TAPE MINUTE SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
0-4:15 Her mother was Ramona Aboitiz, her father was Marcial Madarieta. Carmen was born in 1930 in Ispaster, one of 13 siblings. Her baserri’s name was “Barrenengoa.” She worked on the family farm until she was 19 years old, then went to Bilbao to work as a maid, where she stayed for 12 years. Her father had come to the United States in 1920, and herded sheep for Andrew Little in Howe, Idaho. He returned to Ispaster after a few years and remarried. Her father had been married previously, and had son from the previous marriage. He remarried after his first wife passed away. She lists her siblings: Jacinto, Federico, herself, Victoria, Paulino, Ramón, Begoña, Miguel, Anamari, Serafina (died as an infant), Serafina, Juan Antonio, and Yziar.
4:15-9:15 Carmen’s school was in Ispaster. She describes the school, and talks about how each student would have to bring wood to school to feed the stove, which was the only source of heat for the building. She enjoyed school. Her teacher was from Bilbao, and classes were taught in Spanish. Students were not allowed to speak Basque, but Carmen said that it was good because it made it necessary for children to learn Spanish. Girls and boys were taught in separate buildings, and classrooms were divided by age. Carmen was 6 when she started school. She lists some of the classes she took, of which mathematics was her favorite. She also learned how to sew.
9:15-11:30 There was a good deal of work to be done on the farm. Carmen gives examples of some of chores: cutting hay for the cows, working in the garden, etc. Everybody worked to help run the farm. They owned cows, a pig, chickens, and raised wheat, corn, beans, potatoes, and other produce. They washed their laundry by hand, and hung it outside to dry. They washed the laundry in the sink at home, then took it down to the creek to rinse it. Most of the chores were done after the children came home from school.
11:30-15:15 Carmen finished school at 14. She stayed on the farm to work and help care for the younger children. At 19, she wanted to try something else. Her parents approved of her idea to go to Bilbao and work for a family as a maid. The family’s name was Garteiz. The husband’s name was Don Miguel Garteiz, and his wife was Señora Basterra. To be more specific, the house in Neguri, a suburb of Bilbao. The family had 7 children. Carmen was one of 4 maids, whose individual responsibilities were not specific. They helped each other with the work. One of the maids, who cared for the children, had been a Basque teacher, but had lost her job when Franco came to power.
15:15-18:15 Carmen left the family when she decided to get married in 1961. She met her husband at a romería, an outdoor picnic/festival in Ispaster, after he returned from the United States. Her husband had been working as a sheepherder in Roseburg, Oregon in the 1950s. They were married in Ispaster, and moved to an apartment in Gernika, where they lived for 6 months before he went back to the United States. Carmen joined him later.
18:15-20:45 Carmen had heard stories of what the US was like from her father, who praised the opportunities there. He said it was a good country for young people. Carmen wanted to see what it was like, for her father had not told her much of what the landscape was like. Carmen’s brother, Ramón, still farms in Howe, Idaho, where their father had worked. Their father told them a great deal about the Basque and American food he had eaten while he worked in Howe.
20:45-24:00 Since her husband was an American citizen, Carmen did not have any trouble immigrating to the United States. Her husband sent for her, and she came with her first child, Aitor, who was still an infant. Aitor was born in 1962, and her second child, Ana was born in 1964. Carmen flew from Madrid to New York to Chicago to Boise. She arrived on 10 August 1963. She will never forget the trip, because she was very excited to see the United States. She remembers leaving her family at the airport in Madrid, and how hot it was in the airport in Chicago. Her husband met her at the airport in Boise.
24:00-27:00 Carmen did not speak any English when she immigrated, but the airport personnel were very helpful, making sure she reached her destination. She was thrilled to see her husband at the end of the trip. From the airport, they drove to Burns, Oregon. Her husband worked at the Hines Lumber Mill in Burns [with, among others, Isidoro Chertudi, the interviewer's grandfather.] They rented an apartment at first, but then bought a house. When the children started school, Carmen found work cooking and cleaning in the school cafeteria. In the evenings, she worked as a janitor (with her husband – see minute 28).
27:00-30:00 Carmen learned English by talking to her American neighbors, working, and reading. She and her husband cleaned the courthouse in Burns in the evenings for 20 years, retiring in 1988. She had worked in the school cafeteria for 15 years. Carmen remembers some Basque ladies who worked with her at the school. They spoke Basque to each other. Carmen also spoke Basque to her children at home, a tradition she maintains to this day. She does the same with her grandchildren, even though they answer her in English. It was important for Carmen to make sure her children learned Basque.
0-2:45 Carmen’s children speak Basque well, and she sees it as her responsibility to make sure her grandchildren do the same. She talks about trying to find a balance between teaching the children Basque and learning English. A decision was made to speak Basque at home, and English at work or school. She finds that people are able to understand her fairly well, and often know what she is trying to say before she says it.
2:45-6:15 There was a large Basque community in Burns. Carmen enjoyed going to the Basque picnics and playing brisca. There were two Basque boarding houses in Burns when she lived there: the Plaza Hotel, and the Zabala boarding house. The picnic was the largest Basque gathering of the year in Burns. She describes the community. There were no Basque clubs or organizations. Basques and non-Basques got along well.
6:15-9:30 After living in Burns for 28 years, Carmen and her husband moved to Ontario, Oregon, where they lived for 5 years. They moved to Boise in 1994 under pressure from their children, who lived in Boise and wanted their parents to join them. Carmen enjoys the Basque community in Boise. Both she and her husband are members of the Basque Center. Carmen decided to join because she wanted to be part of the community. She and her husband attend the monthly dinners, and play brisca every Sunday. She says that the Basque community in Boise reminds her of Bilbao because so many Basques live there. Burns and Ontario were different because the communities were smaller.
9:30-11:00 Carmen became a US citizen in 1966, after living here for 3 years. Aitor was automatically granted citizenship at the same time. Carmen remembers taking the citizenship test in Burns.
11:00-12:30 She has taken several trips to the Basque country with her husband. They try to go every other year. She has noticed changes in the Basque country since she left. The people seem to be happier. She maintains contact with her sisters there.
NAMES AND PLACES
Aboitiz, Ramona – Carmen’s mother.
Asla, Ana Bidaburu – Carmen’s daughter.
Barrenengoa – name of the Madarieta baserri.
Bidaburu, Aitor – Carmen’s son.
Garteiz – name of the family in Neguri for whom Carmen worked as a maid.
Madarieta, Anamari – one of Carmen’s siblings.
Madarieta, Begoña – one of Carmen’s siblings.
Madarieta, Federico – one of Carmen’s siblings.
Madarieta, Jacinto – one of Carmen’s siblings. Jacinto was from Marcial’s previous marriage.
Madarieta, Juan Antonio – one of Carmen’s siblings.
Madarieta, Marcial – Carmen’s father.
Madarieta, Miguel – one of Carmen’s siblings.
Madarieta, Paulino – one of Carmen’s siblings.
Madarieta, Ramón – one of Carmen’s siblings.
Madarieta, Serafina – one of Carmen’s siblings.
Madarieta, Victoria – one of Carmen’s siblings.
Madarieta, Yziar – one of Carmen’s siblings.
Andrew Little Sheep Company, Howe, Idaho – Marcial worked for Mr. Little as a herder.
Basque Center, Boise, Idaho – Carmen is an active member.
Bilbao – Carmen’s teacher in Ispaster was from Bilbao.
Boise, Idaho – Carmen’s current residence.
Burns, Oregon – Carmen’s first residence in the United States.
Eduardo Hines Lumber Company, Burns, Oregon – Carmen’s husband worked here.
Gernika – Carmen and her husband rented an apartment here after they were married.
Ispaster – Carmen’s birthplace.
Neguri – a suburb of Bilbao. See “Garteiz”.
Ontario, Oregon – Carmen lived here just before she moved to Boise.
Plaza Hotel, Burns, Oregon – one of the two Basque boarding houses Carmen remembers from Burns.
Zabala boarding house, Burns, Oregon – one of the two Basque boarding houses Carmen remembers from
Basque clubs and organizations
Non-Boise Basque communities