TAPE MINUTE SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
0-3:30 Mark discusses his rationale for tracing the history of the Bilbao family in Idaho.
3:30-9:30 Anita was born in Boise, but grew up in the Kuna area until the 5th grade. She and her sister Josie are very close in age, which worked out well, since there were few other children living near them. When her father got a job as assistant principal at Boise High School, the family moved closer to Boise. Anita mentions how living in the country affected her upbringing, and how her daughter’s differs now. Going to North Junior High was a big step for her! Her grandparents didn’t have to make a special effort to share the Basque culture with Anita and her sister, but her mother, who married into family, pushed the girls to learn Basque music and even participated herself. Anita has tapes of herself singing in Basque as a child.
9:30-16:00 Anita wasn’t raised speaking Basque, but she heard it all the time from her grandparents, her great-grandmother Dolores, and even her parents (when they didn’t want them to eavesdrop). She recalls her grandfather talking about how much work he had to do when he was a young man in the Basque Country. He made $16 a year. Frank rarely talked about his sheepherding days. Anita found her grandparents’ stories very entertaining (the women’s were less didactic). She and her sister spent a lot of time at her grandparents’ ranch.
16-21:30 In junior high, Anita first came to the realization that her heritage was unique. It was also at this age that her culture was also a social outlet in Boise. She has few vivid memories of this early time in her life. Anita remembers her txistu experience as a bit of “a drag” because she was less talented than her sister, but she loved the other things she participated in. The presence of other Basque kids in Boise helped awaken am involvement in her culture that wasn’t there before.
21:30-27:30 Anita always wanted to be an Oinkari, and enjoyed the experience very much. It also offered her a positive social outlet from her father’s strict childrearing style. She describes getting into dancing. Anita really enjoyed watching the professional dancers from Euskadi come to perform in Boise She also like being silly with her girlfriends and fellow dancers—another reason it is hard to separate these memories from those of any other adolescent..
27:30-30:00 Dancing didn’t much change Anita’s perception of what it means to be Basque herself, but did influence the way she say other people’s Basque experiences. Older people thought about many aspects of being Basque, including politics and civil liberties. She now questions what some people may believe to be criteria for self-identification as a Basque. Working at the Basque Museum helped with this.
0-6:00 Working at the Basque Museum showed Anita that there are other ways to be involved with the Basque community rather than just dancing. When she was an Oinkari, it was almost like a series of weekend social forays, and other activities broadened this. Currently, Anita feels a little disconnected from the Basque culture.
6-13:30 Anita believes her Basque roots have helped her develop a strong work ethic, and a great sense of family. Food and drink set her culture apart at an early age; her grandfather had once owned a bar. Anita reflects on how her family bonds were strengthened by her ability to connect with Euskera. Families were easily categorized back then, but this has become more difficult.
13:30-19:30 Anita discusses some differences between members’ of her family participations in the Basque culture. When she attended Lewis and Clark, she recalls sharing her culture with some of the other groups on campus; there were a handful of other Basques there as well. Most of the questions she fielded there were political.
19:30-24:00 The first time Anita went to the Basque Country was with her father. She was only 14, and she remembers long dinners and trying to keep all her older relatives’ names and relations straight. It was a hard trip because she spoke neither Basque nor Spanish at the time. Anita remembers seeing the house where her father was born, and the bridge in Ondarroa Dolores always talked about. She wanted to meet some people her own age and explore the region on her own. Anita hopes to back soon, but has to overcome a few hurdles first.
24-30:00 Anita went to Ecuador to learn Spanish, rather than to Euskadi like her sister Josie had done, because she wanted to learn a world language and blaze her own trail. Hard as it is to admit, there are many other issues as important to Anita as maintaining her Basque identity. Practicing Basque culture was a way for people to fit in together in a country where many people have a hard time pinning down a cultural community. She believes it is important to keep the Basque culture alive in Idaho, since it grounds her.
NAMES AND PLACES
Bilbao, Dolores: Anita’s great-grandmother
Bilbao, Frances: Anita’s grandmother
Bilbao, Frank: Anita’s grandfather
Bilbao, Josie: Anita’s sister
Oinkaris: Boise Basque dancers
Basque Center (Boise)
Basque Museum and Cultural Center (Boise)
Boise High School
Lewis and Clark College
North Junior High School