Tape 1 Side 1 0-4:00 Name originally Mingolara; father cut it down. Born in Gizaburuaga, Spain, about 4 miles from Lekeitio. Parents and grandparents from the same town. The name of the house was Landeta, which exists to this day, even though it has been greatly modernized. Mother Dominica, maternal grandmother Goicoechea, father Eugenio. Father and his father were bakers. Mother was a seamstress, who went to farmhouses and made clothes for children and housewives; last employment in Basque country was as a nanny for the children of a rich family. Mother had to work because father was in America and money was tight. Children often left alone with grandparents. Children had to walk the four miles to Lekeitio; grandmother would ride a little donkey to do her shopping. Left for America at 7.
4-15:00 There were always chores to do by hand: feeding livestock, gathering eggs, milking cows, etc. Grandfather was a good farmer; grandmother cooked the meals and did the washing in the river, hanging the clothes on the rocks. Children played in the river while grandmother washed. Grandmother, grandfather, Marie and her brother lived together in the house. Aunt and her three daughters lived next door; uncle was in Nevada, but later returned. Cousins were about the same age, and the children all played and went to school together. The school was a mile away. Marie started school at age 6. One teacher taught many children in1st-8th grades. Marie spent about six hours a day in the crowded classroom; classes were in Spanish, but many of the younger students needed help in Basque. There was church, but few other occasions to socialize with other people except her cousins. She was happy with her life.
15-20:00 Marie was born about 6 months after her father left for America; she didn’t see him until she was 7. She looked forward to moving because she wanted to see her father, even though she had little idea she was going so far away. She went through Bordeaux; her uncle accompanied her that far. They were on the boat for 8 days; there were other children on board, but Marie was still homesick, and didn’t like the food. Mother was sad to leave her family for a strange land, but also happy to see he husband. They landed in New York; Marie had trouble there because the immigration officials only spoke Spanish, which she didn’t understand. She was scared, didn’t answer and began to cry. The officials thought she was mute until she talked to her mother, and they didn’t want mutes to come in. It was August of1916.
20-30:00 Took a train headed toward Jordan Valley with the help of the Aguirre “travel agency” in New York. It took a week to get from New York to Shoshone, where Marie met her father, who was staying in a hotel. They stayed in Shoshone about two years, in a boarding house partly owned by Marie’s father. Marie’s mother got pregnant right away, but suffered from bad legs and hard pregnancies. Marie’s father next worked for a sheepherder, but the rancher went broke, so Marie’s father went to work for the railroads, then to an Oregon sawmill, and then to the mines in Northern Idaho.
0-6:30 Marie reminisces about her school days in America. It was very difficult for the children to learn English, because they were starting so late, had to work, and so little time and so few resources. (Anecdote: The children used to take their boots off with their coats at school, and one day, Marie’s boots went missing. Since she couldn’t tell the teacher her problem in English, a nice boy told the teacher for Marie, and the boots were found right away – even though she was the only foreigner in her class, many students were very helpful, and played with her). There were many times that Marie didn’t want to go school because she felt so out of place, but the other Basque children at the boarding house played with her. Marie’s brother, who was 18, had been left in Spain to help his grandparents.
6:30-10:00 The family moved from Shoshone to Mountain Home after two years, and by this time, Marie spoke enough English to be comfortable. They lived in a house for the first time since their move to America. Marie’s 1st sister had been born in 1917, in Shoshone. Marie’s father initially worked as a sheepherder, then for a lumber company in LaGrande, Oregon.
10-15:30 Marie’s mother frequently wrote to her family in the Basque country, and would read the responses to her children – the way, they were always in touch with the “Old Country”. Marie had family here, too, as her other sister was born in Mountain Home, and the other two were born in (Mullen). Marie enjoyed meeting new people, but she missed Spain for a long time. Her mother missed home a great deal, and did little socializing outside the few Basque- and Spanish-speaking women in the shepherding community until she and Marie’s father moved to Boise late in her life.
15:30-30:00 Marie remembers LaGrande, OR. They lived in a boarding house run by Marie’s mother, while her father worked in the sawmill. Marie helped cook, clean, and raise the children, often getting up at 5 am to prepare the lunches for the men. (The family thought they had really come up in the world when they bought an “agitator” to wash the clothes, even though it had to be cranked by hand). It was easy to socialize in the boarding house, since there was little privacy. Many men played the accordion and sang, or played cards, and even though some were “sourpusses”, everyone seemed to get along. There were sometimes dances in town, but they were more often Scandinavian-themed than Basque. Marie’s mother never cared to learn English, and always took one of the girls shopping with her to translate. She eventually learned more English from Marie’s grandchildren (Marie was sure to make her children learn English very well, in addition to Basque), since her son-in-laws all spoke English. As a child, Marie filled out most of the official documents for her mother and sisters. Marie feels that her grandmother’s generation of women immigrants to America was more aggressive in learning English, learning to drive, and fitting in, whereas her mother’s generation of women immigrants was more comfortable staying within their native culture. Even though her mother was not extensively formally educated, she was a genius with a sewing needle.
Tape 2 Side 1
0-14:30 Marie’s mother didn’t encourage her to pursue college, because Marie was needed at home; she finished her formal education at 17. By the time Marie got married, her sisters were grown up, and some of them chose to go to college. Marie’s future husband, John and his sister came to work in the mines of (Mullen) in 1936; they met at a Basque picnic in Boise, and he returned to call on her. They were married in May of 1937. The lady who ran the boarding house that is now the Fronton was friends with Marie’s mother, and they stayed there when they came to town. When Marie was married, they had the party in the boarding house. After the marriage, the couple moved into Marie’s family’s boarding house and took it over, and John worked in the mines again.
14:30-25:00 At the boarding house, Marie cooked mostly Basque food. The boarders paid twice a month, and always paid on time. In April of1938, Marie lost her husband to gangrene after an appendectomy; their daughter was 8 weeks old. Marie kept the boarding house until 1943, when she moved to Boise where her sisters lived. She bought a house with one of her sisters and went to work at Albertson’s. She next worked at C.C. Anderson, a big store in town, but she hurt her shoulder, and so moved on to Boise Cascade. Then she and her sister-in-law opened a restaurant in Emmett in 1947 (She never worked so hard in her life!). She married Frank (originally from Kortezubi), who lived in Boise, in November of 19t49. Marie sold her business and moved to Boise, where the couple bought a farm, but it turned out to be too much work, so the couple sold the farm and moved to the house where she lives today. She returned to work at Boise Cascade.
25-30:00 One Sunday in 1953, Frank and Marie’s father went fishing in Lucky Peak, and the boat capsized. Frank drowned, and Marie was a widow once again. She worked at a grocery store until she retired in 1970, but she soon got tired of doing nothing, so Marie got a job working with her sister at a Catholic school cafeteria a few days a week. When the cook was fired, Marie took over that job, even though there were over a hundred kids to feed. She worked there for eight years, then retired once again.
[Break In Tape]
0-16:30 Marie’s daughter went to school mostly in Boise, including St. Theresa’s, and Marie pushed her to go to college. She eventually went to work here in Boise, and is now ready to retire with a full pension. Discussion about Marie’s citizenship test, which was not very difficult for her. She was soon helping out the county with their voter registration records. Marie continues to go to church every Sunday, and volunteers at St. Vincent’s and at the St. John parish house’s food lines for the homeless. Religion is an important part of Marie’s life today because it was always such an integral part of her familial and cultural milieu. She doesn’t think her life would be worth living without the Church, and is distressed with the increasing secularization at home and in the Basque country. She frequently attended the Basque masses at St. John’s.
Aguirre family: met and helped Basque immigrants in New York
Dominica and Eugenio: Marie’s parents
Frank: Marie’s second husband
John: Marie’s first husband
Landeta: name of Marie’s birth house
Vicky Urresti: friend of Marie’s in Boise
(Mullen), ID: birthplace of two of Marie’s sisters
Albertson’s: Marie worked here
Boise Cascade: hired Marie twice
Bordeaux, France: ship’s departure point for America
C.C. Anderson’s: store where Marie worked
Emmett, ID: location of Marie’s restaurant
Gizaburuaga, Spain: Marie’s birthplace
Jordan Valley, OR: end of the line for the train from New York
Kortezubi, Spain: Frank’s birthplace
LaGrande, OR: Marie’s father posted her in a lumber mill
Lekeitio, Spain: nearby town
Lucky Peak, ID: reservoir where Frank died
Mountain Home, ID: location of Marie’s first house in America
New York: port of entry into the US
Shoshone, ID: where Marie met her father for the 1st time
St. John parish house: Marie volunteers here as well
St. John’s Cathedral
St. Theresa’s: school Marie’s daughter attended
St. Vincent’s: Marie volunteers here