Grandmother's experience in the U.S. as a picture bride

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And then, I believe on the thirteenth day, as they were landing in Seattle, there were sixty other photo brides on this boat. She described how they all ran to the front of the boat and they all had the photographs of their future husbands, that of course they had never met, and how they were pointing to each other, trying to identify their husbands down below. And the husbands had their photographs of the, of the wives, and they were doing the same things from down below.

And then, interestingly enough, for the next two weeks, in her diaries, she never mentioned my grandfather again. But she wrote profusely about Seattle and what it felt like to be there and what an interesting place it was and so on. And the stories, or the rumors of the family were that she felt somewhat disappointed, and felt that Seibi had somewhat misrepresented his brother. And if my memory serves me correctly, she did admit that she was somewhat disappointed, but was, also said very quickly that within a very short time period she changed her opinion of him and he turned out to be the most wonderful person that she could ever have imagined. And my grandfather certainly was in complete reverence of my grandmother.

I mean, if there was ever a matriarchal family at that level, it was their family, because I had never heard him say anything disparaging about her. And he became almost like her servant in many ways, which was rather unusual for a Nisei family. So anyway, so my grandmother, shortly after arriving in this country, applied for her midwife license and began the practice of delivering babies. And from 1912 or 1913 when she began, all the way to 1938, I believe, she either delivered or assisted in the delivery of over a thousand babies.

Date: March 18 & 20, 2003
Location: Washington, US
Interviewer: Alice Ito and Mayumi Tsutakawa
Contributed by: Denshō: The Japanese American Legacy Project.

picture brides

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