Shirley and Louie Hanic, interviewed by Rebeca Salas, 24 August 2017

Shirley and Louie Hanic, interviewed by Rebeca Salas, 24 August 2017

Abstract
Shirley and Louie Hanic recount memories from their half-year teaching Japanese Canadian students in Greenwood in 1951, including experiences in the small town, fond memories of their students, and the social segregation of the local community between whites and Japanese Canadians. Language barriers prevented Shirley, Louie, and others from interacting with older Japanese Canadians, and the teachers urged their students to speak English on the schoolground. Shirley and Louie both recall wartime fears of the Japanese, and express anger at unjust treatment of Japanese Canadians.
00:00:00.000
Rebeca Salas (RS)
Here we go. Uh, this is Rebeca Salas, I'm here with Shirley and Louie Hanic, uh, we are in Vancouver, on August 24, 2017, and we are doing their interview for the Landscapes of Injustice project. Okay, so. Um...maybe let's start at the beginning, uh, where you were both living, uh, before the war. Um, Shirley, do, did you want to start, and sort of, what life was like, um, before you became a teacher in this setting?
Shirley Hanic (SH)
I was, I was born in Vancouver. And I have lots of relatives and people mumbling and my father and mother to look after me. Uh, we lived in, in Vancouver until I was ten, when we moved to Nelson in the interior. And, that is actually where I met my husband, Louie, in grade seven. laugh And then uh, of course, we went, to high school through there.
RS
Okay. And um, what was, life like, um...before you decided, to go to, Greenwood? What was it like, um...perhaps in the community, in terms of, um, who was there, and how people got along, and those sorts of things?
SH
Well, we, we lived in Nelson.
RS
Yes.
SH
Uh, and. The people there, of course, had known us for many years. So we had lots of fun, we had lots of active, outdoor activities. And uh, life was just perfect. Then we went to univer- I went to university. In Vancouver. And uh, there, I began to go around with my husband. And we were in teacher training together. Then we, thought well we need a school to teach in, and actually, to be perfectly honest, we went to the school, that wanted, two people together.
SH
And, we, fitted in well because I was all, English, history, French, that sort of thing. And he had the opposite. Louie had the opposite.
RS
Okay. So, in Vancouver, when you were doing your teacher training, um...were there a lot of, uh, Japanese-Canadian people, or Japanese people around you? In, in your experience?
SH
No. Not in Vancouver, no, there weren't. When I was in elementary school, I had a little friend that was Japanese. And I, she was just lovely, we had a great time together.
LH
quiet laugh
SH
And when I heard she was being taken away with her dad, I was really upset because I liked her, and I liked her father too.
RS
Mhm.
SH
Mhm.
RS
Do you remember...um...do you have any memories, of her, or remember what her, her father was doing for work, or, what he was like?
SH
He had a claiming, business on Granville Street.
RS
Okay.
SH
I don't remember a lot about her, except laugh I, I loved her and she was a nice little girl.
RS
Uh, which school, would it have been?
SH
That was, uh, Alexandra School on uh, Broadway.
RS
Okay.
SH
Mhm.
RS
Okay. And Louie, what about you? Um, same sort of, conversation. Um...starting, you know, I guess, where you were born, moving forward, and. Some of that is, goes hand in hand with uh,
LH
Yeah.
RS
-Shirley's travels, there. Mhm.
LH
Well, I was born in, Setchoset, Czechoslovakia, in, 1920. And my parents, emigrated to, Canada. Um, it was about 1934. And this was the Depression. And my father lost his job. And, uh, didn't know what to do us, my mother got polio. She was paralyzed. And uh, so he put us in a Catholic...myself and my, brother, orphanage for boys. And we were there for six years.
RS
Okay.
00:04:10.000
00:04:10.000
LH
And then finally my father got, work, and started up a business and, we came back, with him, to Nelson. And we had a very nice life, from then on. It was on Kootenay Lake and, my father liked, boating, built a boat and, we would go, fishing and, hunting.
RS
Hm.
LH
And in my youth, that's what I did mostly, was fishing, hiking and, hiking.
SH
laughs quietly
RS
Okay. And, what was school like in your...in, in Nelson I guess? Were you in school in Nelson?
LH
Oh, yes.
RS
Yeah?
LH
Yes, yes, we, went there until grade twelve. And then we took a year, what was it, what, we went beyond grade, twelve, it was senior matric.
SH
We had senior matric.
LH
Yeah. So...then, to university.
RS
Mmkay.
LH
That's where, we met.
RS
Right. Do you remember your, your journey to Vancouver? Well?
LH
Uh...yeah, we came, by bus, and we were, only going to have one suitcase between the two of us. So, I didn't take any of my paintings and whatnot.
RS
Okay. What happened to your paintings, do you know?
LH
No.
RS
No? Okay. And um...for you, moving uh, to Vancouver, um...was that...or Nelson...I guess the question I'm trying to ask is when was the first time you, encountered, the Japanese Canadian people. Um, or was that, something that happened that,
LH
No, that was entirely from Greenwood.
RS
Okay. So for you, you didn't, um, have that -
LH
No, I had no knowledge, or experience, of them.
RS
Okay. Alright. Um...so...do you remember, when the war broke out?
LH
Yes.
RS
And what that was like?
LH
Yes.
RS
Could you tell me a little bit about what you remember?
LH
Well. You want to start? Go ahead.
RS
Sure. Shirley, go ahead.
SH
Yes. Uh, 1939.
LH
Mhm.
SH
That was when the war began, and we were, in, uh, what's the elementary school then...uh, but when we were in high school, the part that I remember, is, going down to look at the map. And, being so frightened, seeing that the Japanese people, or the soldiers, or the enemy had taken over, islands and we had a, a sign in the window, in Nelson, and it showed which, island had been taken. And as each one, got...was coloured in, we became, or, I became more TERRIFIED! So I was...frightened, of Japanese people. And when you went to the movies...uh, all of Hollywood's movies showed Japanese as evil, at that time. They had a horrible uh, uh, man that always played an admiral on a ship laugh. And he scared the life out of me, so. I had a basic fear, of Japanese people. And I knew it wasn't sensible, but I couldn't help it.
RS
Hmm.
LH
Well, this is when the Philippines were taken over by the Japanese.
SH
Well, when they were taken over, it was just, really, uh.
LH
Yes.
SH
Yeah. But uh, this store window that showed each, going. Just, it was very frightening.
RS
Hmm.
LH
Mhm.
RS
Mhm. Did you have sort of a similar...experience?
LH
under breath 1944...long pause I would have been, twelve. Sixteen. Gosh. No, I don't, uh. I followed the war, but I. You know, didn't...impress me one way or other.
RS
Hmm.
LH
I was glad to see Hitler gone. Because that was terrible what he did to people.
RS
Right. pause Um...do you recall...uh...ever seeing, um...people leave? So, perhaps, um, certain businesses, that...or even homes, that Japanese Canadians were previously in, do you remember seeing, that change, and, um, people leaving, and maybe what you, you thought at that time? About that?
LH
Well, we just thought it was terribly unjust that, they took away their boats and never paid them for them. EVER. So they took their livelihood away from them, put them in internment camps, all across the country.
RS
Was-
LH
Which is where we met, ours, in Greenwood, they were. Put in an internment camp, then after the war,
RS
Mhm.
LH
They stayed, some of them stayed there.
RS
So was that something that, um, you, you learned about? Or was that something that, maybe, um, people were telling you about...
LH
Well, we had this on the news. You know, we were following all- slower following all events.
RS
Okay. Um...so...when you were watching, the news, or listening to the news? Were you listening or watching?
LH
Um...
RS
Would have been listening.
LH
Don't think we had television then.
RS
Yeah, it was listening, right?
SH
Those days, radio.
RS
Yeah. Yeah. Um, do you remember, uh...I mean this is a long time ago, but. Specific events that they, they were talking about? And how they were framing it? I think that's, quite interesting to learn about.
SH
I, I think the, the most, uh...well. The thing that scared me as I said was the...watching this map. And the islands, blocked in, that had been taken. And I just felt that...these...people, might come and, you know, soon take over, Canada laugh.
RS
Mhm.
SH
Which was -
LH
And, we were, uh, frightened about the Japanese coming, over in balloons, and they were going to -
SH
Oh, yes.
LH
-invade laugh our shores. And her father, at the time, he was a ARP warden,
SH
YES.
LH
And what did, what was the name of the ARP?
00:10:27.000
00:10:27.000
SH
Uh, the...laugh well, it was ARP, but that's not exactly what it used to say!
LH
No, no, but, honey both laughing,
SH
laughing It used to say, if you said what are you doing tonight? ARP-ing! laughter from SHIRLEY and REBECA So, the men would -
LH
Air Raid,
SH
Air Raid Precau- Precautions.
LH
Oh, yeah.
SH
And they would put, we had to have blackout curtains.
LH
Yeah. laugh
SH
Even up in Nelson. Which was a very small place.
LH
laughs
SH
But uh, I lived in the firehall, because my dad was the fire chief, and they had an apartment on the top for us. But I remember looking out the window at the blackness when they had the, the uh,
LH
Blackouts.
SH
Blackouts. And,
LH
Practicing.
SH
Yes. And the men downstairs all ready with their, little bag of sand laugh to go and put, fires out!
LH
Yes.
SH
And it was quite frightening.
LH
Mm, yes, it was.
SH
It sounds silly now, but it was quite frightening at the time. And there were ALWAYS, always rumours, that there was a Japanese paper bomb, coming. Many times in Nelson, Dad would be phoned and said, uh, we might be sending you out, you know, to a certain area. Because they were afraid of Japanese paper bombs. I never did, figure out whether any had ever REALLY come there or not.
LH
What's a paper bomb?
SH
Who knows?
LH
laugh
SH
Who knows?
RS
I'm not sure.
SH
Just something that was, apparently, flying like a kite laugh in the air. But um.
LH
Uh...
SH
It was, rumours, silly stories. But they frighten you to death if you're young. pause So that's.
RS
Hmm.
SH
That's how we felt. And, we saw enough of that - Hollywood had a terrific influence. On turning people against Japanese and Germans.
LH
Mhm.
SH
I got so that I REALLY was kind of worried, sort of nervous of German AND Japanese. There was a man who played a, Japanese admiral. laugh And he was, VERY good at acting.
LH
laughs
SH
And I thought, wow, if they're like that, I'm terrified.
LH
laughs
RS
And how old would you have been at the time?
SH
Well, in junior high, senior high, and, junior high, it was most. laugh
RS
Right.
SH
Effective laugh.
RS
So...do you...remember the sorts of things that, maybe adults, were, were saying at the time - you were, you were mentioning that, there was a lot of, conversation that was quite scary, um, do you have any, memories, about that?
SH
I have a memory of Dad coming home and saying they were selling all the uh, Japanese fishing boats. Or taking them away from them. And uh...I'm not sure how he felt. I think he thought, that it was maybe a good idea. pause And most people thought it was a good idea. Now, I think MOST of us, and Dad would be included, would assume, they'd be given back after the war. Because there were always rumours, he said. Of Japanese having radios,
LH
That's right.
SH
and radios, radioing from their boat.
LH
Yeah.
SH
So this is why. Uh, I think everyone was so terrified.
RS
Mm. What about you, Louie, do you have any memories of people around you, talking about, what was happening?
LH
Now when was that, nineteen forty, - ?
SH
Oh, it was '42...'45.
LH
Well, I would be still in the orphanage?
SH
No, you'd be home and in junior high.
LH
Oh.
SH
Or, starting junior high.
LH
No. Nothing I could add to that.
RS
Okay.
SH
I think you boys were too busy um.
LH
Fishing and hunting.
SH
Fishing and hunting, they'd do. They'd do that laugh.
RS
laughs Right, right. Okay. Well maybe, um...it's a good time to, to learn about, when you, did start to, you know, make that transition, to go, to Greenwood school.
SH
Yeah.
RS
Um...maybe we can, start with Louie. Um, with the, the reasoning for going, and also, perhaps, other people's reaction when, when you decided to go, or when you were offered, uh, the position, I'm not sure about the exact details. Of that.
LH
Well, we had, what was the name of that guy that uh...
SH
Cameron.
LH
Cameron.
SH
Mackenzie.
00:15:16.000
00:15:16.000
LH
Yeah, he, uh...he needed somebody to go to Greenwood. And, and, he interviewed us and, we, we looked like the perfect match. Because she took all the...uh, subjects, history,
SH
Yeah.
LH
French. English.
SH
Mhm.
LH
And then I had the science and mathematics and all that. So uh. Yeah, we were a perfect match. And we never knew where Greenwood, was, before that.
SH
Well, we had...gone through on the bus.
LH
laughs Yeah.
SH
Wasn't much of a place. It was awful. laugh But we thought well we could go there. But we hadn't REALLY gone, for any reason, other than that we were together in the place.
LH
Yes.
SH
It wasn't for a...
LH
And we fitted well.
SH
Yes.
LH
I mean, he talked us into it.
SH
Yes. Yes.
LH
laughs
RS
How did he, how did he talk you into it?
LH
Well, it'd be...for laugh him, it would be perfect to have two teachers like us, like us, that could handle everything from grade seven to grade twelve. But uh, he was worried about how we would make out, and he suggested that, you know, for housing? That we would, should get married. laugh Shirley was not, laugh anxious to get married for THAT reason all laughing.
SH
Mm. No, we didn't go for any uh, reasons...uh, that you could say well we were sorry for the Japanese people, or we weren't -
LH
No.
SH
-because, quite honestly, didn't have any feelings like that at all at the time.
LH
Actually, that was the only choice we had.
SH
Well, at the time.
LH
But when the place, school burned down, we went to Nelson,
SH
Yeah.
LH
And uh, we taught in school there together.
SH
Yeah. But we were -
LH
Various subjects.
SH
-we were terribly sorry to leave the uh, the Japanese but they didn't, renew their, they didn't, weren't going to build a new school.
RS
Right.
SH
And the arrangement they had was not good.
RS
Hmm.
LH
Yeah, the kids had to be bussed in,
SH
Yeah.
LH
-to Grand Forks, and it was a...about an hour trip?
SH
Yeah, well.
RS
Okay.
LH
-in, and an hour trip back.
SH
Yeah.
RS
Okay.
LH
And we both got carsick.
RS
Mm.
LH
So, we rent, we uh, stayed in a hotel in, Grand Forks.
SH
Mhm.
LH
And they came to us.
SH
Mhm.
RS
I see.
LH
And then, there was a school there, high school. And, our kids, had to, use this room from this school, that room from another school. To be,
SH
Yes, they had,
LH
-get their education.
SH
They had three schools. Where, we had to, run from one period to the next.
LH
Yeah.
SH
Across the street. Down, next door. Wasn't the best thing in the world for uh, the kids-
LH
No.
SH
-and they had to, come every day on the bus.
LH
And there was one fella who said, you uh...you...make your money here and then you spend it there.
SH
laugh yes.
LH
laughs
SH
But uh, the uh,
LH
Salary.
SH
The Japanese, the chil-um, students. Certainly accommodated to it very well.
LH
Yeah.
SH
They uh, they were very accepting that they should, you know.
LH
Have to do all...
SH
Go, run from one-
LH
No no, they didn't object to it at all.
SH
One, uh, room to another.
RS
Hmm.
SH
So uh.
RS
So...maybe rewinding a little bit. Um...I think we're starting to get into some of your impressions and your feelings and experiences, which sound, I think later in time, um, sort of, got a little bit more, complicated with moving around. But when you, you first went there, and you accepted your, your offer, um, what did, other people, in Vancouver say, about your decision to accept? Shir-
LH
Well,
RS
Louie-
LH
At Rything there, they thought we were crazy. “Who's them? Oh, they're the young teachers” laugh
SH
Yes. But the people ahead of that had heard, that we were going there.
LH
Yes, yes.
SH
People would say to me, what on earth are you going there for, they're all Japanese!
LH
laughs
SH
And it was left over from the war, you know, they, they, I don't know whether they thought the, the kids were in the army or what laugh. But no, it was an attitude, well...“why would ANYBODY go there? To teach Japanese,”
LH
That's right.
RS
Right.
SH
Students.
RS
Hmm.
SH
I, I must, say, I never had any thoughts like that at all. I thought they were students. I think you were the same.
LH
Oh, sure they were, lovely students.
SH
Mhm, well they turned out to be, yes.
RS
About what year is this, that, uh,
SH
'51, I think, '50, '51.
RS
When you went there.
SH
Mhm.
RS
Okay. And uh, what were your, your first, impressions, we got a little bit of, a taste of that, but your first impressions of, of where you were going to live and teach.
SH
sighs
RS
Louie, do you want to start with this one?
LH
Well, we had our living experience. Where were we going to live, I just said, they suggested, uh, Cameron said, well, get married!
SH
laughs
LH
But, we eventually found a, a home that would take us. Uh, that had two old ladies and one of them was blind, and the other one was deaf, and between the two of them, laugh they managed to get along. The one that was uh, deaf, uh, started the stove every morning. And she'd cut the lump, cut the wood, and throw it into the box...what was it, five o'clock in the morning?
00:20:42.000
00:20:42.000
SH
Yes.
LH
And the other one that, uh, couldn't see very much...but she was an avid reader, and uh, she did the dishes. Unfortunately they used those carved spoons where they had...you ever seen a carved spoon?
RS
A wooden spoon?
LH
No, a, a, metal spoon. But these were something, what were they, um,
SH
Silver.
LH
Uh yeah, I know but, were they in...
SH
Well, I don't know,
LH
Celebrating something or other?
SH
They had ridges.
LH
English...yeah. They weren't smooth, they had, ridges in them. And so she did the, washing. And of course, there was always left...an egg piece or this and that in it laugh.
SH
But they were lovely old ladies, and the Japanese around...seemed to send their kids over quite often to see if they needed anything. And there were, little kids that lived behind, and they'd come over. And some, they'd bring wood, wouldn't they, for the...
LH
School.
SH
For the, no, for the stove in the house. For, for...Miss, uh...
LH
Oh, yes, yes.
SH
The two ladies. laugh
LH
For the two ladies, yes.
SH
Yeah. They were awfully good to them. It seemed those neighbours were, were uh,
LH
Yeah.
SH
People that really helped, these two WHITE ladies.
LH
laughs
SH
And, and they got along well, and I think those, you see Miss, Miss uh...mm, what was her name,
LH
O'Brian?
SH
No, the other one, was, a teacher. So, I took her place when we went there. But unfortunately she was very deaf, and so with French and whatnot laugh it was, bad, but. Uh...they were, they were very nice and the Japanese were VERY good to them,
LH
Yeah.
SH
They used to bring things to the door, and. It was, great.
RS
So would you say that there was, um, a sense of, community? At Greenwood?
SH
Uh...very much, a Japanese community, wasn't it?
LH
Yeah.
SH
But. But, there'd be-
LH
Well we had to-
SH
-Japanese community, but on the other hand...I had to go to a lot of meetings, and there'd be the society for, Cancer Society, the Red Cross, the. And they were all white people. And I don't think they had ever asked the Japanese to, join. So, it was very strange, I didn't like that at all, I didn't.
LH
Well, one of the other things, though, is that the uh, elderly, people, the ones that had these kids.
SH
Mhm.
LH
Couldn't SPEAK English.
SH
No.
LH
And we had to say, when you're going home...from here, you speak ENGLISH. Not Japanese.
SH
Well, English around the school, and. Possibly walking home. Yes.
LH
Yeah.
SH
Yes.
RS
So...one thing I'm, I'm curious about, is, just for people who, have never, seen Greenwood or seen,
SH
Mhm.
RS
Um, photos, if, um, somebody arrived there, when you arrived there, uh, what would they see?
SH
At that time?
RS
So what would the houses look like, yeah at that time.
SH
It almost looked like an abandoned, city. Completely abandoned. If you looked hard, you could see a couple of little stores. One was a grocery store, and. I don't know, the other one was. There wasn't much, anyway, and there was a little butcher shop. Run by Japanese. Because I had the son of one of them in my class. But um.
LH
In the earlier,
SH
The, places they lived were horrible.
LH
Yeah. But in the earlier years, there, they had uh, copper discovered. And uh, the Phoenix gold mine turned out a lot of copper.
SH
Yeah.
LH
And you could go up to where they...did the work, the smoke stacks were there,
SH
Yeah.
LH
And the, great big buckets of uh, ore, that went in.
SH
Uh, it was all left, yeah.
LH
It was all left there.
SH
But.
LH
So at one time, it was a thriving, city. Now, it, it, when we went there, what was it about, 200?
SH
Mhm, yeah.
LH
And they had over 2000 in there.
SH
Yeah.
LH
When it was thriving. And the, and they were always hoping that the Phoenix, mine would reopen.
SH
Mhm.
LH
Which it never did. So they just hung around, hung around.
SH
But the...I got the idea that the Japanese community, they had their own little...I don't know, get togethers and whatnot. And then there was the, people that were in the, mm, board of trade and all these things.
00:25:17.000
00:25:17.000
LH
Mhm.
SH
Were all WHITE people, I never saw,
LH
No.
SH
I don't think they ever asked,
LH
No.
SH
a Japanese person to, join. Now I may be wrong.
LH
Yeah.
SH
Maybe somebody did.
LH
No, not while WE were there, though.
SH
Not while we were there, no.
LH
No.
SH
No. That was early on. Maybe the other people got used to them and then realized they were, people like THEY were. laugh I, I don't know.
RS
Hmm.
SH
It was uh, odd.
RS
Okay. So...what other sorts of, staff were there? I imagine there would have been, a principal, some cooks, uh...
LH
Well,
RS
That's like, do you have memories of uh, of those people?
LH
Cameron was the principal and he taught chemistry, in grade twelve, didn't he?
SH
That's all he taught, yeah.
LH
Yeah, that's all he taught.
SH
Mhm.
LH
And...his wife. They had a little child, they had a child there didn't they?
SH
Yes, yes.
LH
And he was probably...the chief, of everything. While we were there.
SH
He was good and I think he had a good relationship with the uh, Japanese people.
RS
Hmm. What makes you say that?
SH
Well, uh, he'd ask them to come to uh, have a talk, and they would come. And uh, it just, the way he talked to them, seemed, they, seemed to get along with him.
RS
Okay.
SH
Now, I could be wrong, maybe. You know, from their side laugh.
LH
Tommy Tanaka often didn't come to school.
SH
laughs quietly
LH
And HE would go to the house and DRAG him to school! laughs
SH
Yes! Yes, he'd go up.
LH
So...
SH
laughs
LH
He looked after them sort of like a parent laugh.
SH
Yeah. I was never in where they lived, but uh. Their, their curtains were always cleaned, and and of course the kids came to school...just, beautifully neat.
LH
Yeah.
SH
And their lunches were always so lovely.
RS
Mm. So did you um...did you feel...quite welcome? When you arrived?
SH
Uh.
LH
No, no.
RS
No? Could you tell me...
LH
Were we at, uh, we got off at the hotel and what was one of the guys said? “Who's they?”
SH
Ah, yes, well I think she, laughs yeah. Huh.
LH
They had a spittoon that they were spitting, spitting in laugh.
SH
Yes.
LH
laughs
RS
And who, was that, was that just the...
LH
That was in the Greenwood...the main street. The hotel, in the main street.
RS
So was it, was it just a...like a white person, or was it,
SH
Yes.
RS
-a Japanese Canadian,
LH
Oh they were, no, white people.
SH
Yeah.
RS
Okay.
SH
An old man, waving for the bine stool, but, you know.
LH
laughs
SH
They were two elderly men.
RS
Okay.
SH
And they were really sizing up, uh,
LH
Yeah - “kinda young, ain't they?”
SH
Yeah, too young to be teaching. laugh
LH
Yeah, it was very funny.
SH
Uh, but the...the town itself, all I saw of the Japanese for the first couple of days, were the little kids. And there were all kinds of them coming out or looking out the window,
LH
Mmm.
SH
-or anything, looking at us, you know.
LH
Mhm.
SH
I guess they'd been told we were teachers. pause But um...
LH
They used to go up the fire escapes at night. To uh, see if there was any hanky-panky laugh going on.
SH
Oh, that's our students. laughing Yeah. Our students.
LH
Which we discovered. laughing - all laugh
SH
Ha! But there wasn't, we were so busy, that uh, you know we just had, a load of work, for all those subjects every day.
RS
So, uh...maybe, before we uh, started recording we were talking about some of your students.
SH
Yes.
RS
Maybe, um, we could hear some of those, memories that you have about, about these, students?
SH
Yes.
RS
Shirley, did you want to start?
SH
Well, I had two girls in my class. Not that I didn't love them all, I did. But um, Mary and then, Martha, Mary-Ann Hamaguchi and Martha Imai. Always, would come up to the desk and say something. You know, in the morning. Or, they'd, they'd tease me about, Mr. Hanic. You know. laugh And, and. They were the ones that would tell me when you had been in their class, uh, teaching my French for me, or something,
LH
When you were sick.
SH
They were always the ones that would come and say - they'd giggle.
RS
laughs
SH
laughing And, say,
LH
And I -
SH
“You know what Mr. Hanic said?” laugh Some fracturing of the French. Uh...and they would always ask about things. You know, they were very anxious to know all about, what white girls did, and.
LH
They wanted to have their EYES changed to look like white girls.
SH
Yes.
LH
Didn't they tell you that?
SH
Yes.
LH
And you said?
SH
I said that was the most, most stupid thing I ever heard in my life. Because, at the time, and it was true, it was very, good at the time...everybody was...were doing their eyes, um, you know like,
LH
Slanted.
SH
Slant, right.
00:30:16.000
00:30:16.000
LH
Having an operation.
SH
Yes.
LH
To look...exotic.
SH
And so I -
LH
Like the Japanese.
SH
I looked all over and found little pictures of, girls that had been made up,
LH
laughs
SH
-to look more, Japanese. And so I finally think Martha...believed me and wouldn't get her eyes done, I was, just terrified that she was going to do that laugh when she got older.
LH
laughs
SH
But I don't -
RS
Hmm. How old would they have been when they were, concerned about this?
SH
Oh, junior high, so, that's...
LH
We weren't that much older than them.
SH
Well, they were, thirteen, maybe fourteen, but uh.
LH
Yeah, well we're nineteen and twenty.
SH
Well I was, yeah, twenty both laugh.
RS
Louie, what kinds of, students, uh, do you remember, memories that you have about...people that stand out in your mind?
LH
Tommy Tanaka all laugh.
RS
And what kind of memories do you have about Tommy?
LH
Um...on one occasion, we had, inspector come. And, um, talk to us. And he stayed in the room while he was, talking, or listening, and Tommy after the guy left he, he said, “How did we do?” laugh
SH
That wasn't when he quite left, he had his door open.
LH
Oh laugh.
RS
He wanted to know what the inspector,
LH
So we're all answering all the questions, you see.
RS
Okay.
SH
Well, I had told him ahead of time that when the inspector came, he'd be wanting to see how well they did in school, and how,
LH
Yeah.
SH
-they were acting. He was actually looking more at what I was doing laugh. But laugh. You know, I framed it in the, he'd want to know how the, class acted, and so on. So he was, the day the inspector came I had the grade ten class, that weren't very good at putting up their hands or anything, they'd just sort of sit there, and Tommy just went out of his way, to put up his hand, and answer every, SHIRLEY and LOUIE laughing every question.
RS
Was that, uh, out of the ordinary? For Tommy?
SH
For him? VERY. laugh Very.
LH
While as I said the principal that day yanked him into school.
SH
Yes.
LH
Out of bed.
SH
Yes. But, uh, he put on a good, really good show for them, and. Well, some of the others, began to put their hands up too. So I got a good report, and I think I can thank, laugh Tommy Tanaka laughing.
RS
So,
SH
He was, he was quite the character. He was, he WAS a character.
LH
Yeah, he was.
SH
Yeah.
RS
Okay. Um...so would you say that, um...the students were, quite, you know, concerned with, the class doing well, and. Um, that they were enjoying their, their education?
SH
Yeah, yes, it was wonderful, wasn't it?
LH
Yes.
SH
I don't think we ever had anybody since then,
LH
No, no, they,
SH
-that were as good as that. They REALLY did try their best. And...I think in my book I mentioned the day we did plurals, well we'd some days, you know, we'd just collapse in laughter laughing. But, I mean, it wasn't in, it wasn't in a, a...they'd still do their work. Their grammar.
LH
Mhm.
SH
But we had lots of fun, and.
LH
Well some teachers though...uh, when they taught, they were different people. They had a different, voice, and you could see that they were not, really suited to the, profession.
SH
Yeah, but.
LH
But Shirley always was, extremely welcomed.
SH
No, but it was mostly tho- those kids in the beginning, you know,
LH
Yeah.
SH
That, uh, kind of put me at ease. With, with teaching, because you're nervous at first.
LH
Yeah.
SH
But, uh...they were awfully good and they did put on a wonderful SHOW with the inspector there and their hands up, when usually they might just laugh not bother! laughing
RS
So, with um...with uh...running class and putting together curriculum, um...was it, you know, pretty much, exactly what you learned in teacher training, or are there things that you had to adapt, um, for, for Greenwood and, um, for the classroom structure that you had there? pause
LH
I don't think we had to do very much adapting. THEY adapted to US!
SH
They did, very quickly.
LH
Oh, yeah.
SH
Yes, I don't, think, there was anything different, in the way, we did things than when we had our, other students, later.
LH
Yeah.
RS
Hmm.
LH
Well I think we were good teachers. They knew it, we were fair. And-
SH
While, we were trying.
LH
- the good sense of humour.
SH
Oh, and we were trying hard,
LH
Yeah.
SH
-to make sure they,
LH
We enjoyed them and they enjoyed us! laugh
SH
Well, I sure enjoyed them.
LH
Yeah.
RS
So, it was quite a, a normal, um, structured classroom,
LH
Yes.
RS
-and structured subject were quite normal, as if-
SH
Very normal.
RS
-you would do the same thing if you were in Vancouver.
LH
Exactly.
SH
VERY normal. Yes. Yes.
RS
Okay.
SH
And they. Oh, there were the times when somebody was talking, or, there were. But they-
00:35:31.000
00:35:31.000
LH
How about the time, Roy Hamaguchi was sleeping? laugh
SH
Oh well, she knows about that.
LH
laughing
SH
No he wasn't-
RS
Uh...I'd love to hear the story? laugh
SH
No, he wasn't sleeping. pause OH, Ross,
LH
ROY Yamaguchi!
SH
Roy, I was teaching, it was the, history of, uh, Greece or something,
LH
laughs
SH
And then, I heard, snoring noise.
LH
laughs
SH
laughs It went on! And, the student turned around, they were looking at him and looking at me laugh! They couldn't imagine what was wrong. So anyway, when, somebody said should we wake him, and well I thought he's really tired for some reason, no, just leave him to sleep. So, at the end of the...period, he heard them, getting up, he got up, and he was SO embarrassed, just TERRIBLY embarrassed, and he said Oh I'm so sorry but I was up all night, painting a picture, that Dr. Hanic wanted- or,
LH
Mr. Hanic.
SH
-Mr. Hanic wanted us to.
LH
laughs
SH
-do for the class. laughs Well I thought, I see now. Somebody said should he come in after school, I said no.
LH
laughs
SH
But I did talk to him after, and he was just,
LH
Mortified.
SH
Mortified, he was the best...best student, I think, in the class.
LH
Yeah, and he's, uh, somebody important now.
SH
Well, no. I heard somebody on the radio. Who was a, medical engineer.
LH
Yes.
SH
Whose name was Roy Yamaguchi. I don't know that that was him.
LH
No, but we, that's...I think that would possibly be him.
SH
Sounds like something he'd -
LH
Yeah.
SH
-do. Yeah.
RS
Hmm.
SH
So. I don't know, I'd often like to know. Mhm.
RS
Right.
SH
I'd like to know what they all do.
LH
Yeah.
SH
Mhm.
RS
So...I think I've, I've got a good, uh...sort of sense of what classroom, life was like, it was quite normal, but there were also a lot of,
SH
Oh, yeah.
RS
-you know, lovely, heartwarm- heartwarming, move- like, moments that teachers often have?
SH
Oh, yes.
LH
Yes.
RS
Um...do you have any memories of interacting with parents? Of the children? Um, and what that was like?
LH
Not in Greenwood.
SH
Not much, no.
RS
Okay.
LH
NONE.
RS
Okay.
SH
Well, I think I talked to one lady one day.
LH
Oh, did you?
SH
She was...n-not really wanting to,
LH
laughs
SH
To initiate,
LH
You think she'd understand anything you said?
SH
Well that was the problem, they weren't, most of them didn't speak English.
LH
They were speaking Japanese.
SH
Most of the Japanese. And I think,
LH
Yeah, we had a hard time getting kids, to speak, English at home.
SH
Yes. Yes. Uh, and I think that's why they didn't, because they were very cooperative in anything that the kids were asked to do. They, did it,
LH
Oh, yeah.
SH
-and didn't say their, you know, their parents were interested.
LH
But we had otherwise, NO interaction with the parents.
SH
No. Well in the store. In the store, and.
LH
Yeah, but not. Not as a group.
SH
No.
LH
Of people.
SH
But - no.
LH
You know?
RS
Hm.
SH
No, but they were always very, cooperative, and,
LH
Oh, sure.
SH
-friendly. They were, you know, they'd...say hello on the street and everything, but. They...I think they felt they didn't, speak, if they spoke English, they didn't speak well enough.
LH
Well, it was embarrassing.
SH
For them.
LH
Yeah, for them.
SH
I think they thought it was. I mean, I wouldn't have cared. If they'd come and. You know, spoke...any kind of English.
LH
We NEVER had ONE come to the school. For ANY reason.
SH
I don't think so, not -
LH
Think of one laugh.
SH
-on their own, no.
RS
Hmm.
LH
And yet, if you're teaching in a, school, of...English kids,
SH
Oh yeah, they...
LH
We, we had a...regular time when, parents would come and,
SH
But they, um. I did speak to, to one one day,
LH
Oh did you?
SH
Yeah. But uh...
RS
Could you tell me a bit about that, and, why you were speaking to the parent? If you recall.
SH
Yeah. I think, I think the parent - well, I think it was just the parent was wondering. I think it was a girl, was doing as well as, I thought she could do. You know, and it was something like that. And she was very uh, you know, concerned. As I think all the parents were. Except there was a, um...kerfuffle about laugh the Japanese. The Japanese kids, would come, and they'd all be talking Japanese on their way to school and they'd be, talking, Japanese on the schoolground. Well, um,
LH
Cameron.
SH
Cameron...uh, sent a note home, saying that, we would only have English spoken on the playgrounds, and around the school. Because the kids needed, DESPERATELY needed...practice. In English, which they DID. I had to teach...was it Hamlet or Macbeth, it would have been Macbeth...
LH
laughs
SH
Well, you know yourself, when you took Macbeth, it's pretty hard to understand. They had to master that. So, it was important that they talk a lot of English. And, at first the parents were just a little bit...leery about it, and then they came around, and they were, encouraging them.
00:40:41.000
00:40:41.000
RS
Hmm. So outside of the, the teacher's, setting or the classroom setting, um. Were there other ways in which you were, uh, interacting with, some of the Japanese families?
LH
Well, we had uh, in the evenings. W-we had, what do you call it?
SH
Friday, we had...movie.
LH
No, no, no. Uh...hobbies.
SH
Oh, we had the-
LH
Hobbies in the evenings. And I taught them how to tie fishing flies. And I had uh, fly rods and took them up the creek.
SH
And Gordon...said he still does tie, flies,
LH
That's right, yes.
SH
Gordon Mayeda, when he came here.
LH
Yeah.
SH
He said, you taught me.
LH
Now that tall. laugh
SH
Yeah.
RS
laughs
SH
Yeah, he said, you taught me.
LH
Mhm.
SH
So, that was good, that was, just a spare time, what to do. We used to play games, we tried,
LH
Mhm.
SH
-teach bridge once.
LH
Oh.
SH
laughs But it was fun. And we went, one time to Penticton on the bus, and it was fun on the bus, they, sang, and.
LH
But the people that they went, to, were not very, not very good, they were, not interested in the kids at all.
SH
Penticton,
LH
And the kids, uh, played hockey, and they got, beat something atrociously. But, they had a good time. But they were not - you know, they didn't welcome them at all.
SH
No.
LH
There was no welcoming committee. NOTHING said, they just got beaten to bits.
RS
Hm.
SH
Yeah. No.
LH
But they did enjoy Penticton.
SH
Oh, yeah. I think they enjoyed the game, I mean.
LH
laughs
SH
It was different, but uh. No, there was no. I was really put out that they didn't, uh, welcome us there, as a small school even.
LH
Yeah.
SH
But we just, we had to ask, how do you get...where do you change, you know. Nobody,
RS
So was this a field trip to another school? Or, just a, an arena, or.
SH
It was, a, a school...that was having a, hockey, sort, of tournament.
LH
Tournament.
RS
Okay.
SH
With other places.
LH
Yeah.
SH
And I forget who was there, maybe Trail, and. A few other, places.
LH
But they were not interested in the kids at all.
SH
No. They had their game, but, uh. I, was put out laugh.
RS
Mm. So your...your, um, group of students, um...and I imagine this changed a bit, but. Um...for the most part it sounds like, they were all Japanese, or Japanese Canadian, kids, did you have other...kids, there, knowing that some people, lived in Greenwood before, they arrived?
SH
Yes. Um, we had about, I think there were just, uh,
LH
We had about, there were, two...weren't there?
SH
Uh, I can think of two.
LH
One boy. pause Was there a girl, too?
SH
pause Yes.
LH
Y-yes.
SH
Uh, the Gaswan girl.
LH
Gaswan girl laugh. Yeah, the, there were two, two white kids.
SH
Yes. She had the boyfriends that used to come down and.
LH
Yeah. The police had to come in and,
SH
At dances.
LH
And, RCMP had to come down and...
SH
laughs
LH
-and put a, halt to whatever, shenanigans they were laughing having.
SH
Every dance, yes, they did.
LH
Almost every time.
SH
laughs Oh, gee.
LH
But we did have one or two dances, and they got all, dressed up, so lovely, but,
SH
Oh, they were beautiful,
LH
-they wouldn't get out and dance. laugh Hiding out on the high fire, fire escape!
SH
Cameron,
LH
-bring them in.
SH
-and Louie would go out and drag the boys in.
LH
laughs
SH
And the boys would be, or the girls would be standing, and they oh, they were beautiful.
LH
laughs
SH
And they, laughs and they were also embarrassed. laughs
RS
Aw.
SH
But we did get them dancing eventually, and they enjoyed it.
LH
Yeah.
RS
Okay.
SH
But their parents were good in that they...you know, let them go to things like that.
LH
Yeah.
RS
Mhm.
SH
Mhm.
RS
Did you, get a sense of what, um...the parents were, were doing with their time, during these years, or could you, you know, observe, what sorts of things they were doing for work,
LH
No.
RS
and that sort of thing?
SH
Not much, I think -
LH
They were terra incognita.
RS
Okay.
SH
They were. And every time I go, I had to belong to all these, clubs like the...Red Cross and whatever, meetings they had...
LH
Yes.
SH
There were NEVER once a Japanese person.
LH
No.
SH
It was white people. And I thought that was, and same with the council. Was there a Japanese-
LH
No.
SH
-on that council,
LH
No.
SH
-I don't think so.
LH
No.
SH
No.
LH
They didn't exist laugh.
SH
So. It was still run by the same people. That always had.
LH
Yeah.
SH
And these people were just, separate, somewhere.
RS
Hm.
SH
No, wasn't, it wasn't good mixing in the beginning. Now, maybe it improved. That was the first year. So it's possible that they, didn't know what to do.
RS
Did the kids ever talk about their parents?
LH
No.
SH
No, not much at all. No.
00:45:37.000
00:45:37.000
RS
Mmkay. So, the sense that, that you got from the people, um, that were...moved there,
SH
Mhm.
RS
-was, just your experiences, in the classroom, then.
SH
That's all.
RS
Right.
SH
Mhm.
RS
You had a specific context for that.
SH
That's all. So we can't really contri- uh, contribute much to the...to the, uh, what the older people.
RS
Right.
SH
Mhm.
RS
Yeah.
SH
I had the feeling that they were always...sigh Ones I talked to, the ladies I talked to, I felt they were embarrassed to be Japanese. You know how...um. The...I, I was your enemy. In quotation marks.
LH
Yeah.
SH
Do you accept me? pause That's...that's how I felt, whenever I spoke to one.
RS
And, was that...something you were observing in body language, or...
SH
Just shyness, very shy.
LH
I don't think I talked to ONE of them.
SH
No, I don't think you did either, I had one, that, that came a couple of times. She was trying her best,
LH
Yeah.
SH
-to find out about the kids.
LH
Well, they didn't speak English, first of all.
SH
No, no, that, they most of them didn't at that time.
LH
It was very hard to communicate.
RS
Right.
SH
Yeah.
RS
Hmm.
SH
So, they were. I think they were, you know observing everything. Trying their best.
RS
Mhm, mhm. pause Um...Louie what were your, uh, first impressions, of...um...teaching at Greenwood, knowing that you didn't sort of have a, a connection like Shirley did with her, you know with her childhood friend in the back of her mind. Um, did you have, was anything surprising to you, or.
LH
No.
RS
No?
LH
Well, the whole thing was surprising.
SH
laughs
LH
But we got to know them so well. And we were good teachers. You know, some teachers are. Wave a stick. But we were just...ordinary human beings that.
SH
Well we were trying our BEST.
LH
Of course!
SH
With them. That's,
LH
Yeah.
SH
-what you can say, we tried out best.
LH
Well, they were as good.
SH
And they,
LH
As, as anybody else.
SH
They were wonderful.
LH
Yeah, we treated them just like anybody else.
SH
They were, I guess they were the best kids I ever taught.
RS
Hm.
LH
Yeah.
SH
Yeah.
RS
Hm. Um. Could you tell me a little bit, about, um, why you stopped teaching there, this is, related to the...
LH
School burned down.
RS
-to the fire. Mhm. Why did that happen, did you ever find out?
LH
Uh...they used to...operate the stove with uh...sawdust. In a big bin.
SH
Mhm.
LH
And a screw would take it in? And so, something happened that the flames came in and got the whole bin going, and then the whole building.
RS
Okay. And uh, we talked about this a little already, but, how this sort of changed...um, your working environment,
LH
Yes.
RS
-and the environment for the kids.
SH
Yes, well, it was, it was...horrible for the kids I think, to have to travel ALL that way. Every day.
LH
Yeah. And there was nothing we could do about it! I mean, there's nothing IN Greenwood!
SH
No, there wasn't,
LH
Not a place where we could have anybody,
SH
-apparently not a place. Well, they couldn't seem to find a place, I don't know.
LH
No. No, there wasn't.
SH
Mm, no.
LH
Even the hockey rink was. A colla- laughs A collapsed old building, almost.
SH
Yes, it was.
LH
No, there was nothing there. We had to take them, in to Grand Forks.
RS
And how long did it, it take...
SH
They went on strike, for about...how long were, they on strike in January?
LH
Who?
SH
The kids.
LH
Really!
SH
Yeah. Um,
LH
Why, for what reason?
SH
We were...remember we had to go every day and, sign at the school,
LH
sign in that we were, going to,
SH
that we were there and available.
LH
available.
SH
But the kids weren't. For two weeks.
LH
No. Oh, okay.
RS
The kids from Greenwood, or the kids...
SH
The kids from Greenwood.
LH
Yeah.
RS
Okay.
SH
And they were, apparently protesting, that the school, there was no sign of a school coming.
LH
Yeah.
SH
You know, there wasn't even a PLAN.
LH
No.
SH
For a school coming.
LH
No.
SH
And I can't blame them.
LH
Oh, of course.
SH
And so...we had to report in every day, but they never appeared. For, now I don't remember how long.
LH
Oh, we had no school! Where could they appear?
SH
Well, in, in, Grand Forks.
LH
Oh, well then they DID come to Grand Forks. Every, every day.
SH
No, no, they didn't, not for the first...
LH
No no, I know that. Yeah.
SH
Yeah. Yeah. Not for the first, I think it was two weeks that they were on their...it was a long time!
00:50:18.000
00:50:18.000
LH
Yeah.
SH
We used to go in, sign up and that was all we did.
LH
Yeah.
SH
Mm.
RS
And so how long...was the trip...uh, for them to get to school and for you to go and teach.
SH
Oh I guess it's,
LH
Three quarters of an hour. It was thirty miles.
SH
Yeah.
RS
Okay.
LH
Unless, you know, the roads weren't good.
RS
Mhm.
SH
Our principal, went and took a special uh...test to -
LH
Driver's license.
SH
-get a driver's license for a bus. So he drove the bus.
LH
Yeah, that took a little while.
SH
Yeah.
RS
Hm.
SH
Yeah.
RS
And what was the, the new teaching environment like?
SH
laugh well.
RS
Shirley.
SH
Rooms in three different, schools. Three different schools, and we had to run from one school to the other.
LH
Yeah.
SH
You can imagine,
LH
I don't think they were very fair to us, though. If I can recall. You know, the high school.
SH
Well I think they, sort of, tried to ignore us.
LH
Yeah. Yeah. We didn't exist. We were just using their facilities.
SH
Yeah. Yes.
LH
And it was...for free. laughs
SH
Yeah. At LEAST they had a gym, the kids had a -
LH
Yeah.
SH
-gym there laugh to. Have their, phys ed in.
LH
Mhm. Yeah, they had some benefits.
SH
They did, the. And uh...I know I got very hot, that school you couldn't, close the window. Or open the windows. So I used to take them outside. And we'd sit outside, and they'd do their, work. A lot better than any um, any other kids that I ever had.
LH
Yes.
SH
You know, they were very -
LH
No, they were wonderful kids.
RS
Right.
SH
Yeah. They accepted things, uh, the older ones,
LH
Except Tatsumi.
SH
pause Well. laughs He was different. Fumi and Yasunari were two older ones, I think they were as old as I am, or,
LH
Didn't Yasunari come and visit us?
SH
Yes, he did.
LH
Yeah.
SH
When we lived in Nelson.
LH
About ten years later.
SH
Mhm. Mhm. Yeah. But they...were always a little annoyed about things. They were older, and they'd -
LH
Yes.
SH
-known, more about how...you know, the war went, and so on.
RS
So, you noticed it, uh, a difference, um...between your younger students and your older students,
SH
Yes.
RS
-because of a, a basic understanding of the events?
SH
Sure.
LH
Mhm.
SH
The younger ones, I guess, had just gone along with wherever Dad and Mum went. But the older ones, they had. They had thoughts about it.
RS
Hmm. And um...based on this, this move, um, being taken out of the, you know environment at Greenwood and having to go to Grand Forks, did you notice a, a change, in the behaviour of, of any of the students?
SH
No.
RS
No.
LH
They were always just the same.
RS
Hm.
SH
They were always just wonderful.
RS
Hm.
SH
You know. We didn't, laugh. Wasn't like other schools laugh. Other schools are quite lively! laugh Well, they were lively enough. But, uh. They were always VERY very polite.
RS
Hm.
SH
Decent.
LH
I think they were lucky to have the two of us.
SH
Well, we, we just happened to have the things they needed LOUIE laughing, there and we were YOUNG.
LH
Remember one of the girls, who said, I'm gonna tell, Mr. Hanic, on you,
SH
Yes.
LH
Why?
SH
laughs
LH
Oh, we saw you, we saw.
SH
You walking, to school with Clark Gable all laugh. What??
LH
And that's how they treated this VERY handsome man.
SH
He was an elementary teacher. And I mean, I didn't even know him until that day LOUIE laughs and he said, oh, hi. And he was in the elementary school. laugh So, we just walked up to school together and these two girls,
LH
Yeah, but I mean, that they would say this indicates the relationship we had with them.
RS
They were invested in you.
SH
Oh, they were wonderful. They were really good.
RS
Hm.
SH
Lots of fun.
RS
Did you um...ever get a sense of the experiences of the...other teachers? For example, this Clark Gable, fellow, at the elementary school.
SH
He was elementary, no I, don't, and -
LH
No.
SH
-they just had their own Grand Forks. Students, which were mostly...you know, maybe.
LH
Yeah. No, we had no,
SH
Doukhobors.
LH
Nothing to do with other teachers.
RS
Hm.
SH
No, not the elementary school.
RS
Okay. Um...so. How long did you end up, uh, staying, at Greenwood?
LH
Half a year.
SH
Maybe that's all we were there, yes.
LH
Christmas.
SH
So, we don't.
LH
September through to Christmas.
SH
Yeah.
RS
Okay. Um, and did, in your, in your short time there...um, did you ever, see any, uh, students leave? Uh, I understand that, over time some families stayed longer than others.
SH
Mhm. No.
LH
No.
SH
Nobody.
LH
No, our class was the same from beginning laugh to end.
RS
Right.
SH
Yeah.
RS
Um. So what was the sort of, the motivating factor, for you to, to leave, and where did you go after?
SH
Well, yeah. Well, we went home.
00:55:08.000
00:55:08.000
LH
Well we went back to -
SH
Nelson.
LH
Nelson. And.
SH
Mhm.
LH
Shirley was a counsellor, half counsellor, half teaching.
SH
Girls' counsellor.
LH
Yeah, and I was um. Oh...well I just taught.
SH
Science and math.
LH
Yeah. But my father had a furniture store. And uh, wanted me to take over it eventually. But we didn't get along.
RS
Why?
LH
Uh...well, year he said,
SH
Is this on?
LH
-the end of the year he said uh, laugh.
RS
Yeah. Is this something you've-
LH
We know that we lost six hundred dollars.
RS
Is this something you feel okay with recording? Shirley's-
LH
Oh, sure.
RS
-just gesturing,
LH
Yeah.
RS
Okay.
LH
Well. I discovered that it was a, a scheme between him and the um, chartered accountant. To lower his, taxes.
SH
And Louie didn't want to stay with it.
LH
And I didn't want to have anything to do with anything like that. So. I didn't stay.
RS
Okay.
LH
I wasn't suited. Well there was something else. We had floods two Sundays in a row, that flooded the main store basement, and the secondhand store basement. And we both had to go up there and shovel all that stuff out. And we didn't discover until, it was taken over by, one of our employees. That uh, there was a shu- that there was a, a valve, outside? That would automatically close when water came in. But there wasn't one. pause So I, I got headaches, and. I said, this is it. And I quit.
SH
Well, he's...
LH
I didn't care what the hell they did to the store.
SH
imagine trying to, lift all the furniture in the furniture business.
LH
Yeah. That's where I got the headaches.
RS
Hm.
LH
That was a lot of furniture.
SH
Hm.
RS
Right. Um...and so...how long did you, did you stay in Nelson then?
LH
After that? pause
SH
I don't know, six years? pause
LH
I can't even remember what we did there.
SH
Well, we taught, I taught school, and you...worked in the store first.
LH
Oh yes.
SH
Then you taught school in um. Out of town.
LH
Oh, yes, yes.
LH
When I quit the furniture business I taught school at uh...not Shore Acres.
SH
No, near Balmington I think, where the dam,
LH
Yeah, it was about thirteen or fourteen miles away.
SH
Mhm.
LH
And when I was sick, she'd have to go and put, stuff on the board.
SH
laughs
LH
And when, YOU were sick...
SH
Well at, Greenwood, when I was sick, we'd just,
LH
But I was the only one, that was teaching,
SH
The kids always had LOTS of stories when they said what Mr. Hanic had given them to do, and. They'd be laughing and, giggling laugh.
LH
And then we had a very stupid man come to be principal of the school. A guy by the name of Ring. And uh,
SH
That wasn't in Greenwood.
LH
No, no, no. But this was in this, other school, I said.
SH
No.
RS
In Grand Forks, or in Nelson?
LH
Ehh, in...South Slocan.
SH
Mhm.
LH
Yeah. No, after all this.
SH
Mhm.
LH
When I left, my furniture business. I, went to South Slocan. To teach.
RS
Okay.
LH
And from there, I wanted to uh. Improve my education, especially in botany. And then we decided that I would go back, and, get a, Masters'. And, met a teacher there, who. Uh...suggested I get a PhD. And that's what I did.
RS
Okay. Um...what was your experience like in, South Slocan? pause
SH
You -
RS
Just to get an idea of what, what that was sort of like, and. What you were doing there.
LH
It's just an ordinary school.
RS
Okay. Um...was it mostly...like what were the, what was the...makeup of the kids there?
LH
Uh...I didn't have the girls, I don't remember very much about it, actually.
SH
One became your daughter-in-law. I mean, your, sister-in-law.
LH
Oh...Penny Penniquet.
SH
Mhm.
LH
Yes.
SH
laughs
RS
laughs So um...let's see, back- backing up a few steps.
SH
Yeah.
RS
Um...after you left Greenwood, um, and, at this point you're going back, home,
LH
Mhm.
RS
-to Nelson, um, did you get a, a sense of a feeling, um, of...you know, what people...were, were thinking at that time, about the, the war that had passed, of course it had been quite a few years, but, um...of the atmosphere, I suppose, and...
SH
finding words
LH
Well that was very strange because...while we had them in Grand Forks, they had to come, to us, in Grand Forks.
SH
No, but-
LH
By bus. Then when we were in Nelson...that was the end of it!
SH
Oh, yes. But, she's saying, what did people in Nelson think about things, with the Japanese?
LH
pause I don't think they had one though. Except there were balloons maybe that are coming over the mountains and. Starting fires.
SH
I - yes.
LH
They had some kind of a...a torch. That would, light up. I don't know how it would light up. And they would send these things all, over the town and, start fires.
01:00:25.000
01:00:25.000
RS
Hmm.
LH
Incendiary bombs.
RS
Mkay. And so...after the war? Was there, like did people have a...a sense of...okay, y-you talked about fear. Was there a sense of -
SH
Yes.
RS
-okay, we, we're safe now? Or, or what did you get a, feeling, what feeling did you get about that?
LH
Well, when we got rid of Hitler, that was the main, thing. He's gone. Because he did away with so many Jews, and. Concentration camps, and.
SH
Not about the Japanese. Did you ever -
LH
No. He, they had nothing to do with, Hitler. Hitler had nothing to do with them.
SH
No, but you, in Nelson, the Japanese, uh...problem, did you hear anybody talking about,
LH
Never.
SH
-what they thought after?
LH
No.
SH
No, I um.
LH
You mean the Japanese, not our students.
SH
No, the Japanese.
LH
You mean the Japanese.
RS
Mhm.
LH
Well,
SH
I, I -
LH
Well,
SH
-got the impression...that a lot of people had not forgiven the Japanese. pause
LH
That's, that's the Pearl Har- not Pearl Harbor but uh...um...the Philippines.
RS
Pearl Harbor as well.
SH
Mhm.
RS
I guess what I'm trying to...
SH
Yeah.
RS
-uh, I, perhaps I asked it in a confusing way?
SH
Mhm.
RS
Um, what I'm trying to get uh, a sense of, is...how people's...mentality, about the Japanese, changed from before, and after the war.
SH
Mhm.
RS
So...when you, went home after Greenwood,
SH
Mhm.
RS
What people, were, were thinking at that time. About the Japanese.
LH
Nothing!
RS
laughs
SH
Well, I think they still had...that prejudice, because when I said I was going to teach there, people would look at me like I was insane.
LH
Well - laughs
SH
Don't you know, they're all Japanese! Well, I DID know they were Japanese laugh. Um. But I think gradually...it changed. I think it took quite a few years. But, that was, I, I think I said in my writeup. When I came, or, when you...come back to Vancouver to visit my grandma and whatnot, we would once in a while see, um...soldiers in um,
LH
Carkey? No.
SH
In, wheelchairs. And how, bashed up they were. And people would often say, oh, they were in the Japanese, you know, the Japanese did that to them. So for a while. But I don't think it hung on for too many years. I think pretty soon, when they started, MEETING Japanese people, they thought well, this isn't a horrible creature. You know. I think...I think it took a bit of time.
RS
Oh.
LH
But don't forget Hiroshima and Nagasaki!
SH
And there are still a few people. Although I think they're in the minority now. Who, didn't want the things returned to the Japanese, they didn't deserve anything back. But they did.
LH
Yeah.
SH
I think they're in the minority now, I think most people now. Feel it was an injustice.
LH
Mhm.
SH
Which it CERTAINLY was. It um.
LH
Well I mean why did they bomb Hiroshima and,
SH
At least it should have been returned.
LH
Nagasaki with, the atom bomb?
SH
Oh, well, I don't know, why do -
LH
The Japanese.
SH
Well, sure.
LH
What were the Japanese, doing for them to do that?
SH
Yeah, well I don't know, what were the Germans doing to get Hitler to do that?
RS
Hm.
SH
Yeah.
RS
Did um...what sorts of uh, when you went back home, what sorts of um...reactions, did you get when you shared, your experience from Greenwood?
SH
Oh, yeah.
RS
Was that educational for people, do you think?
SH
It WAS. They were very pleasantly surprised. I can remember telling a few people. And they said, oh. Oh, so you liked it there. I said, I REALLY liked it there. I mean I don't, care much for Greenwood laugh. But the people.
LH
Well they had Japanese spread through all kinds of communities. In internment camps.
SH
Oh, yes, Lemon Creek and all -
LH
Our was just ONE internment camp.
SH
-oh sure. Oh sure.
RS
Mhm. That's right.
SH
But, uh.
LH
Remember the re, the reunion that they had in Vancouver?
SH
Yes.
LH
We thought it was just going to be, Greenwood. But no, it was, the -
SH
We went.
LH
-people from ALL these internment, struggles to pronounce 'internment' -
RS
Internment, yes. laugh
LH
Yes.
SH
laughs Yeah.
RS
That's the word. Um, when uh...whenabouts was this reunion and, and what was that like? For you,
SH
Well it was Gordon Mayeda gave, gave us the, the news that it was on. So we went.
LH
But it was most disappointing.
SH
It was, there, there were just so MANY people there.
LH
Yeah. And they were,
SH
We didn't meet anybody.
LH
They were, rows of at least two hundred, chairs that were already sitting,
SH
Yes.
01:05:11.000
01:05:11.000
LH
And I had to stand.
SH
Yeah.
LH
It had nothing to do with Greenwood. But they had a little - a nice drum, business, these huge drums?
SH
Oh, the Japanese, yes.
LH
And then they had some ladies doing a dance.
SH
That was good!
LH
Japanese, yeah that was all, good.
SH
Yeah, really good. They entertained.
LH
They had laughing nothing to do with Greenwood.
SH
No. The entertainment was good but there were too many people there altogether.
RS
Okay.
SH
Yeah. Quite a few Japanese people.
LH
Oh, yeah.
SH
Yeah.
LH
Yes.
SH
Yeah.
RS
Was that, recently, or, when was...
LH
Yeah, that's about a year or two ago.
RS
Oh, wow.
SH
Yeah. Yeah.
RS
Okay.
SH
Yeah.
RS
Okay. Um...one thing that you, you've touched on here and there, but I think would be nice to hear a LITTLE bit more about, is...those students that you kept in touch with? And, um...what it was like to see them so many years later.
SH
Uh...
RS
Louie, would you like to -
LH
That was, there was just the one person that we ever saw later,
SH
just the one. Yes.
LH
And, what was his name now?
SH
Gorden Mayeda.
LH
Gordon Mayeda. That, that's, the ever.
SH
We LOOKED.
LH
The only one we ever saw, again.
SH
We, went to Greenwood so often, and we'd walk around, hope to meet somebody, that we KNEW, and then, after a few years, we said you know? We're looking for OLD people now.
LH
Yeah.
SH
laughs
LH
Yeah, they'd uh, be about, fifteen years, younger than us and we were, seventies,
SH
You know, I'm sure we wouldn't know who they were, you know. Like Gordon, I'd never met, recognized him anywhere.
LH
No.
RS
So how old was HE when you saw him again?
LH
Oh, twelve. OH, uh...
RS
No, when you saw him later.
SH
No, no. That was, this year.
LH
Uh...sixty-five?
RS
Six- so you saw him at twelve,
SH
Here, the, this year.
RS
And then at sixty-five.
LH
Yeah.
SH
Yeah.
LH
Yeah.
RS
Okay.
SH
Yeah. pause, searching for words
LH
So as I said -
SH
Yeah, well you see, I wanted, to...if you wonder how I got this, I, I went...I go to, exercises. And, there were two Japanese girls. Akemi, uh, what's...I forget her last name. But I went one day with a picture of the kids from Greenwood, because we're always looking around to see if anybody knows them. And uh, they said well they didn't, know, but one said her husband, Hirushi, would know. And Harry...Harry, or Hirushi. Uh, comes and looks after the bingo or something in the...um...uh, senior centre. So anyway she took it home to Harry. We'd become friends -
LH
Mhm.
SH
-with Harry since. So he made it his business to go around looking for these people, and the one he found laugh was Gordon Mayeda, so.
LH
Mhm.
SH
laughs I was -
LH
And Hirushi's story of his life is...something.
SH
Yes. Yes, he gave us the story of his life. You know, well he, he was over here when the war, well they sent him over here during the war, and then. He went back, and oh it was a great story.
LH
Yeah.
RS
Hm.
LH
But nothing to do with this.
SH
No.
RS
Okay.
SH
No.
RS
Was there anything that surprised you about his, his story that was maybe different from...what you had thought about?
SH
It was just all very sad. It was a sad story, wasn't it?
LH
Yes.
SH
Oh, yeah, I mean it was interesting.
LH
Yeah, but what was sad about it?
SH
Oh, that the poor little kid had to be, was sent over here, wanted to go back to Japan,
LH
You mean Hirushi.
SH
Mhm.
LH
pause Did I know about that?
SH
Well, laugh you read it. You've forgotten.
LH
Oh.
SH
Yeah. But uh...it's just too bad he had to be sent away from home when he was so young. But now, he goes back, and.
LH
Hmm.
SH
He's...he's a very uh...seems to be very well educated. And is doing quite well, he's got a very nice house and a nice wife, and.
LH
Yeah, you said he had a lovely home.
SH
Mhm. Yeah.
LH
So.
SH
So he was, he was,
LH
He, he made it.
SH
He was the one, the key to finding Gordon Mayeda. So we were really pleased. Yeah.
RS
Um. So...uh, one thing that I was curious about, was, um...you know because you had such a good experience, and, it sounds like you...tried to sort of, maintain relationships, and also go back, and,
SH
Yeah.
RS
-um, and that sort of thing,
SH
Mhm.
RS
Um...over your life as you've, sort of reflected on your, experiences, um, are they any, specific things that, you know, you think about, or that you've, you've realized or perhaps that have changed over time when you think about your experience at Greenwood?
SH
Mm,
LH
No.
SH
Don't think so.
LH
No, no, it's. It was an episode, and.
SH
thinking noises
LH
-with us gone from there...I don't think we ever thought about them again, did we?
SH
Well we used to LOOK for them.
LH
Oh yeah, I know.
SH
-as I've said, we looked for them til we thought, we should be looking for old people. LOUIE and SHIRLEY laugh But, no we never found anybody there, we used to go over there, quite often. Or through there.
LH
Yeah.
SH
But um. The place is improved a little bit, grown a little bit.
RS
Mhm.
SH
But. Basically, there's, laugh too much more there.
RS
laughs with SHIRLEY Right.
SH
But it must have been a horrible feeling for those Japanese who were used to the coast, and used to having their fishing boats, going out...to be, there, in that awful place!
01:10:45.000
01:10:45.000
LH
Internment camp.
SH
Yeah. Although they said the Doukhobors helped them quite a bit.
RS
Hm.
SH
The Doukhobors in Grand Forks.
RS
Uh,
SH
We were told they helped, with, uh, bringing fresh fruit and things.
RS
So, who told you about that and what did they,
SH
I don't know,
RS
-what did they say?
SH
a couple people told me,
RS
Oh, okay.
SH
I can't remember who did.
RS
Well the people - the, the names don't, don't matter too much, but,
SH
No.
RS
Um, I guess what, I'm curious about what, kind of stories they, they told you.
SH
Yeah. Well just, just stories about the. Just that the Doukhobor people had felt sorry for them and so they'd brought, all their fresh fruit and vegetables.
LH
You know who the Doukhobors - yeah.
SH
Mhm. Yeah. So, so that was uh, SOMETHING that helped them out.
LH
And there were...must have been many internment, internment camps. Internment camps.
SH
Oh, there were. Yeah. There were.
RS
Mhm.
LH
Well, remember when we had the, reunion.
RS
Mhm.
SH
Mhm.
LH
There were, hundreds of them.
SH
Oh, at that...
LH
Yeah.
SH
...thing we were talking about a minute ago.
LH
Yes.
RS
Hm.
SH
Yes, that. It just how you asked if, we'd met any Japanese people we knew, well.
LH
No, no.
SH
It was just so full of people, that -
LH
Didn't see anyone.
SH
-we didn't see one of them.
LH
Yeah. So,
SH
No.
LH
-they were scattered across the country.
SH
Mhm.
RS
Mhm. Mhm.
SH
Yeah.
RS
Okay.
SH
Mm.
RS
Um...as you know this uh, this project is. You know, we hope for other people to, to learn from it, and to,
SH
Mhm.
RS
-take something away from. From the stories, uh,
SH
Mhm.
RS
that we, uh, gather here. Um, and so, when we've sort of reached, towards the end of an interview, I like to say, if there's a, a message that you could, pass to other Canadians about, you know, based from your own experiences,
SH
Mhm.
RS
um, what that message would be. Um, you can take a, a minute to think about it or, SHIRLEY laughs if something jumps to your mind feel free to, to share, but.
SH
Well I think the common one would be don't, jump to conclusions about people.
LH
That's right.
SH
Just because you hear...
LH
Yeah.
SH
-something. That you don't like.
LH
Well, we. We learnt that they're, EVERY bit as, smart. And, humorous, and got all the characteristics of,
SH
And kindly.
LH
-of white people laugh.
SH
And kindly. Many people. Well, maybe not in your class, but. Uh...Martha, or, Mary-Ann would bring me a little bit of food.
LH
Yeah.
SH
In a nice little plate, a little,
LH
Mhm.
SH
-cardboard plate, and here, taste this, you know. This is, what we have. And that was really nice.
LH
Except for the one occasion where we. Had a, special lunch at Mook's?
SH
Oh, yeah,
LH
-and what was it?
SH
-and there were a couple of things.
LH
Like that, slimy rice?
SH
It was something, it was,
LH
It was just TERRIBLE.
SH
We couldn't eat it.
LH
And, fortunately, we were able to uh. Eat at our table and shovel it all,
SH
Yeah, we put it, in our pockets, and then we were walking, afraid it would, fall,
SH
laughs. But they were SO nice and it was a LOVELY spread.
LH
Yeah.
SH
Most of it, was.
LH
It was Japanese food though.
SH
or some at least. Yeah.
LH
laughs
SH
But it was, it was. They were good to us.
RS
Mmm.
SH
When first went down to Mook's, restaurant. It, it cleared out. People, ran.
LH
They gamb- they gambled.
SH
pause I guess, I don't know,
LH
Yeah!
SH
-but two teachers coming, I guess they, laugh.
RS
So for people who don't know, what is Mook's?
SH
Um, a res-
LH
Restaurant.
RS
Where?
SH
A little restaurant in the,
LH
Greenwood.
RS
Okay.
LH
Mhm.
SH
It was the only. Well, the Haught Hotel had an eating place too. There was a dining room in the hotel. pause, laugh Well, there was.
RS
Hmm.
SH
laughs
LH
There was?
SH
Yeah.
RS
Mhm.
LH
Did Greenwood have a hotel? That we.
SH
We stayed in it when we first went. The old hotel and it had, my...
LH
Oh yeah, the.
SH
-they had the um,
RS
laughs
LH
Pull card for the water and the toilet.
SH
Yeah, that I couldn't work.
RS
laughing
LH
She couldn't find the flusher.
SH
Then they had those big dishes that they used to have. In, in the bedrooms.
RS
Oh, bedpan.
SH
Yeah.
RS
Right.
LH
Oh, yes.
SH
Yeah. It was, it was REALLY old but it was very clean, and it was very bright. And uh, very nice hotel, to stay in. I wondered, because we went, overnight, from um...Nelson. And then we had to stay one night. I wondered what oh, that old hotel, because from outside it looks horrible. Thought it would be awful. But it was very, very nice, the man that ran it was quite a nice, young man. But he was white. He was...he and his wife were white.
LH
Yeah.
RS
Okay.
SH
Not many other people. Were white. pause
LH
Shirley, I don't remember.
RS
laughs
SH
Hmm, no. Well, there weren't very many other, people there.
01:15:36.000
01:15:36.000
RS
I'm curious about um, what the occasion was, when you were, having that, rice dish and everything laughs. At, at Mook's, uh, was it just uh...a family invited you? Or, you just happened to go try it?
SH
No...Mook's, uh...
LH
Everybody ate there, lunch.
RS
Okay.
SH
Yes.
LH
We went there, on occasion.
SH
Well we always ate our, our lunch there, every day.
LH
Yeah. Oh, did we?
SH
Uh, yeah.
LH
Yeah, I guess you're right.
SH
Yeah, we didn't eat dinner there, but we ate lunch. But um. It was, well it was the nicest one. They had one in the hotel, as I say. But uh, we liked Mook's.
LH
M-hm.
RS
Okay.
SH
Except he, went overboard on the pineapple delight.
LH
Oh, yeah. Funny, I don't remember,
SH
laughing For dessert.
LH
-much of that.
SH
laughing For dessert, that's what he'd have every day.
LH
What was that, jelly?
SH
Pineapple delight, something, jelly.
LH
Jell, kind of jelly, yeah.
SH
Yeah.
RS
laughs
SH
No, but otherwise, it was good, it was a nice restaurant.
RS
Okay.
SH
When we first went in there it was funny, everybody JUST disappeared.
LH
laughs
SH
They didn't have a customer other than laugh. I said we'd better not go there laugh, he'll go broke laugh.
LH
Ah, but it changed.
SH
But they got used to us.
RS
Okay.
SH
Yeah.
RS
Um, the last uh, I guess the last question I have um...you know as teachers yourselves,
SH
Mhm.
RS
Longtime teachers, um...what do you think the best way to, pass, your, your own message that you were just, telling me a, a minute ago. Um, to younger generations. Um...yeah, but, I guess the best way to, to sort of pass down...this story of, you know. Not making assum, assumptions about other people, and, treating people equally.
SH
Mhm.
RS
Mmm.
SH
Well, I think the big thing is wait, to get to know someone.
LH
Yeah.
SH
And you'll find out that many of the things that are said...are quite wrong, are imaginary. That's what I would think. laugh
LH
But also, that they're just like us.
SH
Yes!
LH
They like the same things, and. SHIRLEY. YES.
LH
Might not EAT the same things, but.
SH
No.
LH
They're just,
SH
But otherwise-
LH
Yeah. Human beings.
SH
I don't like a lot of the stuff YOU eat!
LH
No, that's true.
SH
laughs
RS
laughs
LH
Yeah, but we always felt that way about, them. I mean, we didn't feel that we were, ANYTHING above them.
SH
No.
LH
They were just, people. Students.
SH
Oh, gosh.
LH
They could have been Japanese, German, French, Italian.
SH
Yeah.
LH
ANYthing and we would have treated them EXACTLY the same.
SH
Oh, yes, I was always,
LH
Like we would treat our own kids,
SH
I was always TERRIFIED I wouldn't be good ENOUGH!
LH
Yeah.
SH
You know, it wasn't a...matter of saying, oh, these are Japanese people.
LH
Mhm.
SH
No!
LH
But then, we were,
SH
You know, your first year,
LH
laughs
SH
-teaching, you just, you, just, you're nervous, you want to, do well. Yeah.
LH
Shirley, we were just EXCEPTIONALLY good teachers.
RS
laughs
SH
Oh, yes laughs.
RS
It sounds like it.
SH
-find lots of them laugh.
LH
Oh, yeah, we were! We were.
SH
laughs
LH
We weren't,
SH
No, we.
LH
-we've had teachers who would,
SH
laughs
LH
-they didn't suit the profession, and they would scare the hell out of the kids. In order to,
SH
I never believed in that.
LH
Be superior, and have them under control.
SH
Oh.
RS
Hmm.
SH
Yeah.
LH
We had enough of them.
RS
It sounds like you focused on, getting to know people and having a good relationship with them. And that's how they,
SH
Oh, I hope so.
RS
-came around to you?
SH
Yeah.
LH
Oh, sure.
SH
Yes. Yeah.
RS
laughs
SH
Yes. Yes.
LH
They can tell, when you first walk in the door in the first two seconds if, they're going to like you or not going to like you. laughs
SH
Yeah.
RS
That's very true laughs.
SH
Yes! laugh
RS
Mhm.
SH
No, they were, they were exceptional good though, they, I. I just loved them. I wouldn't have minded teaching them forever.
RS
Hmm.
SH
But, it was. They took so long to build that, new school. It was, I don't know, it...
LH
Yeah, it was too bad.
RS
Hmm.
SH
Mhm.
RS
Hmm.
LH
Yeah we had, might have been-
SH
Yeah, we always had trouble. You know. Remember they said they'd run out of money in Greenwood,
LH
Yeah, that's what I was,
SH
and we weren't going to,
LH
that I told you,
SH
get any salary?
LH
Yeah.
SH
And then there was some other time, they weren't going to pay us, for something. Oh! For the time that we didn't teach, when they were on, strike. We were supposed to be THERE every day but, they weren't going to pay us anything! Well we! Had to pay for our, hotel and stuff.
LH
laughs
SH
clears throat.
LH
Oh, yeah, well.
SH
So. There were those,
LH
Minor.
SH
laughs Yes.
LH
Minor inconveniences.
SH
Yes.
RS
Hmm.
SH
But all in all, I'm glad we went there.
LH
Yes, we quite enjoyed our - we've enjoyed, ALL our teaching experiences.
SH
Yeah. Especially Greenwood.
RS
laughs
SH
I liked that best. Think you did too.
RS
Well I've um...I've exhausted sort of my, my questions, and uh...
SH
Yeah.
RS
I think I've, dug quite a bit with you guys! all laugh But if there's anything that I sort of didn't ask you or you didn't have the opportunity to share,
LH
Sure.
RS
I just want to give you the opportunity, um, now, before,
LH
You mean about Greenwood?
RS
Yeah, or just about, you know this, this topic, if there's anything that you wanted to share that I, that I didn't ask you,
SH
Yes.
RS
I want to make sure that you have the opportunity to, to talk about it.
SH
Okay.
RS
Mhm.
SH
Yeah, well, that was.
LH
No, I don't think so.
SH
No. pause And it's too bad we hadn't had more...exchange with the older people, but. You can't if they don't, if they don't want to.
LH
You mean in Greenwood?
SH
Uh-huh.
LH
Yeah. Well.
SH
And I suppose, you know if you can't speak English very well, a schoolteacher's the last person you want to try to talk to. Because they think oh, I'm thinking, oh your grammar is terrible, or.
LH
Nah...
SH
You know, which you don't, but. I think there's a little hesitation about.
LH
I would say there's a LOT of hesitation if you don't know any English.
SH
Well, yes. Yes.
LH
But, we...did well with the boys and girls.
SH
Oh, I think, I think, uh, well I liked them anyway.
RS
Hm.
LH
Yeah.
SH
Your dad, would know, the value of knowing English. He, came over here and didn't know any English, so. laugh
LH
He, he learned his English from reading, the uh...series of books.
SH
Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire! laugh
LH
Yeah.
RS
Wow. pause That's quite a, an accomplishment, to.
LH
It is!
SH
It never, yes.
RS
To learn on your own?
SH
Yes. Yes, he was a. An amazing man.
RS
And the, the courage it takes to...have your first, conversation with somebody, and to try to navigate that?
SH
Yes.
LH
Yeah.
SH
'Tis. 'Tis.
RS
Mhm. You can imagine trying to put yourself in someone else's...shoes.
SH
Yes.
RS
Yeah.
SH
Yeah.
RS
Yeah. It's incredible.
SH
Yeah...well can I give you a cup of tea before you leave?
RS
Sure! Well maybe I'll just uh...I'll turn the recorder off and, thank you very much for,
SH
Okay.
RS
-being so patient with my, my questions REBECA and SHIRLEY laugh. I appreciate it.
01:22:11.000

Metadata

Title

Shirley and Louie Hanic, interviewed by Rebeca Salas, 24 August 2017

Abstract

Shirley and Louie Hanic recount memories from their half-year teaching Japanese Canadian students in Greenwood in 1951, including experiences in the small town, fond memories of their students, and the social segregation of the local community between whites and Japanese Canadians. Language barriers prevented Shirley, Louie, and others from interacting with older Japanese Canadians, and the teachers urged their students to speak English on the schoolground. Shirley and Louie both recall wartime fears of the Japanese, and express anger at unjust treatment of Japanese Canadians.

Credits

Interviewer: Rebeca Salas
Interviewee: Shirley Hanic
Interviewee: Louie Hanic
Transcriber: Carolyn Nakagawa
XML Encoder: Stewart Arneil
Publication Information: See Terms of Use for publication and licensing information.
Setting: Vancouver, BC
Keywords: Greenwood ; Teaching; Education; School; Postwar; Witnesses; Nelson ; Primarily 1950s

Terminology

Readers of these historical materials will encounter derogatory references to Japanese Canadians and euphemisms used to obscure the intent and impacts of the internment and dispossession. While these are important realities of the history, the Landscapes of Injustice Research Collective urges users to carefully consider their own terminological choices in writing and speaking about this topic today as we confront past injustice. See our statement on terminology, and related sources here.