TAPE MINUTE SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
0:00-5:00 John was born in 1915 in his parents boarding house. Had three brothers and one sister. Lived most of early years in boarding house. Most boarders were sheepherders. Winter most popular boarding time. Charged by the day, some stayed two days others two months.
5:00-10:00 Boarding houses not in competition. Basques would choose between different houses. John youngest of children. Basques who were around a lot became like family.
10:00-15 :00 John worked in boarding house doing various chores. In early times of boarding house maids were used. Mother would cook, "pot cookin’" and father would take care of the Most Basques were from Bizkaia. Father came to America at fourteen. Worked as herder in Nevada, learning English from American camp tender.
15:00-20:00 Father's story continued. Father went back to old country to marry mother. Fronton in boarding house. Frontons: 2 Boise, 2 Mountain Home, 2 Jordan Valley. Pelota popular entertainment for boarders. Competitions and betting over pelota. Games could reach hundred dollar pots. John would hold money.
20:00-25:00 Christmas and New Years Eve. Dances were held. Dances would proceed through out downtown. Up to one hundred people and would end around 4:00 or 5:00 am. Special dinners for Christmas. Prohibition. Liquor brought from Canada of made in home distilleries in boarding houses. Boarding houses raided.
25:00-30:00 Summer had very few boarders (2-3). Sheepherders would start coming down by fall, by Christmas boarding house would be full. Never fights between boarders. 1918 flu epidemic. Basque insurance started. Two doctors in Boise. John signed on for insurance at eighteen. Insurance provided extensive coverage.
30:00-35:00 Insurance continued. Basque women received free beds due to poverty cases. Basque Orchestra played benefit dances. John played drums 1932-1937.
35:00-40:00 Insurance continued. Insurance would not pay for venereal disease. Sheepherders would be homesick. Most sheep herders were married, traveled between countries for work and family.
40:00-45:00 Juan would help herders take care of money. Basques very financially minded. Occasionally social life would get better of judgment. 1940 John entered military service. After discharge worked for ninth service command as auditor, then Office of Defense Transportation as analyst, finally as auditor for IRS.
45:00-50:00 Many Basque children in high school. In grade school encountered discrimination "black Basco." Basques were from south side of town along with Greek and Chinese. Formed own little community.
50:00-55:00 Most discrimination experienced in grades one through three. Basques in high school played sports and gained further acceptance. Basques were athletic minded. 1929 Basque American Legion Team. Only team to beat them was Boise High School. 1934 Basque baseball team.
55:00-60:00 Basque baseball team continued. Team had uniforms and called themselves the Pirates. Played against several teams (Boise High School, Safeway, Mountaineers, etc.). Basque softball team. Juan made pelota paddles and balls.
NAMES AND PLACES
Abrigs, Carlo: involved with the frontón
Aguirre, Frank: helped Basques get from New York to Boise
Allegría: involved with Basque Insurance
Arregui, John: Basque Orchestra
Aregio, Frank: Basque Orchestra
Basler (coach): Boise High School baseball coach
Villanueva, Joe: Basque Orchestra
Butler, James: Basque baseball team
Cobbs, Ally: Basque baseball team
Collister, Dr.: Basque Insurance
Emanuel, Pete: Basque baseball team
Gross, Dick: second band John was involved with
Juan: John's Father
Juanita: Basque Orchestra
Julie: Basque baseball team
Letamendi, Bonny: attended school with John's brother
Letamendi, Eric: attended school with John's brother
Matilda: Basque Orchestra
Pettinger, Dr.: Basque Insurance
Arregui, Mateo: Basque Insurance
Sorich, Matty: Basque softball team
Uberuaga, Phil: Basque baseball team
Uranga, Alphonse: attended school with John
Wurth, Doug: Basque baseball team
Yribar, "Stack": Basque Insurance
Alexander: store where Basque herders would purchase supplies
Bizkaia: majority of boarders came from here
Boise: where John grew up
Boise High School, Boise Junior College: John attended
Broad Street: baseball lot
Canada: one source of liquor during prohibition
Frontón: pelota court, two in Boise (one in Juan's boarding house), two in Mountain Home, two in Jordan
Stermin Hill: location of humorous story
University of Portland: school John attended
BASQUE ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
INTERVIEW TAPE INDEX
DATE OF INTERVIEW:January 6th, 1992
INTERVIEWER: John Bieter
INDEXED BY:Chris Bernoski
TAPE MINUTE SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
0:00-5:00 Description of original boarding house. Description of boarder’s room layout. John discusses privacy and home life with all the boarders. Boarders became family, similar to having forty brothers.
5 :00-10:00 Privacy and family life continued. Occasionally the boarding house would have female boarders. Female boarders primarily guests of male boarders. Parents owned boarding house from 1913 to 1942. Parents sold due to age. American Legion bought house and owned it for two years. American Legion took poor care of house.
10:00-15 :00 Boarding house refurbished in 1972. The new ownership of boarding house lead to revival of handball. Basque players from old country were tough handball players. Questions concerning younger generations of Basques in America. Younger generations rely to heavily on government and expect too much to be given, John's generation saved money and did not own luxury items.
15:00-20:00 Basques as bankers, congressmen and other important positions. Basques worked hard, nothing asked, nothing given. Comparison between modern Hispanics and Basques of Johns time. Bilingual education versus learning English. John's Father citizen in 1915, mother attended night school.
20:00-25:00 Comparisons continued. Third generation Basques and drive to maintain heritage. John's generation were simply Basque. Basque country and United States compared as same in modern time. John has no desire to go back to Basque country.
25:00-30:00 Speculation about fourth generation Basques. Discussion concerning intermarriage leading towards loss of interest in Basque heritage. Difference between Basque American and American Basque. Younger generation does not understand what Basque is.
30:00-35:00 Younger generations continued. Sheep Herders union. Union did not start due to content of herders. Sheep companies in decline.
35:00-40:00 Basque radio program. Radio program begun in early 1950's. John helped Basques with tax information using radio. Discussion concerning possible new Basque center. John gives reasons why old center adequate.
40:00-45 :00 New Basque Center continued. Clarification of different types of pelota.
45:00-50:00 Immigration and dealings with Basques. As long as Basques worked as sheep herders illegal immigrants were not bothered, provided a service no American wanted to fill.
50:00-55:00 Immigration and Basques continued. If Basque herders left to work in lumber or mining immigration would not be happy due to Basques taking jobs from Americans.
55:00-60:00 Personal discussion between John and interviewer concerning further contacts.
NAMES AND PLACES
Aguirre, Valentine: Helped Basques move to Idaho
Carlisle: Owner of boarding house after American Legion.
Allegría, Espe: Started Basque radio program
Father Ricalde: Tried to start Basque sheepherders union.
Mary: John's wife
Fronton: Pelota court and boarding house.
Lincoln Grade School: Where John's mother attended night classes.