Sammy J. Oi, class of 1944
I was born on March 1, 1922. My early childhood days were spent in that section of Los Angeles a little northwest of the central business district. I only seem able to recall the many hills and a park near our home where often I played with my mother and sister.
We moved to the southwestern part of town when I was about four years old and soon after I entered kindergarten. I graduated from elementary school in 1933 and then attended Forshay Junior High School. It was about this time that I joined the Boy Scouts and during the next few summers many enjoyable days were spent hiking and camping at the beaches and in the mountains near Los Angeles. Many friends were made during this period whom I cherish to this day.
I entered senior high school in September, 1936. Up to this time my future was very undecided. What was I to do upon graduation? Yes, I would like to go on to college but going to college without a purpose, I thought, was useless. My father had a successful market business which I could continue if I so chose. Somehow I felt that this was not to be my lot. To be a true success, I thought, one should love his work. It was my intention to live as full a life as possible. I had made the acquaintance of two fellow students and many enjoyable and profitable hours were spent with them, discussing the question, “What are we living for?” I decided that perhaps college would help me to solve this problem.
In my second year in high school, I studied chemistry under Miss Willson, an elderly, crippled lady. Often I had spoken with her after class and in the course of one of these talks, she encouraged me to major in chemistry when I went to college. College, she said, was a place where one should learn to think. Chemistry is the subject which will help you most to think.
I entered U.C.L.A. in the fall of 1939. Soon after school started, my father became ill and was bedridden for over four months. I was forced to look after his business, an this with my studies occupied nearly all of my time.
It was in the summer of 1940, when I spent my most pleasant vacation. With two friends, I spent a week in the interior of Yosemite. There, we hiked among tall pines and rugged granite mountains and swam in cool Lake Tenaya. There, I learned to appreciate nature.
This year when evacuation orders were issued, I dropped out of school. Now I am confined in a relocation center. My immediate plan is to finish school. I would like to go on in chemistry until I have a master’s degree and if possible a doctor’s. Perhaps I may be able to secure a position as a chemist in some plant or maybe teach in college.
At present I am hoping and praying with all my heart that the war will end soon and that men can live decently in a peaceful world.
Sammy J. Oi
After receiving a degree in Chemistry from Oberlin in 1944, Sammy joined the Army from ’44-’46, where service included Intelligence Service Language School, Engineer School, and assignment to the Engineer Board until discharge. He spent 7 months in Japan with a Technical Intelligence Team from November ’45-June ’46. Once discharged, he did not return to further studies, but instead helped his father in the operation of “Oi’s Food Market”, which he later took over. He eventually married a woman named Evelyn. Sammy J. Oi passed away in 2000.