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Interview with Angel and Maria Garcia




Angel Garcia was born and lived his early years in Houston, Texas. Maria Garcia was born in Chicago. In 1951 they moved to Winona County, where they raised three children. Angel Garcia is the prosperous owner of a trucking business, a tavern in Stockton, Minn., a farm and other real estate. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Their reasons for moving to Minnesota - educational history - their employment records - organizations - ways in which Mexican heritage has affected their lives - and continuation of Mexican culture. COMMENTS ON INTERVIEW: Their daughter, Chris, also speaks in the interview.





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This interview was conducted as part of a series on the Mexican America* in Minnesota. Mr. Angel Garcia, was born in Houston, Texas in 1921. Illinois. there. The Garcias own a tavern in Stockton, Minnesota, a trucking business, a farm, and other real estate in Minnesota. The Garcias discuss their employment and educational histories They moved to Winona, Minnesota in 1951. Mrs. Garcia, was born in Chicago, They have raised three children

and how the Mexican heritage has affected their lives. This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview edited to aid in clarity and ease of comprehension for the reader. The original tape recording is available in the Audio-

Visual Library of the Minnesota Historical Society.

INTERVIEW WITH MR. AND MRS. ANGEL GARCIA August 6, 1976 Sanchez: Minnesota Historical Society recording; Mexican American History Project; August 6, 1976, Winona. family. We are in the living room of the Angel Garcia

I will proceed to the biographical interview, with Mr. Angel Garcia,

Mrs. Mary Garcia, and John Sanchez as interviewer. for the ¥innesota Historical Society. hear at times. Christopher, the grandson, is also present, who you'll

Mr. Angel Garcia is a prominant businessman here in Winona. He will, of course, describe some of

He has been here for many years. these details. nesses: 1)

Mr. Angel Garcia and his family run three types of busi2) A

A tavern in Stockton, Minnesota, just west of Winona. 3)

trucking business' that he runs himself. his property.

He also does some farming on Could you tell us

He raises conventional crops on the farm.

where you were born? Mr. Garcia: Houston, Texas.

Mrs. Garcia: Chicago, Illinois. Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: What year? 1921. How many children do you have? We have three children.

Mrs. Garcia: They are 20, 21 and 22 years old. Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: Sanchez: What are their names? The oldest girl's name is Aroparo; then Christina; and Adam. Do you recall where your parents came from, Angel? From the Houston, Texas area. And your parents, Mrs. Garcia?

Mrs. Garcia: I don't know, I couldn't tell you. Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: Could you describe how you came to Winona from Houston, Angel? I was a truck driver and I also was operating heavy machinery under a con-


Mr. Garcia:


I had to move from county to county, or state to state.


we settled here. Sanchez: Why Minnesota? We like it. How about you, Mary? How did you came to Minnesota? We like Winona.

Mr. Garcia:

Mrs. Garcia: After I met my husband, we settled here. Sanchez: Did you get married in Minnesota?

Mrs. Garcia: No, we got married outside of Minnesota. Sanchez: What are your educational backgrounds? you able to complete school? Mr. Garcia: Dh, that was a problem. I went to seventh grade, that was it. Did you attend high school? Were

Mrs. Garcia: I went to the ninth grade. Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: Sanchez: What type of work have you done, Angel, in years past? For one thing, it was labor for awhile. What kind of labor? Farm labor. Farm labor? Then

Mr. Garcia:

After that I went into construction and heavy machinery.

I went into trucking. Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: Sanchez: Your own business? My own business. How many years have you been running your own business? It must be twelve years, already. How long have you owned the tavern? We have owned the tavern for eight years. Always in Stockton? Always in Stockton. years. Sanchez: How about the farm? The trucking business, I have had for about fifteen

Mr. Garcia:


Mr. Garcia: Sanchez: Mrs. Garcia: Sanchez: Mrs. Garcia:

About six years. How about you, Mary? Have you held any jobs?

I worked at the knitting mills for fourteen years. In Winona? In Winona. Then, when we bought the bar, I quit. I started working at

the bar, and I have been working there ever since. Sanchez: Mrs. Garcia: Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: Is the bar a family enterprize? Yes. Well, I run it now. But, my daughter and my ,son'work there too.

Chris and Adam.

Do you belong to any organizations?

I belong to the Liquor Association, the Trucking Association, and the Teamsters.


How about any social organizations? religious organizations?

Where you meet to have parties?


Mr. Garcia: Sanchez: Mrs. Garcia: Mr. Garcia: Sanchez:

We are Catholics, we go to church, that is all. Do you go to a Spanish-speaking church? No, we go to St. Stan's. We go to our own Polish church I Your own Polish chu_'ch! How important is your Mexican heritage? Has

your Mexican heritage affected your lives?
Mr. Garcia:

Oh, I'm proud to be a Mexican. you a chance. else".

Like I say, "People here, help.

They give

It is up to you to go over there to get it.

Like everybody

But a lot of Mexicans don't want to do that. I'm proud to be a Mexican.

They won't get the

chance that I had. Sanchez: Mrs. Garcia: Chris: Sanchez: How about you, Mary? Oh, I'm proud.

That's about all I can say.

I enjoy living here.

Hi, Chris.

Chris just came into the living room and joined the family.

-4Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: Sanchez: Mrs. Garcia: Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: Sanchez: Do you speak Spanish to the family at home? Yes, we speak Spanish. Both Spanish and English, then? Yes. Do you ever go back to visit Mexico? No. How about Houston? No, we never go to Houston. Madison, New Mexico. Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: Sanchez: Mrs. Garcia: Sanchez: Mrs. Garcia: You have no particular relatives in Mexico? Not that I know of. There might be a bunch down there, I don't know. Last year, we went to Wichita Fort, Texas and

Mr. Garcia:

Do you observe any celebrations or fiestas, here? The fourth of July I Yes, indeed. Yes. Do you prepare them yourselves or do you buy them made? I prepare the little that we know ofl I make Tacos and all that at the bar for the weekend. that. People really like We're Americans, you know.

Do you eat any Mexican foods?

Mr. Garcia:

Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: Sanchez:

You eat Mexican foods alsoJat times? Yes. How about Mexican music? Do you like to listen to it?

Oh, we have everything in the tavern, Mexican and American music. In the jukebox, there? Yes. People like it.

Mr. Garcia:

How much do you think your Mexican American background has influenced your children?

-5Mr. Garcia: Mrs. Garcia: Nothing. They like to be called Mexican American, because they are. They can't read, write, speak or understand

They don't know any Spanish.

Sanchez: Mrs. Garcia:

They didn't take it in school? My oldest daughter took it in school, but she knows very little. to Mexico just before she got married. She went

Mr. Garcia:

She went with a group from school. kids, you know how they are!

We talk Spanish, my wife and I.


You speak Spanish to them, then that's it. We have a good business, everybody

They are proud of what they are too. in the family helps. Sanchez:

I hope business will get better yet, too.

Chris, as long as you are here, could you give us a reaction to how you feel towards your Mexican American heritage, which you inherited from your parents?


I'm proud of it. bad things.

I'm happy I have never had to worry about people saying That my parents That I'm Mexican.

I have always respected where I come from.

are Spanish and that I had a little bit of Spanish in me. I'm proud of it. Sanchpz: Mr. Garcia: Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: Great! Angel, when did you come to Winona?

I came in 1951. What jobs did you hold then, when you arrived here? I worked at the foundry for three years. That ,'s the foundry right here in Winona? Yes. Then I worked in a Co-op fertilizer plant for a year. I got laid

off from there.

So, I went up to Bay State Mill and Company, Flour Mill.

I worked sixteen years at the Flour Mill. Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: Then did you become an independent businessman? Yes.


Sanchez: Mr. Garcia: Sanchez: Mrs. Garcia: Sanchez:

With the truck business? I resigned from work. Then I went into my own business.

Do you have any other comments, MarY,that you would like include? No, that's about it. We are completing the recording here in Winona at 8:15 p.m. on the 6th of August 1976, in the living room of the Angel Garcia familY. you for the interview. Thank