TAPE MINUTE SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
0-10:00 Anna reads from her notes. In Twin Falls, there were several Basque families and a few boarding houses. Anna’s father wanted to learn English very badly, and so was always peppering his children with questions. Her sister played piano beautifully. Anna recalls that there was an accordion player named Leon Echevarria who played at the boarding house to the dancing delight of many guests. To entertains themselves as children, Anna and her siblings dressed their dog Flint in overalls and paraded him around. She discusses playing cards. Her father was Frank Sabala and her mother was Florentina Yrazabal. Frank was from Ea, Bizkaia (baserri Lagarza), and Florentina was from Arbazegi. Frank was 14 when he came to the US. He worked as a sheepherder in Boise for a few years, and tried to run his own operation without success. Jay Hormaechea was one of his biggest fans. [Mikel, Carlos and Anna read over some old papers about Carlos’ mother, who appears to be from Barakaldo].
10:00-14:00 Anna continues reminiscing about her father. He went to Twin Falls after shepherding in Boise, and opened a boarding house there called Posada Rooms. Frank was always so busy that he never had time to talk to his children much about his life in the Basque Country. Florentina passed away when Anna was four, leaving Frank to care for the children alone. He was a wonderful father. Anna’s siblings are Nere, Frankie, Flora, Johnny, Nettie, Rosie and Manuel; she is the fifth oldest. Anna’s mother had a sister in Silver City who offered to raise the four youngest children, but Frank refused to let them go. He hired a cook at the boarding school and worked hard to make a living for his family. Anna was born 11 August, 1920.
14-19:30 Anna discusses the old boarding house, where she and her siblings all grew up. It has since been dismantled. They had parties often (as is the Basque tradition!), especially for birthdays. There was a special room for Mus and drinks, where the children were not allowed. From November to March, the boarding house was at its busiest, since lambing and winter brought the herders down from the hills. The whole upstairs was dedicated to rooms for the herders (there were many). Anna and her siblings helped out a little at home. The youngest children learned no Basque and spoke English at home; the oldest ones had had to learn the hard way, by immersing themselves in school.
19:30-25:00 The Sabala children went to St. Edward’s, a nearby Catholic school taught by nuns, who were very patient with the children. Anna and the other young children had fewer chores than the older children. She remembers she hated to cook when it was her turn t stay home and do it. Fortunately, Mary did most of the cooking once she had graduated from school. At school, there were many other Basque families, which she lists. She never felt different from the other children, and everyone got along very well. In fact, Anna’s Spanish teacher always complimented her nice accent. She recalls that when she played tennis in high school, her first match ever was against a few Basque girls from Burley, ID—Anna and Neddy lost badly!
25-30:00 There was a family of African Americans in Twin Falls as well, and they were as accepted as the Basques. Anna graduated from high school in 1942. She decided to go to work in a beauty shop in town with another Basque girl. She was very good at setting hair, and recalls an incident when a normally persnickety woman was so pleased that she requested Anna every time. After a while, Anna switched to office work for a company in town.
0-2:30 Anna met Carlos at a Basque dance in Twin Falls. He came to the boarding house for the dance with a friend. Carlos head loaned George Ascuena his car that night, and he didn’t come back for hours, so Carlos decided to go to Mass with the Sabala family, and he and Anna got along very well together.
2:30-8:00 Carlos’ father was Carlos Berriochoa and his mother was Ramona Camporredondo. Carlos was from Elorio, Bizkaia, and Ramona was from some town in Bizkaia (she had lived in Barakaldo at some time, but it isn’t clear whether she was born there). Carlos (the elder) came to the US when he was 11 with his father Ignacio and some of his siblings (the rest came later). They arrived in Boise, and Ignacio started a farm in (Dietrich). Carlos (the elder) went to school for a few years there, and learned English fluently enough to help out his family. Years later, when Carlos (the elder) had his own family, he was able to teach them English at an early age, even though Carlos (the younger) and his siblings always spoke Spanish with Ramona.
8-16:30 Ramona and two sisters came to the US together, and probably ended up in Boise. Ramona married Carlos right away, in 1916. Both Carlos’ and Anna’s parents were married in Boise, at St. John’s Cathedral. Ramona and Carlos tried farming in Shoshone for a while, then bought a boarding house in town around 1923. This place was torn down, and there is a gas station there now. Ramon Urrutia owned another boarding house in town, and sold this one to Carlos and Ramona in 1929. The family moved there, and lived there until Ramona’s death in 1953. It was known simply as the Berriochoa boarding house.
16:30-21:00 The new boarding house was larger. There were sixteen rooms upstairs for the boarders, and five rooms downstairs for the family. Carlos’ siblings are Benarita, Nieves, Florine, Joe and Teresa; he is the eldest. He remembers his life as very enjoyable. Carlos liked to play with his siblings and friends. He was the only Berriochoa kid with a bike, and so he got to ride to school, even though the boarding house was right downtown. Both the elementary and high schools were only four bocks away. The only danger was crossing the train tracks every day, and Carlos remembers a few children being hit by trains.
21-25:30 Carlos didn’t have to do too much work at the boarding house because his father always hired two Basque girls; one to do the rooms upstairs and one to help in the kitchen. Ramona did all the cooking. They went through many such girls because they kept getting married to boarders! There were always at least 16 herders staying in the house, and Carlos recalls that there were drinks and Mus games before dinner almost every night. During Prohibition, Carlos (the elder) sold liquor anyway, and the sheriffs from several towns were some of his best customers! Anna suddenly remembers that her father had been a sheep inspector for Scott Anderson before opening his boarding house. Carlos’ father had been a stray puller during his herder days; he found stray sheep and brought them back to their original owners. He describes these years.
25:30-30:00 Carlos had no problem at school; even though he wasn’t fluent in English when he began, he soon learned. As a fifth grader, the school burned down, and he recalls shuffling around different buildings until it was rebuilt. Carlos and his siblings used to speak Spanish to each other in class, and the Spanish teacher got so mad that they were kicked out of class for two weeks until the superintendent intervened! There were many Basque kids in Shoshone (Carlos lists them), and the first string football team always included several of them. Carlos quips that in practical terms, nothing much has changed in Shoshone; there are still relatively few business and the town is small. But unlike before, he and Anna know fewer and fewer of the people who live there.
0-8:30 Carlos graduated from high school in 1936, and went to work that first summer delivering Coca Cola and beer in a big truck. He went as far away as Stanley and Hailey to deliver these drinks, getting them from the distribution center in Twin Falls. He recalls that on one trip, his boss got drunk on the way to Stanley, and Carlos had to wait in town with him for five days until he stopped drinking and sobered up. The main boss fired Carlos, but the drunken one intervened, and after that, Carlos never had any problems again. After four months, he went to work at the club his father operated in Ketchum (Carlos Sr. ran this in addition to his Shoshone boarding house). Over the years, Carlos’ father owned four bars in the Ketchum area, which were used for gambling (poker, dice, slots). Basques didn’t frequent these establishments. Carlos remembers some of the area sheep owners. He tended bar in Ketchum for two years.
8:30-15:00 In February of 1941, Carlos was drafted into the army. He was stationed in Seattle, then went to Australia and New Guinea, then to the Philippines. He was wounded in the back when a bomb hit his tent, but considers himself lucky because three of the six people in the tent died and one was paralyzed. It was a stray bomb from an airport attack, and he questions the intelligence of certain generals at the time. Carlos and a friend made quite a bit of money on the boat on the way home, but had soon lost it all! His father had to send money to San Francisco so he could go home. Carlos was stationed in California and Utah for a few years then, before being released. All told, he spent 5 years in the army.
15-20:00 Upon his return, Carlos and his brother-in-law Bob Haddock bought a dry cleaning business in Shoshone. He did this until 1958 (12 years), then sold out to Bob to work for the State Highway Department. Carlos retired in 1982. He met in Anna at a Basque dance at the boarding house in Twin Falls, and asked her out on a date that Christmas. The couple discusses a mutual friend. They never felt any pressure to marry other Basques; it just sort of happened that way.
20-30:00 Carlos says there was very little competition among the boarding houses; herders tended to back to the same place year after year. He and Anna were married in Shoshone in 1946. Their children are Linda Payne, Randy, Lisa and Lucy. They didn’t grow up speaking Spanish or Basque, but they were always very interested in their heritage, and Linda has even traveled to the Basque Country. In 1993, Carlos and Anna made their first and only trip to the Basque Country, and they describe their experience. They thought it was beautiful, and got the chance to see their parents’ hometowns. Anna was surprised by how modern everything looked. The couple had a fantastic time. Anna recalls that her father was adopted. Neither Carlos nor Anna is a member of the Gooding Basque Association, but they have participated in some of the cultural activities there. They recall an event with Pete Cenarrusa and Ben Ysursa.
0-10:00 Carlos and Anna recall how nice some of the old Basque sheepherders were. Few of them spoke good English, and many returned to the Basque Country to get married. Most herders intended to make some money in the US, then to return to their homelands, but this is rarely what happened. Carlos and Anna don’t think much about how their identities may be split between American and Basque influences. They have always easily associated with Basques and non-Basques alike. Carlos reminisces about the days when he played football, and his army days.
NAMES AND PLACES
Anderson, Scott: employed Frank Sabala as a sheep inspector
Ascuena, George: Carlos’ friend
Berriochoa, Benarita: Carlos’ sister
Berriochoa, Carlos: Carlos’ father
Berriochoa, Ignacio: Carlos’ paternal grandfather
Berriochoa, Joe: Carlos’ brother
Berriochoa, Lisa: Carlos and Anna’s daughter
Berriochoa, Florine: Carlos’ sister
Berriochoa, Lucy: Carlos and Anna’s daughter
Berriochoa, Nieves: Carlos’ sister
Berriochoa, Randy: Carlos and Anna’s son
Berriochoa, Teresa: Carlos’ sister
Camporedondo, Ramona: Carlos’ mother
Cenarrusa, Pete: former Secretary of State of Idaho
Coca Cola Company
Gooding Basque Association
Haddock, Bob: Carlos’ brother-in-law
Payne, Linda Berriochoa: Carlos and Anna’s daughter
Sabala, Flora: Anna’s sister
Sabala, Frank: Anna’s father
Sabala, Frankie: Anna’s brother
Sabala, Johnny: Anna’s brother
Sabala, Manuel: Anna’s brother
Sabala, Nettie: Anna’s sister
Sabala, Nere: Anna’s sister
Sabala, Rosie: Anna’s sister
Urrutia, Ramona: Carlos’ father’s friend
Yrazabal, Florentina: Anna’s mother
Ysursa, Ben: current Secretary of State of Idaho
Barakaldo, Bizkaia: Carlos’ mother’s hometown
Legarza: Anna’s father’s childhood baserri
Posada Rooms: Frank Sabala’s boarding house in Twin Falls
Salt Lake City, UT
San Francisco, CA
Silver City, ID
St. Edwards School: Anna’s school in Twin Falls
St. John’s Cathedral (Boise)
Twin Falls, ID