Tape 1, side 1
0-3:00 Born 8 June 1936 in Ispaster, Bizkaia. His parents were Simón and Santiaga Achabal. They were both from Ispaster. Julian’s father, who had chosen the Basque Nationalist Party during the Spanish Civil War, was sent to prison for 4 years. He was released in 1942. He had served his term in Cádiz and Santoña (close to Santander). Julian mentions another prison, called Puerto Santa María (Cadiz), which was one of the worst because it was underground. His father was imprisoned for his political involvement. Julian’s mother visited her husband twice, as many times as she was able, during his imprisonment. Somebody in town reported Julian’s father for his political involvement, prompting the authorities to arrest him.
3:00-6:30 Simón had worked in the United States with his brothers, arriving in 1914. He was the youngest of 4 brothers. His brothers had owned a cattle-shoeing business in the Basque country. When one of his brothers died, Simón returned home to help run the business. According to Julian, the government appropriated the business during his father’s imprisonment. There was nothing left for his father when he was released in 1942. He tried to reopen the blacksmith shop to start shoeing cattle again, but the Guardia Civil came and shut it down. Julian explains how his parents met and married. He came back from the United States and went to see her in Donosti (San Sebastian), where she was working for a family as a housekeeper.
6:30-10:45 Julian went to school in Ispaster until he was 9 years old, then to a seminary in Gabiria, Gipuzkoa. The Padres Pasionistas, a religious order, ran the latter. He stayed at the seminary until he was 14. He returned home and started working for a construction company with his uncle, then for a sawmill. He worked until he was 19, at which point he came to the United States. His home was in town, but the family had a garden, a few animals, and a blacksmith shop. Julian’s mother worked at home. His siblings are Juan Luís, Arantza, and Simón. At home and in town, everybody called Julian “Julen”. He explains that Julen is his Basque name, but Basque names were not recognized as official names when Julian was born. In town, people spoke in Basque and Spanish. In school, classes were taught in Spanish, but he remembers that the students were allowed to speak Basque at the seminary in Gabiria. There were 119 students, all boys, in the seminary.
10:45-14:45 Julian explains the process of studying to be a priest. In the Passionist school system, students started in Gabiria for 5 years, then went to Tafalla in Navarre for 3 years, then went to Deusto to finish their studies. Backing up, Julian talks about his school in Ispaster. There were two teachers, one for the older children and one for the younger ones. Boys went to one school, girls went to another. Julian’s parents pushed their children to do well in school, sending the boys to seminary because there was little cost. The family did not have much money, so they took the opportunity to send their sons to seminary, which was almost free of charge, to help them get a good education. While they were going to school in Ispaster, he and his siblings worked on the family farm. He explains that each family had their own garden. Most children would go home for lunch. The seminary also had its own garden, growing produce to sustain itself. Students stayed at the seminary during the summer. They would take weeklong excursions during the summer, which were financed by donations from benefactors. He names two of the benefactors, which provided most of the funds necessary to operate the seminary.
14:45-16:00 Julian remembers some of the things he used to do with his friends. They had picnics with chestnuts and cider, and would go on excursions, most of which he would rather not describe.
16:00-17:45 His first job was with the Diputación de Vizcaya, which is similar to the Highway Department in the US. He worked on the road from Lekeitio to Santa Catalina, laying asphalt. His next job was with his uncle, a contractor, building houses for 8 months. Next, he went to work at the sawmill in Lekeitio for Cornelio Achabal. He cut trees in the mountains and took them to the sawmill. A new sawmill opened in Lekeitio, offering higher wages, so Julian went to work there. Three partners owned the new mill: Justo Sarria’s father [Pedro Sarria], Ciro Echevarria, and Isidoro Salinas.
17:45-20:00 At 19, Julian decided to come to the United States. His brother, Simon, was already there, and all the men in his family had been in the US at one time or another. He has one uncle buried in Winnemucca, Nevada. Julian told his father that he wanted to go to the United States to avoid military service, so his father wrote a letter to Julian’s uncle in the US to make the necessary arrangements. Julian made the trip in 1955.
20:00-26:00 The trip was memorable. He left the morning after a festival held in Lekeitio on September 2, and did not sleep at all that night. He took a train from Ispaster to Bilbao, another train to Madrid, and slept the whole way. He traveled with two men from Bilbao and one from Asturias. Julian stayed with friends in Madrid for 5 days. He arrived in Boise, Idaho on September 9, 1955 having flown from Madrid to Lisbon to Bunker (Maine) to New York. He did not speak any English, and almost went into a women’s restroom. He explains how he got the travel documents he needed in Bilbao. He and his traveling companions wore tags on their shirts. Information on the tags helped immigration and airline personnel to know where the travelers needed to go. He had $7 in his pocket for food, and pointed to eggs and bacon in an airport restaurant (La Guardia Airport) to order his first breakfast in America. He waited in New York for 8 hours, then caught his flight to Chicago, where he made a connection to Boise. His uncles, Andrés and Deogracias, met him at the airport in Boise. Cecil Jayo drove them to the Letamendi boarding house, where he stayed with 10 or 15 other people. He remembers that at Christmas, as many as 30 people had rooms at that boarding house.
26:00-30:00 Julian’s first job in the United States was with Wilbur Wilson’s sheep company, Hammett Livestock, near Hammett, Idaho. His uncle Andrés was the ranch foreman. Julian spent most of his time on the ranch, helping during the lambing season and with other work, for 3 years. He did not come under contract. He describes the typical work on the ranch, much of which revolved around either sheep or hay cultivation. Julian started learning English on the ranch, but learned most of his English in the US Army. He explains the process of learning English, and describes relations between Basques and non-Basques. He socialized with Americans on the ranch and at monthly dances in Bruneau, Glenns Ferry and other neighboring towns. Basques and non-Basques got along together well.
Tape 1, side 2
0-2:45 Julian talks about the size of Wilbur Wilson’s ranch. He describes the lambing period, when he worked with 33 other men. He enjoyed himself, for he was surrounded by lots of other young Basques. They played cards in their free time. He spent winters in Boise at [the Letamendi] boarding house, and has fond memories of the dances each house would host and singing. The social environment reminded him of the Basque country.
2:45-5:15 He explains how he met his wife. Julian was drafted into the Army at the age of 21 (see minute 5), and he explains an agreement between the United States and the Spanish government to draft Basques working in the US. He went to basic training in Fort Carson, Colorado. From there, he went to Oklahoma for advanced training in communications. Julian laughs now, thinking of how he studied communications even though he did not speak much English. He learned most of his English during this period.
5:15-8:00 Julian’s father died on the 11November 1958, but did not receive the telegram until the 14th. An officer arranged for Julian to fly from Fort Carson to Madrid (Tarrejón) for his father’s funeral, but it was too late. He explains that he joined the Army on 12 November 1958, and found out that his father died a few days later. A year later, when he was stationed in Germany, Julian had the opportunity to attend the anniversary of his father’s funeral and spend some time with his family.
8:00-12:30 After his training in Oklahoma, he took an Army train to Savannah, Georgia to be shipped to Germany. A Cuban man on the ship read Julian’s name, recognized it as a Basque name, and notified the captain of the ship, who was also Basque. The captain’s name was Uribe. There were two other Basques aboard the ship as well. The captain called Julian on the loudspeaker (Julian thought he would be in trouble) and told him to report to his office. Julian and the captain became friends, and Julian was allowed to go the officers’ quarters whenever he liked. He says that the 9-day trip to Germany was like a vacation. Julian mentions another Basque, Manuel Madarieta, who had immigrated from Ibarranguelua. He and Julian went into the Army together, the first to the artillery division, the second to the infantry. Manuel was stationed close to Frankfurt, Germany, and Julian was stationed close to Stuttgart. The two went to the Basque country from Germany together in 1959. Julian visited again in 1960.
12:30-13:30 Julian talks about the founding of the Oinkari Basque Dancers. He names the people who were involved in the founding, which took place in Donosti.
13:30-18:15 He explains how he was part of a battalion of soldiers who were not US citizens. The battalion was formed to protect nuclear secrets, which were not to be shared with those who were citizens. The battalion did not have any duties, turning their attention to playing soccer. They played for 9 months against German, Italian, and Dutch teams, traveling all over Germany and Italy to play. He enjoyed the trips, taking the chance to do some sightseeing.
18:15-23:00 In 1960, Julian was discharged in New Jersey and learned of work in the Aguirre boarding house in New York, but decided to come back to Idaho instead. He had always liked Idaho, considering it his second home. When he returned, he found a job with a construction company that built the foundations for missile silos. His supervisor, Jim Brady, transferred Julian, Manuel Madarieta, and Manuel Arteta to Great Falls, Montana for a project. They stayed for 45 days before they decided to quit their jobs and return to Boise. Julian describes the work.
23:00-27:00 When he returned to Boise, he found work with Garrett Freight Lines. He joined the teamsters union until his retirement. The other two men found work with a casino in Nevada. Julian met his wife, Rosemarie Salutregui, at her brother’s wedding. She was a bridesmaid. They met in 1961, and married in 1962 at St. John’s Cathedral in Boise. Their son, Steven, was born in 1968.
27:00-30:00 Julian describes his job with Garrett Freight Lines. He names the Basques he worked with. He talks about some of his routes. He retired at the age of 52 due to illness.
Tape 2, side 1
0-3:00 After they married, Julian and Rosemarie lived in Nick Beristain’s apartment for three years before moving into a house of their own in Boise. Rosemarie worked as a secretary for American Linen Supply until their son was born. Steve went to school at St. Mary’s Elementary School, then to Bishop Kelley High School, and studied at the University of Idaho. Rosemarie was born in the United States. They spoke a little Basque at home, but talked mostly in English.
3:00-9:30 Julian joined the Basque Center when he arrived in the United States, and has been a member ever since (except for his time in the Army). He served on the board after he got married. The Basque Center tried to stay out of Basque politics, preferring to remain apolitical and social in nature. Julian pushed to hang the Basque flag at the entrance of the Basque Center in the spring of 1972. Ron Sabala was president of the Center at the time, and Don Dick was the vice president. There was much debate in the Boise Basque community over whether or not to hang the flag. Many saw it as being too political. Julian worked hard to convince the members of the Basque Center that it was a good idea. He also helped with the dinners and dances at the Center. Each board member was responsible for organizing one of the events. Julian served on the board in 1972, was vice president in 1973, and was elected president in 1974. He explains term limits for the board – each member served a 3-year term. Julian’s wife and son were also very involved.
9:30-11:30 In Julian’s mind, the Basque Center’s purpose is to serve as a link to other Basque organizations in the United States, such as the North American Basque Organization (NABO). It also serves to make the Basque culture more visible in the Boise community. He sees the Center’s involvement in the community increasing, as is it is popular. He gives credit to the founders of the Center, mentioning a few of them.
11:30-15:15 Julian also attends church (St. Mary’s Church, see minute 14) and is a member of Ramblin’ Rovers, a horse riding club in Boise. He rides with a number of leaders in the Boise community. They ride in the Frank Church Wilderness, riding from 20 to 24 miles a day. They move a camp with them. Another of Julian’s activities is his daily walk, a 4 or 5 mile loop he begins at dawn.
15:15-21:15 Julian talks about his visits to the Basque country. He keeps in touch with his family there by phone, letters and email. He mentions some of his relatives. He has no plans to move back to the Basque country permanently, for the country has changed a great deal since he left. Julian talks about some of the changes, specifically in the country’s economic situation. Young people are different, the culture is different, and the houses are different. His family is in the United States now, and he feels that his home is here as well. Today, he considers himself to be American first, then Basque. He became a citizen in 1962, passing a test. His military service helped him to become a citizen.
21:15-24:45 *Note: this section was recorded on 9 August 2001.
Julian gives a little more history behind hanging the Basque flag at the door of the Basque Center. He explains why they decided to hang it, and what the opposition had to say about the decision. It was Julian’s idea to hang the flag as a symbol of pride for the Basque culture and heritage. Opposition came mostly from the older generation.