TAPE MINUTE SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
0-4:00 Florentina’s father, Juan Jose Aramburu, was a stonemason in Aulestia who built tables, chairs, and other decorative artifacts. Florentina was 29 when her father died after a string of strokes. Her mother, Felipa Itza, was also born in Aulestia and spent her life cooking, raising the children, and doing other baserri work.
4-10:30 Florentina was born on the 16th of October, 1909 in Aulestia, Bizkaia. The family baserri was of about average size: they had a garden, 3-4 cows. Her oldest brother Victoriano moved to Argentina when she was 2 years old, and he never came back. In fact, he only wrote once, in order to repay his parents for the voyage to South America. She is not in contact with her Argentinean cousins. They grew wheat and weeds on their baserri. She tells an interesting story about playing cards with her brother Timoteo.
10:30-18:00 Florentina’s siblings are: Felipa (who died of stomach cancer at age 22), Victoriano, Jesusa (who decided to become a nun, and died quite young), Timoteo, Domingo, Nemesia, Ramona, and Trinidad. Ramona and Trinidad were twins. She explains how each of her siblings passed away, and how cancer appears to run in the family.
18-25:30 When Gernika was bombed in 1937, Florentina’s mother was unable to go to her house, as it was all cordoned off, so she had to go to France to stay with one of the twins. While there, her husband died in Aulestia. So, Juan Jose worked outside of the house and Felipa had to take care of all the kids, so it fell to Florentina and Timoteo to take care of the baserri. Finally, in 1924, when Florentina was 15, they abandoned the baserri they were renting.
25:30-30:00 Florentina was seven when she began attending school in Aulestia, but she was never able to attend very regularly because there was always so much work to do on the baserri. She says that she learned very little in school, partly because she couldn’t attend regularly. The boys and girls were separated into different buildings at school and Florentina’s teacher was a woman.
0-7:00 Florentina’s first maestra was named Doña Maria, and spoke both Spanish and Basque. This instructor was very demanding and a very hard worker herself. At school, the girls were taught to read, write, dance, and sew. The girls had a leg up on the boys, who were not taught how to dance. The primary language of instruction was Spanish—though this was decades before Franco would mandate it. The children were brought to catechism every day. When she was 19 years old, Florentina worked in the house of a nearby dentist.
7-11:30 Florentina was 14 when she finished school, and 15 when she began sewing and harvesting crops for money. She worked for a lady dentist in Algorta (near Bilbao) when she was 19. This lady was very nice, and allowed Florentina to eat whatever she wanted and paid her 8 duros per month—which at that time was quite a bit. Her matron was quite wealthy, and had 3 maids and a cook.
11:30-16:00 Florentina tells a story about the second family she worked for, and her sister Trinidad. Florentina liked working for both families, though some aspects of her work were more tolerable than others. For example, she was not allowed to go to dances while working for the first family: she had to be in the house all the time.
16-22:00 The second family Florentina worked for was quite amicable, and she was free to go into town and to dances whenever she wanted. She tells a story about meeting a bunch of people in Markina during a fiesta. They had the habit of going to Markina every Saturday. One of these times, her cousin got to know a pelotari and Florentina met her future husband: Jose Manuel Malaxetxebarria.
20-27:30 Florentina and Jose Manuel were married in Aulestia in 1933. By this time, most of Florentina’s brothers had moved to the US; Timoteo spent 4 years in the Navy. During the next eighteen years, Florentina gave birth to and raised her three children: Imanol, Luis, and Dolores (who is helping at the interview). Jose Manuel ran a mercantile shop in Aulestia, and Florentina explains about selling and buying wine in the store. The family ran this store for the next 18 years until, in 1951, Jose Manuel moved to Parma, ID to find more work.
27:30-29:00 Florentina recounts a less-than-savory encounter that Jose Manuel had in Parma.
0-5:00 All of Florentina’s children were born in Aulestia. She had no intention of moving to America, but Jose Manuel returned from Idaho, she asked him why he didn’t take her with him. In any event, she headed to the US with her family in September of 1952.
5-10:00 Jose Manuel never had the intention of returning to Euskadi, much unlike Florentina, who sort of wanted to return eventually. When Jose Manuel wasn’t working, he was fishing. Life in Aulestia was very different from life in Idaho, but she is happy now with her current home. She tells the story of a visit to the hospital.
10-19:00 When Florentina first came to the US she spoke absolutely no English. She was invited to a baby shower and didn’t understand anything on the invitation. Life in Idaho wasn’t entirely different from life in Aulestia: she has always liked to be doing things so, as long as she kept herself sufficiently busy, she did notice much difference. When Jose Manuel first came to the US, he worked for Pete Barring in Castleford and then for a man named Gandiaga. The second time he came, he worked for the sugar factory in Nessa, Oregon. He worked there until sometime in the mid-1960s.
19-24:00 Florentina tells how her husband fell and hit his head on a corner. She had a great deal of trouble picking him up, but finally managed to do it. He fell over again as he was trying to get dressed. At home he appeared ok, but when they got to the hospital she realized that he was in bad shape. While at the hospital, the doctors discovered problems with him that nobody had realized he had.
24-29:30 During all her life in the US—almost fifty years—Florentina led life as if she had never left the Basque Country. She spoke only Basque to those around her, cooks and eats, Basque meals and desserts. She talks about frying crayfish. To this day she hardly speaks a word of English! All of her friends here in the US are Basque, and they often come from Parma to visit her at her home.
0-4:30 Florentina became a United States citizen in 1974, and got help studying for the exam from a friend, who wrote down all the pertinent information for her to study. She tells about the exam. When she went to collect her papers a short time later she signed her name almost like a drunk woman, but got the papers anyway.
4:30-9:00 Florentina considers herself Basque. Though she doesn’t speak much English, she understands a lot of it. She lives here and enjoys it, but in her heart she’s Basque through and through. She discusses her health, and a couple of quick related stories.
NAMES AND PLACES
Aramburu, Domingo; brother
Aramburu, Felipa; sister
Aramburu, Florentina; sister
Aramburu, Jesusa; sister
Aramburu, Juan Jose; father
Aramburu, Nemesia; sister
Aramburu, Ramon; brother
Aramburu, Timoteo; brother
Aramburu, Trinidad; sister
Aramburu, Victoriano; brother
Echevarria, Florentina Aramburu Malaxetxebarria
Echevarria, Imanol; son
Echevarria, Luis; son
Itza, Felipa; mother
Malaxetxebarria, Jose Manuel
Salutregui, Dolores; daughter
Bombing of Gernika