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Legacies Project Oral History: Alice Sano

Tue, 12/10/2019 - 11:05am

When: 2018

Alice Sano was born in 1929 in Los Angeles, California. When the U.S. entered WWII, her family was forced to move to an internment camp along with other Japanese immigrants. Eventually her father secured a job teaching Japanese to army military intelligence students at the University of Michigan, and they moved to Ann Arbor. Sano majored in music theory and cello at the U-M School of Music, and dedicated her career to teaching music.

Alice Sane was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2018 as part of the Legacies Project.

Transcript

  • [00:00:09.54] SPEAKER 1: I'm first going to ask you some simple questions about your demographic. While these questions may jog memories, please keep your answers brief and to the point for now. We can elaborate in later interviews. OK, please say and spell your name.
  • [00:00:24.56] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: All my names?
  • [00:00:25.79] SPEAKER 1: As many as you want.
  • [00:00:28.19] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, my legal name is Alice Sano Teachout. A-L-I-C-E S-A-N-O Teachout, T-E-A-C-H-O-U-T.
  • [00:00:45.32] SPEAKER 1: What is your birthday, including the year?
  • [00:00:47.99] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: April 3, 1929.
  • [00:00:51.46] SPEAKER 1: And how old are you?
  • [00:00:52.87] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I am 87.
  • [00:00:55.85] SPEAKER 1: How would you describe your ethnic background?
  • [00:00:59.06] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: My ethnic background-- my parents were from Japan. So I'm a second generation Japanese.
  • [00:01:11.96] SPEAKER 1: What is your religious affiliation, if you have any?
  • [00:01:15.17] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I am an Episcopalian, born an Episcopalian.
  • [00:01:21.17] SPEAKER 1: What is the highest level of formal education you have completed, and did you attend any additional school or formal career training beyond what you completed? That's a big question; do you want me to say it in two parts?
  • [00:01:33.28] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I went through the University of Michigan School of Music, and graduated in Theory of Music and in Stringed Instruments as an applied major.
  • [00:01:49.73] SPEAKER 1: What is your marital status?
  • [00:01:53.18] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Right now I'm a widow, so I was married.
  • [00:02:00.70] SPEAKER 1: How many children do you have?
  • [00:02:02.35] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: None.
  • [00:02:04.05] SPEAKER 1: How many siblings do you have?
  • [00:02:07.38] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I had two siblings-- two brothers, they're both deceased.
  • [00:02:13.74] SPEAKER 1: What would you consider your primary occupation to have been?
  • [00:02:18.18] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I was a piano teacher and I also typed dissertations for side living.
  • [00:02:28.11] SPEAKER 1: At what age did you retire?
  • [00:02:30.30] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: 80.
  • [00:02:35.47] SPEAKER 1: Now we can begin the first part of our interview, beginning with some of the things you can recall about your family history. We're beginning with family naming history. By this we mean any story about your last name, or family name, or family traditions in selecting first or middle names. Do you know any stories about your family name?
  • [00:02:52.81] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: No.
  • [00:02:55.12] SPEAKER 1: Are there any naming traditions in your family?
  • [00:02:57.97] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Any what tradition?
  • [00:02:59.23] SPEAKER 1: Naming traditions like--
  • [00:03:00.57] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Name-- name. I don't know.
  • [00:03:02.36] SPEAKER 1: That's fine. Why did your ancestors leave to come to the United States?
  • [00:03:07.30] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: My dad came because he wanted just to come to America. And he was not the oldest son so there was no obligation to stay home. So he came here. He wanted to come to America since he was-- I don't know when but at least a teenager.
  • [00:03:28.98] SPEAKER 1: Do you know any stories about how your family first came to the United States and where did they first settle?
  • [00:03:34.30] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: And when did they what?
  • [00:03:35.38] SPEAKER 1: First settle. Like, where did they first--
  • [00:03:38.24] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh.
  • [00:03:38.71] SPEAKER 1: --live.
  • [00:03:40.51] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well you had to have a sponsor to come, so he did have a sponsor. And he came. I'm not sure where he landed but he lived in Los Angeles. And I think he landed in Los Angeles. But I know that much of his-- after he landed here, he worked in Arizona in the lumbering industry.
  • [00:04:16.75] And it's interesting that the trees in Michigan were being cut down, I mean to the last tree. There's a story; there was one tree left in a town. So they had to cut it down because it was a tree. And so he worked for the Saginaw Lumbar Company, that's Saginaw, Michigan. And it's a coincidence that we ended up in Michigan.
  • [00:04:56.94] SPEAKER 1: Describe any family migration once they arrived in the United States and how they came to live in this area.
  • [00:05:05.30] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: That's a long story.
  • [00:05:07.71] SPEAKER 1: We've got time.
  • [00:05:09.01] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: My dad-- I'm not sure exactly what year he came to this country. But it was certainly-- at least by 1915 or '16 because he joined the army, the American Army in 1917. This is World War I. And, he became a Sergeant and then at the end of the war, of course, he was discharged. And on being discharged, he automatically became an American citizen.
  • [00:06:01.84] So all his time here since then was as an American citizen. He was very proud of that. But his main work was in Los Angeles. Oh, he went to law school; went to University of Southern California. And as a lawyer he worked in the Japanese community in Los Angeles. There's a little section of Los Angeles called Little Tokyo. It's still there. It's not quite the same as it used to be. It used to be very-- it was just like being in Japan. The shops were run by Japanese, you spoke Japanese. But I never spoke Japanese.
  • [00:06:53.14] And so he was the lawyer for-- his clientele were people there mostly. And then he got a call from the farmers in Chula Vista, which is south of San Diego. And so, in 1936, we all moved down there and had a wonderful life in the country and little tiny schools, not like Skyline. And then, well, life went on as usual there. And then the World War II came along and being Japanese, we were evacuated from there to wherever.
  • [00:07:46.99] SPEAKER 1: Wait. Can we save a little bit of the schooling and that sort of thing for later because this is for your family? There's a whole section dedicated to that area.
  • [00:07:57.25] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: OK.
  • [00:07:57.70] SPEAKER 1: So I want to talk about that for sure, but we have to get through these questions first. But definitely save that for later because--
  • [00:08:04.42] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: OK.
  • [00:08:04.69] SPEAKER 1: --I'm very excited for that. OK, what possessions did they bring with them and why, when they first came over to Amer--
  • [00:08:12.14] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: You mean from Japan?
  • [00:08:12.94] SPEAKER 1: Mm-hmm.
  • [00:08:14.02] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I have no idea.
  • [00:08:17.45] SPEAKER 1: OK, which family members came along or stayed behind?
  • [00:08:22.00] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Of my parents? None of them. They were the only ones in both families.
  • [00:08:29.53] SPEAKER 1: To your knowledge, did they make any effort to preserve any traditions or customs from their country of origin?
  • [00:08:37.26] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I think food. Food was mainly Japanese. I can't say in particular except when the Japanese community would get together they'd do certain things. And New Year's was a big feast, Japanese style. Otherwise, I can't think of anything particular.
  • [00:09:13.28] SPEAKER 1: What stories have come down to you by your parents or grandparents or more distant ancestors? Like, are there stories you can remember your parents telling you about people that were before them, that you can remember?
  • [00:09:26.75] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Mm-hmm. They didn't talk much about the old country or our relatives, so I'm kind of ignorant about my relatives. Yeah. I'm sure they told me something. I can't think of anything right now.
  • [00:09:45.05] SPEAKER 1: That's fine. Do you know any courtship stories, like how your parents met?
  • [00:09:53.65] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well! [LAUGHS] You'll like this.
  • [00:09:56.80] [LAUGHTER]
  • [00:09:58.26] In Japan, there's no courtship. [LAUGHS] You pick a good friend, family friend who knows you well, to pick a bride-- my father's side-- to pick a bride for you. And my father wanted a Christian woman and someone who wouldn't be afraid to come to this strange country. And it turned out to be my mother.
  • [00:10:32.61] SPEAKER 1: OK. Now we're going to earliest memories in childhood. So we're going to start with your residence community and that sort of thing we were talking about earlier. So where did you grow up and what are your strongest memories of that place.
  • [00:10:46.88] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, I grew up, until I was seven years old, in Los Angeles. And, as often is the case, people of certain cultures find people of the same culture and there is a neighborhood of that culture. So our whole street was Japanese and I don't think anything much happened there. [CHUCKLES]
  • [00:11:19.32] SPEAKER 1: OK. How did your family come to live there?
  • [00:11:24.97] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, I just told you the immigration story and they chose that. I don't know what made them choose that.
  • [00:11:33.36] SPEAKER 1: What was your house life like?
  • [00:11:36.58] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, it was just ordinary. Had two brothers and went to an elementary school that we walked to. I'd say it was two blocks down. Nothing much else.
  • [00:12:10.15] SPEAKER 1: What is your earliest memory?
  • [00:12:12.55] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Mm. My earliest memory. Never thought of that.
  • [00:12:19.42] SPEAKER 1: You could take a second if you want to think about it.
  • [00:12:23.42] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I guess living in that house.
  • [00:12:26.60] SPEAKER 1: Is there anything specifically?
  • [00:12:31.97] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Nothing specifically. It had a big backyard that went way down a hill. I never went to the bottom of that hill; I only went so far. That's all. I remember my parents grew asparagus. I don't know why. Because it came up with these curls, and I thought that was interesting. And we had a basement that got flooded. I remember having to bail out the water. That's about all. [CHUCKLES]
  • [00:13:17.68] SPEAKER 1: OK, I think we're pausing for a moment.
  • [00:13:24.31] So, when you were a kid, what did you do for fun?
  • [00:13:28.02] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: For fun? I used to roller skate. Kid up to what age?
  • [00:13:39.92] SPEAKER 1: Until you felt like you were--
  • [00:13:42.90] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Not a kid?
  • [00:13:43.46] SPEAKER 1: --yeah. Just whatever that is for you, that's fine.
  • [00:13:46.25] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, I played piano since I was eight, I guess, for sure. I was seven when I was-- I lived next door to a piano teacher and her prodigy daughter, who practiced 6 o'clock in the morning, every morning. She was a prodigy, so I admired her. So that's my main occupation. It became music right from then. And I taught myself violin because my brother took it for 60 lessons, at $1 a lesson. And after that, he got his violin free. That was the school system. So I picked up the violin. So that's mainly what I did, pretty much. Oh I was a tomboy.
  • [00:14:39.06] SPEAKER 1: You want to talk about that?
  • [00:14:40.98] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, I played sports; I played baseball. Anything, anything. I remember a neighborhood kid-- my brothers' friends-- and he would throw baseballs at me. I'd catch them. I was very proud of that; I always caught them.
  • [00:15:03.61] SPEAKER 1: OK. Do you have any favorite toys--
  • [00:15:07.41] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Toys?
  • [00:15:07.79] SPEAKER 1: --that you can remember as a kid?
  • [00:15:10.73] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, I had a little doll. A little tiny stuffed doll. I called him Butch. That's all I remember. Then he disappeared.
  • [00:15:21.75] SPEAKER 1: Did you have any favorite books when you were a kid?
  • [00:15:28.92] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Not that I can remember. I did read, but not much of a reader.
  • [00:15:34.71] SPEAKER 1: More of a sports type?
  • [00:15:36.30] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Sports or music.
  • [00:15:40.08] SPEAKER 1: Were there any special days, events, or family gatherings you remember from that time?
  • [00:15:48.48] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: We used to have a good friend in San Diego, which is seven miles away. And we'd invite them. Almost every weekend we'd be together. And my mother was a very good cook, so we had good Japanese food.
  • [00:16:09.69] SPEAKER 1: You'd just get together and eat?
  • [00:16:11.55] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Hmm?
  • [00:16:11.95] SPEAKER 1: You'd get together and eat?
  • [00:16:13.39] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Yeah, dinner.
  • [00:16:16.90] SPEAKER 1: Sounds like a good time. Did you go to preschool?
  • [00:16:23.31] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: No.
  • [00:16:24.82] SPEAKER 1: Did you go to kindergarten?
  • [00:16:28.11] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I think I did.
  • [00:16:31.25] SPEAKER 1: And you did go to elementary school so what do you remember about it?
  • [00:16:38.74] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I remember that I drew pictures of events there. And I remember, I noticed, very distinctly, twins. There was one set of twins. So I drew pictures and they were all twins, going up the stairs to the cafeteria. I don't know why. I still have those books, that scrapbook.
  • [00:17:18.73] SPEAKER 1: One day we're going to have a scanning party where you can bring stuff in. So maybe if you're comfortable, you could bring that in.
  • [00:17:24.49] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, OK.
  • [00:17:25.53] SPEAKER 1: And we'd love to see it. I know you went to high school, so what do you remember about it?
  • [00:17:31.00] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: About high school? I went to Ann Arbor High. It doesn't exist anymore. What do I remember about that? Well, I was always in music so I remember the orchestra. It wasn't an orchestra, it was a stringed orchestra. I played cello. I had my best friend and nothing special, except we're all in music.
  • [00:18:08.72] SPEAKER 1: Did you go to school or career training beyond high school and where and what do you remember about it?
  • [00:18:16.35] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, I went to University of Michigan. School of Music, it was called then. And, what else did you say?
  • [00:18:26.40] SPEAKER 1: What do you remember about it?
  • [00:18:29.16] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, just went to classes. I remember my lessons, classes, certain friends. Didn't make many close friends; too busy.
  • [00:18:52.62] SPEAKER 1: How often--
  • [00:18:53.59] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: And I remember the School of Music was before this one was built. And it was in-- you know where the parking structure is on Maynard Street? Well, they tore my music school down to put that in there.
  • [00:19:13.71] SPEAKER 1: How often did you have music lessons?
  • [00:19:16.26] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Once a week.
  • [00:19:18.70] SPEAKER 1: What other things did you do that had you so busy constantly?
  • [00:19:23.49] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: What do I do now?
  • [00:19:24.56] SPEAKER 1: No, when you were back in college, you said you were so busy, you didn't really have time to make close friends who were--
  • [00:19:30.51] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, practicing. And you make friends with the people you played music with. And as a cellist, you always had to have an accompanist and fellow cellist. And I also took piano, so fellow pianists.
  • [00:19:57.69] SPEAKER 1: So you talked a little about this, but did you play any sports or engage in any other extracurricular activities?
  • [00:20:05.10] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: As a kid?
  • [00:20:06.35] SPEAKER 1: Whenever. Yeah.
  • [00:20:08.22] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Only as a kid. I'd say when we came to Ann Arbor, I didn't do any kind-- tried ice-skating, kept falling on my knees. And rode a bike every single day. Rain, sleet or snow. I don't know if you know Ann Arbor's State Street? Of course State Street and Packard meet. State Street is a steep hill. I refused to walk, so I rode up that thing every day carrying my cello. This is during a war, so there weren't many cars. And everybody stayed clear of me because they were more afraid of me than I of them.
  • [00:20:58.26] SPEAKER 1: What about your school experience is different from school as you know it today?
  • [00:21:03.05] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, tremendous. Like we'd never had a course like this. A practical, where you actually do what you want to do. You only read about it or something like that. Just went to classrooms, sat, listened to the teacher, and a bell would ring, you go to your next class.
  • [00:21:32.60] SPEAKER 1: In your youth, could you talk about the popular music?
  • [00:21:37.21] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Popular music? Could we talk about it?
  • [00:21:39.70] SPEAKER 1: Could you?
  • [00:21:41.14] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: No, I didn't know popular music.
  • [00:21:43.21] SPEAKER 1: What kind of music did you listen to?
  • [00:21:45.01] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Purely classical. I was what you call a stuffed shirt. [LAUGHS]
  • [00:21:57.61] SPEAKER 1: Do you remember any particular dances that went with the music at that time? I know you didn't listen to the popular music but do you remember--
  • [00:22:04.99] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Uh-uh. Never went to dances.
  • [00:22:08.21] [LAUGHTER]
  • [00:22:09.64] SPEAKER 1: What were the popular clothing or hairstyles of this time?
  • [00:22:13.15] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh wow. Hairstyle? Just curled my hair. All of it. And clothes were skirts. No jeans, definitely no jeans. That would be undignified. And bobby socks and do you know what saddle shoes are? That was kind of en vogue.
  • [00:22:53.16] SPEAKER 1: Can you describe any other fads or styles from this era?
  • [00:22:58.38] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, that was one of them. No, I can't think of anything.
  • [00:23:09.76] SPEAKER 1: That's fine. Were there any slang terms, phrases, or words used then that aren't common today?
  • [00:23:16.89] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: That are common today?
  • [00:23:17.77] SPEAKER 1: That are not common--
  • [00:23:18.56] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: That are not common today. Ooh, there probably were, I mean, sure there were. I can't think of any right now.
  • [00:23:31.93] SPEAKER 1: So while you were in college, what was like a typical day for you?
  • [00:23:42.78] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: They always had lessons, private lessons. And being a cellist, I was in orchestra. My classes were in Burton Tower. There was no School of Music then. I mean, no building for the school of music. Just going to classes. I didn't socialize much. That was it, going to classes. The only thing outside of that would be orchestra. And oh, ensemble rehearsals.
  • [00:24:27.09] SPEAKER 1: So how do you think the war going on affected you in college at that time?
  • [00:24:31.62] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: The war?
  • [00:24:32.16] SPEAKER 1: Mm-hmm.
  • [00:24:36.22] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Didn't really affect me. I just went where I had to go. I had an exciting experience, I think, during the war in our camps. I had a good time in camp. [LAUGHS] You're not supposed to say that. [LAUGHS]
  • [00:24:58.65] SPEAKER 1: Do you want to talk about that more? Like, why--
  • [00:25:00.83] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, I just said I had a good time because again, my music. And there are other musicians in there. And I carried my cello everywhere. So I had it when we were in Santa Anita racetrack. You never heard of Santa Anita racetrack. That's a famous racetrack. That's where all the movie stars went. So, you want me to talk about camp?
  • [00:25:30.39] SPEAKER 1: If you want to.
  • [00:25:32.13] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, we first went because we were from San Diego area. That's where the Army, Marines the Air Corps were. So they had to get us out of there quick, before we blew up something. So we were one of the first ones to go and being one of the first ones, we were first housed in horse stables, which I didn't think was bad but everybody thought it was bad. And then I got pneumonia, so when I woke up, we were housed in a barrack. It was just like army barracks.
  • [00:26:24.81] There were six units in a barrack. It had a big mess hall and you lined up for your meals. And the line was so long, by the time you had your meal, you'd line up for the next meal. [LAUGHS] That was a joke.
  • [00:26:44.44] SPEAKER 1: Oh, yeah. [LAUGHS]
  • [00:26:48.92] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: And, as I say, I had a good time because I found other musicians. We used to go practice under the grandstand where it was cool. But that's pretty much it. Made good friends.
  • [00:27:04.04] SPEAKER 1: How old were you at that time?
  • [00:27:05.81] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I was 13.
  • [00:27:13.32] SPEAKER 1: Sounds good. We sort of talked about this, but after you came to Ann Arbor, did you remain here, or did you move around a bit and come back?
  • [00:27:39.23] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, actually, I'm still here. We lived in a fraternity house. My dad came to teach Japanese to the army personnel. They were all very top-notch students. They learned very fast. And so his class graduated in six months, whereas it was a one year course. They were very, very bright.
  • [00:28:16.82] So all the instructors, they called teachers instructors, lived with-- there were five families in this one fraternity house on Baldwin Street. It's a fraternity house. It's gone back to being a fraternity. That was really fun. And what else did you say?
  • [00:28:46.48] SPEAKER 1: That was basically it, I was just asking if you moved.
  • [00:28:49.15] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh where did we move around. Then the war ended. I think before the war ended, we moved to a house, a little house on Sylvan Street. That's still there. It's from there that I went to high school.
  • [00:29:13.42] But when I came, they used to have 9A and 9B classes. No 9B and 9A, I think. One was the lower and one was the other. And one was a midyear and one was the full year. Meaning, the full year would start in September, like you do now. But there was a midyear class that started in February, or end of January or something like that. I was in the midyear class and when we arrived, I went to Tappan, when it was a junior high school. No, yeah, it was called Tappan. But it was in Burns Park School. Do you know where that is? It's an elementary school now. But that was a junior high school.
  • [00:30:20.32] And that was fun because the class is always small. So I got to know-- you knew everybody. And I remember when I went to Burns-- I keep saying Burns, it's in Burns Park-- Tappan Junior High, it's my first time in a school with more than one floor. California, they're all on one floor. So I was always lost. I didn't know what floor I was on because they all looked the same. I remember, I was always late to a class because I was always running around trying to find my class.
  • [00:31:19.29] Yeah, it started in September, but actually, I was in the last half of the class because I was a half year class. So in midyear I went to Ann Arbor High School, and went through that. And my class was the first one not allowed to graduate midyear. So we had to choose which June class, we wanted to be a part of, either the later June or the earlier June. Well, I had just enough credits to graduate earlier, so I graduated earlier. And, that's that.
  • [00:32:10.89] SPEAKER 1: Why weren't you allowed to take the midyear?
  • [00:32:13.67] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Pardon?
  • [00:32:14.35] SPEAKER 1: Why wasn't your class allowed to take the midyear class?
  • [00:32:17.34] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: That's when they terminated the midyear class system.
  • [00:32:26.19] SPEAKER 1: I'd like you to tell me a little bit about your married and family life. First tell me about your spouse.
  • [00:32:32.70] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh. Well, I didn't get married till I was 46 years old. And my husband was John Teachout. He was blind. He was blinded in World War II. So I knew him pretty well before we got married. So that was kind of fun. [LAUGHS]
  • [00:32:58.54] SPEAKER 1: Where and when did you meet?
  • [00:33:01.12] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, he was my next door neighbor. [LAUGHS]
  • [00:33:04.44] SPEAKER 1: When you were how old?
  • [00:33:06.07] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, I was adult. And so I knew his family and his wife. Well she died of cancer. And so, about a year later, we decided to get married. [LAUGHS]
  • [00:33:26.31] SPEAKER 1: What was it like when you were dating?
  • [00:33:30.81] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, we didn't date.
  • [00:33:33.36] SPEAKER 1: What was that year like after his wife had passed and then before you got married?
  • [00:33:39.51] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, he needed some kind of help at home, in his house. He said he needed a cook. I said I don't cook, which is true to this day. [CHUCKLES] So I kind of became his secretary. I had to write the checks, and read the mail and that kind of stuff.
  • [00:34:07.95] SPEAKER 1: How are we on time?
  • [00:34:09.58] SPEAKER 3: 10 more minutes.
  • [00:34:10.55] SPEAKER 1: 10 more minutes. Cool. Tell me about your engagement and the wedding.
  • [00:34:16.20] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Mm. Engagement. First we went on our honeymoon before we were married. We always say that. Because I was his escort to go to Spain. He and his wife traveled a lot and so he still had that desire to travel. So he said he needed an escort, so I was his escort. And went to Spain and he proposed to me in Spain. I think it was at breakfast. [LAUGHS]
  • [00:35:08.51] So I wasn't surprised. [LAUGHS] It seemed kind of natural. So we came back engaged and got married. Oh, yeah, he had scheduled another trip with a good friend of his. So he went on that trip and we got married right after he got back at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. It was just he and I, and he had his brother as a best man, and one neighbor who was supposed to take pictures.
  • [00:35:55.46] And I had my mother who had Alzheimer's at that point. She didn't know what was going on. And then I had a next door neighbor be a bridesmaid. It sounds funny. And then the friend who was supposed to take pictures, took pictures, but they were all blurry. [LAUGHS] So I don't have any pictures, which doesn't matter.
  • [00:36:30.22] SPEAKER 1: As long as you have the memories.
  • [00:36:32.37] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: And nobody else was invited, for which I got in trouble. My sister-in-law was mad at me for a long time [LAUGHS] because I didn't invite them.
  • [00:36:43.50] SPEAKER 1: Why didn't you invite them?
  • [00:36:44.84] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, I didn't want to bother. [LAUGHS] I just wanted to just get married and get it over with.
  • [00:36:58.09] SPEAKER 1: That was a good story. I did like that one.
  • [00:36:59.94] [LAUGHTER]
  • [00:37:00.94]
  • [00:37:02.93] Do you want to talk about your trips and the rest of your married life before he passed? Are you going to talk about that or--
  • [00:37:11.13] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, it was fun for me. I mean, we had a good time. He and his first family traveled. Well, he and his wife traveled a lot. But they also camped a lot. And I had not camped but I loved to drive. Well, that was good because he couldn't drive, obviously. And so I drove everywhere.
  • [00:37:40.35] He bought a van before I knew what a van was. He said, we're going to go get a van. So I went looking for a van but then I saw a truck, sort of. He was trying to describe it and he said, no that's not a van. Anyway, that was my first education, what a van was. So we bought a van finally. And then we just traveled. Camped, camped a lot, which I loved. I learned to love that, to this day. I really miss camping. But we also drove to California, twice, and to Canada twice, to the Rockies. We did a lot of driving, but I'd love to drive. So that was mainly our married life.
  • [00:38:53.94] SPEAKER 1: Do you feel comfortable talking about the end of that? Or is that something you'd rather not touch on yet?
  • [00:39:00.72] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: You mean--
  • [00:39:01.53] SPEAKER 1: Like the end of your marriage and how--
  • [00:39:03.18] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh. No, I don't mind.
  • [00:39:05.66] SPEAKER 1: You want to just--
  • [00:39:06.47] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, he actually he-- Well I don't think he had Alzheimer's exactly but he did become pretty dependent. And he was a World War II veteran. So all his medical expenses were free, including where he went to live. He went to live in Heartland. I think it's called Heartland. It's between here and St. Joe's. And so, he spent a little over a year there. He was well taken care of and I went to see him every day and that's all.
  • [00:40:12.53] SPEAKER 1: So tell me about your working years when you taught piano.
  • [00:40:17.08] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, I only worked-- I was always self-employed. Except for maybe two years where I worked for university in the Survey Research Center, when it was early in its program too, before they moved to their big building. It was in the old maternity hospital. [LAUGHS] And I remember my cello teacher's wife saying, yeah, I worked there. Meaning, she had her baby there. [LAUGHS] So, that was it, just nothing exciting.
  • [00:41:09.98] SPEAKER 1: 3 minutes. OK, I think we're going to finish up now.
  • [00:41:13.61]
  • [00:41:15.59] Today we'll discuss your time as a young person, from about the time that school attendance typically begins in the United States, up until you began your professional career or work life. Did you go to elementary school?
  • [00:41:28.73] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Yes.
  • [00:41:29.51] SPEAKER 1: Where did you--
  • [00:41:29.95] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: It was called grammar school in those days.
  • [00:41:34.14] SPEAKER 1: What do you remember about it?
  • [00:41:37.50] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, we moved, I remember, the earliest was in Los Angeles, for first grade-- kindergarten and first grade. And then we moved to Chula Vista, which is southern. Seven miles from Mexico. And I loved it there. It was a small school and made friends easy.
  • [00:42:09.16] SPEAKER 1: Do you want to continue about Chula Vista?
  • [00:42:15.99] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: The school was very small and only one class for each grade. And then we moved to another school-- I mean a new school was built, to which I was supposed to go to. And it was so small, we had two grades in one room being taught at the same time, and in those days we had half year classes.
  • [00:42:43.13] So the lower class was the B class, and the upper class was the A class. And the B class was the midyear class, meaning it started in January, and the A class started in September. So we were the midyear class. I thought I said all this before.
  • [00:43:17.95] SPEAKER 1: Yeah, you did. They want us to go back for some reason. I don't know why.
  • [00:43:22.59] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh. OK. So I was in the B class, which is very small. There were only six of us. And at one point, one moved away. So there were only five of us, which made it even better. But it was three boys and three girls. We learned separately, and then we learned some things together. In arithmetic, we called it in those days-- we were separate. But then when you were in the B class, you could listen in on the A class, which was higher. So you can learn what the A class was doing before. I liked arithmetic. That was my favorite class. So I'd listen in on theirs and do their work. And so it made me feel very smart when I got up to the A.
  • [00:44:38.05] SPEAKER 1: Where did you go to high school what do you remember about it?
  • [00:44:41.44] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I went to Ann Arbour High School. And then what?
  • [00:44:46.17] SPEAKER 1: And what do you remember about it?
  • [00:44:49.08] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, I remember my very, very good girlfriend and we ate lunch together. We played cello together. They had only a string orchestra then, not a full orchestra. Well, I enjoyed that a great deal. We had a teacher named Miss Green, whom, of course, we kind of made fun of. We made fun of all our teachers. [LAUGHS] But anyway, I had a good time just being in orchestra.
  • [00:45:31.70] SPEAKER 1: Did you go to school or career training beyond high school?
  • [00:45:36.41] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Yes, I went to the U of M Music School.
  • [00:45:40.52] SPEAKER 1: What do you remember about that?
  • [00:45:42.05] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, I majored in piano and played cello, of course, in the orchestra. I don't remember anything special except I thought being a university student, I should go to football games. So I got all the tickets for one season-- the freshman season. It was kind of fun but in many of the plays the players would all-- somebody would fall, of course, be tackled, and everybody else would pile up on top of them. And then when they peeled off, the one on the bottom didn't move. So by the end of the season, I had had enough of that and I never went to a football game again. I watched it, on TV, but I never went personally.
  • [00:46:58.26] SPEAKER 1: Now we're going to talk about popular culture when you were younger. I know before you said that you didn't really listen to any of the popular music but did you know what any of it was at that time?
  • [00:47:10.47] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I knew what?
  • [00:47:11.40] SPEAKER 1: The popular music. I know you said you don't listen to popular music--
  • [00:47:15.42] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Yeah, I don't.
  • [00:47:15.99] SPEAKER 1: --but do you remember what any of it was?
  • [00:47:20.11] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, I remember some of the singers. Bing Crosby, that's one. I'm sure there are others, I just can't remember.
  • [00:47:31.04] SPEAKER 1: What kind of music did you listen to?
  • [00:47:34.19] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I was a classical musician.
  • [00:47:38.50] SPEAKER 1: Did you have any favorite artists at that time?
  • [00:47:43.65] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, let's see. Fritz Kreisler? Can't remember the names. I can picture them but I can't remember their names right off the bat.
  • [00:48:06.60] SPEAKER 1: What were the popular clothing and hairstyles of that time?
  • [00:48:10.32] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh. bobby socks, saddle shoes, skirts, no slacks. Skirts, blouses. Pretty uniform that way.
  • [00:48:29.21] SPEAKER 1: Were there any slang terms, phrases, or words used that aren't common today?
  • [00:48:35.14] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: That are used today?
  • [00:48:36.44] SPEAKER 1: Not used.
  • [00:48:36.72] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Not used today. Oh dear. I know there were plenty of them. But I can't remember any that I might have used. I don't remember.
  • [00:48:50.50] SPEAKER 1: OK. What was a typical day like for you, in this time? Not in this time--
  • [00:48:59.48] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Yeah, yeah, in that time. I rode my bike to and from school, carrying my cello, which scared everybody. So they wouldn't run into me because they always made a wide berth around me. So I was perfectly safe. What did you say? What did I do?
  • [00:49:27.02] SPEAKER 1: Just what was a typical day like for you.
  • [00:49:31.95] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Just going to school, I think. We'd come home, practice or study. I didn't have much of a social life. It's too bashful.
  • [00:49:49.60] SPEAKER 1: What did you do for fun, other than playing music?
  • [00:50:00.70] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Just play my music, I guess.
  • [00:50:04.03] SPEAKER 1: Sounds good to me.
  • [00:50:06.79] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Not very exciting.
  • [00:50:08.74] SPEAKER 1: Very exciting. Were there any changes in your family life during the school year versus like when you weren't in school?
  • [00:50:23.72] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: You mean after finishing school?
  • [00:50:26.17] SPEAKER 1: No, as school progressed, how did your family change, like when you went to elementary school versus when you went to college?
  • [00:50:37.90] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, of course, we came from California to Michigan because of the war. And my dad was teaching Japanese language to the Army, M.I. students-- that's military intelligence-- very smart students. And then after the war, he left to go to Japan to teach, well, to survey the bomb, atomic bomb situation in Japan. And then he stayed there and became-- he was a lawyer by profession-- became an arbitrator in the war criminal trials.
  • [00:51:29.55] So he was there for six years. We didn't see him. We only saw him once in those six years. He came home once. And so we were with my mother. My two brothers and I and my mother were alone and we had moved to a house on Sylvan Street, and then that's just where all the rest of the life went. It's just schooling and going to school and coming home. And that's all.
  • [00:52:18.21] SPEAKER 1: What special food traditions does your family have?
  • [00:52:22.11] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, my mother was the cook, so it was all Japanese food. Rice every night, sandwiches at noon and that was it.
  • [00:52:37.28] SPEAKER 1: Have any recipes been passed down in your family?
  • [00:52:45.10] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I don't cook. [LAUGHS]
  • [00:52:48.71] SPEAKER 1: Are there any stories you can remember connected to preparing the foods?
  • [00:52:57.13] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, I watched my mother, even though I didn't cook. She wouldn't let me cook, because I would ruin it. In Japanese cooking you do a lot of chopping. And I loved to chop vegetables and that's generally about it.
  • [00:53:26.40] SPEAKER 1: When thinking back on your school years, what important social or historical events were taking place at that time and how did they affect you and your family?
  • [00:53:35.85] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, that's a lot, because it was World War II. And that's how being a Californian, all Japanese were evacuated from California. I mean, there was a certain borderline that you had to be beyond. And if you didn't go there right away, which you couldn't because of the time limit, and because we were restricted from moving-- We were in relocation centers and camps after that.
  • [00:54:19.97] So that was a big event and that's how we got to Michigan. You could leave camp if you had a job, so my dad got the job here at Michigan. And that's how we got to Ann Arbor.
  • [00:54:43.92] SPEAKER 1: This set of questions covers a relatively long period of your life, from the time you completed your education, entered the labor force or started a family, until all your children left home and you and/or your spouse retired.
  • [00:55:02.73] So go ahead and talk about your pet.
  • [00:55:04.35] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, well I remember talking about our move to Chula Vista when I was seven. Then we moved into a house, a California style house which is stucco, if you know what stucco is, with tiled ceilings. And I loved that house. And we were the first ones in it. It was a new house.
  • [00:55:33.78] In the backyard, I think I spoke about my father building a fireplace, and he wanted a mound on it. So he cemented it around a barrel, a wooden barrel, with stones. And then when it was completed, he had a fire in there to burn off that barrel, then he had this shape he wanted. And he built a lath house for mother. A lath house is-- it's not a house, it's called a house, but it's for your flowers and things you grow, built of laths. And that's about two-inch strips. Two-inch strips with a space in between it, just all around so there's a lot of air going through it. And I remember helping him build that which was fun.
  • [00:56:45.50] I always did things with my father because my mother didn't let me cook. So that's how I became a natural tomboy. And then we had chickens, so we had fresh eggs all the time. We never bought eggs. My brother had pigeons. He thought he could have homing pigeons. I think they're called that. That means, when you let them go somewhere far away, they'll always fly home. They say. We never got that far.
  • [00:57:28.06] And then we had ducks, white ducks. They were so cute because when they're born, when they're ducklings, they follow their mother, single file. They never go in a cluster like chickens do. They always go single file. We had an empty lot next door, which, when it rained, which was often, would fill up and become a little pond. And that would be there until it evaporated. So things grow in there. And one of them are little polliwogs, little frogs to be. And the ducks would go in there and swim and that was lots of fun.
  • [00:58:29.75] Then there were the chickens that laid the eggs. Of course, we hatched eggs for the chicks. You know the expression henpecking? You don't know that word? Henpecking, in fact, it usually means when a husband and wife, there's always a dominant one. If it's the wife, she keeps picking on the husband to say, you don't do this right or do this, you don't do this right, do this. She's a henpecker.
  • [00:59:18.05] So that comes from chicks, when they're growing up. Not little chicks, maybe teenagers. The chicks would all pick on one hen, which is very sad. They just peck at their head and they get all bloody, and they're really injured. Well, we had one of those chicks that got picked on. So I took him out of the brood and made him my pet. And he grew up to be a beautiful chicken. And he had this black and white around the head, and the neck like he had a shawl around his head. And the rest of him was black. I mean, I think she was a she. The rest of her was black.
  • [01:00:17.22] I wouldn't let her in with the other chickens. And then I wonder why she never laid eggs because you have to have a rooster, you know. Well, I never let her get near one. And then, she had a favorite perch on an old chair we had in the garden. And she'd perch up there. That was her spot to sleep. And rain-- she used to perch up there and get all wet and she wouldn't care. She'd just get all wet.
  • [01:00:56.56] One of the fun things we did with her was when I was maybe 10, I had braces on my teeth. But being Japanese, in those days they stuck close together. We used to live in Los Angeles, as I said. Well, there was an orthodontist in Los Angeles that my parents wanted me to go to. But we lived in San Diego. So that means, every three weeks I took the train to Los Angeles and, of course, came back again.
  • [01:01:46.69] So my parents had to, of course, take me to the train station and then pick me up when I came back. So they knew I loved the chicken so much, they put her, in the car with a lot of newspaper, of course, so that-- her name was Blackie-- so the Blackie would also come to meet me at the train station.
  • [01:02:22.16] So that went on for a a couple of years. Took a long time in those days for orthodontal work to be finished. So that was the fun part that I remember a lot. In those days, the front seat was not in two separate seats. It was just one seat all the way across, with the back, of course. She'd perch on the back and stay there and come help pick me up. That was one of my funnest part.
  • [01:03:10.78] SPEAKER 1: Did you want to talk about your married life at all or was there anything?
  • [01:03:18.19] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Yeah, not much to it. I don't know if I mentioned he was a blind man. I can't remember how many years we were married, was a good long time. '75 to 2007, 25, 30, I think 31 or two years. It was a fun life. I was too old for kids, fortunately. [LAUGHS] But he had his family.
  • [01:04:05.19] He loved to build. He loved woodwork, even though he was blind. He had all kinds of tools. Not so much hand tools, a saw, a radial arm saw and a table saw.
  • [01:04:25.26] I remember, one day I heard the saw buzzing, you know, zzz And I opened the door and it was dark. And I was like, wow. That shocked me. There's no use for a light. And he said, don't worry, I'm real careful. And he was. He was very careful. He used to see. I don't know if I mentioned that. He was blinded in the war, World War II.
  • [01:05:04.00] So he knew life before. He knew colors. And being the son of a farmer, he knew tools. He knew how they worked, and he could visualize all of that. Never had an accident. [LAUGHS] I would help him sometimes.
  • [01:05:30.03] So that was the fun part. No, the real fun part was going camping. We went camping and we always had a van. And I didn't know what a van was till we went to get one. And then we always had a van that we always slept in. We didn't do tent sleeping. I called it sissy camping; nothing hard about it.
  • [01:06:01.23] I loved to build little fires and cook over it. Cooking means wieners and marshmallows. But I loved the woods. Just being in the woods was a most glorious thing. That was the fun part. I just sold a van we had, which was 30 years old. I just sold it. That was about our fourth van, I think.
  • [01:06:33.78] SPEAKER 1: How many vans did you have?
  • [01:06:35.90] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Four. This was the last one that we had. But I hadn't driven it much since he died so it was in good shape.
  • [01:06:52.25] SPEAKER 1: Should we just take our break early because--
  • [01:06:58.34] In your adult years, did the popular music have any dances associated with it?
  • [01:07:02.69] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, yeah, jitterbugging, whatever that was. But I loved to watch it. Some people still do it just for fun, and get in the bobby socks and the short skirts, and throw each other around. I think it's great fun to watch. I never did it.
  • [01:07:25.93] SPEAKER 1: In your adult years, were there any popular clothing or hairstyles that were different from the bobby socks and--
  • [01:07:36.70] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: My adult years, it's pretty much like what it is today. But it got like today gradually. In my day, people liked to conform and they didn't want to be different, because then they'd be kind of labelled. And then, after the war, life got freer. People acted more freely. Manners weren't that important. In fact, you made fun of people who had good manners as being stuffy or something like that. And the clothes, likewise. Oh, I don't think women wore slacks even in those days. I don't remember. I don't remember. I know I never did.
  • [01:08:50.71] SPEAKER 1: When thinking back on after college when you started to work, I know you did personal piano lessons and things like that. What important social or historical events were taking place at that time, and how did that affect your work?
  • [01:09:12.11] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Let's see. I can't remember. I really can't remember.
  • [01:09:22.31] SPEAKER 1: In what years did you do the piano lessons and things like that?
  • [01:09:31.44] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Actually, I taught since I was 16. Somebody, there's always somebody. I can't remember who was-- Oh, I think there was always a war going on. I remember something about the-- I can't remember, way before the Vietnam War. What was some of those wars? It's always a war going on, really. It's been continuous, up to today. Oh, there was a Korean War. They were kind of all out there in the Far East. Now it's in the Near East. That's what I remember outside of my own responsibilities.
  • [01:10:36.11] SPEAKER 1: This set of questions covers a relatively long period of your life as well, from the time you started working or started a family up until now. What was your primary field of employment?
  • [01:10:54.36] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I worked for the university about two or three years, as a typist. I always had a typing job. I worked for the university and then I decided not to work for them and to have my own business of typing dissertations. In those days, they hired typists to type their-- Doctoral students hired people to type their dissertations. And so I did that for years and years. I was typing and teaching at the same time.
  • [01:11:37.38] SPEAKER 1: How did you first get started with the typist business?
  • [01:11:41.76] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, I idolized my father all my life. And he had to type and he taught himself how to type. He had a book of instructions on how to type. He still had them so he gave them to me to learn from and I was in the third grade then. It was one of those old typewriters, not electric.
  • [01:12:14.22] I used to have fun just typing, copying stories and typing what I saw. So I always liked typing and I played the piano so I was using my fingers. So that lasted all my life to this day, except typewriters are obsolete. I still have my typewriter, my electric typewriter. And people see-- I'll type something to give them, they say, oh, a typewriter! People don't use typewriters anymore. So I consider myself a dinosaur.
  • [01:12:59.59] SPEAKER 1: It's sort of come back as a trend. Have you noticed that vintage is like a trend now and lots of people are getting typewriters or record players? Have you seen that?
  • [01:13:13.17] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I have them.
  • [01:13:15.06] SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE]
  • [01:13:15.52] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I still see it in my house.
  • [01:13:17.94] [LAUGHTER]
  • [01:13:19.11] And I don't use a computer because I don't know how. I can't learn. It's a matter of pushing a button. If you push the wrong button, you get an entirely something, then I don't know how to get out of that, so I gave up.
  • [01:13:39.46] SPEAKER 1: Describe the steps of the process involved with your job. [INAUDIBLE]
  • [01:13:44.05] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: My job?
  • [01:13:44.87] SPEAKER 1: Yeah, so describe what you had to do to write these dissertations.
  • [01:13:55.25] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I was always self-employed. So what do you want to
  • [01:13:59.48] know?
  • [01:14:02.47] SPEAKER 1: Well, first, the steps of writing a dissertation for a graduate student, or whoever it was for. Could you tell us how you had to do that?
  • [01:14:13.43] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, I had to just learn the rules, the format for a dissertation that Rackham wanted. And outside of that, I just typed.
  • [01:14:30.26] SPEAKER 1: What specific training or skills were required for that job, or any of your jobs?
  • [01:14:38.68] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, I learned how to type on my own. For my music, I learned as a child. And that's all. You went through the university with it. I don't know if I told you, I got started on cello just because my next door neighbor was a piano teacher from whom I studied piano. And her daughter was a child prodigy, a pianist. But she also played the cello.
  • [01:15:25.87] So when I was in grade school, in fourth grade, I taught myself violin. And I had a violin because my brother took violin, like you do in school here nowadays. And if you took 60 lessons, at $1 a lesson, the violin you had was yours. And so after 60 lessons, he quit. But we had a violin.
  • [01:16:07.73] So I knew how to read music because I'd played piano for years. So I taught myself the violin. And then when I went to junior high school-- we called it junior high school-- they needed a cellist. They didn't have a cello. So for some reason, I don't know to this day why, the teacher, director assigned me to a cello, and gave me a book to learn how to play cello. So I took the book, and taught myself how to play cello. And I was playing cello, but I was playing it all wrong, but I didn't know that and nobody told me I was playing it all wrong. Meaning, I wasn't holding the bow right and other things. Until I went to college. And then, it took years to correct myself but it happened.
  • [01:17:12.85] SPEAKER 1: How did you come to live in your current residence?
  • [01:17:17.38] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: My current residence? Well, we lived in a small house on Sylvan Street, two floors. And then my father got a stroke when he came back and lived in that house. So my mother decided she couldn't live in a two story house and take care of him. So she looked for a single floor house. And the house we're in now is the one that she found and bought.
  • [01:18:01.70] Actually, I think it's one of the best places in Ann Arbor, in that it's a good house but it's on Pontiac Road which is at the peak of Pontiac Road. And one thing I heard, a Japanese looks for in a house, is to be high up so you don't get flooded. And it's true, we don't get flooded. We're on the peak of Pontiac. You go this way, you go down. You go this way, you go down. You go that way, you go down. So I think we're in a good spot.
  • [01:18:43.79] SPEAKER 1: Do you still live with your parents?
  • [01:18:45.92] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: No, my father died in 1964. My mother died in 1984.
  • [01:18:55.53] SPEAKER 1: And you continued to live in the house?
  • [01:18:57.21] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Mm?
  • [01:18:58.09] SPEAKER 1: You continued to live in the house?
  • [01:18:59.76] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Yeah. Even after we got married. I married the man next door. We lived there for a couple months. Then we moved into my house, because his was a big house.
  • [01:19:21.63] SPEAKER 1: Trinity, are you going to tell them to stop running?
  • [01:19:28.00] How did family life change for you when you and/or your spouse retired?
  • [01:19:37.26] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Actually, he was also a piano tuner, so he could schedule his tunings. We were already camping in those days, before he retired. So after he retired, we just did more camping. I guess they had to be short trips on weekends when I wasn't teaching. Because I kept teaching until I was 80. So it didn't change much.
  • [01:20:22.12] SPEAKER 1: How has your life changed since your spouse passed away?
  • [01:20:27.48] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Ooh. I could do anything I want, when I want, if I want.
  • [01:20:36.03] SPEAKER 1: OK! [LAUGHS] What is a typical day in your life now?
  • [01:20:46.14] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, I'm a churchgoer, so every Sunday, I go to church. That's for sure. I'm studying-- I hate to admit it-- I'm studying Greek New Testament. Or New Testament in Greek. Don't ask me anything.
  • [01:21:16.24] SPEAKER 1: [LAUGHS] OK, I won't. [LAUGHS] When thinking your life after retirement, what important social or historical events were taking place, and how did they affect you and your family?
  • [01:21:36.67] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: You can tell I'm a loner. I don't know what goes on in the world. Except this election. [LAUGHS]
  • [01:21:44.82] SPEAKER 1: I don't even [INAUDIBLE].
  • [01:21:50.92] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I don't know, I'm just kind of sad about things that go on in the world. And all the wars and the killings and that kind of thing. But I only see it in the news. I don't do anything about it, necessarily. I forgot to mention that I garden a lot. So everything's pretty much at home, that I do. Not much of a social life. I have a few good friends, good friends. That's all I need.
  • [01:22:34.23] SPEAKER 1: That's fair. When thinking back on your entire life, what important social historical event had the greatest impact?
  • [01:22:42.59] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, World War II. That's about it.
  • [01:22:48.21] SPEAKER 1: Do you want to talk about why that had the greatest impact?
  • [01:22:52.47] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, just the fact of being Japanese is a big thing. And therefore, being evacuated out of your home, forcibly, and living in a camp, which, I'm not supposed to say it, but I had a good time. I mean a lot of people had a hard time. But I was a teenager, 12, 13. 13 year old mainly.
  • [01:23:26.49] So I just enjoyed life wherever I was and there was no suffering on my part, anyway. Had good food, made good friends, had my cello. Then we're moving to Michigan, or moving to Ann Arbor-- actually I've never left Ann Arbor-- was great. I think that's the best thing that happened to me. So I kind of have to thank the war for that.
  • [01:24:02.78] SPEAKER 1: What--
  • [01:24:03.58] [INTERPOSING VOICES]
  • [01:24:07.25] SPEAKER 1: We want to tell your story as a life filled with uncommon testimonies many can't speak to. The true focus will be how your love for music developed through situations such as a child with a prodigy neighbor, being sent to the internment camp and traveling with your husband. A lot of these questions may sound familiar because we've asked them before, but they are important for the context of the video. We'll ask about 20 questions today.
  • [01:24:28.23] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Did you say I traveled with my husband?
  • [01:24:31.04] SPEAKER 1: When you went in the vans.
  • [01:24:34.31] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, traveling. OK.
  • [01:24:37.30] SPEAKER 1: So the first set of questions will be related to how you started music. When and how did you start playing? cello?
  • [01:24:48.84] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, it goes back to my next door neighbor, who was a prodigy on the piano. Well, she's a prodigy. And brilliant on the piano. And then, she also played the cello, and I wanted to be like her. So when I had the chance, by chance, at junior high, they asked what instrument we wanted to study. I chose cello and that's how it began.
  • [01:25:20.98] And this was in a public school-- they gave me a cello with a bow, and said, go to it. They didn't tell me how to hold it, or how to bow. They gave me a book with pictures. So of course, I did what I thought the pictures said, but it was all wrong. But I played that way for years. And then when I did have a teacher, in college, I had to switch everything. It was very awkward. My old way, the wrong way, was more comfortable. But that's how it started and it gradually straightened out.
  • [01:26:07.05] SPEAKER 1: Do you have any specific memories of your neighbor?
  • [01:26:10.51] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Neighbor? When?
  • [01:26:14.34] SPEAKER 1: The prodigy. Like do you have any specific memories?
  • [01:26:16.78] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh yeah, she was right next door. And she just practiced all the time. Had her own grand piano in her bedroom, with a little cot to sleep on. Otherwise, you never saw her. Except when her mother forced her to go outside and shoot bow and arrows. So I saw her doing that. That's all I remember.
  • [01:26:43.59] SPEAKER 1: How often did you play the cello through your college years?
  • [01:26:51.38] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Through what?
  • [01:26:52.07] SPEAKER 1: Through your college years, how often did you play the cello?
  • [01:26:55.54] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, I never practiced. I went to school, was in the orchestra, or whatever.
  • [01:27:06.60] SPEAKER 1: Did someone else in your life have an influence on your playing?
  • [01:27:15.20] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Not really. Just people around me who were also studying.
  • [01:27:24.00] SPEAKER 1: Was there ever anything that tried to stop you from being able to play? Was there anything ever that sort of inhibited you from playing?
  • [01:27:32.98] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: No. Nothing stopped me.
  • [01:27:38.06] SPEAKER 1: The next set of questions are related to the time in your life when you were in the internment camp. What activities did you do to keep yourself entertained?
  • [01:27:48.80] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, I had my cello. And I found a violinist friend. We didn't play together necessarily, but we hung out together. In the bottom of the basement of the grandstand-- that's under the grandstand-- it was cool, and nobody was there, so we practiced there. And that's about it. We had an orchestra, but only for special occasions.
  • [01:28:21.20] SPEAKER 1: What kind of special occasions?
  • [01:28:23.30] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Special occasion was graduation. Because the internment all happened in the spring of that year-- '42-- people were just yanked from their homes before graduation. So the school's principals and everybody involved came to the camp-- they were allowed to come-- and we had a grand graduation ceremony. So all the schools with their principals just handed out diplomas. No exams or anything. They graduated.
  • [01:29:10.89] SPEAKER 1: Were there moments where you felt discouraged? If so, when?
  • [01:29:17.30] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: You know, I don't feel I was discouraged about anything. I had a good life. Everything was encouraging and I could do anything I wanted, within reason.
  • [01:29:33.68] SPEAKER 1: How do you think experiencing the camp shaped you as a person?
  • [01:29:39.41] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, I think for the better, because I thought it was a exciting experience that nobody else would have had. But I'm kind of careful when I say that because some people had bad experiences. But I had good experiences and it brought me to Ann Arbor, because my dad got a job here at the University, teaching army military intelligence people the Japanese language to perfection. They really learned it; they had to learn it to perfection. So, day one in Ann Arbor was a great day.
  • [01:30:30.00] SPEAKER 1: Do you remember day one in Ann Arbor?
  • [01:30:32.64] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Yeah.
  • [01:30:33.73] SPEAKER 1: Can you talk about it?
  • [01:30:36.19] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, there were five families in one fraternity house. We were lodged in fraternity houses, because there were no men around. They were all in the army. And that was quite an experience. Five families all eating in the dining room, the ladies all cooking in the kitchen, which was a big one.
  • [01:31:08.81] And then I went to school, Tappan Junior High, when it was in Burns Park. Being a midyear student, that means, they used to have school years divided into two in one year. So there would be, I guess you'd call it a half year's class and a full year class. The full year would start in September, and the half year class, which I was in, started in February.
  • [01:31:50.61] So we had grades 1A and B. I think B was the lower one. A was the upper, whichever way it went. So my first day was with the smaller class, the half year class. And I said, I'm going to sit next to the first person who smiles at me. And I did. I still remember her. So from then on, I joined the orchestra. I had been taking piano since I was 8 and continued playing, and at our graduation, which was again midyear, they wanted some music and they wanted a pianist. There were two of us who applied and I won. So it was a very good experience.
  • [01:33:01.13] SPEAKER 1: Would you say music helped you get through camp.
  • [01:33:04.37] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh yeah. Everything. I recommend it.
  • [01:33:11.90] SPEAKER 1: The next set of questions will be about your adult life. What career did you uphold in your adult life?
  • [01:33:18.59] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: What created me to what?
  • [01:33:20.18] SPEAKER 1: What career did you go into?
  • [01:33:21.92] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, music. I went to School of Music here and majored in piano and cello. But I didn't want to give a recital, so I switched my piano major to theory major, so, that was that.
  • [01:33:43.46] SPEAKER 1: Explain your relationship with your husband and traveling.
  • [01:33:48.47] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, it was great because we have a dog too, a golden retriever, a beautiful dog. That was his, he had to have a leader dog, so we always had Patches with us. What was the question?
  • [01:34:10.60] SPEAKER 1: Explain your relationship with your husband and traveling.
  • [01:34:13.75] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, he did the hard work. I did the easy work. So, he was a good partner. Yeah, we had a good time.
  • [01:34:28.98] SPEAKER 1: Can you talk some about the traveling you did with the van?
  • [01:34:32.04] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Oh, we had a van that we could sleep in, so we always went to campgrounds where you could sleep. That was it. He liked everything I liked, and we didn't like cities. We liked the country. The national parks were the kind of camping we went. I think we only went to two of them.
  • [01:35:09.42] But we went to California twice, because he was a jazz musician. His band went to San Francisco once, and so we drove to San Francisco. Then he had a relative in Arizona, so we drove there at least twice. And we drove to California once just because I wanted to see what California was like at that time.
  • [01:35:50.52] SPEAKER 1: What do you miss most about the road trips?
  • [01:35:55.02] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: I just missed the road trips. We always camped easily, you know, nothing complicated. And nothing expensive, no hotels. We never went to a hotel. And just seeing the country. But I liked to go only west. I didn't like to go east, because east was city, and west was country.
  • [01:36:25.63] SPEAKER 1: So you kind of talked a little bit about this but did your husband also have a love for music?
  • [01:36:30.79] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Yeah, he was a jazz musician. We were opposites. I couldn't play his music and he couldn't play mine. And, of course he was blind, so he played by ear, which I don't do very well. Yeah, he loved music.
  • [01:36:56.03] SPEAKER 1: Has music changed it's meaning for you seeing as to how it's been with you for so long?
  • [01:37:02.09] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Has it changed me?
  • [01:37:06.90] SPEAKER 1: Your view of music, do you think it's different compared to other people who haven't been doing it for as long as you have?
  • [01:37:14.87] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: In music, you mean, or just life?
  • [01:37:16.82] SPEAKER 1: Music. Or either one.
  • [01:37:22.47] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, I definitely recommend music because you can be independent or you can be with a group. You can be with an orchestra or you could have duets, trios, quartets or bigger. I highly do recommend it. I think it helps you to be independent. You can be by yourself and enjoy life. I mean, up to a point. Or if you like people, get in a orchestra, or small or larger groups.
  • [01:38:05.86] SPEAKER 1: And the last set of questions are general life questions. Do you have any advice on using passions such as music to help with the tense climate that the US is in right now, with government and things like that?
  • [01:38:23.02] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Does it what?
  • [01:38:24.37] SPEAKER 1: Do you have any advice on using passions such as music to help with like--
  • [01:38:32.29] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Well, I think music will survive anything. In fact, the worse life gets, the more important your music is. Someone told me-- I don't know if it's true-- but the kind of music that I am involved in, and the way I'm involved in, I mean, no tension, helps you live longer. I just passed my 88th birthday, so I believe it.
  • [01:39:09.72] SPEAKER 1: Do you have any thoughts on immigration policy in the US today?
  • [01:39:17.32] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Hmm, especially nowadays? Well, I think the US is a great place. Of course, I don't know life everywhere else, but I think it gives you the opportunity, whether you take it or not, for whatever you want. And hopefully, for the better, and if so, I think you can attain it.
  • [01:39:51.15] SPEAKER 1: What advice do you have for others who feel like they're being watched or put aside as you were in the camp?
  • [01:40:05.81] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: We were put aside as a race, but there were other people there, lots of other people there. Like I said, I continued my music, and, of course, continued my making new friends. There was no problem there in my life.
  • [01:40:29.14] I think everybody has an opportunity here. But they have to take it. And it's not easy, I mean, it's easier for some and not for others. But I think the more obstacles you have to get over, the better your life is, because you know what all the steps are, and difficulties are to being successful. Success doesn't mean everything's going to be easy, but you can have a life. And every facet of life, easy or not easy, is valuable. And you can make your hard times be a good experience, if you look at it that way. But if you look at it as, poor me, nobody helps me, you'll get nowhere. Because it's up to each individual to work at it.
  • [01:41:38.77] SPEAKER 1: Looking back on your life experiences, would you change anything or do anything differently?
  • [01:41:46.78] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: No. I think I'm lucky.
  • [01:41:53.24] SPEAKER 1: What are you most thankful for?
  • [01:41:59.27] ALICE SANO TEACHOUT: Music. [LAUGHS] I think it got me through everything. Maybe even good health. It's good to have friends around. And it's good to have an objective and a way to achieve it.
  • [01:42:22.83] SPEAKER 1: Well, that was our last question.