A Different View
Reflections and Observations
Had her life not been disrupted by World War II, Chito would have worked in real estate. She remembers a time when the luxury resort area of Poipu, Kauai, was selling for ten cents a square foot.
In retrospect, her government work offered Chito opportunities for service to the United States, travel, meeting people, and helping family and friends. She has fulfilled her goals.
[If World War II had not happened,] most likely I would have liked to do real estate. At that early time, Poipu was opening up [to housing and resort development]. I look back now and think, maybe I’ll ask Herbert to help me take the [real estate licensing] examination and get into real estate. Because it was at a time when land in Poipu was ten cents a square foot.
When I was working, my brother next to me, who is a jeweler on Kauai, he told all of his friends. He encouraged them to buy land down in Poipu and he never told me. But I could have gotten land at the time they were selling for ten cents a square foot.
I think I got more out of joining the WACs than the government got out of me. (Laughs) When I worked in Washington, D.C., every other year I came home and then every other year I traveled in Europe and all over, so I got a lot. Practically all of Europe, I was able to travel.
Even after I retired, I used to take long trips and then cruise trips. And I met lot of nice people, too.
[I became a WAC] mainly [because I thought] I had something to offer for the United States. I had more knowledge of Japanese than the people that stayed home because I had six years in Japan. [I also thought I could be of some help to my family and classmates in Japan.]
I think [I fulfilled my goals].
Chito Isonaga's interview courtesy of the Center for Oral History. Photographs courtesy of Chito Isonaga.