WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Hardwired for Hard Work

Jul 9, 2013

Amy Konishi says when her obituary is written it’ll read, “All she knew was work.”

It’ll be a fitting tribute given the 87-year-old’s work ethic. As a young girl she toiled in her family’s onion and cantaloupe and dry bean fields outside Rocky Ford, Colo. Then she moved to selling produce at her husband’s roadside shed along the highway. In the 1950s she opened her own hair salon and she’s been putting in hours ever since.

[My mother] made us strong because she was so strict.
Amy Konishi has lived in Fort Collins, Colo., her entire life. In the 1980s, a local newspaper profiled Amy and her husband’s long connection to the area.
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Her tenacious work ethic was instilled in her and her siblings by her mother, a Japanese immigrant who arrived in Rocky Ford in 1910 and married Konishi’s father soon after. He had immigrated to the United States around the turn of the century for a job as a railroad worker. From sunrise to sunset, Konishi and her family members tended the fields.

“[My mother] made us strong because she was so strict. If you felt like you were sick, you didn’t get sick too long because she gave you castor oil and you got out in the field,” Konishi recalled. “For a long time I couldn’t drink orange juice because it reminded me of the castor oil.”

Here is a link to her story on the Harvest Public Media website, which also includes other stories from the series, My Farm Roots.