Maria Bartruff & Dave Bartruff
Recorded by Robin Takayama
Interview by Sara Caswell Kolbet via phone
[00:00:00] (showing photo) This is give it the beautiful flowers just to show you my room.
[00:00:08] You know that this is a movie and they will see that please. Sarah’s going to ask you the question and I’m going to record your answers.
[00:00:20] And it’s important for you to stay still because I can hear fabric I can hear all of that stuff. So here’s the telephone.
[00:00:30] David Bartruff: OK. What you are just like you talk on the telephone talking to you.
OK you can say hello I’ll let her know you’re there. Yeah.
[00:00:38] Maria: My name is Maria Bartruff. OK. HI first time what’s going to say and (unintelligible).
[00:00:53] I grew up with the thing years Okinawa and I took an hour or. So after that in Tokyo Tokyo long Time 28 years.
[00:01:02] Dave: Ask them about your family and growing up and.
[00:01:07] Maria: Oh as for me you know my boss so funny. And my parents was born in Okinawa cause I was walking out and nighty night.Eighty.Eighty eight years or my father. My brother a four year old passed away. Now I’ve come to the countryside and there’s a high school and the city you know I see. Yeah I was two years ago. I even grow up in the countryside. I meet my husband in Tokyo. I’m doing s. MP MP jobs and import export jobs.
[00:01:54] Maria: I get hate I hate you i hate you American so much you know but time was the time to make up and was thinking for a long time before I make an Oh many people many students made it through the died and I had to be on ocean for all long time and you know not so I couldn’t (about the torpedoed ships she was on) I couldn’t finish yet. You know so I couldn’t finish. All children cry and help mommy and die. This. I hear every day you know. That’s why I came back to America. Many good morning. So your husband is now now difference. No difference. I forget it. I fall I forget it. And the husband is nice. Yeah. I mean I after this from my family.
[00:02:51] Oh hey. My family hates America and my family hates you. I’m very American. I never believe in myself you know. So my father and the son very much and my father doesn’t say anything. Anything you want so you go OK.
[00:03:10] OK. And then my father my father and parents have passed away. Now I.See he he said you go Mary and you can keep responsibility right. That’s my father say he’d rather hear that from my husband that very much. Yeah I know that for another family and they never say anything. We don’t go see our family for a long time.
[00:03:42] Years eight years we’re going to go see a family because all the caution you know behind you there and they hate me and they hate you know they hate my husband and we don’t say anything now all is peace.
[00:04:04] Now everybody like it is very likely like young people like you know or person now passed away so peaceful. Yeah. Every time it’s happened we have a house. I made the new house the last two years. Yeah. What I see is a new house a new house some myself and some inside me and my husband can come my daughter I can come here you know. Yeah. Every is every day as I go back here I have a life. 1968. United States in 1968.
[00:04:43] First thing we don’t have any debt ever here and nobody here. Just look around the country and what you’re going to do. So I the first time in 1970 I needed and opening the house. If you buy a house Pacific house and fork out a whole store and after two years that her super market super Oriental at a supermarket and after two years together same building this one.
[00:05:27] So 18 years that has been working and so I understand. So so I now it became more easy. So we have only one person in the company company friendly you know and they be the company FRIEND We know President to help or that’s Chicago that’s IBC building and we’re months.
[00:05:51] Yeah. But I don’t like it and I don’t like it leaping over there to call if you’re leaving if we’re heading over there I never knew. Okinawa. Yeah I meet lots of people. I have a that it in Okinawa. A Christian group. Oh that’s helpful.
[00:06:09] Happily do they. And my sister. So Asian and so poor that help with money and I didn’t that’s the thing I took an hour. Now you know so either a member at such a member a church help me to my husband to help lots, every month lots.
[00:06:30] That’s yes yeah. I see. I like it. I like it living here so good and so comfortable house. Nobody see you. I don’t see it evolve you know. Now I know my husband is doing a very good job in that.
[00:06:49] He still she’s still working for you know seventy five. Seventy two years old. I still go go go. Yeah he doing that. I got to go with him.
[00:07:00] Ship. Cruise you know. You wnat to come. You come close to me. Yeah I have trouble for I have trouble speaking speak English. So no no. I do this. Broken Englsh. That’s OK Market’s never trouble no trouble not trouble.
[00:07:24] How I hear I hear English by ear ear. Yeah you know. Yeah. People teach it people are teaching me and that’s funny thing I say that use of you say there’s you know the people teaching me so so on the idea in my heart I live in my heart and then do not trouble me. My daughter. We adopted when she was 10 days old. 10 days old we adopted girl to you know this baby now he had the goal of one boy. This once 80 years or second one. Seventeen, 16, eight. That’s four children.
[00:08:13] So she’s no records because we don’t have a baby. We couldn’t we couldn’t have baby. Yokohama Yeah. She was born in Yokohama. Both Japanese. And hospital, own mother couldn’t take care. It’s just a throw away something hospital. So Hospital Dr.couldn’t take care , he think so mother go away. So I feel sorry for her. He’s happy now she’s walking in the house and husbanded together everything with. Yeah. So happy and. No. America may already know I be boss I’ll be your boss so no trouble my husband you’re talking my husband has a lot less than me you know.
[00:09:11] Dave: Robin is coming over here now. Yes that’s fine. You know we left out a lot of stuff about Maria. She is fantastic.
[00:09:19] Husband: I mean the reason her English isn’t all that great is because when she was a child she was torpedoed in then out in the ocean and then she didn’t go back to Okinawa for a long time but she did and she did end up getting the teaching credentials from a famous university in Japan.
[00:09:43] But that was only after a two year course. And so she was. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And so see the thing is she’s been away from her family all that time. She was torpedoed in that Tsushima Maru tragedy and then she was rescued by going on tape taken to Japan. So she was away from Okinawa for you know many years and she hadn’t completed her education and after the war everything in a shambles. And so she was working like in you know Px’s and working for the U.S. military and just picking up English. You know there’s no jobs. Everything’s destroyed. And so she’s working for the U.S. military doing helping with accounting and doing different things. So she just English was just picked up you know from guys and in all that sort of thing so that’s why her English is a little different than someone who’s graduated from a Japanese university nowadays you know.
[00:10:45] So that’s one little thing about her little Englishman in all that sort of thing. But you know what. The thing was we got married in Tokyo and the Okinawa people are completely different than the Japanese people.
[00:10:59] It’s like Hawaiians being different than people that live in downtown Manhattan. Now this phone is going out on us so I’m going to have to get another phone. Hang on. Sorry. So anyway we lived in. OK. I didn’t want to ramble on there I’m sorry Sarah but OK fine. You just asked me whatever you would like to please. OK fine. You know it’s so sensitive. What we’re recording that any little clock in the background making no noise and so forth. Yeah. OK good. SARAH So what did you want me to do.
[00:11:35] OK. Well actually I had been over in Korea serving with the U.S. military from fifty six to 57 and that’s when I met Maria when I was on leave in Japan during 56 and 57 and then I went back to the states in got out of the military and I couldn’t stand it so I bought a one way ticket to Tokyo to marry Maria with no job. So that’s the way we got started. And I eventually very quickly got a job with a miracle publishing company called Army Navy Air Force Times and I worked in Tokyo for four years and after that I worked with Japan Airlines advertising agency is an English language copywriter copy chief for Botsford Constantine International in San Francisco based advertising agency. So we lived in Yokohama for about four years. So for a total of eight years I lived in Japan working in journalism and photography and we were married in the Tokyo Chapel Center on September 1st 1959 and then after eight years of living in Japan I just figured it would be a good time to get back home to the states and you know miracle of God.
[00:13:07] About six months before we left our little Amy Cole we adopted Amy Cole as a child as a infant.
[00:13:16] And so that was 1950 excuse me 1960 68. And so he came to us to San Francisco and my company was out in San Francisco and I had six months notice because everyone coming back from overseas just had six months to work and then they are just not needed anymore. So I worked for six months and then I started a freelance travel photography and writing career which I been doing up until today. So Maria’s home in San Anselmo with her infant child and I’m working and going around the world taking pictures and writing stories. So that was up to. That’s actually up to the present.
[00:14:09] She had her store her different stores for about I guess she said about for about for about six years you know maybe about 10 or 12 years.
[00:14:23] OK 17 years 70. She had her a folk art store in her supermarket and restaurant for about 17 years and she had the chance. All this time we’ve been in the States which is 38 years. She goes back to Okinawa at least once or twice a year for like six weeks at a time. So she’s very current with everything in Okinawa.
[00:14:50] Her father had a great 80 fifth birthday party about like seven or eight years ago.
[00:14:58] And I wrote a story for an in-flight magazine about that. So if you need any information about her background and her family background it’s that’s that. So now up to the present. Well we we’ve been just living here for all those 38 years. In San Anselmo in Sleepy Hollow in Marin County. So. Yeah. OK. This is my name is Dave Bartruff. OK. Yes I am Dave Bartruff a photojournalist. And we live here in Sleepy Hollow in Marin County just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in California. And we’ve been here for 38 years.
[00:15:56] Anything else. SARAH Well I think the one thing I’ve always enjoyed about her so much it’s just like attending a circus.
[00:16:13] And you know there’s fire eaters and there’s people that write on lions on the actually the the the go in the cages with the Lions I guess and tigers and so anyway she’s just like a Fourth of July 4th firecracker ready to go off at any time. And it really makes life interesting so there’s never a dull moment around here or think you Sarah so we’re going to go over to Maria right now. OK. Thanks for everything.
[00:16:46] Maria: Yeah yeah. He’s he’s like yeah he’s happy. No. He yeah he he had the bang yeah military and off to get out looking for a Chicago newspaper. You know that’s my Mary after I get out of its misery. He was at that dinner. Oh he’s still young. He’s younger. And so here we had over 60 and all Oh many. And who I understand do you understand a very good. And. Make our. Nothing different. All people are same thing is we all suffer from mind.
[00:17:45] You know study hard and pick up a English and. I don’t know says young people. That’s a separate maker. It’s something we’ve got to teach you know this kind of people and justice you know everybody out with the team America. And young people mostly you know I’m just no understand America. So it’s teaching teaching teaching teaching teaching him is young people and. I can understand well why is that so many people are coming here and that’s something dream you know.
[00:18:42] So I want to say study hard. And more understand America. And it’s hard anyway walking hard and. I don’t know why well I didn’t. Oh I I don’t know. It’s that of to have them but it’s a dream. You know the dream that I could dream who has a true come true.
[00:19:22] And now they’re feeling different. They’ve been taking over the country mess so much and last. I don’t know say through food.
[00:19:39] And that’s what I have to work hard. I understand. And then the customers are different too you know. And so much working hard and undertand people and studying English. And I still do to go to peaceful people.
[00:20:06] Dave: Did. Sarah Sarah did Maria finish off there or do you want her to say some more things or you know I’ve written several stories.
[00:20:17] I could make copies and give em to Robin or whatever like that might fill you in on some of the details if you need a few more details or anything. Yeah. You know I’ve got these. There’d be tear sheets for magazines and stuff like that and we’d be like yes. Her father’s Eighty fifth birthday which was just unbelievable.
[00:20:39] It’s a big important thing and Okinawan three or four hundred people they’re honoring him. And it goes back and tells his history and and he was a village chief in Japan and all this kind of stuff in Okinawa and then I did another story an online story I guess I could maybe send that to you and that would be the sinking of the tissue in my room. You know one of the great tragedies of World War II. Did you ever get that because that tells a lot about Marie and her background and the children on the ship and all that and then her travail and yeah because I though it would be much easier to read it because I don’t think I have in any kind of electronic form. I mean either one of those.
[00:21:24] Yeah. Yeah you could give me your your your mailing address if you like. You know it’s here if you needed it and if you don’t need it it’s ok do you know good Sarah.
[00:21:38] Yeah. OK. You know yeah good.
[00:21:42] I’ll give you back to Rob. You know the other thing about Maria. You know she don’t talk a lot about ourselves and everything. But you know the phone will ring some time and it will be the the Emperor of Japan’s wife it’ll be princess Michiko and she’ll talk to her. She will Princess Michiko will call Maria and talk to her on a private phone call. So. So you know Marie is really pretty special. She also has made you know good she’s made. She has a relationship with Premier Prime Minister Koizumi. They were on a vessel together. It was having to do with her sinking of her ship which is a major thing in Japan but she got to know the the prime minister of Japan quite well and she sends both the prime minister and the imperial household you know jam from her garden that she makes and stuff like that. So Maria is really special and that probably didn’t come across but that’s the kind of person she is. Well it could be done. You know she just wrote as well she’s written a book about herself and it’s all in Japanese and everything is not about herself it’s all about her life and in other people and things like that so yeah. Yeah. Good Sarah. OK. Here’s Robin with all of her equipment here. OK.
[00:23:14] Yeah. I’m going to get a pick up of one. I interrupted you.
[00:23:21] OK. Actually in December 1967 we adopted Amy koe getting her from the hospital