TAPE MINUTE SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
0-10:00 Luís was born August 1, 1923, in Boise, ID. His father was Anastasio Arrizabalaga (changed to Ernest Arrizabalaga in 1939 when he became a US citizen), from Ereño, and his mother was Gregoria Gorroño, from Amorebieta. His father came on a ship to the US, and then to Boise (where there were many other Basques) with his brother and sister to escape the hardships in Euskadi. His mother came with her brother Bruno at about the same time, and began working for the Madarieta boarding house, then at St. Alphonsus Hospital, changing sheets. His father worked as a sheepherder on a 5-year contract before moving on to Boise Payette (now Boise Cascade). The job was in Barber, and Luís and his family grew up in the small mill town, composed of 110 houses (20% Basque). In 1935, the mill was moved to Emmett, and all the families moved with it—even the houses were packed up and taken! Luís remembers that he spent a lot of time socializing at the Uberuaga boarding house as a child. When his father was a sheepherder, he worked for Andrew Little, and then for the Madarieta family, at whose boarding house he probably met his wife. His parents were married in 1915 at St. John’s Cathedral in Boise. Initially, his father was still out with the sheep, but his mother stayed home (a little adobe house, with the Aldape family) to take care of her new family. Luís has 2 siblings: Augustín, and Marie Martin, who is the only one to have a child of her own. Luís moved to Emmett when he was 12.
10-20:00 Luís began school in Barber. Basque was his 1st language, and although he had no real problems adjusting to classes taught in English, he knew many kids who did, including his siblings. He spoke English with his friends at school. He describes his school building and classes. Luís’ father taught him to read and write, and his mother spoke a little English. His house had 4 rooms; 1 for his parents, 1 for Luís and his brother, 1 living room with a couch where his sister slept, and a kitchen. He was spoiled as a child, since there were few chores to be done and his mother did all of them, but later, in Emmett, he picked fruit for area farmers and turned over his paychecks to his mother. Luís got through the 6th grade in Barber. There were few organized Basque social events in Barber at the time, but he does remember that the Basques frequently got together and walked into the hills for picnics on Sundays. Once in a while, the town projected movies on a wall. Church services were held in the school on a portable altar, and in the summer, priests drove the Barber Catholics to St. Josephs for catechism. Luís remembers walking the 7 miles to Boise very frequently as a child; he did a lot of walking as a child. They also hitched rides on trains.
20-30:00 The Basques from Barber are still clannish to this day, and frequently have picnics together. Luís experienced a little prejudice from WASPS as a child, but it was mild and didn’t last very long. His parents were determined that their children go to school, so they could avoid jobs in the mill and in the hills. He recalls the move to Emmett, which wasn’t a big change for him. (Anecdote: during the Depression, in Barber, his father was ill for a while, so Augustín went to work at the mill for 12 cents an hour when he was 13). He remembers the coupons that Boise Cascade used to give their employees, which worked much like food stamps at company stores. There were about 4 Basque families in Emmett when the Barber residents moved there, which he lists. His friends at Emmett High School were mixed between Basque and non-Basque. He spoke half English and half Euskera at home at the time, and his Euskera language skills started slipping.
0-7:30 Luís didn’t experience any more anti-Basque sentiment in Emmett than he had in Barber. During school, he delivered the afternoon newspapers, and picked fruit during the summer. In Emmett, Luís describes the Basque activities he participated in. The family still went to Boise a lot, and he was even part of a short-lived Basque dancing group—the first in the Boise area—that performed at the Western Idaho Fair in 1940. It only lasted a little over a year because the war broke out the following year, and included 2 non-Basques (since there weren’t enough Basque kids in town to do it). It was started by Julia Barroetabena, and Lucy Garatea, and there was an immigrant from Euskadi who played the txistu and drum for the group. They were just called the Emmett Basque Dancers. Luís describes the experience.
7:30-20:00 After graduating from high school in 1941, Luís began work at the Emmett Index, a weekly newspaper. He did everything from reporting to cleaning the building. In 1943, he went down to southern California, living with his sister and working at the Lockheed plant for a few years, during which time he was out of touch with the Basque culture. He then went back to Emmett, and worked at C.C. Anderson’s Golden Rule department store, attaining the position of manager of the boys’ and men’s departments. In 1947, he was drafted, and clerked in the Aleutian Islands for a while. When he came back a year later, he resumed work for the Golden Rule, but was transferred to the Spokane store, where he stayed for about 3 years, once again separated from the culture he grew up in. Luís moved to San Francisco in 1953, and stayed until 1970, working as an accounting clerk for General Electric, then in the clothing business again, selling real estate on the side all the while. What little Basque culture there was in San Francisco was mostly French Basque. He had a lot of fun there, but eventually came back to Boise to open a series of instant printing stores—the 1st in Boise—with a friend.
20-30:00 Luís describes his former printing business. Back in Boise, he immersed himself in the Basque culture right away, even though he had not stayed in close contact with people beyond close family and friends while away. He now volunteers at the Basque Museum, and has been a member of the Basque Center since his return to the area. He retired from the printing business in 1991. He continues to go to big Basque celebrations and dinners, but doesn’t go to the picnics because he has little family left. His 1st trip to the Basque country was in 1968, when he went with his father (who had not been back since his immigration) and a friend. He had a great time. His mother had already passed away. Luís went to Euskadi again with his niece in 1996.
0-10:30 Luís mentions where his family lives in Euskadi. He knew when he went to visit the first time, he knew it would be a very rural lifestyle, and marveled at the pastoral existence most people there lived. The 2nd time around, it was much modernized. On both his trips to the Basque Country, Luís felt comfortable both with the people and the language. He hopes to go again soon, when he feels up to it. He describes his trips, and also that of his sister in 1969. People couldn’t believe that his sister spoke such good Basque. He doesn’t like the actual trip across the Atlantic, but enjoys being there. In his spare time, Luís likes to be with his family and friends in addition to helping out at the Basque Museum. He talks about the joy he takes in helping visitors to the museum discover their Basque roots. He thinks the purpose of organizations like the museum and Basque Center is to preserve the language and culture. Luís considers himself an American first, then a Basque, but he is extremely proud of his heritage.
NAMES AND PLACES
Aldape family: shared a house with Luís’ mother and father
Arrizabala, Augustín: Luís’ brother
Arrizabalaga, Anastasio: Luís’ father
Barroetabena, Julia: helped found Emmett Basque Dancers
Emmett Basque dancers: 1st such group in the Boise area
Garatea, Lucy: helped found Emmett Basque Dancers
Gorroño, Bruno: Luís’ uncle
Gorroño, Gregoria: Luís’ mother
Little, Andrew: Scottish shepherding giant in Idaho
Madarieta family: employed Luís’ mother and father
Martin, Marie Arrizabala: Luís’ sister
Oinkaris: Boise Basque dancers
Uberuaga family: had boarding house in Boise
Amorebieta, Spain: Luís’ mother’s birthplace
Basque Center (Boise)
Basque Museum and Cultural Center (Boise)
Boise Payette (now Boise Cascade)
Boise, ID: Luís’ birthplace
C.C. Anderson’s Golden Rule: chain of department stores
Emmett High School
Emmett Index: weekly newspaper that employed Luís for a time
Ereño, Spain: Luís’ father’s birthplace
Lockheed Corporation: aeronautical company in California
San Francisco, CA
St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center (Boise)
St. John’s Cathedral (Boise)
St. Joseph’s Elementary: Boise parochial school once taught catechism to area Basques
Clubs and organizations