TAPE MINUTE SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
0-6:00 Maria’s father is Lazaro Zamacola(from Eibar, Gipuzkoa) and her mother is Juana Hormaechea (from Ermua, Bizkaia). They were from different regions, but their houses were very close and the towns were small. It is likely that Maria’s paternal and maternal grandparents knew each other as well, having met through the course of everyday life. Lazaro worked as a supervisor for a sewing machine company, and although his business sometimes took him to places like France and Italy, he never worked abroad. Her parents currently live in Gernika with one of Maria’s brothers, since they are older now and Lazaro has had several strokes. Juana worked in her mother’s company, but once she was married, apart from a few secretarial duties, she mainly dedicated herself to her life as a housewife. Lazaro and Juana were married around 1944 in Ermua.
6-11:30 Maria has wonderful memories of her childhood. The neighborhoods she grew up around were beautiful, and the local children always had fun playing. She comments that the kids of today don’t know how to have as much fun. Without television and radio, Maria and her friends were part of a more innocent time. She lived downtown, and so had no farm chores (like her husband, who grew up on a baserri). She did help cultivate a little garden, and assisted with the cooking and household chores. Her grandfather sold a type of sheep to the little towns in the area. Maria always had a lot of free time to play, but several if her friends were from farms and had less time.
11:30-17:30 Maria went through the equivalent of high school, but never finished—something she regrets to this day. Her parents always pushed their kids to study, and despite Maria’s sister’s academic and career success, Maria herself was always bored with school. She has made sure that her own children do not make this same mistake. She studied in the village school until she was 10, then was sent to a different school outside of town. She recalls that she was never allowed to speak Basque in school, and she didn’t speak a word of Spanish when she first began her education. There was not really a punishment for speaking Basque, but the teachers wanted the children to be successful later in life. It took Maria about a year to get comfortable with the new language. Her grandparents never did know how to speak Spanish. Maria is not very good at writing Basque, and understands little of Batua.
17:30-22:00 At the age of sixteen, Maria’s parents were unable to finance all the activities she wanted to pursue with her friends, so she accepted a job in a factory (instead of going to school). She was not of age to work any heavy machinery, so for two years she did easier jobs. She gave her mother everything she earned, and asked for money when she needed it to go out. When she was 18, she got a job in an Eibar factory, which was closer to home. Her father dropped her off every day; she helped make typewriters.
22-30:00 Maria met her husband in 1971, when he came to the Basque Country to visit her mother. His name was Julian Basterrechea, from Busturia, and the couple met at one of her cousin’s house (he knew them from the US). She initially refused his advances, but soon began dating him. They were married in 1973. Maria’s husband wanted the couple to return to America, but Maria’s first-born son Gorka had health problems. The doctors didn’t give him a great chance of living, and it would have been bad to subject the child to such a ling trip, so Julian went on ahead of her. Maria spent 2 months in the hospital, and her son overcame his illness. When he was well enough to travel, Maria and Gorka went to the US (in 1975). Today, Gorka is in perfect health. Julian was very happy in the US, and so Maria didn’t mind going there, but a part of her has always remained in the Basque Country.
0-8:00 When she first arrived in Idaho, Maria asked herself where all the houses were, and was also shocked by the stark contrast to the verdant hills of the Basque Country. Julian had worked 16 years for various shepherding outfits, such as Quintana and Highland. The couple initially lived in a little house in Boise, and Maria found many people who spoke Basque. Adela Ysursa was particularly helpful in teaching Maria English. After a few months, the Basterrecheas moved to Homedale, where they took turns working so that one parent could always stay home with the kids. Maria worked five years in a factory, then took a year off due a complicated pregnancy with her youngest, Amaia (two other children, Sonia and Mikel, are in between).
8-15:00 After the birth of her last child, Maria worked in a few area fruit orchards, and also for Simplot’s meat packing operation in Homedale (fruit did not provide year-round employment). She has worked at Simplot’s since 1992. There are a few other Basques there, but only one speaks Euskera. Maria reveals that there used to be a lot of Basques in Homedale, but this generation keeps getting older and older. The majority of Maria’s friends are still Basques, and she has friends as far away as Boise that she goes to visits (she mentions a few of them, including the Gallegos, the Larroceas and the Barquins).
15-20:30 Maria likes to go to Boise and other places to visit with friends, but she’s afraid to drive in the snow, so this can limit her somewhat. She loves to got to area Basque picnics, and has gone as far away as Elko. Amaia goes with her; she just got married and is studying to be a nurse. At home, Maria always speaks Basque with her children, and they are still fluent today. Sonia and Michael still live at home and speak in Basque with their mother; Sonia is taking college courses part-time. Her children have all had an advantage when seeking employment because they are trilingual.
20:30-30:00 Maria has returned to the Basque country six times since immigrating, and plans to go again next year. She has noticed many changes over the years, including the death of Franco and the rise of ETA. Maria does not approve of ETA’s terrorist violence, and would prefer to see them choose peaceful demonstrations. No matter how much Euskadi has changed though, Maria has always felt at home there. But when she visits, she misses the US as well. Maria became a US citizen five years ago. When her husband died, Maria considered moving back to the Basque country, but resolved to stay here not only because of her children, but because she has made a life for herself here. She does hope to spend a lot of time visiting the Basque country in the coming years. Gorka and Amaia are both married, but with non-Basques, and Maria hopes that she can teach them a little Basque. After spending half her life in Euskadi and the other half in the US, Maria considers herself to be both Basque and America. Her Basque roots will always form part of her identity.
NAMES AND PLACES
Barquin, Miren: Maria’s friend
Basterrechea, Amaia: Maria’s daughter
Basterrechea, Gorka: Maria’s son
Basterrechea, Julian: Maria’s husband
Basterrechea, Mikel: Maria’s son
Basterrechea, Sonia: Maria’s daughter
Franco, Francisco: Spanish dictator
Gallegos family: Maria’s friends
Highland Sheep Company
Hormaechea, Juana: Maria’s mother
Larrocea family: Maria’s friends
Quintana family: operated a sheep ranch
Simplot, J.R.: owned Homedale meatpacking plant
Ysursa, Adela: Maria’s friend
Zamacola, Lazaro: Maria’s father
Robertson Orchards (Homedale)
Simms Orchards (Homedale)