TAPE MINUTE SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
0-8:00 Millie remembers her parents. Her father, José Jacinto, moved to America from Lekeitio to make a better life for himself. He had no family in the US prior to coming. He had been a fisherman in the Basque Country, and worked on the Spring Valley Ranch near Boise. Millie’s mother, Estefana Churruca, moved to America from Mutriku for the same reasons as her husband. The couple met at the Ranch, and was married in Boise in 1910. Millie was born in Boise in 1915. She grew up speaking Basque at the ranch. She attended Spring Hill Elementary School, walking 3 miles every day. Her brother Pete was in class with her. It took 6 students to make a class, and he had to start early so that Mille and the other 4 area children could have a teacher. The poor teachers had to deal with two students who spoke no English!
8-15:00 Millie’s family moved to Meridian about the time she started high school, and she graduated in 1933. School was important for her parents, and so the shock of not speaking English had to be dealt with bravely. Millie remembers growing up on the ranch. There weren’t very many children for miles around. A Scottish family out of Caldwell owned Spring Valley Ranch. José Jacinto and Estefana didn’t speak much English, but they could carry on a conversation. The family was one of the few at the time who had a telephone, and Estefana liked to call her friends.
15-22:00 Millie’s family moved to West Boise during the Depression, where they rented a farm. Times were hard, and they initially stayed with friends in Boise for a winter. Millie went from a school with 6 people to Central School, which had 50 kids in each class. Meridian High School, while still bigger than Spring Hill, was nonetheless smaller than Central. When Millie graduated from high school, her family managed to send her to Link’s School of Business for a short while.
22-27:00 Millie remembers what it was like to live in Boise for that winter. Her brother got involved with football, and so made friends quite quickly. Mille didn’t have as much luck. The Anchustegui family stayed with the Madarietas when they were in Boise. She recalls that her mother’s first fiancé was lost at sea in the Basque Country, and so she came to Idaho with nobody, until she married José Jacinto.
27-30:00 Mille remembers her farm, which was down the street from where Cole School is currently located. It was quite large, and the family grew corn and alfalfa and raised a few cows.
0-5:00 On the farm near Meridian, Millie still spoke Basque at home. The Depression meant living, but since she didn’t know any differently, she didn’t complain. There were no buses to school at the time, so kids carpooled. Basques at the time socialized with each other quite often, especially on Sunday (since there was no church nearby). She describes how she was able to get her first job at a department store. Most of Millie’s friends in high school were not Basque.
5-13:00 When Millie began working at C.C. Anderson’s, she rode the bus part of the way and walked the rest. There was always somebody in the store who spoke Basque, in order to help the herders and housewives who shopped there. A Mr. Fleanor, who worked at Anderson’s, opened up his own store in Meridian, and Millie went to work there. It was during this time that she met her husband, Harry Duncan, who also worked at Fleanor’s store. Millie and Harry were married in Boise, at St. Mary’s Church.
13-20:00 Harry was a very quiet sort of person who had never lived on a farm, but he took well to Millie’s parents, since the couple lived with them for a few years. Millie and her husband were quite opposite! Right after her father passed away, the family moved to a different house, on Ustick Road. Harry and Millie worked at the same department store until their son Tim was born in 1956, at which point Millie retired. Tim grew up speaking only English, despite being close to his grandmother. He danced with Jay Hormaechea’s Basque dancing group.
20-30:00 Neither Millie nor her family ever took a trip to the Basque Country. She was one of the original members of the Basque Center when it was incorporated, but didn’t have the opportunity to visit it much because of financial restrictions. Millie remembers how her son and her mother were such good friends. Millie’s mother never could write, and so didn’t communicate with her family while she was in Boise. She recalls the story of an embroidery loom her father made, to look like one he had seen from the old country.
0-6:00 Millie’s mother was never much for embroidery, but the other Basque women who lived there used the embroidery frame her father had made. Mille recalls taking Tim to dancing lessons, but he never felt any strong attachments to the Basque culture. After Harry had a stroke, he stopped working at the store, and the family eventually moved to Boise.
6-11:00 While Tim was attending Capital High School, Millie went back to work at the store as a secretary-treasurer, until Harry’s stroke. Her mother was blind from diabetes at this time. The family soon moved to Boise, where she currently lives. Today, Millie jokes that she tries to do as little as possible. Being in Boise makes it a bit easier to attend the dinners at the Basque Center, which she just did 2 months ago.
11-18:00 Mille talks about her cousin Flora Churruca Ysursa, who now tends the bar at the Basque Center. When her first husband was ill with a kidney problem, Millie got a lot of practice speaking Basque while practicing with her husband. They now speak to each other in a mixture of English and Basque. She remembers going to the early Basque picnics in Boise. Millie would like to have gone to Euskadi, but with the condition her legs are in now, she has given up hope that this will happen. Tim has just finished attending law school.
18-20:00 Mille feels proud to have Basque heritage, but identifies herself strongly as an American. The Basques have always worked hard, and as she was growing up, this was all Millie knew.
NAMES AND PLACES
Anchustegui, Dorothy: Millie’s sister-in-law
Anchustegui, José Jacinto: Millie’s father
Anchustegui, Pete: Millie’s brother
Churruca, Estefana: Millie’s mother
Duncan, Harry: Millie’s husband
Duncan, Tim: Millie’s son
Fleanor, Mr.: hired Millie at his store
Hormaechea, Juanita “Jay”: taught Basque dancing in Boise
Ysursa, Flora Churruca: Millie’s cousin
Basque Center (Boise)
C.C. Anderson’s: Boise store where Millie first worked
Capital High School (Boise)
Central School (Boise)
Cole School (Boise)
Link’s School of Business (Boise)
Meridian High School (ID)
St. Mary’s Church (Boise)
Spring Hills Elementary School (ID)
Spring Valley Ranch (ID)