Letter from Lea Perry to Kazuo Ito. The original letters are housed with the Sonoma County Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), and were borrowed for digitization courtesy of the JACL, December 2014. Transcript: Dear Kaz: Mr. Winkler was down yesterday and made final settlement for the late stuff which amounted to $139.54, your 40%. It was a little more, but we deducted for the cement, shoot metal and their labor on the boiler patching – that totaled $9.77. Now we are all through for this season and the question of another lease it as hand. Mr. Winkler asked me to write you in this respect – here is his proposition for next year: He will put the fertilizer on providing you people pay for one half of the fertilizer. He will do all the pruning, spraying, cultivation, thinning and harvesting for 75% of the proceeds instead of the 60% of this year. Or course, you had all the pruning done last year and the cover spray was on when he took over this year he has to stand all of that. He also wants it stipulated in the lease that he can have use of the equipment up there – I take it that he means the tractor, sprayer and any equipment necessary to properly take care of the place. I have been tied down so for the last few weeks that I haven’t had time to go in and sit and wait to talk to Harry Fuller, but I will do so in a few days if everything goes alright and then I will talk this all over with him. In the meantime, I want you to be thinking this over and write me as soon as you can, because I want to see Tauzer also in the near future and want something to present to him. I got your letter saying you had heard from your Grandad and what he had to say. I will do exactly as he wishes insofar as I can carry out his wishes without any governmental orders. I do want to present the labor picture to you as best I can now – every ranch around here is up against it for pruners right at the moment. The ones that used to hire four and five have one or two in fact if they have two they are lucky. Don Osborn is pruning all of his with the help of one man. Alfred Hallberg has some old fellow helping him scatter fertilizer and I don’t think he has anyone to prune for him. The papers are full of ads for pruners – the prices are out of reason. As far as this ranch is concerned, we cannot pay over 65¢ at the very best for pruners and if Sam sticks around we will probably get by for that, otherwise we will be out of the game as far as pruning is concerned, because we just haven’t the money to work with. Right now Sam has one of the dryer crew here with him and he claims he is going to teach him to prune and that the fellow wants to stay right on through. If that is true, we will be better fixed than a lot of other people, but as I told you before I can’t be sure until I see thing happen with those guys. We finished the dryer the evening of the 17th – Joe and I worked all day like niggers to get done by night and we just made it. In fact, if the main belt hadn’t broken at 5:30 we would have made it by 6:00. As it was it took 15 minutes to get things going again – thanks to Johnny who had an extra belt back in the junk. What I wanted to tell you was this: Sam only drew wages once since he had been here so he had $281.30 coming and I paid it all to him on the Thursday following the day we got done. Well, he told me all about how he was going to the city for a week or ten days with that and then would come back and go to work for another year. He expected to go down on Saturday. Instead of that he went to Forestville on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night and on Monday he hung around here all day. Tuesday he sorted and I helped him pack up the apples for you folks. Wednesday he was around looking very low so I asked hi why he wasn’t going [text gone]… him, I was so darned mad. On the other hand, I felt sorry for him because he really was feeling badly – he mopped his eyes all the time he talked about it and I couldn’t help but have pity for his weakness. Anyway, when Joe got home I told him about it and he talked with him a while later. Sam told him how he had promised to be at some friend’s house for the baptism of a little one – he was to be the godfather – and how cheap he felt that he couldn’t go. He said he did put some money in the bank at Forestville, but that he couldn’t face Silk to take it out so soon. Whether this is true or not, I don’t know, but anyway, we gave him a check enough to get to the city and back and he was thrilled to death. His nephew was supposed to pick him up yesterday (Thursday morning) at 9:30, but at 11:30 he was still waiting all dressed up. He was mad about it and said after waiting a while longer he was going into town and taking the bus to S.F. We went up home for dinner and when we came back he was gone do they either came for him or he went on the bus, I don’t know whether we did right or not by giving him the money, but if he really means that he is going to prune for us and stay with us as he said the other day then we showed our trust in him by doing that much for him and he should show his appreciation to us. Winkler has been hot on his trail for some time now and comes here every once in a while to see him – I never hear them talking, but Sam told us that Winkler wanted him to go into partnership with him on the Case ranch and yours. Since then the Case ranch has been sold to some city fellow who wants somebody to take it on shares and still Winkler wanted Sam for a partner on that and yours. Sam told me that Winkler asked him to get him some boys and go prune for him if he didn’t want to go into partnership. I figured the only partnership Winkler would have with Sam would be to have him to work harder. Joe and I sat down and did a little figuring for ourselves after Winkler came here and made that proposition to you. We figured that we would talk to Sam and see how he felt about running that place with us as the bosses instead of Winkler. He seemed very thrilled and said we were darned fools if we let somebody else have it next year. He also said he thought we would do a lot better by you folks and as long as he couldn’t run it on his own hook he would like to see us have it and then he would do all he could to help us keep it like you did and would make an honest effort to find a crew for the dryer next season. I’m just in a sweat over the whole thing – before Winkler came down the other day I worried myself sick for ten days because Harry told me on the street in a hurry one day that Wallie had gone into the army and that the Case ranch had been sold and that Winkler would not run anything but his place next year. A few days after that Sam came home from Forestville and told me that that Andy was coming down to see me about running the Ito place and I tell you that I couldn’t sleep because I didn’t know what on earth I would tell that guy. From what you people told me before you left I feel sure that you didn’t want that guy on you place and the more I thought about it the more I thought I would make up a lie and tell him that Joe and I are going to run it. I thought it over and over and I even told Sam about it, figuring he would go back and tell them and then they wouldn’t come and bother me. Well, anyway, Joe and I talked it over and finally decided that if we could come to any terms with you folks that we would make the best of it. Then right out of a clear sky Winkler comes along and puts this proposition up for consideration and he is very hot on the idea that this is a mighty good proposition for you folks and that he wouldn’t take it under any other terms and that Joe and I would have a lot of labor difficulty if we took it, etc. etc. he did a good job of washing everything. He oiled the machines and put [t ] all away in the packing house and washed all the trays and set them on [ ] on the dryer floor. The trucks have been put in the packing house, also. I checked up on the washer tank and there never was any water left in it. As soon as Joe and I can go up there together which I think will be one day next week we will fill it and leave it full for a couple of weeks then drain it. I say that’s what we will do, but only after I ask Archie Hull how they leave theirs over the winter. I am going to see him tomorrow and will ask him. If he suggest leaving it dry that’s what I will do. Joe seemed to think there was less chance of rotting the tank if we did that, however, I’ll find out more about it from someone who has had experience. About the insurance on the buildings – I talked with Curt Stange about this and he said that he was suspicious of any of the insurance coverage on Japanese property after the occurrence at the Temple. Don’t know whether or not you have heard this, but about three weeks ago someone got nasty and tried to destroy it. They found the blaze before it did much more than scorch a bit of the outside wall, nevertheless, Curt told me that the insurance company immediately cancelled the policy and that they were leary about policies on all other property so held. I asked him about the place up there and the fact that nobody would be there stead any more. He told me to look into it further, but that his opinion was that the company should be advised of the fact and that they would put some clause in the policy to that effect unless this incident had made them turn against all coverage of this kind. I have still to talk with Butler on this matter and will take his advice as to the next steps. Of course, your problem will be solved if we can find someone to take the house. I already talked with several people who might get in contact with persons interested in such a home and I hope to find somebody before long. I am going to talk with Silk on the subject, also. My idea would be to get just a couple, either young or old, preferably old, who would take good care of it and be interested enough to watch out for the other buildings on the place, etc. Joe and I could store everything that you wouldn’t care to let them use – most of it locked upstairs there and some of the more particular things brought down here and put in our store room with the rest of the stuff belonging to Johnny. I wouldn’t be such a big task getting it ready for occupancy and they wouldn’t need very much furniture if any… perhaps their own bed and mattress, if they are particular, otherwise they don’t need to own a thing. I would, however, pack up all those dishes and everything that is still hanging around loos that I figure they wouldn’t have any interest in and anything else that you might think of that you don’t want used. At any rate, I will start getting busy on a renter…will keep you advised on the deal. Nothing further has developed on the ranch deal… I haven’t seen Winkler since he settle for the gravs and he still has to make settlement on late stuff, whatever there was of it. I haven’t paid him for the patching he did on the boiler and pipes and am waiting for the final pay-up to do that. At that time I believe we will try and talk business if he is still of the opinion that he would like it again. I think I will have a chance to talk with Fuller before Winkler shows up here and feel him out on his ideas than Tauzer can have the final say on it. Fuller might have had inquiries about places from someone and one never knows – somebody may even make a good cash offer. I am anxious to get this dryer business over with so that I can devote some time to talking to Fuller and finding somebody to rent the house, etc. There is a possibility that somebody may be interested in renting the house and taking the place on shares or some other way – the only drawback there is the question of a bunch of small kids. I would rather take a little less from somebody without small kids then let somebody wreck everything in the house, yard, and everywhere else and I am sure that you would, too. Oh yes, I will remember the apples for you when making a deal with anyone. You could have had them this year, I am sure, if anyone had had the time to go there after them. Sam told me that he was sending gravensteins to you folks and to your Grandad. He and I have both been talking a lot for the last two weeks about sending you all some late stuff, but it’s just one of those things – getting around to it. Don’t lose hopes, though, we still have the apples put away fo you and one of these bright days we will find some boxes to put them in for shipment. You’re not hungry for good apples, anyway, now are you? Joe just told me that our next door neighbor (South) hired some Filipinos to prune for him and they are friends of Sam’s. They told Carl S. they would prune for him if he could get them a house right close so they wouldn’t have to drive to work. He said he didn’t have a place so they came to see what Sam was going to do. Sam asked us if he could take them in and if so that they would help us when the finished with Carl and then work for anyone else that needed them. Now if that is really so, we would have enough to take care of our place and Johnny’s easily. Sam told Joe he doesn’t want to go to the hopyard any more so Joe wonders if he intends to stay right on through and if he could operate the equipment. I told Daddy I would ask you what you opinion was about his handling the tractor, etc. We are up against it after Lloyd left and if he could be depended on for that it would be a blessing, but we don’t want to give him any hope until we know more about what he can do. The way things are right now it doesn’t pay to make anyone madder than necessary because God knows we’ll need anyone and everyone before we get the next crop harvested. Nevertheless, we don’t want to make promises to people and then feel sorry when we find our equipment all shot to pieces and the work only half done. We are not worrying about his spraying, pruning or anything like that because we figure he did it to suit you folks, he should be good enough for us, but the machine handling has us puzzled. Let me know if you think about it, huh? About Sam not writing you Grandad – I asked him once this summer if he ever heard from the old gent and he told me yes, that he had a couple of letters and that he felt ashamed that he had never answered him, but that he would write him and send him a box of apples later on. I never asked him again until the other day if he sent the apples and he told me that he had sent them and that he had had a letter from your Grandad telling him that he had received them. Don’t know if he is just lazy about writing of if he feels a little bit funny about his doings. He did ask me if I had told you people that he was here and I said I certainly had, that I didn’t feel that I had anything to hide from you folks and that furthermore, I would rather tell you about it than have somebody from around Forestville write and tell you that Sam had left there and gone to the Perry place. I asked him how he thought that would sound and he just looked at me and laughed. It is pretty hard to tell how those guys feel when you talk to them or when they talk to you, I discovered that this summer. I also discovered that their word doesn’t mean a thing – we’ve had dozens of them tell us one thing and do another of never do what they promised. Right now about every other day two or three of them don’t show up and when they do come back they never bother to explain why the absence – they just act like we should be tickled to death to see them again. You can’t imagine what this had been like… if somebody had told me that it could be like this I would never have believed it, but I am really learning from experience. This is why I have no faith in any of them any more and am not making plans for having a pruning crew of anything else, because I said before that I can’t even have trust in Sam any more after what he did the early part of the season. He will [ ] to prove himself from now on to suit me. In talking with him the last [few words gone] acted terribly put out [few words gone] those boys don’t show up for work some mornings. He told Joe and I last night that he couldn’t understand what those boys are thinking about when they do those things – he said when he told somebody something he tried very hard to stick to it and he thought these young fellows were making a very big mistake in their actions. I told Joe maybe that is why he let the others run him while they were here – he didn’t want to say something and then find that they wouldn’t let him do it and make him pass for a liar so he just took the back seat and let them run the whole affair and they really did it, too. That’s where I blame him – when he came here he was supposed to be the boss and we were trusting him implicitly only to find that he wasn’t the boss at all. Oh well, it has been a terrible mix-up and nightmare and I am happy that it is almost over. Yesterday Mr. Myers called me up to come down and do a few hours work for him in the afternoon. I was tired and hated to go yet hated worse to say ‘no’ so I went to work for him from one to four. I never knew how completely worn out I am until I sat there taking a few letter and then typing them for him. He asked me if I would go steady from now on and I just had to tell him that I felt completely shot and just wouldn’t undertake to try and fill the bill. Looking back over this letter tells me that I had better never try to do any work for anybody for sometime to come. As soon as we wind up the dryer work I am letting my housekeeper go and then I am going to take a complete rest for a whole week – just doing my housework and feeding the stock and resting. I won’t have the gas to run around with so I will have to stay home and sleep. I know that if I don’t do that I am going to spend a very miserable winter this year – I just don’t feel equal to any more strain than I have already undergone. About the bond refund – haven’t heard any more. Last time I reminded Curt he said he would get in touch with the outfit and find out what had happened. I haven’t heard any more from him about it, but will ask again when I go in. They are probably just taking their sweet time about it. Glad that your Grandad has given his ideas on the equipment, etc. I will never do anything excepting what you desire on any of these matters, aside from what I must do when compelled to by the Government, regardless of what somebody wants done or what public opinion thinks, should be done. I am following the dictates of my conscience in all these matter, considering you people first and then letting public opinion make me madder than ever. Well, I think Joe went to bed over an hour ago and the bed should be warm by now. This morning was the coldest ever her and we never thawed out all day. This is for Tsugiye’s benefit, too. I finally found her iron way down in one of the boxes and if I don’t get her list within the next few days I will send the iron and you frames along in the same box. If her list gets here (the one she says she sent me) I can pack everything together and maybe save on the whole thing. Oh yes, here’s the best I could do on Johnny’s social security number. I found it only in one place and it looks like this (the 3’s may be 5’s or vice-versa …3-46-18-5467. I got her last letter with the affidavit and everything is now taken care of on the insurance policies. I will write her later on this week, in the meantime this may take care of her. I still owe your Dad and Chip letter, but Lord knows when I will get at them. Tell them if you see them that I am still busy and will write later. Poor Lloyd had written three letters and I haven’t had time to answer any of them as yet. As soon as I finish work I am going to spend one whole day answering letters after I clean and fix this darned typewriter so the paper will slide when it is supposed to. Even it is on the fritz! It surely got its workout this summer. Best regards to Grandma and all the gang As ever,
The North Bay Ethnic Archive features material related to the forced relocation of northern San Francisco Bay Area residents to Incarceration Camp Granada (Amache), Colorado. It includes correspondence, photographs, and reports. Some of the original items are housed with the Sonoma County Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), and were borrowed for digitization courtesy of the JACL. The remainder are housed in Special Collections.