I come to the United States in 1928. I was born in Lunalay, Philippines, and I was twenty when I came here. We went from Hong Kong to Tokyo, and then Tokyo to Victoria, Canada. Then four hours from Victoria to Seattle.

I was just alone. I come here to work, to find some money.

I work hard. I work sixteen hours every day. I got contract to Alaska to cook for four months. That’s what I do. After I come back I go to it again. Work, work, work, work, work, that’s all.


I come back to Seattle. Every day you wait in the office about five hours then nothing, nobody there, and the blackboard again. Every day. So many people lined up waiting there. Almost seven hours you wait there. Nothing, you go home again. Every day! And Sunday, we got no food.

You go to Chinatown to wait for those gamblers. You beg, “Quarter, quarter, you got quarter?” You have to buy food. Fifteen cents. They throw that away, they don’t want.

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If you got one dollar, it pays for you to sleep. You know how many people sleep in the room in Chinatown? Every room in there they got five people in a little room, sometimes nine sleeping in the room. All over Jackson Street, King Street—all the hotels there. That’s where you find someplace to sleep every day. You pay one room, fifty cents.

So that’s kinda hard life.

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After I go to Alaska, we go picking hops. And after picking hops, you go to California—Stockton—picking tomatoes. Sometimes ten cents an hour. After tomatoes, you go picking grapes. After winter comes I’m going to Los Angeles, work there as a dishwasher. Before April, I come back to Seattle because I’m going to Alaska. I like to go to Alaska—that’s the only way you make good money. Every year—for 77 years straight—I never missed work in Alaska.

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You have butcher, poker, line, wash line, wash fish. My job was Sorter. Sort the fish. The fish come in from the boat— sockeye, coho, salmon, lots a kinds. You got to put this number here, this number here, number here. So you got to train your eye to see what kind of fish are they. You try not to make mistakes because they got Sockeye, Coho, Humpie… That was my job—Sorter.

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The union gives you the job, the union helps you. If you complain that the company does not pay you enough, the Union gets the company to get your back pay or overtime. Because of the union, no discrimination. The union controls all that. When they put you to work, they put you to work.

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