Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Margaret Stanicci Interview
Narrators: Margaret Stanicci
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Independence, California
Date: April 26, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-smargaret-01-0001

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RP: This is an oral history for the Manzanar National Historic Site. The date is April 26, 2009. My name is Richard Potashin. I'm the interviewer for the, for our oral history today. And we're talking with Margaret Ichino. Margaret is from southern California area, and the interview is taking place in the library at the Manzanar National Historic Site. We'll be talking about Margaret's early life growing up in Los Angeles as well as her experiences as an internee here at the Manzanar War Relocation Center, and then her relocation to Chicago. Our videographer is Kirk Peterson and our interview will be archived in a site, our site library. Margaret, do I have permission to go ahead and record our interview?

MS: Oh, yes.

RP: And may I refer to you as Margaret?

MS: Oh, definitely. [Laughs]

RP: We'll keep it casual today. It's Sunday. Thank you for taking some time out of your busy pilgrimage weekend to join us here. I'd like to start gathering a little bit of family background starting with yourself and your birth date and where you were born.

MS: Yes, I was born in La Crescenta, 1918, December 28th.

RP: And what was your given name at birth, Margaret?

MS: My given name was Taki, T-A-K-I. And there's a little story there. Because Mr. Bissell said, "Oh," he said, "She'll have to have an American name when she goes to school so you might as well call her Margaret." And so they put me down as Margaret, but on my birth certificate it was Taki. And I didn't know that so in school I always put down Margaret and I've always thought I was Margaret. But when I later had to get my birth certificate, there was no Margaret. It was just Taki. And I must have, I don't know, I was much, much older at that time, decades older. So I had to change the, add "Margaret" to my birth certificate.

RP: Can you spell your last name for us?

MS: My maiden name or my married name?

RP: Maiden name.

MS: Maiden name. I-C-H-I-N-O.

RP: And tell us your married name.

MS: Stanicci. And that's S-T-A-N-I-C-C-I. And his first name is George. And although he, he had quite a bit of, what, both Japanese and Italian blood, and he was in camp. And so it, actually he and his mother and I and two other friends were in the same room at camp.

RP: In Manzanar?

MS: Manzanar.

RP: He was, George was here.

MS: Oh, yes, yes. And he was more active, actually, in the Japanese community than I was. So he was active in the drama club and he was also, he played the guitar. Yes, he went to Hollywood High School and knew some of the baby starlet's, who later became baby starlet's. [Laughs]

RP: So where did the Japanese come from? His mother, or father's...

MS: His mother's side. The father, the grandfather, I think it was, went to Japan in Italy's first embassy or consulate or whatever. And married a Japanese and then the son married a Japanese. And then they came to the United States and George was born, in Washington, state of Washington. But he actually knew how to read and write beautiful court Japanese because he was tutored. Whereas I knew no Japanese. [Laughs]

RP: So, did George look more Japanese or more Italian or a little bit of both?

MS: A mixture. Yes. Of course, he's Eurasian. It's hard to tell. I think he had slightly more Italian, but his father -- who had passed before I married George, but I saw his picture and you could tell that he had gone deeply into the Japanese culture and art, and so the way he was dressed and positioned himself, you could tell that he was... [Laughs]

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.