TAPE MINUTE SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
0-7:30 Rosemarie’s father was Sebastian Salutregui, from Munitibar, Bizkaia. He came to the US in 1919 when he was 19 years old. He often spoke of his early life in the Basque country, including the family pine logging business and many farm chores. Sebastian’s father Lorenzo also went to America for a time, and Sebastian followed him to make a better life for himself. Sebastian didn’t return to the Basque country until 1973, and noticed many changes. Rosemarie remembers that even though her father had never made any mention of wanting to return to Euskadi (money was tight, he had many obligations, etc.), he was very sad when he learned that his mother had passed away, and was ultimately coaxed into returning when his daughter and son-in-law expressed interest in going. Sebastian crossed the Atlantic on a ship, stopped at Ellis Island, and continued to Idaho to work as a sheepherder for Rosemarie’s maternal grandfather, José Pío Alastra Ondarza, near Spring Valley and Lake Lowell. This is where Sebastian and Rosemarie’s mother met. He worked there until his marriage in 1931, then moved to Central Cove to work on a farm. He finally worked as head irrigator for Garrett’s Orchard until his retirement in the 1970s. Rosemarie remembers that her father traveled to Washington to give workshops on irrigation and pruning.
7:30-13:00 Rosemarie’s mother is Libe Miren Ondarza, born at the Delamar Hotel in Boise. Her parents were sheep owners, but later sold them. Libe attended St. Teresa’s Academy, and lead a very comfortable life. Ever since high school, she always said she wanted to marry Sebastian, and did so right after she graduated. He had the nickname “Buen Borreguero” (good sheepherder). Julian describes Sebastian’s route with the sheep. Libe’s mother was from Elantxobe, and her father was from Natxitua; they were married in Boise after courting at the Letamendi boarding house (but had met initially in Euskadi). Even though Rosemarie’s grandmother was an excellent seamstress, she was not a great cook straight out of the gate, but later became one of the best.
13-21:00 Libe grew up speaking Euskera with her family. Her mother used to ride from Spring Creek to Boise on a horse, and the saddle has been donated to the Basque Museum and Cultural Center. Rosemarie’s parents met at the sheep camp, and fell in love right away. Their children are Miren, Ricardo, Victoriano, Carmen, Rosemarie and Alfonso. The family spoke primarily in English while the kids were growing up because Sebastian wanted to learn English (to be able to speak with his non-Basque hired hands). He became a citizen in 1942, and even hired a tutor to prepare for the test. Sebastian was always sure that he wanted to be an American. Rosemarie explains that she grew up understanding only a little Basque, and didn’t learn more until she married Julian, but he interjects that she understands a lot. She talks about her siblings’ efforts to learn Euskera. Since phone lines were often shared back then, Rosemarie’s parents always spoke in Basque so that eavesdropping neighbors could not understand them; a partner in crime was nearby Mrs. Landa.
21-27:30 Some of the biggest highlights in Rosemarie’s life were going to other Basques’ houses to dance and socialize. Her father came home early when the family lived in Central Cove in order to start the fire, so that everyone would be warm when they came home from school. Their house was very isolated, and surrounded by fruit trees. They had little lambs to take care of, often getting up in the night to feed them. Rosemarie describes her chores. Miren left when Rosemarie was 7, and there were no neighbor children to play with, so the Salutregui siblings had to learn to be close friends. There were many Basques in the general area: Urangas, Mansisidors, Lejardis, Landas, Echevarrias and others, but the closest ones were more than a mile away. The family had many visitors on weekends, and Libe cooked big meals for them; apart from that, there was very little socializing between Homedale Basque families due to their rigorous work schedules. Going to Boise was like going to New York: a once-a-year event that was exciting for all. They visited many people in a single day, and Rosemarie describes these special encounters.
27:30-30:00 Rosemarie explains the differences between urban and rural Basques, and how they became obvious when people came for visits. Unlike some people, though, the Basques never let these differences become divisive. She recalls that her mother made the most delicious cinnamon rolls in the state—and this for someone who didn’t grow up knowing how to cook. Libe worked very hard all her life. In high school, Rosemarie got more involved with the Basque culture, and drove into Boise with Ray Mansisidor every Sunday to dance with Jay Hormaechea’s group. This predated the Oinkaris. She used to go to many dances with her new Basque friends. Homedale had few organized Basque activities except an annual dance that was rotated with Marsing.
0-5:30 Rosemarie went to Central Cove School from 1st to 6th grades. It had two rooms: one for 1-4, and one for 5-8. She was very shy for the first year and used to cry a lot. The teacher would call her older brother Vic, and he comforted her by giving her a pen or something. Altogether, there were about 60 kids at Central Cove, and Rosemarie and her siblings were the only Basques (the others went to Homedale). Rosemarie had no close Basque friends during this time, but she never really thought about this as strange. She and her friends used to go to Basque dances in Homedale, Ontario, Gooding, and many other small towns. These dances were so popular that even non-Basques attended. Rosemarie went to Homedale for high school, and she graduated in 1960. She describes the fun she used to have.
5:30-10:00 Upon graduating, Rosemarie went to work as a bookkeeper at Home Dairies, and lived with her brother Vic and his wife Jean in Homedale. After almost a year, she was hit by a drunk driver and was in rehab for almost three months. She decided to go to Boise because there were no job opportunities in Homedale. Her brother Ricardo and sister Miren lived there. She moved in with future sister-in-law Dolores Echevarria, and with Cecilia Sillonis. Carmelita Elordi later moved in. Rosemarie describes her new friends and the way they ran around for fun. As she got older and moved to a bigger city, she met more Basque kids and got more involved with the culture. Rosemarie was an Oinkari dancer. She worked for American Linen until 1968.
10-18:00 Rosemarie met her husband Julian at her brother Ricardo’s wedding (the two had been roommates). She didn’t like Julian at first, but soon grew to love him. The couple was married in 1962 at St. John’s Cathedral in Boise. The Basque priest Father Recalde married the two (in Basque and in English). They have one son, Steven Julen, who was born in 1968. The whole family was always very involved in the Basque culture, going to dinners, picnics and sporting events, holding positions on the boards of various Basque organizations, and even chairing the Basque dance at the first Jaialdi. Most of their friends even today are Basque. Steven has thus grown up very attached to the Basque culture, and has participated in Basque dancing, singing, and other cultural events. He has also traveled to the Basque Country and was an Oinkari. He once won an essay contest as a sophomore on why he loved his heritage, and received a free trip to the Basque Country. Steven graduated from the University of Idaho and continues to live in Boise
18-25:00 Rosemarie has been to the Basque Country twice. The first time was in 1973 (which was also her father’s first trip back), and she recalls the experience. She loved Ispaster, the countryside, and the people. To Rosemarie, Euskadi felt more like home than she would have imagined, despite the fact that she spoke no Basque. Julian used to go to the bars with his friends and leave Rosemarie alone with his mother. The older woman once questioned whether Rosemarie’s teeth were real, and tried to pull at them to check. Fortunately, Julian’s uncle Andres spoke quite a bit of English, and knew Rosemarie’s family. During this trip, she learned quite a bit of Basque—and always knew when people were making fun of her.
25-30:00 On Rosemarie’s second trip to the Basque Country, she had an even better time, and would love to go back again someday. Steven would also go back “in a heartbeat.” She descries her second trip back. Rosemarie has been retired since 1995, but still enjoys being a member of the Basque Center (she has been a member since 1960). She recalls an old organization (Anaik Danok) that attempted to better life in the Basque Country, but which was ultimately unsuccessful. She describes some of the other activities with which she has helped out.
0-5:00 Rosemarie continues discussing the now-defunct Anaik Danok, which unfortunately was misunderstood as an extension of ETA. She is very proud of Boise Basque culture and of the younger generation who has so successfully revived it. She has no doubts that the culture will only get stronger and stronger.
5-6:00 Rosemarie is very proud of her Basque heritage, and is sure that had she not been involved in the culture, she would have missed out on a very big part of her life. Her Basque and American sides are fully complimentary.
NAMES AND PLACES
Achabal, Andres: Julian’s uncle
Achabal, Julian: Rosemarie’s husband
Achabal, Steven Julen: Rosemarie’s son
Anaik Danok: now-defunct Boise Basque organization
Echevarria family: Rosemarie’s family frinds
Echevarria, Dolores: Rosemarie’s friend and former roommate
Elordi, Carmelita: Rosemarie’s friend and former roommate
Hormaechea, Juanita “Jay”: taught Basque dancing
Jaialdi: Basque festival
Landa family: Rosemarie’s family friends
Lejardi family: Rosemarie’s family friends
Letamendi family: operated a Boise boarding house
Mansisidor family: Rosemarie’s family friends
Mansisidor, Ray: Rosemarie’s friend
Oinkaris: Boise Basque dancers
Ondarza, José Pío Alastra: Rosemarie’s maternal grandfather
Ondarza, Libe Miren: Rosemarie’s mother
Recalde, Father: Basque priest who married Rosemarie and Julian
Salutregui, Alfonso: Rosemarie’s brother
Salutregui, Carmen: Rosemarie’s sister
Salutregui, Jean: Rosemarie’s sister-in-law
Salutregui, Lorenzo: Rosemarie’s paternal grandfather
Salutregui, Miren: Rosemarie’s sister
Salutregui, Ricardo: Rosemarie’s brother
Salutregui, Sebastian: Rosemarie’s father
Salutregui, Victoriano: Rosemarie’s brother
Sillonis, Cecilia: Rosemarie’s friend and former roommate
Uranga family: Rosemarie’s family friends
American Linen: employed Rosemarie in Boise
Basque Center (Boise)
Central Cove, ID
Delamar Hotel (Boise): Rosemarie’s mother’s birthplace
Ellis Island, NY
Garrett’s Orchard (ID)
Home Dairies (Homedale): Rosemarie’s first employer
Lake Lowell, ID
Spring Creek, ID
Spring Valley, ID
St. John’s Cathedral (Boise)
St. Theresa’s Academy (Boise)
University of Idaho
Clubs and Organizations