Summary: Chapter 9

Back in the courtroom, Etta Heine, Carl’s mother, takes the stand. We learn that Etta was born in Germany and raised on a farm in North Dakota, where she met Carl Heine Sr. and eloped with him to Seattle. The two of them worked at menial jobs in the city before eventually settling on San Piedro.

The narrative flashes back to a scene in 1934 on the Heines’ strawberry farm. Carl Heine Sr. agrees to sell seven acres of land to Kabuo’s father, Zenhichi Miyamoto. Though Etta is utterly opposed to the transaction, Carl finalizes it in an eight-year lease-to-own contract. Judge Fielding briefly interrupts Etta’s flashback, explaining to the jury that such a lease-to-own arrangement was necessary at the time because laws forbade Japanese-born Americans from purchasing or owning land. Returning to 1934, we learn that the American-born Kabuo will turn twenty, the minimum age for legally owning land, in November 1942. Carl Sr., defying Etta’s opposition, agrees to turn over ownership of the land to Kabuo upon Zenhichi’s final payment.

During Etta’s testimony on the stand, she recalls the moment in March 1942 when the Japanese are given only eight days’ notice to prepare for their relocation to the internment camps. Zenhichi tells the Heines to take his berries and sell them for whatever they are worth. Otherwise, he says, the berries will go to waste and rot in the fields since the Miyamotos will not be around to harvest them. Carl agrees to harvest the crop on the seven acres in question and take the profit as payment. Etta again objects, making her distrust and dislike for Zenhichi quite clear.

Summary: Chapter 10

In the courtroom, Alvin Hooks, the prosecutor, is still questioning Etta. Etta recounts that Carl Sr. died in 1944, at which time she sold the farm to Ole Jurgensen for $1,000 per acre, returning Zenhichi his $4,500 of equity. Etta then moved from her farm to Amity Harbor, the only town on San Piedro, in December 1944. In July 1945, Kabuo called on Etta. Fresh from military service in Italy, Kabuo wanted Etta to allow him to finish paying for the land his father had almost fully purchased. Etta refused, claiming she had not done anything wrong in selling the land to Ole Jurgensen. Kabuo agreed that she didn’t do anything illegal but added that she did do something unethical. In response, Etta slammed the door in Kabuo’s face.

Etta tells the jury that after this encounter she felt threatened by Kabuo and asked her son, Carl, to keep an eye on him. Alvin Hooks uses this portion of the testimony to argue that a family feud exists between the Heines and the Miyamotos. When Nels cross-examines Etta, he makes the point that in selling her land to Ole instead of to Kabuo, Etta increased her profit by $2,500.

Ole Jurgensen then takes the stand. The old man testifies that, after suffering a stroke in June 1954, he put his farm up for sale in the first week of the following September. Kabuo approached Ole on the day Ole announced the sale, hoping to buy back the seven acres his family had lost. However, Ole had already accepted a down payment for the whole farm from Carl Heine Jr., who had stopped by earlier that day. Carl had told Ole that he wanted to stop fishing and live his dream of farming strawberries instead. Kabuo simply showed up too late to buy the land.