Second Interview Insert Key
Introduction of Interviewers
Can you please state your full name?
My full name is Rose Nieda.
What generation are you?
I am Nisei, second generation.
Are you in touch with your brother at all?
Did you grow up in Washington?
What was your childhood like?
We were very creative in those days because we did not have the Game Boys, the television, the radio. We did have the radio, but no videos. We did make a lot of things out of left-over lumber and things. We made trucks, and we punched out the cork in the Coke-a-Cola bottle caps and we wore them as badges. We made stilts, and we played "can as stilts"—we'd smash the middle and then tie them up. We made our own kites, and then a lot of things like that.
Do you have any really close childhood friends?
Yes I do. I have two. I met them when I was six years
old, and I still am in contact with them.
Do you have favorite games that you played with your friends?
Yes, we played a lot of games. We played ping pong. We played card games like gin rummy, and we played Karuta which was a Japanese game. My mother was instilling in me all these mottos like "When a dog walks it gets hit" and all that kind of stuff. Of course, it was in Japanese. Now that it comes back to me, she was programming me.
What are some others you can remember?
A lot of things like "If the tree grows, the wind will blow it down." "The fire is on the other side of the river." This is all in Japanese, so it's kind of a poetic thing. Also, at the same time, you are learning Japanese. You begin to sing-song it. And then you relate the motto to the picture, so it was a lot of fun. Especially the one where he says something about "You can hide your head but you don't hide the other part"—there was a man with his head covered. Do you remember that one? You didn't play those games? Oh.
Can you remember one that you learned as a sing-song?
Kaji wa Kawa mooko meaning, "The
fire is on the other side of the river."
What was you early schooling like?
That is very interesting because English is my second language. When I entered the first grade, all I could say were simple words like "hello," "good-bye," "thank you," "no thank you," "yes," "no". The teacher was aghast because I couldn't read. I'd put up my hands and I'd call another Nisei who was in the eighth grade and I'd say, "Yoshiko san." "Come here I can't understand anything." She would be embarrassed—she is in the eighth grade after all—and here is this little kid saying "Yoshiko san." I tried very hard to learn English.
there a lot of Japanese Americans in your school?
How did you get to school?
That's a good one. I walked two miles each way. Yes, really. My
children say, "My goodness, you tell that story over and over and over."
We stopped and picked corn on the way because there were
fields of corn, and we picked salmon berries, and I don't know.
What was the area that you grew up in like?
The grammar school days were all farm country and we lived next to a river because of the water, for the irrigation system. Also across the street, there was a big golf course, which we were not allowed on, because it was for whites only. One of our neighbors had a son who wanted to work, so they hired him as a groundskeeper. The members protested, so he had to quit. They didn't want any Japanese Americans on, even as a groundskeeper.
When did you start feeling discrimination?
I think around the fourth or fifth grade because I used to be very good
in math and they would skip me a grade or two. Then all of a sudden
I would get smart and then they would put me right back again.
Was the area that you lived in mostly Japanese American?
The funny thing was that there were three families all together and we
were the ones that developed that area, and cleaned up the rocks out
of the soil. I remember having a huge pile of rocks that my mother
had picked up so that we could grow vegetables.
What did your parents do for a living?
were truck farmers.
Do you remember which river it was?
Cedar River. Are you familiar with Cedar River? Are you from the Seattle area?
Can you think of other examples growing up where you now realize that it was something you did because you didn't have enough money to go and get what you wanted?
Oh, let's see, I can't remember really, anything else, just picking wild
salmon berries. Are you familiar with salmon berries? I think that's
peculiar to the Seattle area, isn't it? And we used to be able to pick
wild currants too. There
were mushrooms in the back forest—the spongy ones. What are they called?
You can get them at the Berkeley Bowl now, very
expensive, but we were able to pick them up.