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Interview with Alfonso de Leon

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Alfonso de Leon was born in Antila de Nopales, Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, in 1902. He traveled with a military band during the Mexican Revolution and in 1918 came to the United States, where he worked in a mine in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He got married in 1922 in Bridgeport, Texas, where their first child was born. From 1923 to 1929 he worked in beet fields in Wyoming, Colorado, Iowa and Minnesota. They moved to Minnesota in 1929, and he started working in the Armour Packing House. He became involved in Mexican-American community organizations and activities in St. Paul. He retired from Armour in 1965. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Early life in Mexico - the Mexican Revolution - life in Texas - work in the beet fields - the early Mexican-American community in St. Paul, including its organizations and festivals - his family - and personal views and philosophy of life. COMMENTS ON INTERVIEW: In Spanish, transcribed into English. This is an extremely valuable interview on the early history of the Mexican-American community on St. Paul's West Side.

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TRANSCRIPT OF AN ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW WITH ALFONSO DE LEON, SR.

This interview was conducted as part of a series on the Mexican American in Minnesota. Alfonso de Leon, Sr., was born in Anti1a de Nopa1es, Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, in August of 1902. He is one in a family of fourteen children. He remembers He

the Mexican Revolution, during which he traveled with a Carransista military band. came to the United States in 1918. He worked at various jobs in Texas, one of which

was mining in the Da11s-Fort Worth area. there his first child was born.

He married in 1922, in Bridgeport, Texas, and

In 1923 he began working in the beet fields which was He worked with the Armour Packing He remembers many of the He was involved in many of

to take him to Wyoming, Colorado, Iowa, and Minnesota.

Company in St. Paul from 1929 until his retirement in 1965. first leaders of the Mexican American community in St. Paul. the activities of the first Mexican American organizations.

This is a translation of a tape recorded interview in Spanish.

The original tape re-

cording is available in the Audio-Visual Library of the Minnesota Historical Society.

INTERVIEW WITH ALFONSO DE LEON, SR. JULY 8, 1975 INTERVIEWERS: VICTOR BARELA & RAMEDO SAUCEDO

Barela:

This interview is with Mr. Alfonso de Leon, Sr., who lives at 1481 Blossom Lane, St. Paul Park, Minnesota. Today is July 8, 1975. Interviewers are:

Ramedo Saucedo and Victor Barela. Barela: de Leon: Where were you born? I was born in Antila de Nopales, in Real de Catorce. still exists. Mexico. Saucedo: de', Leon: How many brothers did you have? What are their names? I came from a big The It was ~ining town. It

I was born in August, 1902, in the State of San Luis Potosi,

I still have two sisters and two brothers that are living. family. There were fourteen of us.

The way the story goes, they died.

ones that lived, are my two brothers and my two sisters.

They live in Mexico.

Two of them live outside of Matehuala, in a small town called Sedral, in the state of San Luis Pototi. One of my sisters is a nun, she lives in Mexico City, \nother

because those were the orders from the Mother House in Mexico City. sister, who is married, lives in Fresnillo, Zacatecas. us left, out of the fourteen. Saucedo: de Leon: At what age did you leave Real de Catorce? When I was nine years old.

There are only five of

During the 1910 Revolution, I was eight years old. But the situation was

We could still have stayed there for one more year. critical, because there wasn't any work. worked in the mines.

My father was a mechanic and he It was I

There wasn't any work, so we moved to Matehuala. From Matehuala, we moved to
Sa~

our first move from there.

Luis Pototsi.

was just learning my alphabet. their children some education. education.

It was the custom of the parents to try to give Their are parents, who insist that you get an

Many times, even though people had the time, the circumstances of

-2-

de Leon:

the Revolution made us move a lot.

We couldn't establish ourselves.

For ex-

ample, the migrant laborers, who come here for years and years, had to have their children leave school early, and they didn't get a complete education. It's out of necessity that people live that way, there is no other way to live. It is harder to support a family like mine was. have any charity or helping agencies. Saucedo From Real de Catorce, you went to Matehuala? How many years did you live in San Luis? de Leon: From there to San Luis Potosi. In those years, you didn't

My father, mother, and younger brothers and sisters stayed in Matehuala.
was the oldest.

I

I went to live with my uncle, who was a director of a band.

It was during the Revolution, and because of his profession, he got a job as the director of a military band, under the order of Jose Santos, who was a Governor and a 'General in Monterrey. tinue my education. In 1912, he offered me a chance to conI stayed in

I went from San Luis Potosi to Monterrey.

Monterrey for two years, away from my parents, and lived with my uncle, who was interested in my education. Saucedo: Do you remember any dates of things that happened to you or your family during the Revolution? de Leon: No. To me nothing. The only thing that I lost a brother in the Revolution. He was older than I. He thought it was easy to join I continued my

He was anxious to join. the army.

He was lost or died, somewhere in Toluca, Mexico.

ambition, to learn and know more about life. in Matehuala. ment.

In 1916, I returned to my family There was no stable governI remember traveling

The Revolution was still going on.

There was no guarantee or opportunities for jobs. They traveled a lot.

with the military band. in Mexico.

I traveled through many states

When we were in Monterrey, which was the center, the governor was So we had to travel to El Paso, Parras,

Jose Santos, a Carransista General. Coahuila. Saucedo: We went allover.

In my youth, I saw many awful things.

How did you get from place to place?

-3-

de Leon:

The generals had their own train.

They also carried their own staff; cavalry It was a splendor to see how this There was no one to

units; musical bands; and all their people.

could run, because there was no government at this time. make a mark. them.

Everyone printed their own money, like Villa, Zapata, all of

There wasn't a central government that people could follow, like a It's been Mexico's luck to have presidents and not

president or dictator. dictators. Saucedo:

It's always been a Republic.

At the age of twelve, you returned to Matehuala, after having lived two years in Monterrey?

de Leon:

I returned, when I was thirteen years old.

I went to work in the mines.

I

began working in the mines, operated by foreign investments, in the outskirts of Pachuca. I went to work in a mine on the outskirts of Real de Catorce. That's

There was a mine called La Luz, which was a very rich mine at the time. where I found employment.

I had learned from my father, who was a mechanic in It wasn't much, but it bought my

the mines, how to work and earned my money. corn. I lasted there three years.

I saw I wasn't advancing, because of the

Revolution.

There was a time when they would come day and night, you didn't At any time, there could have been a battle. Nothing was secure at the time. I saw

know who was in charge.

the changes that happened. Saucedo: de Leon: Saucedo: de Leon:

You must have been about sixteen then? Yes, sixteen years old. Didn't the Carransistas or Villistas try to enlist you? No, naturally I hid myself. mel I dind't stand in the light where they could see There were a lot of young boys,

Those that wanted to enter, were abused.

as young as twelve.

There were a lot of generals, they were given titles acFor example, Antonio Cerrillo of San Luis,

cording to their ability in battle.

was well known allover the coast, so was Adolfo Gomez and Jose Serrano of Oxaca, close to Mexico City. They were all generals. The generals I met, when

-4de Leon: Carranza had the towns, were: Francisco Villa; Jose Santos; General Murilla; I

the Gonzalez of San Luis Potosi, Luis Gonzalez, I met them all in person. mingled among them. ever happened to me. I was a kid and I thought it was a great thing. The only thing is that I saw a lot of things.

Nothing But be-

cause of my age and height, I think, they didn't think I was big or strong enough to handle a rifle. to enlist me. something. Because of that, there wasn't anyone who would try

My ideas were different, I wanted to advance professionally in When

Because of the times, I blame the bad government of Mexico.

the United States was in the World War I, in 1914, that ended in 1918, after the armistice was signed, I decided to come to the United States. scared or afraid to try anything after having gone through so much. Saucedo: de Leon: Where did you go? To Texas, Los Angeles, or somewhere else? I was sixteen years old. How old were you? I wasn't

I came to Texas first. without knowing anyone.

I was alone, like an orphan!

Of course I wasn't the only one crossing, there were At that time it wasn't difficult to come across. In 1918, I

a lot of Mexicans crossing.

It wasn't until 1929, then passports were needed to get across.

started to look for a job in Puerto de la Vaca; Victoria; Cuero; Yagos; all those places. T'd work at what they would give me. I took whatever I got. I was sixteen, what kind

of a job could I get? a half.

I lasted there for a year and

I was corresponding with my father, but I didn't want to tell him my

adventures and problems, because I was the one who wanted to go on my own and have some adventures. He had told me that I was going to be in a strange

country and I was going to have problems, I'd had no time to listen to him. In one of his letters, my father said he had a brother in Texas, working in a mine, close to Fort Worth, Texas, in a town called Bridgeport. My father

said, IINow that you are over there, it wouldn't be a bad idea to go and meet your uncle, since you have never met him before. II He sent me the address. I I

liked the idea, from San Antonio to Fort Worth is about 375 or 380 miles. went to meet my uncle and his family. I was still very young.

They wouldn't

-5de Leon: accept me to go down in the mine. There were certain requirements. You had My uncle There

to be man enough and strong enough, because the job was hard to do. accepted me and I stayed with him. I started looking for field work.

was a lot of work with the farmers, they paid very little, almost nothing, but some of them would feed us. From there I went to Bridgeport and to other They were like the Twin Cities. That's I traveled

places around the area, like Dallas and Sherman. At the time they were only small towns. what I saw in those years. for two years.

Now they are great cities.

If I went there now, I would be lost.

During this time, I worked in a rock quarry, making roads or This

I worked according to the climate until I decided to work in the mines. was in 1920. I got accepted, because my uncle was mining there. I worked there from 1920 to 1922.

He started

me and helped me. Saucedo: de Leon: Saucedo: de Leon:

In 1922 I got married.

Is that where you met your wife? Yes. By then I had two years of experience in mining the ore.

Was this in Bridgeport, Texas? Yes. This is where my bad luck began. The same year that I got married, in We were newly weds. I had

May 1922.

In October we were left without work.
d~cided

managed to save some money, so I parents.

to take my wife to Mexico to meet my At

We stayed there for six months, because I couldn't find a job.

that time, Mr. Calles was in power, but there weren't any guarantees in any profession. Calles was aware of what was happening. But there wasn't complete The mines were

stability, there were many changes. opened again.

We returned to Bridgeport.

But the union was broken up.

The company offered to pay us

eight dollars a day, to keep us working, a dollar an hour, those that wanted to did. I returned to work, but only temporarily, because during that time, to-

ward the end of 1922 and the beginning of 1923, the families started migrating to the beet fields. After the beet fields were finished, the Sugar Company They asked us to stay, because it cost so much to
mat~rial

offered us a place to live. go back and forth.

Those that wanted to accept, were given the

to

-6de Leon: build a house. I was young and I decided to stay. This is where Vicente, my

oldest, was born.

My father-in-law was interested in making adobe bricks to After finishing up with the My father-in-law

build a house and I helped him, this was in 1924. beets, I went to Mexico to see my parents. stayed with my wife.

I went alone.

When I returned, I brought two of my bothers with me. They worked in the beet fields and I worked

They lived with us for two years.

in the mines, from 1922 to 1929, I would come in the summers to work in the beets, but in the winter, I would go back to Texas and I worked in the coal mines, for about ten years, I would be coming and going •. I worked in Colorado; Iowa; here in Minnesota; doing the same kind of work the migrants do now. migrants come in search of life, even at fifty cents an hour, it is a good salary, if they don't have anything better in'their own country or state. least something that is worthwhile. earn a dollar a day. unstable. At The

There are many poor people that wish to The Mexican Government is still

That's very scarce.

Now it has changed many things, it has improved, but there are still I have heard that there are still many people who cross the

many poor people.

river to the United States. Saucedo: de Leon: In the winter you would return to Wyoming? Nol to Texas, Bridgeport. In the summer, I would go work the beets. I was a

regular employee of Northwestern Company, in Lowell, Wyoming, for two years. The company put me in charge of signing up workers from Fort.Worth and dispersed them over the territory in Iowa and places where they needed workers. I would

also stay and work, they also had to 'pay me for bringing the workers, after they were in their places and the contracts were signed. years. 1929 was the last year that I worked the beets. I did that for two It was in a town a In 1929, we

hundred miles from here, named Prinsburg, west of Montevideo. already had Vicente and-Felix. Saucedo: de Leon: Where was Felix born? In Iowa. Unfortunately there was an accident.

Vicente,"broke his leg.

We

-7de Leon: were almost finished working the beets, and almost ready to return to Texas, this was planned. It was impossible to go back this time, because I had to We were almost finished with the beets

put Vicente in a hospital in Willmar. and ready to go.

The doctor told us we had to be very careful with Vicente's Someone advised me to stay. My compadre

leg, because it was a very bad break.

Angel Medina told me, "Stay, because then the child can get better and you can establish yourself here. in 1929. I am sure you'll find a job here." Jobs were scarce

By then there were a lot of Mexican families here, not as many as

there is now, but there were many. Saucedo: de Leon: Who were some of the people who were here? For example, your father, Federico
Saucedo~

was already here, so was Margarito

Campo; Pomposo Guerra; Gabriel Avaloz; Juan Silva; Juan Galvan and his father George Galvan. They were all here; that kid named Portugal that lived in

Inver Grove; Munoz, the father of all the Munoz' children; Chavez, he was killed in a plant in Rosemount. Chavez. He changed his name to Charles, but it was Mr. Aparicio was here. Don Martin

All of those old timers were here.

Vasquez, there were many others: the packing houses!

Porfirio Diaz.

There were many who worked in

Francisco Rangel; Pomposo Guerra; JORe Garcia ••• -a11 those I started to work in the packing house. I had to wait

men were veterans here.

a week, because jobs were difficult to get. by December I had lost my job at Armour's.

I came here in November 1929 and It was only temporary, but I did

not know that, so I had already contracted my family to work in the beets. They called me back to work, so my wife and children went to the farm and I stayed to work in the packing house. wanted a steady job. Saucedo: de Leon: Saucedo: How many years did you work in the packing house? Thirty-seven years. Which department did you work in? I worked very hard in 1930, because I

-8-

de Leon:

I started in the same department that I finished in. boilers, containers where all the lard waste was.

I started in cleaning

My job was to clean them.

Later, they gave me A.more responsible job, driving the pumps to clean up the waste that didn't drain. I always worked in the same building. That's where I would

I met your father, Federico Saucedo.

He worked in the high cellar.

go visit with the other Mexicans that were there: father Federico Saucedo; and Jose Ramirez' brother. cellar and I worked in the tanks.

Margarito Campo; your They worked in the high During I

I was a weigher, when I retired.

the war, around 1943, I worked at mixing the grease and filling the tanks. had others to help me connect all the tubes, receive, and turn in. the last job I had. other jobs. retire. Saucedo: de Leon: Saucedo: de Leon: The company was satisfied with my work. That was

I did not do any

I retired after thirty-seven years.

The company insisted that I

I wasn't sick, they made me retire.

Was Felix or Vicente born in Wyoming? Vicente was born in Lowell, Wyoming; and Felix was born in Iowa. Who were the children that were born here? Jose was born in Texas. born here, after 1930. in 1930. From there, I came here and the rest of them were The oldest of the girls is Cholet She was born here,

We had two others, but they died.

We lost three girls and one boy. Of the three girls that died, They all died

We had twelve children, six boy and six girls.

the one that lived the longest, lived only for seven months. here in Minnesota. The children are:

Jose; Chole; Alfonso; Margarita; They were all born here iri St. Paul. Salvador, Alfonso; Jose and the They are all married

Salvador; and Juan's the one that died.

Two of the boys live in California, three: three girls:

Antonia; Margarita; and Chole, live here.

and have their own families. ago, was Margarita. Saucedo: Do you have any grandchildren?

The last to get married, was about six years

-9-

de Leon:

Oh, yes.

I don't even know how many I have.

I think there are about forty Our family has produced many. Vicente has eight; Alfonso seven;

granchildren, and twelve great-granchildren. I couldn't tell you the order they are in.

my daughter has six; Jose has four; Salvador has the least, two; and Felix had two, we have a great granddaughter, she is big now. Saucedo: de Leon: Saucedo: de Leon: So the only ones that do not live in Minnesota, are Felix and Vicente? Yes, Felix and Vicente left in 1961. Where do your other children live? Jose lives in Inver Grove Heights. Butler in West St. Paul. has moved three times. Close to your home? He's after the oldest. Alfonso lives on He

Salvador lives in St. Cloud.

He is a printer.

He lived in Grand Rapids, for three years; then in The
.1
i

Madison, Wisconsin, for two years; and now in St. Cloud, where he works. oldest of my daughters lives in Savage, this side of Shakopee, on Highway Thirteen going to Le Sueur. Antonia lives about four blocks from here. The rest of my family, my brothers, are

Margarita lives in West St. Paul.

living in Sedral, Mexico, one sister lives in Fresnillo, Zacatecas, and the other in Mexico City. Barela: de Leon: Barela: de Leon: When you lived in St. Paul, did you own a home, or did you rent? When we first came, we rented a house. Where did you live? The first house we rented was on State Street, which no longer exists. tore it down. 1934. Later, I
bou~ht

They

a house on Minnetonka Street, that was around From there, I That"s

We lived there until the floods made us leave in 1952.

moved to Robie Street.

We lived there for about ten years, until 1963.

when I moved here, and here I am, maybe I'll moved again. Saucedo: de Leon: Did you belong to any organizations that you can tell us about? Well, my life here in St. Paul, hasn't been of of making noise. organize ourselves personally. We did not We

We would get together and discuss things.

-10de Leon: didn't keep any records. That's how we started the "Comite Patriotico." The

Anahuac Society, already existed when I came here, your father, Federico Saucedo, could tell you more. They would meet at the Neighborhood House.

When they started to buy the building in 1931, for the church, I became interested in organizing, not taking on any responsibility, only to encourage and give strength to the people who had started it. Saucedo: de Leon: What was the purpose of the organization? No. To help the people?

The object was to help those in the Catholic League to rent a place for The Catholic Ladies League started that. Father

our religious services.

Jose Guillemette was a professor at St. Thomas College, he was the first priest that started to go from house to house to get us interested in participating and starting the Sacred Heart of Jesus Society. we made food to sell and help pay the rent. We didn't have much money, so

Farmers would donate potatoes, They were also the ones that Father Jose, was still In

corn and rabbits to the Catholic Ladies League.

helped to organized Our Lady of Guadalupe Society. teaching at St. Thomas.

He only came to say mass on Sunday, until 1938.

the same year, the people that became interested in the Catholic Ladies League, were interested in making improvements. It cost us plenty to acquire what we In 1938, Father Dicks

have now, but we also had help from the Archdiocese. came.

He was the one who purchased the building from Nicolas Varos, the owner.

Tiburcio Lucio; Pedro Medallin; Margarito Campo; Vega and myself, were the members of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Society. We accompanied Father Dicks to This is how we came

look for a place that would be convenient for a church. to purchase the building.

There was the church on one side and a bar and Those were the circumstances. All this hap-

billiard hall on the other side. pened, it's ugly, but it's true. thing needed fixing.

When we purchased the whole building, every-

All the Mexican people who wanted to help, I won't menWe

tion names, helped dig up the basement, because it was full of ashes.

-11de Leon: received some pUblicity in the papers in 1938, but I lost most of the newspaper articles during the flood. them up. They are easy to find, if you care to look Also in 1939, we

Father Dicks incorporated the church in 1939.

started to get more ambitious and patriotic, we started celebrating the fiesta for the Mexican Indepedance and with the help of Father Dicks and the people, we were able to celebrate. This was accomplished through mutual cooperation.

It was celebrated in the hopes that we would not alienate otlrse1ves or forget Mexico. That is why this is celebrated allover the country, wherever there are This is how the Independance Day Celebration began. Each

a lot of Mexicans.

year we try to expand it more and more. zations joined us:

In 1939, 140, and 141, other organi-

Boy Scout Troops; Girl Scout Troops; a chi1dren 1s choir; We lost Father Dicks in 1942, when he

and a band that Father Dicks organized. died.

I met Father Ward in 1934, because he used to come to the church to He was ordained in 1936. In 1942, he became our

give catechism classes. pastor.

We were very good friends.

The people became more enthusiastic about

the celebrations, improving the programs and national colors. Saucedo: In the beginning, did Father Ward know much about the Mexican Cultural and History? de Leon: Saucedo: de Leon: No. He was born in Minneapolis and had been educated here.

Would he ask you things? Yes, but what could I tell him, about my liberated life? fact that he would consult me about many things. in him. I appreciated the

And I had a lot of confidence

The festivals were held at Harriet Island, from there we went to the There were two organizations, the Anahuac Society The Anahuac Society started to lose members, bePablo Martinez was the president

Civic Center Auditorium. and the Comite Patriotico.

cause they started joining our organization. then.

The rest decided that there was no reason for separation within the Both

Mexican Community, so they started cooperating in all the activities.

-12de Leon: of the groups relied on the donations from the community. We started making

buttons and selling tickets, because the rent of the hall jumped from Twentyfive dollars to Two hundred dollars, and the orchestra charged Three hundred dollars. These were things that needed the cooperation of all the Mexican The last festival I attended was in 196i. This is

people and their friends. due to my health.

Now I don't have any ambition.

Now the young people have

taken over, I don't have any ambition anymore and I can't help in anything. I want to see them work together. not worth anything now. We weren't worth anything then, and we're

I am mostly interested in keeping my health., My I also used to belong to

satisfaction is knowing that I helped when I could. the International Institute.

I was the Chairman for the Festival of Nations; The Mexican people weren't,

Pan American Day; and the Latino Americano Club. well known in the city at that time. worked in the fields.

They were only known as people that

There are so few of us, that we have to work together I was the secretary for the Latino Club, for three

and make ourselves known. years.

They still invite. me to their meetings.' Legally, I could not be a But nevertheless, they accepted me.

member, because I was a resident here.

Later I studied at the Institute to become a United States Citizen. Saucedo: de Leon: When did you become a citizen? In September of 1938. That was when I received my second set of papers. The

first papers were given to me in 1931.

It took them a long time to accept me,

but in 1938, I became a citizen of the United States. Saucedo: de Leon: You have not lost any of your Mexican heritage. You speak perfect Spanish. We have to continue

No, there is no way that I can deny that I am a Mexican. to get ahead and reach for the sky. good ,for another.

But what is good for one person is not I started at the bottom, but you Times change and the opportu-

You have to be partial.

have the attitude and the energy to do better. nities are there to take advantage of them.

Years ago, there were many doors

-13-

de Leon:

that were closed to us.

There were no equal opportunities.

It was a constant

fight, those that didn't, were lost. will get better.

Experience will improve things and things None of

As a result, the Mexican American will get ahead.

you should forget your ancestry.

You should be proud of being Mexicans, beYou should be very

cause your native country should not give you any shame. proud of your ancestry. Saucedo: de Leon:

Is this the same philosophy that you tried to teach your children? Yes, to all of them. Only to a certain point, because I have always said that We have to experience certain events and make But experience makes you grow and ad-

experience is the best teacher.

mistakes, othervise we stay the same. vance.

The ones that are ahead have to slow down, and the ones behind', have The same thing I told my children, when they lived with me.

to speed up.

When each of them left me, which is natural; "Each one of us looks for the best way to live. Not all of us are going in the same direction. Some of us

accept one side or the other. Saucedo: de Leon:

We have to know our beginning, our origin."

Have your children visit Mexico? All of them have, except for Alfonso. Every trip I made, I would take some of Mexico has progressed

my children.

I have even taken some of my grandchildren.

immensely in the last few years.

The University of Mexico is very competent, Do you He

but I am sorry to say that most of their scientists are foreigners.

remember Carlos Garcia Galarza, who came to teach at Macalester College? is now one of the outstanding professors at the University of Mexico. him. And once I visited him in Mexico. All of these are my memories. All of them were rich.

I met I had

no valuables to tempt my acquantances with.

Every-

thing that I participated in was by chance, not professionally. to those people who inspired me to continue in my endeavors. the Festival of Nations they had at Maca1ester?

I give credit

Do you remember

I appreciate the fact that I thank Professor Moore;

they recognized me for my knowledge and abilities.

-14de Leon: Galarzat and Cabasos. It's been a long time since I talked to them. What's

important to me now is my health. Saucedo: de Leon: How many of your children graduated from high school? All. except Alfonso and Felix. Vicente graduated from Macalester College. He graduated as an engineering-draftsman. Salvador also went to school, They had an advantage

after the he got out of the service.

Jose also graduated, as a commercial artist.

after he got out of the service and is now a printer. in having a chance to prepare themselves for life. people that my sons had a chance. themselves.

I am very proud to tell

Not all people have a chance to better

We went through bad times, without any hope of advancement, beI did not have to spend much on my son's
.j
. !

cause it was hard during those times.

:l

:1

education, because they took advantage of the GI Bill. Saucedo: de Leon: Did they all join the service? Only two, because Jose did not pass his physical. either. Alfonso was too young. Felix didn't pass the test

He didn't like school and now he wishes he You have to take advantage of your education Later when you have a family and children, it

had applied himself in school. when you have the opportunity. is verY'difficult to do it. education.

Now, kids have many opportunities to get a good Now they even have

But during my time, there was no such thing.

dormitories and you can live and study there, for men and women. Saucedo: de Leon: Which of your sons and daughters married people of Mexican heritage? Chole married a Mexican, Juan Perez. is German and something else. Dutch background. Antonia is married to Dick Morgan. I think he is of He

Margarita married Voltz.

Those things do not make any difference to me, because they The most important thing is

are the ones that have to live with the person. theiT attitude. married.

Of my three daughters that are married, they are all still None of them had any

This is something that I am very proud of.

trouble before they got married.

Once you are married, you should stay married.

-15de Leon: This is an old Mexican tradition. If he is a "macho", you know, "machismo"? But the

I got that from the Women's Liberation Movement Conference in Mexico. movement didn't originate in Mexico.

All those meetings women are having are

gaining popularity, because you know how that saying goes, "One bad apple, spoils the barrel." I don't think the Mexican woman has gained her freedom, I think that someday she might liberate

because she is not anxious to compete.

herself, but only when men don't want to be superior anymore. Barela: Thank you. You have answered our questions very well. Before we turn this

interview to the Minnesota Historical Society, we need your permission to do it. de Leon: You have my permission to use and to transcribe the tape in the way you think is best. Barela: Thank you again for a great interview.