TAPE MINUTE SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
Tape 1, side 1
0-2:45 Luise’s mother was Marie Mingo. Marie’s last name was shortened from Miangolarra. Luise’s father was Luís Guisasola. When he died, Marie remarried, this time to Frank Aberasturi. Luise explains why her mother’s maiden name was shortened: when Marie’s father (Luise’s grandfather) immigrated to the United States, his name was retained in its full form at Ellis Island, New York. When he started working as a sheepherder in Shoshone, Idaho, the owner of the sheep company cut his name to Mingo so that filling out his paycheck would be easier. Luise’s grandfather, wanting to adjust smoothly to life in the US, did not argue. His name became Eugenio (Eugene) Mingo.
2:45-6:45 Luise’s mother was born in Guizaburuaga, Bizkaia, in the “Landeta” baserri. Her father was born in Ibarranguelua, Bizkaia. Her mother came to the US at the age of 7; her father at 5. Luise was born in Wallace, Idaho. Her family settled there because her grandfather (Marie’s father) heard about mining jobs in Mullan, Idaho, and moved his family of 5 daughters to Mullan. He found work in the mines. Luise’s mother grew up in Mullan and met Luís Guisasola, who was also working in the mines. They married in Mullan. Luise’s mother had been working in her family’s boarding house and in a retail store. When she and Luís married, they opened up a boarding house of their own in the same town. Basques, Swedes, and Fins, the three most prominent immigrant groups in the area, boarded at their house and worked in the silver mines.
6:45-13:30 Luise’s parents married on 2 May 1937. Luise Eugenia Guisasola was born on 13 April 1938 at Providence Hospital in Wallace because there was no hospital in Mullan. Two or three weeks later, her father fell ill (appendicitis) and was treated at the same hospital, but died when Luise was only a month old, on 24 May 1938. He was only 26 years old, and well regarded in the community. Luise’s mother told her that she had inherited her father and grandfather’s (Emeterio Guisasola) habit of whistling. Luís was buried close to his family in Mountain Home, Idaho (his family had settled in Grandview and Mountain Home). In 64 years, Luise’s mother has never missed a single Memorial Day. She goes to Mountain Home to put flowers on her first husband’s grave.
13:30-14:15 Luise tells the story of how her mother was two years older than her first husband was. When Luís asked her to marry him, she thought that she was too old for him. He told her to let him worry about the difference in their ages. He could handle it!
14:15-20:45 Luise’s mother recovered from giving birth and losing her husband, and continued to run the boarding house. It was the only way to support herself and her daughter. In 1943, Luise moved to Boise with her mother, aunts, and grandparents. Her mother married Frank Aberasturi, whom she had known in Mullan, in 1949. They met again in Emmett, Idaho, where Marie and her sister, Bene Mingo Shaffner, ran a restaurant called “Bob’s Café.” After they married, they lived in Emmett for a year, and moved to Boise in 1950. In August of 1952, Frank and his father-in-law (Luise’s grandfather Mingo) went fishing. Their boat capsized, and Frank drowned. Luise was a freshman in high school.
20:45-30:00 Luise started school at Washington Elementary in Boise. Her mother had to teach her English to prepare her for school, since they had only spoken Basque at home. Luise, her mother, her aunts, and her grandparents lived together in one house, and spoke Basque to each other. When they realized that Luise would need to learn English for school, they tutored her. After 2 ½ years at Washington, the family moved to an apartment on Grove Street (Boise) and Luise switched to Park School. A few months later, her mother and aunt opened the restaurant in Emmett and moved there, where Luise finished elementary school. Luise remembers that as soon as she started going to school, she switched from speaking Basque to speaking mostly English with her mother. Her mother wanted her to learn English as well as possible. Luise continued to speak Basque with her grandparents. Today, she maintains the language by speaking a little with her husband, her mother, and her aunts. On her first trip to the Basque country with her husband in 1985, she appreciated being able to speak the language. People were surprised to hear her speak Basque. She describes the trip, and remembers meeting family members from both sides of her family.
Tape 1, side 2
0-8:00 Backing up, Luise remembers that she struggled in school in the beginning, but thinks that it was her need to socialize more than her ability to speak English. Her mother strongly encouraged her to do well in school. When her family moved back to Boise, Luise started school at St. Mary’s, a parochial junior high school, then went to St. Teresa’s Academy for high school. She graduated from high school in 1956. She remembers enjoying the sciences more than shorthand or typing. Luise enrolled in Boise Junior College (BJC, now Boise State University) for one year, and studied secretarial science. In 1958, after a year at BJC, she decided to move to Seattle to live with her cousin, Josephine. She found a job with Boeing as a secretary. She describes how she drove all over Seattle to interview for jobs before landing one with Boeing. Tony Jausoro, Jim Jausoro’s brother, interviewed her for the position. Luise stayed in Seattle for 1 ½ years before moving back to Boise.
8:00-15:30 In Boise, Luise found work with the State of Idaho’s Highway Department, where she stayed for a few months before getting a job as a dental assistant. She worked as a dental assistant for two dentists for 8 years, enjoying the variety of people she met. Next, she worked under a dental contract for the Idaho Foundation for Medicine and Biology for 2 years. In the second year of the contract, the grant was awarded to Boise State University, so Luise went to work at BSU on a variety of audio tapes of dental procedures. Luise translated the tapes into a format that could be sent out to Idaho's rural areas to help dentists continue their education. In 1971, when the contract ended, BSU offered her a position in Finance and Administration, auditing travel reimbursement vouchers for the University. She worked for BSU as the Travel Examiner for 27 years until she retired. (Anecdote about using an adding machine with long fingernails). She retired in October of 1998.
15:30-28:30 Luise talks about the long friendship she had with her husband, Louie Echevarria, before they married. Her grandparents (Mingo) knew his family from the Basque country. They married on 2 May 1984, 30 years after they met. She laughs about their different opinions on what it means to go camping. They took a 1967 Volkswagen van on their honeymoon to California. She and Louie enjoy taking road trips together, but have moved up from the old van to a larger RV. She jokes that it’s easier to mix a martini, one of her favorite drinks, in an RV than a van. (Luise describes several different types of martinis).
28:30-30:00 Backing up, Luise describes some of her childhood activities. She learned and maintained the Basque language by speaking it at home, but there was no formal Basque dancing club in Emmett. Juanita “Jay” Hormaechea started teaching Basque dancing when Luise was in junior high school. Luise attended several of Ms. Hormaechea’s lessons. In high school, she and her friends would go to the Basque Center in Boise for dances.
Tape 2, side 1
0-5:00 During her high school years (1952-56), Luise does not recall the Basque Center having formal dance classes. When the Oinkari Basque Dancers started, Luise was one of the original dancers. Before that, Basque language, cooking, festivals, and other cultural elements were maintained in the home. Parents and grandparents would pass them on to younger generations. She went to school with many other Basques (she names some of them). In her experience, Basques were treated as well as any other group, and sometimes a little better. Some employers held Basques in high regard. Looking back, Luise wishes that other groups could have had the same reputation. She remembers that even though life was more difficult for her mother’s generation, her mother also noticed that employers favored Basque employees. They had a reputation for being dedicated, trustworthy, and honest. During the food rationing period of World War II, her mother was treated well by her employers (she sometimes received extra food stamps) because of her reputation and the fact that she was a single mother. Luise was an only child.
5:45-10:00 Luise’s upbringing and sense of culture pushed her to work hard and excel at whatever she did, especially in her professional careers. (Anecdote: Luise and some of her old classmates from St. Teresa’s met with one of their teachers, a Sister of the Holy Cross, a few years ago). The nuns at St. Teresa’s did not treat Basques any differently than non-Basques. Luise did not notice or sense any negative discrimination at school or at work. Her generation mixed very well with non-Basques, and she could sense that people enjoyed having Basque friends.
10:00-19:15 Luise talks about her first trip to the Basque country in 1985. The second trip was in 1999, which she took with her husband, a cousin and his wife. The four had started planning the trip when they met at Jaialdi in 1995. Luise was able to meet many of her father’s relatives, the Guisasolas, on this trip. The family had a large reunion (approximately 85 people) in a restaurant in Lekeitio. Some people spelled their names Gizazola, Guizazola, and other ways. After dinner, Luise addressed her relatives in Basque on her father’s behalf, which touched and amazed everyone. She got a huge round of applause, and people started singing “Gernikako Arbola” and “For She’s a Jolly Good Fellow.” Some of the children tried to speak Spanish to her. Since she does not speak Spanish, Luise reprimanded them and asked them to address her in Basque. When she returned to Boise and told her mother what she had said, her mother was surprised that she had been so bold. She describes more of her trip, and remembers how happy her and Louie’s relatives were to see them.
19:15-28:30 Luise had learned about the Basque country and her relatives from her mother. She was glad to visit Landeta, Aulesti, and other towns to put faces to some of her relatives’ names. She describes her mother’s baserri, which she was able to see. She tells the story of how she was given a large picture of the baserri (an aerial photograph taken by the Basque government for tax purposes), and how her emotions overflowed when she received it. She was glad to be able to take it home on the plane. Luise tells the story of one of the portraits hanging on her wall.
28:30-30:00 Luise remembers that it was easy for her to fit in with her relatives in the Basque country, even though she stood out as an American.
Tape 2, side 2
0-6:00 She continues the story of her second trip to the Basque country, recalling a faux pas she made (not realizing it, she attended a festival in Lekeitio wearing yellow and red) which her cousin brought to her attention. Realizing her mistake, she left the festival and changed clothes. In the United States, colors do not have the same political meaning. Her visits, and especially that instance, made her more conscious of the political atmosphere in the Basque country. Her mother told her not to bring up political issues during her visits.
6:00-7:45 At home, Luise and her husband speak a mix of English and Basque. Louie encourages her to learn Spanish.
7:45-12:30 When asked to identify herself, Luise answers that she considers herself to be American, but has strong Basque tendencies. A coworker at BSU noticed that she phrased her sentences and thought a bit differently from other people, which he attributed to her culture and upbringing. She is an active member of the Basque Center in Boise, and has been for many years. She became a member around the time she started dancing with the Oinkaris. Luise joined the Oinkaris and the Center because she wanted to be a part of what was happening in the Basque community. She talks about how the Oinkaris were founded by a group of her friends and acquaintances.
12:30-18:45 Luise mentions some of her other interests: volunteering at the Basque Museum and Cultural Center, golfing, cross-country skiing, and spending time with her husband. She talks about her involvement in organizing Wine Fest 2001. In her opinion, the Museum and Basque Center keep Basque traditions alive, provide a place for people to meet and learn about the Basque culture, and provide a connection between the Boise community and the Basque country. Thinking of other cultural groups with similar communities, Luise says that if she had not been born Basque, she would have liked to have been born Irish. She has experienced a similar sense of togetherness and community with her Irish friends.
NAMES AND PLACES
Aberasturi, Frank – Luise’s stepfather.
Echevarria, Louie – Luise’s husband.
Guisasola, Luís – Luise’s father.
Jausoro, Tony – Luise interviewed with Tony for her job at Boeing.
Josephine – Luise’s cousin and roommate in Seattle.
Miangolarra – Luise’s mother’s full maiden name, which was shortened to Mingo.
Mingo (Miangolarra), Eugenio – Luise’s grandfather on her mother’s side.
Mingo, Marie – Luise’s mother.
Oinkari Basque Dancers
Schaffner, Bene Mingo – Luise’s aunt.
Sisters of the Holy Cross – taught high school at St. Teresa’s Academy.
Baserri Landeta, Guizaburuaga, Bizkaia – Luise’s mother’s birthplace.
Basque Center, Boise, Idaho – Luise is an active member.
Basque Museum and Cultural Center, Boise, Idaho – Luise is an active member and volunteer.
Boeing Corporation, Seattle, Washington – Luise worked for Boeing for 1 ½ years.
Boise Junior College, Boise, Idaho – Luise studied secretarial science here.
Boise State University, Boise, Idaho – Luise’s employer until her retirement in 1998.
California – Luise and her husband went to northern California for their honeymoon.
Ellis Island, New York – one of Luise’s grandfathers passed through Ellis Island.
Emmett, Idaho – Luise’s mother and aunt owned “Bob’s Café” in Emmett.
Grandview, Idaho – Luise’s father’s family settled in Grandview and Mountain Home.
Ibarranguelua, Bizkaia – Luise’s father’s birthplace.
Idaho Foundation for Medicine and Biology, Boise, Idaho – Luise worked for IFMB for 2 years.
Mountain Home, Idaho – Luise’s father is buried here.
Mullan, Idaho – Luise’s hometown.
Park School, Boise, Idaho – Luise attended school here after 2 ½ years at Washington Elementary.
Providence Hospital, Wallace, Idaho – Luise’s birthplace.
Shoshone, Idaho – one of her grandfathers worked as a sheepherder here.
St. Mary’s School, Boise, Idaho – Luise’s junior high school.
St. Teresa’s Academy, Boise, Idaho – Luise’s high school.
State of Idaho, Highway Department, Boise, Idaho – one of Luise’s employers.
Washington Elementary School, Boise, Idaho – Luise attended school here for 2 ½ years.
Basque character and reputation
Basque clubs and organizations
Non-Boise Basque communities
World War II