to Myrtle beach for two weeks at a time, and then we use to go mushroom hunting up in the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming. And we would go fishing with them. [PM] I went out in Colorado. [CM] Well, we'd go fishing in Colorado. [PM] See today they're scared to go across the river down there. Down Morrison, through there. [CM] Oh you mean… [PM] You know the drug gangs have moved in and killing everybody all the time, you know. They claim they're losing money down there. [CM] We've done enough traveling. [PM] We're at the place now where we can't travel anymore [laughs]. [EU] Chiyo, do you keep up with sewing or knitting? [CM] No, I haven't since I've moved here. I was knitting and crocheting at home, I mean in Albuquerque, but I haven't done too much sewing in the last few years. It's not that easy. You know, you have to an ironing board up and press while you sew and press, just couldn't do it anymore.. [30:56] [CM] But I saved enough yarn, so we'd better have a garage sale or something. [EU] So do you do knitting here with any of the--? [CM] I haven't started yet. [PM] She should. [CM] I should, but I don't feel up to it. 17 [PM] Yeah. This makes you really lazy, living in a place like this. [CM] At home, I was like a hermit. Rarely went out. When I'm at home, I'd watch TV and crochet and I knew where everything was and that filled up my time. But here I have to be dressing up to go to the dining room and then I join exercise class and a craft class, and I don't know. I have enough to do. [EU] So it keeps you busy. [PM] They try to. They plan all kinds of things. [CM] They have entertainment and social hour and so forth. I just don't feel up to crocheting. [PM] It seems like they do a lot of reading, don't they? listening to these people. [CM] I do read a lot of books, well I was reading a lot of books at home too. [EU] In your travels, did either of you go back to Japan? [PM] No. [EU] Never? [CM] I went when I was a baby, I understand. I've seen pictures. But that's it. I've never been. [PM] I spent a year there…but that was… Uncle gave me a ride. [CM] I would've liked to, but I've been like this since... [PM] ‘80s. [CM] No…before that. I was having problems from late 60s. [EU] You mean with walking? [CM] Having pains in my…'71, ‘72 I guess. And surgery on my legs and so forth. Just couldn't do that kind of …well it took a wheelchair to England and everyplace. But I don't think I could manage Japan with a wheelchair. 18 [PM] Too many stairs and things there. [EU] Have there ever been reunions? Tule Lake Reunions or? [PM] Yeah, we use to go to those. [CM] Well, we missed one or two. [PM] That all we missed? [CM] Uh-huh. [PM] I thought we missed the early ones. [CM] That's why we missed one or two. [PM] That's all, huh? [CM] I think. [EU] And those were annual? Every year? [PM] Yeah, they had them annually for a while there, and then they just quit. It got to be too much work. [CM] Was it annual or every other year? [PM] I thought it was annual. [CM] But there were enough friends left that it was fun to go to. Because we would go over people you don't see ordinarily. Friends from Sacramento, Sacramento people. [35:00] [CM] But for him it wasn't too much fun because … [PM] I didn't have that many friends there. [CM] Because Watsonville people didn't go to Tule Lake. 19 [PM] They went to Poston. [EU] Poston in Arizona. But you didn't go to Poston? [PM] No, we went to Tule. [EU] It was up to the government to decided, based on… [PM] Well, my dad had TB earlier and they took all the TB people and put them all into Tule Lake. I guess the climate and things were better there for them, I don't know…My auntie Florence had TB. [CM] That's right. [PM] That's why. [CM] Oh, I see. [EU] Were you active in the redress movement? That was in the 80s? [PM] No. [CM] We got the money when we were not active. We were never active in the JC. We were just members. Because that was the only social thing that got the people together. [PM] It's like that Japanese group that has the movies. [EU] The JAA here in Eugene. [PM] They have a movie on Friday afternoons, which is very convenient for us [laughs]. [EU] And they show… [PM] The old Samurai pictures and they have a Samurai picture and then they have a modern one, you know. So we've seen what…Two ? Three? [CM] Three. [EU] Are there other questions? Things you want to add that I didn't ask? 20 [PM] None that I can think of. [CM] I can't think of anything. We just retired and we got old so we had to move. [PM] That's the only reason we came here… [CM] just to be closer to Mary Jane [PM] We had the choice of either coming here or going to Arkansas and Arkansas wasn't much of a choice really [laughter]. [CM] Well, the medical facility wasn't adequate for people like us. [PM] And as you retire, you know, medical facilities are one of the first things you look at. [EU] Okay so, thank you very much. [PM] Well thank you, if we could be of any more help. [end 38:17]
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