TAPE MINUTE SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
Tape 1, side 1
0-4:00 Born on 13 November 1934 in ___________. Her father’s name is Esteban Aldamiz Echevarria, and her mother is Martina (Urriogobeitia). Her father was a cook on a cargo ship before marrying her mother, and her mother worked on the family baserri (caserío) all her life. Adela was born in the baserri, which was called Narria. She had 8 siblings, one of whom died at 12 years of age, and another who died at the age of 4 before Adela was born. Leaving out the two who died as children, she orders her siblings oldest to youngest: José, Begoña, Amador, Antonio, herself, José Luis, and Eugenio. Her oldest brother, José, died in 1972.
4:00-8:45 Adela’s mother wanted her to go to high school, but Adela refused. Her mother told her that if she did not go to school, she would have to learn how to cook, clean, and get along with other people. She sent Adela to a house in Bilbao to work so that she could learn these things. Adela left home to work for the family in Bilbao when she was 14 years old. She took care of one child, cooked, ironed, and doing other housework. She worked for that family for two years. She did not earn any money, for her mother had made an agreement with the family in which Adela would learn life skills in exchange for her labor. Martina became ill when Adela was 16 years old, so when she returned she cooked for her own family. At age 20, she started going to Taberna Basca in Guernica every Monday to continue learning how to cook. Adela tells an amusing story about how her family was too poor to afford nice shoes. Her mother would buy them large, cheap shoes for the coming school year, but Adela would often lose them as she was running away from angry farmers from whom they would steal grapes, apples, strawberries, and other produce. As a result, Adela would often go without shoes.
8:45-18:00 Adela remembers her school days. Boys would go to one schoolhouse, girls to another. She went to school until she was 14 years old. Begoña asks her about the family she worked for in Bilbao. The lady was named Payli (sp?), her husband was Jose Mari. Adela enjoyed her time in Bilbao, for she would go out dancing with her friends from time to time. She met her husband in Bilbao and married at the age of 20. She tells the story of meeting her husband: her older sister lived in Bilbao with her husband, and Adela would go to Bilbao to buy medicine for her mother. Now Adela realizes that her mother probably suffered from severe arthritis (she could not walk), but the doctors could not diagnose her at the time. Her mother eventually died at the age of 57 when Adela was 20 years old. It was after her mother died that Adela started taking cooking classes in Guernica. She met her future husband through a connection with her sister’s husband. He came to the United States to work for 3 years and they wrote to each other during that time. Adela lived in her family’s baserri with her father. After those 3 years, he went back to the Basque country and wanted to get married very quickly, for he needed to take some cooking classes in Guernica before leaving to work as a cook. They married in November, and Adela gave birth to her son the following August. She and her husband then came to the United States.
18:00-27:45 Before arriving in the US, Adela thought that everything would be large. In newspapers, she had seen some pictures of large automobiles and other American scenes. Upon arriving in 1962, however, she noticed that very little was actually that big. She arrived by airplane with her 13-month-old son and a friend of hers, going from Bilbao to Madrid to New York where her brother was waiting for them. Adela, her son, her friend, and her friend’s daughter finally arrived in Boise, where their husbands were waiting for them. Adela started working immediately at Saint Alphonsus Hospital from 3:00 to 11:00pm. She did not speak any English. Two ladies who worked with Adela spoke Basque, and she would explain what needed to be done at the hospital. After six months Adela fell ill with trichinosis after eating homemade, raw chorizo. The doctors could not find anything at first, even though her body had become quite swollen. She finally told them what she had eaten, and spent a month in the hospital. Adela went home while she was still sick, and was eventually cured by drinking some broths made by a friend that she refers to as an aunt.
27:45-30:00 Adela went to live and work at a boarding house run by the Letamendi family, staying from 1964 to 1966. She cooked, cleaned, made the beds, and tended to the boarders. She had two sons by this time. Adela remembers how hard she worked at the boarding house, eventually leaving because the workload was too much. Her husband did not help with any of the housework at the boarding house. He was busy with his own job, although Adela wants to make it clear that she worked a bit harder than he did.
Tape 1, side 2
0-11:15 She moved to another house and gave birth to her son Xavier. After a short while, her husband, (Usevio) found another house for them, which they ended up buying. Another child was born, this time a daughter, named Rosa. She returned to Valencia for several months. She discusses this time at length, focusing on the relationship between she and her family. She had trouble keeping track of her children, and mentions her husband drinking problem.
11:15-20:00 Back in the United States, Rosa was of age to start kindergarten. Adela could not find a job that would allow her to stay with her children in the morning until they left for school and be back in time to pick them up from school, so she got the idea to start a daycare. She still did not speak English. A friend of hers helped her start the daycare. At the time of the interview, she had been running a daycare for 24 years. She divorced her husband in 1987. Her husband took half of their possessions including the lawnmower, but she kept the house and paid off the mortgage. She describes how he would run around with loose women, drinking more than anyone she knew of. This prompted the divorce, which took only 8 months to finalize.
20:00-25:00 Adela talks about how much Boise has grown and changed since she arrived. She describes the initial condition of the house in which she now lives, and how many improvements she has made in the house. She is proud of her house, and tells Begoña how the value of the house has risen over the years.
25:00-30:00 Adela did not spend much time at the Basque Center until her children were of age to start dancing. She did not have many friends here, and the ones she did have did not go to the Basque Center. Adela became a member so that her children could dance. As time passed, however, she became more involved in events at the Basque Center. She has traveled to Elko a few times for Basque events, and to Reno once.
Tape 2, side 1
0-5:00 Adela became a US citizen in the 1977-78s. She does not remember the exact year. She remembers having to study English with Juanita (Yriendo), one of her aunts, to pass the exam. She became a citizen mainly to help make her brother a legal resident. Her brother was herding sheep at the time, and wanted to change professions but could not do so without the appropriate papers. She had two brothers here in the United States before she arrived, both of whom herded sheep. One has since returned to the Basque country.
5:00-10:15 Adela has considered moving back to the Basque country many times, but is happy with her life here in the US. She has returned to visit several times. Her first trip was in 1972 with her four children after being in the United States for ten years. She talks about the fact that she has not moved back for several reasons, but partly because she cannot make much money in the Basque country. She discusses her house again, and how a great deal of money has gone into renovating it. Adela emphasizes that everything she has is the fruit of her labors. Her husband was too drunk to work, and did not even pay child support after the divorce. She is proud of her children and what they have accomplished.
10:15-19:15 Adela’s children served as interpreters since she did not speak any English. They learned English from school. She is surprised that so many people, mostly non-Basques, have trusted her with their children even though she spoke no English. She attributes most of her success to help from God. She is a devout Catholic who attends mass every Sunday. Adela talks about a woman with whom one of her sons is involved, a woman that she does not allow in her house.
19:15-23:00 Since she gained citizenship, Adela has voted a few times (2 or 3 times), but is usually too busy to do so. The daycare takes up most of her time. When she finds a candidate she likes, she votes. If not, she does not vote. Adela mentions several candidates by name and talks about them.
23:00-30:00 Adela is a member of Euzkaldunak and the Basque Museum. She has become an active member of both organizations. She also volunteers at St. John’s Cathedral. She keeps in frequent contact with friends and family, especially her brothers, in the Basque country. They all live in Guernica. They phone each other frequently and she goes to visit them every now and then. All of the jewels she owns are gifts from her brothers.
Tape 2, side 2
0-4:30 Adela talks more about raising her children and how her financial situation has evolved over the years. She has a lot of expenditures. She mentions her retirement plan several times.
4:30-10:00 Adela prefers the Basque country to the United States, but she wants to stay here because her children are all here. She cannot leave her children for too long a time. She tells the story of how her family’s house in the Basque country changed hands.
NAMES AND PLACES
Amador Aldamiz – Adela’s brother.
Antonio Aldamiz – Adela’s brother.
Begoña Aldamiz – Adela’s sister.
Esteban Aldamiz – Adela’s father.
Eugenio Aldamiz – Adela’s brother.
José Aldamiz – Adela’s brother.
José Luis Aldamiz – Adela’s brother.
Martina Aldamiz – Adela’s mother.
Rosa Aldamiz – Adela’s daughter.
Letamendi – name of the family that ran the boarding house where Adela worked after St. Alphonsus Hospital.
Narria – name of Adela’s family’s baserri in the Basque country.
Bilbao – Adela came here to work for another family.
Basque Center (Euzkaldunak), Boise, Idaho – Adela holds a membership here, as well as one with the Basque Museum.
Boise, Idaho – Adela’s home in the United States.
Guernica – town in which all of her family (except her children) now lives.
Madrid, Spain – stop along Adela’s way to the United States.
New York, New York – Adela’s first stop in the United States.
Saint Alphonsus Hospital, Boise, Idaho – Adela’s first job in the United States.
Saint John’s Cathedral – Adela attends mass and volunteers here regularly.
Taberna Basca, Guernica – Adela took some cooking classes here.
Clubs and Organizations