Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Margie Nahmias Angel Interview
Narrator: Margie Nahmias Angel
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 21, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-amargie-01-

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Okay, so Margie, I always start with the date and where we are, so today's Tuesday, June 21, 2011. On camera we have Dana Hoshide, and I'm the interviewer, Tom Ikeda, and we have Margie Angel here this morning. We're in Seattle at the Densho office. And so, Margie, I'm just gonna start with the first question, can you tell me where and when you were born?

MA: I was born in Seattle at the Swedish Hospital on June 1, 1924.

TI: And what was the name given to you at birth?

MA: Let's see, Margaret, I think it was, Luna, L-U-N-A, Nahmias.

TI: Nahmias. And do you know where "Margaret" or "Luna" came from?

MA: Well, yes. [Laughs] It's kind of crazy. In a custom, I guess, with our people, with the Sephardic Jews I'm assuming. My mother lost a lot of children to illness or stillbirth etcetera, and so there's a custom where you buy, she'll pay coins -- in Spanish it's called mercada -- which means I was "bought." And that's kind of, kind of supposedly a good luck future, hopefully, for my mother and her children, any future children she might have, and kind of to remind her that she had lost so many. There would've been twelve of us, but ended up with three of us.

TI: So they, and when she "bought" you essentially, did that also come into your naming also, in terms of --

MA: Well, yes, mercada, and so from mercada, meaning "bought" in Spanish, they picked up with Margaret. It was just kind of something that sounded like mercada, I suppose.

TI: How interesting. So let's talk about your parents, and why don't we talk about your father first? Can you tell me his name and where he was from?

MA: His name was Samuel and he was from what was then Constantinople, Turkey, and he came here probably in about 1910 or '11, thereabouts. And he was one that supported his sister's family, and the reason I bring that up is -- this may be going ahead again -- but then he had made it known to his sister that he wanted his niece, who was my mother, to be his wife. So he married his niece.

TI: Okay. And so they were also here? Or they came --

MA: No, at that time they both, they were in Turkey, and of course, like so many of the immigrants from whatever background, they wanted to come to the land of milk and honey, which was here, the U.S., and also he didn't want to be involved with the kind of wars that were starting to take place there. So he supported his sister's family and then eventually brought them all over here, and in so doing at that time married my mother sometime, probably 1912, '13, thereabouts.

TI: And how did he go from Turkey to Seattle? Why Seattle?

MA: Well, I don't know if he knew somebody. I did hear a story from a friend of mine whose father was a friend of my father. Now, whether they discussed it, whether this man suggested it to my father and -- but, like him, many others did come about that time, as you know, from all different countries -- and he, I think he was kind of an adventurous guy, and he was kind of a risk taker even in business. There he sold stuff on carts, like there's a dessert that's very well-known in Turkish, chaimach, or else umbrellas, anything, sold fish from carts. He always was able to make a buck. And so I don't think he was afraid of that, but once he got here -- shall I go further?

TI: Yeah, tell me about what he did here.

MA: Once he got here, of course, now he didn't know how to read nor write, never did learn to sign his name. He always had the famous X for his signature. And he came here, and like I said, he seemed to always know how to make a buck, and that's kind of a crude way to put it, but that's what I've always thought. And so he started out with a little teeny, teeny shop on Third Avenue between Pike and Pine next to the Winter Garden Theater, and he sold little wax flowers. And then he went on to Pike Street -- no, Pine Street, between Third and Fourth across from the Bon Marche, and he sold, he had a hat block and shoeshine stand. And one cute little story then was that he had a sign, a clapboard sign out in front of the store, and it said, "shoeshine five cents," and then down at the bottom, "one shoe." So very clever. [Laughs] And he might've even been a bootlegger if it had gone any further, because he, I used to see under his hats he had bottles of whiskey. He never drank, so I thought, "Well, what does he do, sell whiskey or something?" That, I never learned exactly what the answer was, however.

TI: So as a child you would go to the shoeshine and see this?

MA: See all this. And he was, his shop, shoeshine and hat blocking was adjacent to another immigrant family of Greek people, and so I saw a lot of that. I was kind of a downtown person anyway. [Laughs]

TI: Interesting. Let me ask a little bit about your mother. What was your mother's name?

MA: Her name was Victoria.

TI: And tell me a little bit about her, what she did.

MA: Well, I understand that when he made it known to his sister that he wanted her, his niece for his bride, this was because he had supported their family, his sister felt indebted to him because he also, not only supported them but brought them over to this country, and so they felt very much indebted. Well, what I heard was -- and I don't know how accurate this story is -- was when she was leaving to get on the ship she had a boyfriend already who was crying and reading poetry to her because he didn't want her to leave. But she had no choice because her destiny had already been chosen. So she came here.

TI: Is there an age difference between your father --

MA: There were twenty-one years, I think.

TI: Wow, so quite a bit.

MA: Yeah. And when she got here, when she got acquainted with the Sephardic community, those that were here, part of them were the Alhadeffs that had the Palace Fish and all them, well, they said, "You shouldn't marry him. He's twenty years your senior and he's your uncle." And I guess from what all they said she was a very beautiful young woman, but she had no choice, again.

TI: And so how old was she when she...

MA: When she came here? I would imagine that she was about sixteen or seventeen. She might've been a bit older, but I would imagine she was that...

TI: And your father, then, would be in his thirties, mid to late thirties.

MA: Yeah, he was probably close to forty and she was maybe close to twenty, but I'm not positive. I've never quite figured that one yet.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: Okay, so now tell me about your family in terms of siblings and birth order.

MA: Okay. (Mamma), as I said before, she had several children (after) my brother, (Ike). Now, my brother was born in 1913, she had, would have had, as I say, twelve of us, and I would say that probably seven or eight of them came (after) him, either stillbirths or died after birth. And there was one child who was fourteen that, he was younger than my brother, Ike. And he died at fourteen from I don't know what, but that one, he lived that long at least. And then there was a girl that lived 'til five, swallowed a nickel and they couldn't retrieve it, so she died. So then, all I knew, I don't remember seeing the fourteen-year-old, but then I do remember my brother, Ike, was born in '13, and then after, then me in 1924, and then my sister four years later. So the three of us siblings are the ones that survived.

TI: Okay. So Ike, you, and your sister's name is...

MA: Rachel.

TI: Rachel. Good. So Ike is quite a bit older than you.

MA: Yeah.

TI: Eleven years older.

MA: Eleven years. And he was, well, there's a long story then. He had a terrible inferiority complex. He had gone to school, elementary school, and some kid called him a "dirty kike." So Ike was honest as the day is long but tough as hell, and so he clobbered him, and the teacher took the side of the guy that called him a kike, dirty kike, and so then off Ike goes to the principal. The principal also sided with the other guy, and so Ike left school never to return to school again.

TI: And how old was he when this happened?

MA: Well, I don't know for sure, but then he was probably twenty. No, he had to be younger because he was in elementary school. And so he, however, he found solace in going to, well, my dad put him up in a shoeshine shop, but he just wasn't a city business kind of a guy, and so he did go to sea eventually. This was before the war. And he was in the maritime for a long time, and then during the war he was, I think, still aboard a ship that was taking stuff to Da Nang and all that. When was Da Nang? That was later, wasn't it?

TI: Yeah, was that the Vietnam War?

MA: Yeah, that must've been the Vietnam War. Yeah. So, but during World War II he was in the army. That's what it was. Sorry, I get a little confused here.

TI: No, no, that's fine.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: So let's talk a little bit about where you lived.

MA: Okay. We lived, from the time I left Swedish Hospital, at East Alder and Tenth. And the Japanese Baptist church was one block behind us. That was East Alder and that was Fir, I think, Spruce or Fir. Spruce.

TI: Yeah, so we're just blocks away from here. It's really close.

MA: Yeah, that's why all of this is like home to me. And so we lived there, and the juvenile court was right behind us, but then the nursery, Seattle Day Nursery, was across the street from us. And as I said, Mr. Shinbo, the Shinbo family had the grocery store on the corner of Tenth and East Alder, and Sachi lived right across from that, and so we were within about a half a block of each other, my friend. And the whole neighborhood, almost the entire neighborhood was Japanese, so I just kind of grew up in the middle of it all. And so Hisako and Toshi lived in that triangle across from the church, and Hisako, she was just a doll, and Toshi, they were my good friends. And Pacific School, which was where we all went to elementary school, I have no idea what the percentage was, but I would say that at least sixty-five percent was Japanese. I'm just guessing at that, but a good portion. And so I was kind of almost half Japanese because my life was just...

TI: Yeah, it's so funny because I've interviewed so many people and they talked about, like, Pacific, and it's, yeah, it's mostly Japanese. And I say, "Well who else was in school?" And they mention, they think, and, yeah, there were maybe a few white people.

MA: A few. Yeah, there were no blacks and there were a few Chinese, and in fact, it was kind of a revelation to me when they turned, they did the Washington School into a junior high and I spent half of the eighth grade there, so that was really a revelation because there was, I hadn't been around the blacks in our school, and of course there were several there. And so that was... but the primary years of my life were, and I used to go to the Japanese Baptist with my friends sometimes.

TI: Well, let's talk about your family life a little bit more, then I'll get more into the Japanese community. So describe your home. I mean, what was your home like?

MA: My home, it was a large home, and of course during the latter part of the Depression, that's when my mother rented rooms out upstairs. But then my home life otherwise was, well, we weren't really super religious -- at least I wasn't and never will be -- but we had a Jewish life at home and a relaxed one, I would say, because we were not amongst, going up further, Fourteenth and up, why, then that was more into the Jewish community and so on. But then... now, do you want to know what my life was kind of like at that time? Is that what you're saying, asking?

TI: Yeah. I'd like to kind of just know your typical day. What was your typical...

MA: My typical day was, I spent a lot of time going downtown Seattle. After school many of the times I would walk the route from Broadway all the way to Pike Street and then Pike all the way down to where my dad's flower shop was, so I spent a lot of time as a kid going downtown. I loved downtown. And otherwise we went on the streetcar. It was the same route. And I was a good friend of Sachi's, as you've heard, and we would go to the theater sometimes together, and she and I would have tea and crackers either at her house or mine. But a lot of my young life was really going downtown Seattle, and there, again, one of the wholesalers was Japanese, Kay and his brother, Mike, and Sally, who still has a wholesale, and her daughter, Robin, downtown Seattle. And Sally's husband --

TI: And do you remember any of the last names?

MA: No, I don't. Mike and Sally -- in fact, Robin went to Franklin, I believe -- and so Mike and Kay, no, what did I say his first name was?

TI: I think you said Kay.

MA: Kay, yeah. Okay, well they had a place in San Francisco, and they invited my family, my mother and my dad, and we all went down, and they showed us Treasure Island and all that sort of thing. And so we enjoyed that a lot.

TI: And they were Japanese?

MA: Japanese. But I don't think they were Seattle people, though. I think they may have grown up in San Francisco, because that's where we went and saw, they showed us around.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: So I'm curious, when you go downtown Seattle as a kid, you said you were a downtown person, what did you do downtown?

MA: Well, I worked at my dad's from the time I was really young, and I knew all the stores, of course, and the people that owned, there's a small market down on Fourth between Pike and Pine is where he eventually had his final business, and it was a flower shop, fresh flower shop, and it was called the Queen City Market -- and the people that owned the fruit and produce were Japanese. I don't remember their names, though. And they, of course, left when the internments time.

TI: And so when you say the Japanese owned the produce, so back then, it's so different than the supermarkets today, but, so you would have the Queen City Market, was the produce inside the store or was it next door?

MA: It was right in front, the front part of the market, and there were two butchers, one here and then Manning's was here, and then my dad's flower shop, and then another butcher, a deli, a fish market, and in back it was Piggly Wiggly, was a kind of a supermarket kind of place. But that was a small market, and it was a great market, really great market. And Manning's was just so popular. That was kind of my hangout for goods to eat. And so I worked for Dad, and I was there throughout, golly, until I was a big girl, and I used to love to send customers to Sullivan's and Rosea Brothers, who were the big shops, and ours was a market shop. And whenever they knew that their person, customer couldn't afford, they'd send 'em down to Papa. And Papa was really cute. He'd sit out in front of the store, in front of the market, on the street, under the lamppost, on an orange box, and have his gardenias with a sign and him calling, "Ten cents, gardenias," and so on, so forth. He was... I guess I'm going back to him more than me, but I used to go with him to the wholesale all the time, and there was another Japanese wholesaler and two, three Caucasian ones. And he had a style, considering he didn't know the language, nor how to read or write, but he'd go, the big guys would go to the wholesales in the morning and they would buy accordingly. six in the morning, four in the morning, whatever. He'd go at eight or nine in the morning, and by this time they had all their flowers back in a big icebox, great big one, and so they would greet him. He was a, he was a jokester, had a great personality, and, "Hi, Frenchie. How's Shorty?" I mean, when all that was over, now we get down to business. He would go down, go back to the, he had two salespeople that he liked to deal with at each of the places. He'd go back to the big box and he'd say, okay, and he wouldn't handpick. "Five hundred dollars, the whole box. Okay, send it down." And that's how he shopped. And so he was one of their favorites because they weren't left with a lot of stuff, too.

TI: But he was pretty savvy because they had already made their big sales, and these were kind of the leftovers and they wanted to just --

MA: Not, well, leftovers in the sense, yes, what was not taken, but it was all still quality, totally quality. And he would be able to sell accordingly because he got such a buy on everything that he would send the stuff, I mean, sell the stuff at great prices but total quality, and he gained a very good reputation on Fourth Avenue. Everybody knew Frenchie Shorty. And he was also funny, and he'd flirt with the ladies with two words that he knew in Swedish, fin flika, and stuff like that. He was real great. Now, my mother, she didn't go down, she went downtown a lot, but she went more or less not to work or anything. She just liked getting on the streetcars and getting downtown.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

TI: Wow, yeah, I'm sure I could ask a lot more stories about downtown, but let me switch a little bit and ask you about your relationship with the Japanese community, 'cause it sounds like you were, like, right in the middle, being close to Japanese Baptist.

MA: Right in the middle, and my friends, I played with all the kids around. It was a very integrated situation. And then down the street, like there was a guy named Seigo -- I can't think of his last name -- but a few years ago he had written to me and, quite a few years ago, and we met up at the China, on Beacon Hill, China, a restaurant.

TI: South China?

MA: South China, and I met... this dumb blonde with about five guys from, one Watanabe and Seigo and about four other guys, and we kind of reminisced about, again, the old days. And Seigo was a very handsome, very suave kind of a guy, and he was, had his business partly in Hawaii, partly here and so on. But anyway, yes, I mixed a lot with all the Japanese.

TI: And when you would go to some of your friends' homes and they would come to your home, tell me the differences between a Japanese home and your home. I mean, what kind of things would be different?

MA: What kind of things would be different? Well, at Sachi's home, which is the one I went to mostly, and Hisako and Toshi, which were at the triangle, and then next door to my mother's house and dad's house was, invariably there were Japanese people renting the home there. And how was it different? I guess I didn't pay attention to anything much different. All I was really familiar with was the smells of Japanese --

TI: Yeah, that's what I'm saying. When you walk into a Japanese home, does it smell different?

MA: Smells were different, and tea was always a highlight, and as far as Japanese food, I don't think I ever had a meal in their homes, but then I...

TI: How about like the things hanging on their walls?

MA: Hanging on their walls...

TI: Can you remember that or even maybe like Japanese dolls?

MA: Dolls. Dolls, yes. Still one of my favorites is a Japanese doll -- my brother sent one to me one time from Europe, or the Orient. And as far as... you know, I don't think I spent meal times there, and I think we snacked after school and I think most of our activities were, was playing out in the streets and stuff like that, as far as really integrating with play and things like that. In their homes and in my home, all I know is that Mama was open to all the kids, they could come. I have a picture of her with our Japanese neighbor. She's mowing the lawn and this little Japanese gal has her arm around Mama. So there was always a good feeling, and when we get to that point I'll explain why some of the things with Sachi that took place in my life disturbed me.

TI: Yeah, so I, I'm curious now about the parents and how they accepted you. So when you went to a Japanese home, oftentimes they probably, many of them, didn't speak English.

MA: Right, right.

TI: And I'm just wondering your kind of relationship with...

MA: One of the families' homes that I went to I was not totally comfortable with because I wasn't sure how the mother felt, whether she didn't want to have a white person with her child. I don't think that would be the case, but then I don't know what the case was, because one of, she was rather serious and, and I never felt like she, I got a feeling maybe she didn't want me there. Now, I don't know if I was right in my feeling or not, but then there wasn't the comfort there that I felt in Toshi's and Hisako's house and others, you know? So, but otherwise in their homes everybody was very cordial and very inviting and I felt totally comfortable.

TI: Okay. And how about your parents with Japanese kids coming over?

MA: Perfect. No problem at all. Mama was, and Papa both, I mean, they were both very hospitable and, as I say, Papa was always funny, making jokes. So no, there was no discomfort there. It was always really nice. I think, I think it was good.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: Earlier you mentioned that you'd sometimes even go to the Japanese Baptist Church?

MA: Uh-huh.

TI: So tell me why you would go to Japanese Baptist.

MA: I think I just went there because I wanted to be with my friends and they'd say, "Why don't you come down," and I would go. Like the Finnish friends at my other corner, I went to the Baptist church up on Broadway, which was a different kind of a Baptist church. But then I, and my parents, they were not what you would call Orthodox in the sense that I know some people that were up the hill that were Jewish would not want to have their kids go to the churches, and my parents never stopped me. They, my mother was just so super. Whenever she was ill, there's several stories I have about her, and whenever -- in elementary school there were, I think, three Jewish kids in the school. I was one, and two others, and one of 'em was sitting next to me and we were having Christmas carols sung during an assembly during Christmas time. And she plowed me like that [imitates elbowing someone], and I said, "What'd you hit me for, Jenny?" And she says, "You're not supposed to Christmas songs, and you're not supposed to say the name of Jesus," da da da, she went on and on. And I was really upset and I went home and I said, "Mama," I said, "You know what Jenny told me?" And I told her what transpired. She says, no, no. She says, "You sing the songs. They're pretty songs. You can say the name of Jesus. It's okay. It's alright." She always said it's okay, and always felt, and when she described Jesus, Jesus was a good man, Jesus was a good teacher, so why would you not say his name? We didn't embrace him as our God as Jews, but then that's the way she felt, and so there were many, many incidents, and eventually I said, "I know, I know your answer, Ma." So it was comfortable that way. And, now I, in the homes of the Japanese I never encountered anything that was oriented to Japanese religion, whether it would, would it be...

TI: Be Buddhist, probably.

MA: Buddha, maybe, or whichever, yeah. So I never encountered any conversations there.

TI: Now, were your Japanese aware that you were Jewish?

MA: Uh-huh.

TI: And how did that come up, just in conversation?

MA: I don't think it ever was even thought about. And, and Tom, what's so great about those days, even, unlike today, which it should be better -- and maybe it is in some ways, but in many ways it isn't -- that was what's so, was so great, is there was no differentiation made.

TI: People just accepted you.

MA: Accepted is just, that's the way it is. It's okay. That's our lives, that's the way they went, it went, our lives went. And so I cherish that memory because it, unfortunately, should be practiced totally like that today, and it still isn't, as we know. So that kind of disturbs me.

TI: For your religious services, did you go to the synagogue nearby?

MA: I didn't. My dad went on holidays, a couple times a year. My mother, we weren't really involved, or at least I certainly wasn't, and my mother to a degree with the Sisterhood. My dad would go as the holiday, on a holiday, but then other than that I don't remember it being something that we were really attached to.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

TI: So there are two interesting stories that you shared with me, and I'm trying to figure out which one we should start first. There's one about your friend Sachiko when the war started, and then also a tenant, a renter at your place. In terms of chronological, which one do you think we should start with first?

MA: Well, I think the... I think the renter, I call that part of the story "the renter."

TI: Okay. And let me, let me provide some context, so you talked about earlier during, you had a large home and your mother would rent out some of the spare bedrooms.

MA: Okay, there was a three bedroom, I mean a three room apartment upstairs, which was rented to a young Japanese couple, a very -- at this period that I'm speaking of, which was probably 1939, 1940, I would assume about then -- and they were just really, really sweet. Sweet, sweet couple. And I don't know how this other fellow learned of a room. Maybe they suggested it, maybe he learned, I can't tell you. But then he rented a single room, and he was older and he told us he was, I'm not naming the business, but he was in a Seattle business for twenty-five years. His name was Mitsuro, and he was kind of quiet, but to me a little bit mysterious, a little bit strange, and in the sense that he always just, never smiled. He certainly talked. It wasn't like he wouldn't talk to us, but my parents couldn't understand him at all. And I could understand him and some of it was kind of perplexing to me because he would show me little booklets, maybe, or little pamphlets, and they would be kind of politically slanted, some of it in Japanese, which of course I didn't understand, some of it in English, which retrospectively I got a picture of what it was, but at the time, even then, I didn't understand it.

TI: So he was a, so Mitsuro was a Japanese national, Japanese immigrant, and he would communicate to you in, like, broken English?

MA: Yes.

TI: Okay.

MA: Not, I mean, understandable though. I could understand him. And he was always picking up foil scraps from cigarettes or gum or anything, any foil scraps, and he'd make these huge balls out of 'em, out of these scraps, and he even asked me if ever I found scraps, would I please pick them up and give it to him. And I never knew exactly why he was doing this. And his room, he always had a large light bulb burning, day or night, until his bedtime of course, and he'd be sometimes pounding and making what appeared to look like, like orange crates. And he was filling that, those crates with stuff all the time, and some of them were the balls, the foil balls, which was always kind of strange, but we never questioned him about anything and he didn't volunteer much. He did tell us that his one son was born, was graduated from the University of Washington, and one from the University of Oregon, and that at that time while he's talking to me they are in the Imperial, Japanese Imperial Navy. And then he also told me that his wife was visiting in Japan, and then he also, for some reason -- I don't know if we found those later -- there were five gallon cans of linseed oil. We might've found that at that later part of the story. And he would, there were a few comments sometimes that oriented towards, kind of directed towards a... his feeling was not that great for USA. That's, I can't remember words or exact quoting.

TI: But just a sense that you got.

MA: Yeah. Yeah, there was just something there all the time, but at the time I didn't place much importance in it.

TI: Yeah, go back to his sons. So one, a UW and University of Oregon grad, now in the Japanese Imperial Navy, was he pretty proud of the two, and when he, what did he say about them?

MA: Yeah. He, it was just kind of factual. I mean, he, just kind of an automatic situation. And yes, he had that sense of pride, which I could understand. If we had a son and they're in a wonderful navy and meticulously dressed and everything, I mean, he described them, yes, I think --

TI: Did you ever see photographs?

MA: Not until that later time when we found his stuff. yeah.

TI: Okay. So let's, yeah, I just wanted, we'll do it chronologically, I'm just curious, like the room, if he had photographs of the family.

MA: No, that I never saw. The only thing that was standing out was the fact that there was always this huge light bulb and then he was always putting things together.

TI: Okay, in these crates. And then do you know what he did with the crates?

MA: Well, at a later time, at that time, no, but then I kind of got a picture that he was sending it to Japan. But then I didn't know for sure. I mean, it was just kind of a speculation, really, on my part.

TI: Yeah, I think, just some background, I think during that time, because at that point Japan was at war with China, and I think a lot of people, there were, like, scrap metal drives or things like that that people would collect and then send to Japan.

MA: Send to Japan, yeah. Well, this is what I assumed, and more so later, as you'll, as that story goes on. And he was, when he talked about his wife he didn't say too much. He just, all he ever said was that she was visiting in Japan.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

MA: Well, I'll start with the fact that when it was declared, the war was declared, and when Roosevelt did this thing about the internment camps, the thing that, he came to us when he knew he had to leave. He said, he asked my mother -- and mostly it was talking to my mother 'cause my dad was usually at the shop sixteen hours a day -- so he asked if he could leave some things in the basement until he would return and retrieve them. And my mother, the house, as I said, was a large house, and the basement was probably divided into three parts. One half was a huge part that was never used. It had just dirt floor. And one was supposed to be for the tenant and one was ours, which were the two small quarters, and so Mama pointed out that that was for the tenant and, yes, you could leave these, his things there and return and get them. And so she never went down and looked, and so then in about, when the war had already started and in about 1943, I would guess, she happened, for some reason, otherwise never had occasion to, but this, the dirt section, unfinished part, had a little door, just a teeny little wooden door, not locked except for a little hook and eye thing, and she happened to look in. Well, it blew her away because it was wall to wall. You could not see the dirt floor. And it was just wall to wall with things. Well then she realized that he'd pulled a fast one and snuck all that into that section of the basement.

TI: Oh, so in the tenant area he had maybe a couple boxes...

MA: Yeah, nothing to give her any idea that there would be something different.

TI: But in that other area that wasn't really used, the dirt section -- and how large was that room? When you say wall --

MA: Huge. I mean, it was huge. That whole basement, I mean, the house widthwise was big.

TI: More than, so I'm thinking about, he just had the single room upstairs, I mean, more than what he even had in his room?

MA: Oh gosh yes. I mean, that section of the basement, of the half of the whole basement was enormous.

TI: Okay, so tell me, what was in there?

MA: Well, at that time, Mama said that she felt that it wasn't her place to look at the things, so she really didn't go through it. She just knew that that was all the stuff that he snuck in, and all she said was, when he gets back he's gonna be told that that was not a nice thing to do and be scolded. Well then, I have to go forward to the end of the war. He never came back. And then, in about 1947, my parents were in the throes of a possible move from this home to something else, and at that point she felt she had a right to look. Well, that's the part that was kind of scary, and that was that there were pictures of his two sons, very handsome, very meticulously dressed in these navy uniforms, Japanese Imperial Navy uniforms, and a very nice looking two young men, two young men that were very nice looking. And then she found a lot of pictures of Hirohito on his white horse. We found many articles and books, and that's when it became a little scary, because some of them you kind of got the picture of what was, he was thinking or what these entailed, what they were telling us.

TI: And so these were maybe like propaganda, maybe anti Japanese, or anti American?

MA: Yes. Right, yeah. There, nothing, we didn't read it all, but then they were sporadic, but the thing that was the most alarming was when we found some maps that were, had certain sections circled in red ink, and it was of the Northwest and primarily places like Todd Shipyards, things like that. I can't specifically remember the names of the places, but those were kind of what was going on in those maps. And then, on top of all of that kind of stuff, there were then cans of linseed oil, many, and why that I don't know, and then kind of the surprising part was that there were household things that was as if he emptied out his whole household, kitchen things, utensils, chairs. I mean, everything kitcheny, everything housey, not the other kind of things, which kind of indicated she must not have just been visiting. It just kind of gave that picture that she wasn't just visiting Japan if all her household was here. But anything that we thought was just total assumption because I knew nothing for a fact. But when we saw the literature and the maps, that's when I called the FBI, and I told them the whole story, and I said, "I don't know what to do with all these things." And he said, "Well for one thing, had your mother looked at those things in 1943 we would probably have ensued with an investigation and looked for him." Now, he -- I'm quoting the guy on the phone -- he said, "As far as I'm concerned, you had a spy in your house." Well, as I wrote my story and thought about it and thought about it, he made it sound so convincing that I began to believe it for the moment.

TI: And before, when he said that, had he come to the house and looked through the things?

MA: No.

TI: So this was just based on the description.

MA: The things that I described verbally. And so the only thing is, though, at that time he had me almost convinced, but retrospectively, not too much later than that, I thought about it and I thought, well, what makes that proof that he was a spy, you know? I mean, no matter what I described or anything that happened up to that point, I didn't feel that that was proper for him or me to assume that, yes, this man was a spy. I mean, there were indications of a possibility, but then not necessarily a fact. And that's when I wondered -- I think I talked to somebody -- that's when I thought, well, he may have been let, given an option to go to Japan from the camps if he so wanted, and so I assumed that maybe he did that, and then later said, oh no, they wouldn't have done that. But to this day that's the only thing I can come up with, because there still was no proof.

TI: Yeah, actually thousands of Japanese -- and many of them, or most of them Japanese nationals -- repatriated to Japan.

MA: To Japan, which he very possibly could've done, yeah.

TI: And so what happened to all this stuff?

MA: We, I think we probably got, called Goodwill and got rid of it all. And you know what? I'm so sorry because I think it would've been interesting to keep some of those things, and I might, if I had them today I would be able to show you what I was talking about.

TI: Yeah, that'd be fascinating. Especially, I think, it'd be interesting to look at the maps, I think is probably the one that I would be most curious about.

MA: Yeah. Yeah, and just to see exactly what was he thinking when he circled.

TI: Because things like photos and, even of Hirohito...

MA: Probably many of them, aren't there?

TI: It's kind of interesting, I think right after the war started, you hear the stories -- it was in that book, also, that you read, The Corner of Bitter and Sweet -- how many families were burning things, and they were often burning things like that, because they felt that by having that, that would cast some suspicion on them.

MA: Yeah.

TI: But it was fairly common for that.

MA: I could believe that.

TI: But the maps might've been interesting to look at. Okay. Interesting.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: Okay, so now I'm gonna backtrack because I want to now go back to December 7, 1941. And first I want to just ask, what was that day like for you? Do you remember that day and what happened?

MA: Well that day I was at the Orpheum Theatre with a friend of mine, and Claire and I had just left the theater and we had walked from the Orpheum Theatre to Third and Pine, and there was a newsboy there yelling, "Pearl Harbor attacked by the Japanese." And, and I don't know for sure if I realized how serious that was. I knew it wasn't right. I knew that there was a problem, but then I don't think I really zeroed in on the actual meaning of what that meant. And of course, as you know, shortly after that the declaration of war. And so it was, at that time, when... do you want me to go on with the part of my friends leaving and everything?

TI: Well, let's just stay with this day. I want, I'm actually gonna walk you through a couple days. I want to know what it was like the next day at school and things like that from your perspective. So anything, when you, like, went home or saw your parents, did they say anything about the war?

MA: Yeah, well I think that just the idea of the attack, yes, I think we all, I think everybody was talking about it, naturally, and the news, the radio. I don't think there was TV then, or was there? [Laughs] But mostly it was radio, and so yes, I think most all of us were talking about it, and when we saw --

TI: And what were people saying? I mean, especially, in particular about the Japanese and Japanese Americans?

MA: At that time the Caucasians, not the Japanese, but the Caucasians, most of it was very negative, very anti Japanese. I think that even some people I knew were looking at our Japanese American friends and thinking, oh my gosh, this person... but I don't remember ever really my contemporaries, or even my parents, saying anything anti Japanese.

TI: But these were comments you heard, like downtown then?

MA: Downtown I heard some things, yes. And, but then I was so, I don't even think I was angry that they were doing to the Japanese Americans, I never thought of them as Japanese Americans. These were my buddies. These were my neighbors. These were my friends, and so I never thought in the terms of, oh, what are they doing to my friends, because I couldn't imagine.

TI: So I'm gonna slow you down and still stay on December 7, 1941, and the days after. And when you're downtown, especially, and people are saying perhaps negative things about Japanese, when I interview Japanese and Japanese Americans about this time, many of them just stayed home. They were afraid to venture out. And I'm just curious, from your perspective, would it have been safe for your Japanese friends to have been walking around downtown during this time?

MA: I think so. I mean, I just, I think it's because I can't even possibly imagine that it would be otherwise. I'm sure sporadically there were those that did, but then I don't think I felt, no, I don't think I felt that it was dangerous for them because I couldn't even, not even fathom that it could be.

TI: So let's go to the next day, Monday, December 8th. You have school at Broadway High School. Talk about that. I mean, did your Japanese friends all go to school? Did some of them stay home, or do you have a sense about that day?

MA: Not truly. I don't believe that they, I believe they attended school. And now this is just a kind of a thought of my own, is I can't imagine that they even imagined that what was to come was gonna be. So I just have a feeling that things were just kind of the same, but I could be totally wrong.

TI: Do you remember any teachers or, or the principal saying anything about the war? That, because that day was the day President Roosevelt made the announcement --

MA: Declared.

TI: -- declared war. And was there, like, an assembly, or did you guys hear on the radio, anything like that?

MA: No. I mean, yes, it was talked about, but then I just, I guess I didn't absorb it the same way that I might have.

TI: Now at this point did you have any conversations with your Japanese friends about --

MA: Yeah, just kind of norm. I don't remember having any conversations, until, of course, when it came to the fact that they were told that they have to leave. Then of course lots of comments. But then, up 'til that point, no, I don't know. I just got, I just have memory of it just being kind of norm.

TI: So how about the days and weeks after that? So even before they left, I'm just thinking about that transition period where, there were a couple months where people really didn't know yet, and I'm just wondering if there were any incidents or anything that you can recall out of the ordinary?

MA: No. What I recall is that when it really became reality and then the time came that they had to leave. I think that's when, I think, it really hit all of us. And of course those of us, like, who had a friend or friends, but particularly I'm thinking of my one friend, it was just almost unbelievable that she would be leaving and for the reason that she was leaving. So in general, no, I didn't, I don't know. I think maybe I just wasn't facing it. Maybe it wasn't, I was not facing it, like as to what it really was.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

TI: Well, let's talk about, then, the Japanese leaving, and in particular Sachi leaving. So the weeks roll by, and pretty soon the Seattle people are starting to get the notices that they're supposed to report to a certain place.

MA: I think it was Puyallup, wasn't it?

TI: Yeah. They were supposed to collect what they can carry essentially, and then there'd be buses to pick 'em up to take 'em to Puyallup.

MA: Right.

TI: So tell me about what happened with you and your friend Sachi.

MA: Well, Sachi and I had a real serious conversation telling each other how dear each one was to the other, and how we would correspond and how we would exchange birthday cards and totally keep in touch, and that we would always be friends. And that, in essence, is what we talked about. And as we always did, that particular day we ended up with our usual tea and crackers in one or the other of our kitchens. And insofar as how serious did I think it was, I think that I believed it was, but I don't think I was facing it. I don't think I was admitting it to myself that this was really, really bad, and maybe I didn't believe that it was really, really bad at that time. It was really later that I began to realized what a terrible mark on our history this was and is. And so what ensued and what happened later is what surprised me, if, whenever you want me, I'll go on with that.

TI: Yeah, let's go ahead and tell me.

MA: Okay. So we did exchange our letters. We corresponded, and we did send each other birthday cards. And in the interim, while I'm at home here, she's there at the camp and I'm at home, and I'm going to movies and I'm going to the dances I love and I spent my usual lots of time downtown Seattle, and I was living kind of a very safe, nice life. I worked at Papa's and business was good, and so everything seemed just great. But then in the interim, too, we're watching movies that are very, very big impact of what they saw as what was happening, watched the statistics and listened to the statistics of those that we've lost not only at Pearl Harbor but what had happened as it went on, and also I was watching, I mean listening to the radio, and something began to happen to me at that point. And I was rather surprised that it was happening to me, not just for Sachi, but as an overall picture. I began to get to be a biased person. I was beginning to acquire a feeling of anti Japanese, and I was very upset with myself because, as I mentioned, being Jewish for one thing, I should know better, and besides which, if I was being honest with myself, these were Japanese Americans. They were Americans like I was. And I was upset with myself because I felt guilty. I felt very guilty and very unfair, being very unfair to Sachi and all others, and so I thought, I realized I had this feeling, and no matter how upset, though, I felt I had to be really honest, not only with myself but particularly, in this case, with Sachi. And so I felt that I could not go on as if nothing was bothering me and that I had not changed. I couldn't do that. I felt that I had to be honest with Sachi and myself, and I felt to go on as we were, corresponding like nothing ever happened, was not being real. It was a farce. And I thought I had to call, I had to write to Sachi. And I did, and I told her, "Sachi," I said, "I'm writing this because I believe we need to cease our correspondence." I said, "because I feel it's only right to be honest with you that, I'm not proud of it, but I've developed an anti Japanese feeling, and I don't think it's right to handle it and myself like nothing ever happened, so I believe we should cease this correspondence."

Well, after that, of course, I never heard again. Not until the war was over, so it had to be, possibly the later part of '45, possibly the first of '46. And I was sweeping my front porch at the house where I grew up, and I happened to, my eye, just see movement at the bottom of the steps, and I thought, turned my face and it was Sachi. And I almost passed out, I was just mortified. And I thought, oh my god, it's Sachi. And I thought, I wanted to run into the house. Before I knew it she was face to face with me, and she says, "Hi, Marge." I said, "Well hi, Sachi." She said, "How are you, Margie?" And I said, "I'm okay." I said, "Sachi, I think I need, we need to clarify something." I said, "Did you receive a letter in about mid war that was unlike the first letters that we had exchanged?" And she said yes. And I said, "Well, Sachi," I said, "why would you come and see me?" And she said, "Why would I not?" I said, "Because what I did, a friend would not do to a friend if she's a true friend, and yet you have come and you're facing me and I am feeling guilty. But I felt at the time that I was doing the right thing, but I still can't imagine that you would even want to come and see me." I said, "Were you not angry? Were you not hurt? Were you not disappointed in your so-called friend?" And she said, "Margie," she said, "it was the times." I said, "The times? Well no matter the times, yes, a lot of things happened those days. Times happened, did a lot of things to a lot of people," I said. "But you know what? It still doesn't excuse that a friend would do this to another friend, not if she's a true friend." So I kept repeating that part, and she said, "Margie," she said, "it's okay." She says, "The bond that I have for you, from our, as a friendship, has never been shattered and it never will be shattered." And at that moment I was ready to just break down and cry. The tears were at the brim of my eyes and I felt worse than I had felt before, and then I said, "Well, Sachi," I said, "would you, could you... first of all let's establish that you are a lady, one that I am not. I am not the lady, the nice lady that should've been." I said, "I am not proud of what I did," and I said, "The only thing that I can ask of you is could you possibly accept an apology from me? Could you possibly forgive me? And if you can't it's certainly understandable." She says, "I have nothing to forgive. As I've said, you were my friend, you are my friend, and you always will be." Well, then I did break down, and I wanted to put my arms around her, but I just felt that was kind of presumptuous. She made it easy for me. She put her arms around me. We hugged and we cried and we cried. And then I said, "So you will forgive me, I hope?" And she says, "I forgive you, but I don't need to because there's nothing to forgive." And I said, "Well, this certainly makes you a real person."

TI: Did you have a sense, when she talked about receiving the letter, that it was hurtful for her?

MA: She never gave me, I felt that she had to have been, but then she didn't give me any feeling as she talked to me that that would be the case. And I thought that if she was really hurt I don't think she would've come back to see me. And so we had a very emotional, very stressful moment, but very satisfying at the same time. It was what you might call bittersweet. And so then I said, "Sachi," I said, "what you have just done for me, I'll never forget you for, because you put my head back on my shoulders. You put my..." I can't remember the words. I have it in my story. But then she put me, she really did a huge favor for me because I was able to shed that anti Japanese, not only of Sachi, but of all of them, because I felt that she did this for me and I was extremely grateful for it. Never forget it. I'll cherish that memory for as long as I live. I haven't got that much time, but anyway, you know what I mean.

TI: Well Margie, thank you for sharing that. I know it's cathartic almost to be able to talk about.

MA: But you know, the thing that bothered me after the fact was that when she left I believed, and I believe she believed it, I believed she was being very truthful, but I believed that we had reestablished what we'd had before the war. And, however, when she left, Tom, she had my address, but I didn't have hers, and when she left I kind of figured that I would hear and I in turn could respond, but I never heard again. And then I had afterthoughts because I thought she might've had afterthoughts. Did she have, did she leave and think, "Yes, I was hurt, yes, I was angry, yes, she was not a good friend, yes"? Did she have those feelings? I was thinking. And that stayed with me, and partly to today, even though she's gone, and that was because I thought, well, maybe she began to think, yes, I was not the friend that she had hoped I was. But you know, after the ensuing things, receiving these letters and, I'm going a little ahead, and pictures and everything, I chose to look at her picture and be happy and feel that it was all okay. I just couldn't let myself feel that she left and was angry with me, and I didn't feel when she left that she was angry with me. So that's why that story, when I think about it, I say I have two stories. That's my emotional, personal one. The other one is a different type of story, but this one was the most, the most important to me, and so that's how I ended it. I had to end it for my own feeling of it's okay.

TI: Well thank you again for sharing. It really sort of helps... yeah, I think when I interviewed so many Japanese, they, I think there was this uncertainty of, one, what was happening in places like Seattle, and two, their old friends, and I think many of them felt this sense of shame and guilt even though they did nothing wrong, and many of them were concerned about how their friends would feel about them.

MA: Yeah. Well, like I say, that she came back, she really made me a different person. I mean, she added something to my life that no other thing could have, could have done it. Nothing could have done what she did for me that day.

TI: Up to that point when she went face to face with you and came back to Seattle, did you still harbor those anti Japanese feelings?

MA: No, it just seemed to vanish.

TI: Okay, so it was at, the point of that letter was when it was probably at its height. You wrote it and then after that it started just disappearing after that.

MA: Yeah.

TI: Do you know where that came from? Was it just the media? Was it friends?

MA: I think I was influenced by, the movies had big impact. I mean, they were tough. They were really powerful movies and they were definitely anti Japanese, for a lot of good reasons, but on the other hand, the impact, I couldn't separate the reality from it, you know? It was, I let it do to me what it did. And as I said before, being Jewish, I, what we've all, what the Jews have gone through should have been immediately important to me that I not do this to someone else.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: And when you talk about being Jewish, how aware were you of what was going on in Europe with the Jews, with the Nazis? Did you, did you know about that or hear about that?

MA: Not until it became, like when it was in 1939, when the Germans had gone into a few of the countries, I didn't know too much about that, I didn't understand that. I guess I didn't gain enough knowledge to be able to think, oh, how terrible. It wasn't until it really became a big thing and the U.S. got into it.

TI: And this was more after the war that you heard about them?

MA: About who?

TI: About the Jews in Europe?

MA: Oh, no, no, during.

TI: During the war you started to hear about that.

MA: Yeah.

TI: And what was your sense then? What did you, what were you hearing?

MA: I was hearing things about what Hitler's thoughts were, and one time someone said, if a person listened to his speeches one would be mesmerized, and so even if you didn't understand the language. And at one time there was this, an occasion where I specifically listened to him speak, one of his orations, and I thought, that guy, he's not a smart man, he's not a lot of things, but he does reach the people. And of course mostly with what they want to hear, because as of World War I, as we know, the Germans had been totally deflated and they needed to be brought up a few steps. And he was doing it. And so, but then I think we all soon learned what he was professing and what he was teaching, and what these people were following, the kind of person was dangerous and obviously was.


TI: Well, it's actually getting to what I'm, maybe I'm asking, is did you see any similarities or connections to what, in some cases, as a Jew, realizing what the Nazis did to the Jews in World War II, in some ways, to what happened to Japanese Americans and Japanese during World War II in the United States, and then with Muslims today?

MA: Yes, yes. So this is what, today, right this moment, I feel that when... well, I wonder, when will people stop hating and when will people stop doing what they're doing man to man? I think of Irish against Irish, Jew against Jew, Muslim against Muslim, I mean, in between them even, much less their enemies who might be total strangers. And so I get very, very upset about that because -- and you hear the term, we all hear the term, "he's worse than an animal." Animal kills to survive. What does man kill for? What does man kill for? What does he get from it, man to man to kill? And so I'm sorry, I get carried away, but I get very, very upset with that because through history we should learn. But again, through history it's always been war and kill and hate. And so... anyway, sorry. (Narr. note: In answer to your question in re: similarities and connections. I cannot compare what the Nazis did to the Jews during World War II, and what took place when the Japanese were sent to internment camps. The Nazis' intention was to annihilate an entire people -- to wipe all Jews off the face of the earth. None should exist. This does not discount now strongly I feel that the internment camps, to which 120,000 Japanese Americans had been sent, was a terrible thing. It was wrong. It is a shameful part of our history.)

TI: Well, it's interesting to talk to you, as a Jew, because there are Arabs who don't believe that Israel should be.

MA: Existing.

TI: Existing in the Middle East, so there is this, sort of this conflict going on, and yet you would profess sort of acceptance of Muslims who, many of them are Arab, and that, that shouldn't matter. Is that what you're saying?

MA: You mean insofar as... no, you'll have to kind of word that --

TI: Yeah, I guess that was, that wasn't a very good question. I'm just trying to get, so that you seem very open to being accepting of Muslims, even though there might be Muslims who might be anti Israel.

MA: Right, right.

TI: But you believe that it's important to be open to them?

MA: I believe so, yes. And I'll tell you what else I believe. I have heard things from people I know really well that, to this day, are anti German, and then I feel you cannot, I don't believe I can blame the generation of Germans today -- I mean, there's always sporadically the certain extremes. I mean, we know the extremists, but I'm talking in general, that the German kids, young people of today, they probably, the majority, are trying to wipe that part of history out of their lives. It's never gonna be wiped out, but then they don't want to practice as their forefathers did, and so I feel I can't hate the young Germans. I can't just not, I just can't feel any more than I can hate the Japanese today because of what happened at Pearl Harbor. And the Muslims, and you're talking about the Palestinians and the Jews, well, I have to believe that amongst the Palestinians -- there's hate between them, there's no question about it -- but there's got to be some that are not feeling that way, and as well as Israelis. I mean, they're both at fault as far as I'm concerned, I think they're both guilty of some things and maybe for good reason things are happening. I don't like to say too much because I'm not knowledgeable of all, about every aspect of it, however, I feel that there are good Muslims, there are good Palestinians, there are good Jews, there are bad Jews, there are good -- I mean, there's good and bad, like my dad used to say, there's a rotten apple in every crate of apples or oranges. But then I just feel that if we just hate, consistently hate, hate, hate, we're not getting anywhere.

TI: And do you think your background, living in a very multiethnic sort of neighborhood, upbringing, does that help you shape your perspective in terms of seeing that more easily?

MA: Yes. Yes.

TI: And do you find that sometimes when you're with others who perhaps don't have as diverse a background or experience, that they perhaps have a harder time seeing that?

MA: I think they probably do. (Experiences such as those I've had helps one to see how others live. If one never steps out of his or her own back yard, one's world is small and limited. We all should get to know our neighbors. We would be richer for it. My life has been enriched because of the diversity I've experienced.)

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: I want to now take you back to after Pearl Harbor and Broadway High School because I just wanted to ask what Broadway High School was like after the Japanese had left, because people have asked me about that and you're a great person to ask in terms of what it was like.

MA: What I felt at Broadway High School, I have a feeling, and maybe I was partly that too -- I hope not, but I probably was -- I think we went on with our lives. Now, there were many in Broadway High that I understand left and went to the camps, and I don't think it was only Broadway. I think there are teachers who went to make sure that those that wanted to graduate, and they went so far as to do so, to go and help the kids to graduate and whatever. And I'm sorry to say that I wasn't one of those that felt that urge to do that. I felt strongly that it was, it had become by that time obvious that the, well, that the camps were a disgrace, that what took place was a disgrace. I felt it, but insofar as in school in general, we all went on like nothing was going on, and some of them, unfortunately, like me, got that feeling. Many of them were more, did not do such a terrible thing and then went on and to help and to have the feeling for them, which I eventually did. I had that period, but still, I would say that when I was at Broadway High, and even Garfield -- I went to Garfield for one year -- and I would say that we just all kind of went on with our lives, selfish as it may sound, but I think many of us did.

TI: And what happened to the neighborhood? Now that all these Japanese families were gone, what happened to the neighborhood?

MA: Well, let's see, it was in about nineteen, let's see, how was it? It was in about nineteen-forty... when we left, when Mama sold the house and Papa sold the house, it was about 1947 or '8, and during those years before that the neighborhood changed. I think Caucasians moved in in several cases. The Japanese store at the corner and the one down on First Street were, of course, not occupied. I think they were run by Caucasians at that time. And I'm just kind of vaguely remembering. The nursery was there and juvenile court was still behind us. And I think, I kind of remember that I would walk on Broadway and I would look over at Toshi's house and Hisako's house, and we used to go to, my mother used to visit with her friend two blocks, a block or so from where they lived, a Greek family, and when I'd go by that triangle where their two homes were I would think, gee, I wonder how the kids are. I wonder how Toshi is. Hisako I loved. How is Hisako? And after the war Hisako came and visited me down at the flower shop a couple times, but then I lost touch with her. And how did I feel in the neighborhood? The neighborhood seemed to change, but I guess it just kind of flowed, no big deal, unfortunately.

TI: And you mentioned whites coming in. How about other races? Did, like did you start seeing an influx of African Americans yet and things like that?

MA: No, not in that area, for some reason. The Yesler Terrace, I think, began to have some African Americans in it, and I knew a couple people who lived at the Yesler Terrace, but as a whole, one of the things that I think was, I think was kind of conspicuous, not conspicuous, but I think obvious more than anything, is one thing, when I was in Pacific School, Mr. Stafford was the principal and the Japanese students were always very bright, much smarter than most of us Caucasians. They always had a reputation of being very, very studious, very smart, and I knew that a couple of Caucasians resented that, but I think that was because they weren't as such. I never resented it; I just never, I just always realized that they were really smart. It was just kind of a given. So in the neighborhood, I think things just kind of went on, and as I said before, I was really more interested in being downtown and working for my dad, so I guess I didn't pay that much attention.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

TI: And so I'm gonna jump around a little bit now because more recently it sounds like you've been able to connect with Japanese Americans.

MA: Oh gosh, it's just a, it's an affinity that I can't even describe after reading the book.

TI: The Hotel on the Corner...

MA: Right. After reading the book, to be honest with you, I knew it was fiction, but then there was so much real in it, and for instance, there was so much I learned from that that I wasn't even aware of and yet I was a part of it at that, at least for the time it was. And so, but somehow when I walked into that Panama Hotel, and I never had been in it -- I was in a hotel, Akiko, I can't think of her name. Her parents used to manage a hotel on Yesler between Sixth and Seventh, I think it was, and I remember being at her place at that hotel, but when I walked into the Panama Hotel, Tom, it's hard to explain, I just got a really warm feeling inside. I feel like, I felt like I was coming home to somewhere, and yet I had never been in that particular hotel. It was just the atmosphere and something about it that just really, it took me by surprise that I even reacted the way I did. And interestingly, that story that I, a clipping from the Los Angeles paper, I just received that, and so many things just seem to be kind of happening in the area of my feelings about Japanese. And the thing that I love about it is that I do love it and that I am really, I have a good feeling. When I talked to you on the phone even, before I ever met you, one of the gals that talked to me, I don't know if it was your secretary, Naoko?

TI: Naoko.

MA: Yeah. When I talked with her, even on the phone, and talking, I called Pauline, the one who was in her camp, just the other night and, and the fellow you said you know that lived two blocks from me. I called him because I wanted Pauline's telephone number, talked with him for a while and I asked him, I said, "Mas," I said, "did I hear correctly that when we talked before quite a while back that you lived two blocks from me?" And he says, "Yeah, Twelfth and East Alder." And so all of these things kind of, have kind of come together recently, which, and that my cousin would send me from L.A., a clipping that she was taken by and knowing that I had written a story, so yes, I have come kind of home, is what I can call it.

TI: Well I'm so glad we had this opportunity to get this story, because, as we've talked before, I think your perspective is very unique and different. I mean, to actually have you talk about the community, and I've been interviewing people in the community and they've always wondered about people like you. What did, what happened to them? What were their lives like? What were they thinking? And so we were able to capture some of this, so Margie, thank you so much.

MA: Well listen, you can just tell them all that I've told you in any way you can and any way you want, because it's very dear to me.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.