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Interview with Arturo and Elvira Coronado



Arturo Coronado was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. His father was a successful railroad conductor in Mexico, but in 1915, when Arturo was ten years old, the family left the country because his father didn't want to be involved in the Revolution. They returned to Mexico later, only to go back to the United States again. He arrived in Minnesota in 1923 and held a variety of jobs, primarily tailoring and dry cleaning. Elvira Coronado was born in 1908, also in San Luis Potosi. Her father had an accident while in the United States seeking his sister, and the family came to join him in Houston, Texas. She came to Minnesota with her husband. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Immediate family, including names, birth dates and occupations - personal life history - the community in St. Paul - Arturo Coronado's dry cleaning business, and his work in organizing a labor union for that trade (1930-1946) - their first restaurant in St. Paul, La Casa Coronado, and their later restaurant in Minneapolis - Guadalupe Church - and advice for future generations.





World Region




This interview was conducted as part of a series on the Mexican American in Minnesota. Mr. and Mrs. Coronado were both born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Mr. Coronado's

family came to the United States to avoid involvement in the Revolution. Mrs. Coronado's family had to come when her father was hurt in an accident in Texas. Mr. and Mrs. Coronado share their personal lives with us in this oral interview. Through them we can gain an insight into the Mexican American community on the West Side of St. Paul. They discuss in depth the history of their successful Their lives have held many varied and

Mexican restaurant, "La Casa Coronado". fascinating experiences.

Mr. and Mrs. Coronado close with their own very useful

advice for future generations. 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.


This is Ramedo Saucedo interviewing at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Arturo Coronado. Today is August 18, 1975. This interview is being conducted as part of the With me, is

Mexican American Project for the Minnesota Historical Society. Richard Juarez, also interviewing Mr. and Mrs. Coronado.

Let's start off with

Mr. Coronado and ask him first of all, where were you born? Coronado: Saucedo: Coronado: Saucedo: Coronado: In San Luis, Potosi, Mexico. And your parents' names were? Juan Coronado and Guadalupe Morquecho Coronado. Where were they born? My father was born in San Luis Potosi, and my mother was born in Guadalajara, Ja1isco, Mexico. Saucedo: Coronado: How many brothers and sisters do you have or did you have? There were four sisters and four brothers. cannot recollect their names. First there was my two brothers, I Then there was my sister

Then of course, I came.

Annie, and after my sister Annie, was my brother Sa1oman, who also passed away in Monclova, Coahuila, Mexico in 1912. in Mexico, that I can recollect. Next was my sister Connie, also borin Then it was

I think it was Monterrey then.

my younger sister, I cannot remember her name. epidemic in the First World War. the United'States in 1915. Saucedo: Coronado: Saucedo: Coronado: How old were you at that time? At that time I was ten years old. Do you remember what the reasons were for ••• We came here during the Revolution. a conductor in Mexico.

She passed away during the flu, We came to

That was in San Antonio, Texas.

My father was working for the railroad as He was one of

That was in 1909, in Monterrey, Mexico.

the first Mexicans to become a conductor in Mexico.

During the Revolution it He

was pretty bad and we just didn't want anything to do with the Revolution.

-2Coronado: Saucedo: Coronado: didn't have anything against anybody. So he wasn't really sympathetic towards one cause or the other? No, he was not. He was neutral. In fact, a neutral group in Monclova, That means

Coahuila, Mexico in 1912 formed themselves into a neutral group.

the engineer, the foreman, the first, second, and third brakeman, and my father the conductor, agreed with Pancho Villa, and all the revolutionary parties that they would work for them, providing that the/would pay them with merchandise, clothing and so forth. In order to leave for Texas, we had money, That was

but there wasn't any place to buy anything during the Revolution. up until 1914, then things got pretty bad. Mexico.

We decided to go to Monterrey,

Things were pretty bad there also, so my father and mother thought,

the best thing to do was to come to the United States. Saucedo: Coronado: Saucedo: Coronado: What place did you come to? We came through Laredo, Texas. Was this the second time? No, that was the first time. it was in May. We came through Laredo, Texas in 1915, I believe

We remained in Laredo, Texas until sometime in September.

There wasn't any work, nothing to do there and my mother and rad were afraid that they were going to spend what little money they had with them. to Dallas, Texas. snow. That was in November. So we went

That was the first time we had seen We went back to San Antonio, Texas

We just couldn't stand the weather.

in 1916. Saucedo: Coronado: Saucedo: Coronado: Did you have any relatives in San Antonio? Yes, my uncles and grandparents came to the United States in 1914. What were their names? There names were Juan Coronado, and I can't remember my grandmother's first name, I am sorry to say that. I also had two aunts, Lola Coronado, and

Rafae1a Coronado living in San Antonio, Texas. Saucedo: And you say you returned to Monterrey?

-3Coronado: No, we didn't go back to Monterrey after we came to the United States. father went back in 1918. My

My father returned to Mexico, because he wasn't
In Mexico, right

making the kind of money that he used to make in Mexico.

after the Mexican Government took the railroad away, from I think America, Englishmen, whoever used to own the railroad, the government took it away and they used to pay my dad $250 per month, American money. Saucedo: Coronado: That was good money. Yes, it was. That's what they used to pay the American people that used to Anyway that is what a conductor got paid, a brakeman made But anyway, we remained in San Antonio, Texas, I went to I had already finished my gram-

run the railroad. only $85 a month.

school in Dallas, during the winter in 1915. mar school in Mexico.

I started school when I was not quite four years old. In those days there were not too many public

I went to Dolores Institute. schools in Mexico. Saucedo:

That's the reason I went to Dolores Institute.

Mr. Coronado, you were telling us about living in San Antonio for the first;·
time in 1916.

Coronado: Saucedo: Coronado: Saucedo:

Yes. You were about eleven or twelve years old at the time. Yes. Where were your parents, what were they doing and what was life like at that time?


My father went to work as a shoemaker, and then of course, he wasn't making enough money. The money that we brought from Mexico was getting less and less, He couldn't get a job where he used to

so in 1918 he went back to Mexico.

work in the north part of Mexico during the time of the revolution, so he went way south by Pueb1a, Mexico. That's where he worked. Then I was very sick

with that flu epidemic we had in those days. in San Antonio.

So my dad came and we remained From there my He wanted me to

I went to the eighth grade in San Antonio.

father took me to the Brown's Practical Business College.

-4Coronado: take a business course in Spanish and English, so that we could go back to Mexico. He had a good position for me at Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico, with I did not like the business course. I wanted

the American Melting Company.

to learn some other kind of a trade, so I could go in business, I kept telling them. Then I took translation for two and a half years. I also took typing,

bookkeeping, shorthand, and I didn't care for it. types of correspondence.

We used to translate all

All the mail that would go to Mexico or come from Then we would send it either to

Mexico, we used to translate at the college. Mexico or places here in the Twin Cities. to practice.

They used to give us those letters I

I used to see on the letterhead of each letter, Twin Cities. I'd read and translate, but in

was having difficulty with speaking English. speaking, I'd have an awful time. leaving.

I told my mother and father, "Dad, I'm My friend Fred Nesa graduated and I asked him if he could

I'm going to the Twin Cities."

came to work for Brown & Bigelow. get me a job. care for it."

I talked to him.

I said, "I don't want to finish this shorthand, because I don't I was learning tailoring after my school hours, with the Mayo

Brothers, in San Antonio.

Mr. Nesa wrote to me and said, "Well, I'll have a

job for you all right, but they only pay $65 a month because you didn't take the shorthand." Cities. I said, "Alright, I don't care, I want to go to the Twin I got as far as Fort Worth, Texas;

I want to practice my English.

then I sent a telegram to my father and mother, because I ran away from home. I said that I had a job in the Twin Cities, but they said, "No, you can't go there. It's too far away! It's too cold over there! It's close to Canada! Well, anyThey stopped He came to me

to A1askal

Remember Dallas?!

In 1915 remember how cold it was?

way, my father reported me to the sheriff in San Antonio, Texas. me in Kansas. The sheriff got on the train and he stopped me.

and said, "What is your name?" is Arturo Coronado."

Sure I'll give him a name, I said, "My name Where are you from? I

He said, "Where are you going?

said, "I'm from San Antonio, Texas, and I'm going to work for Brown & Bigelow."

-5Coronado: He said, "What kind of work?" I said, "As a typist and translator." He said,

"What do you have in that suitcase?"

I had all of my books yet, from the So when

school, to finish my course here, or else to get a job and stay here.

I found out that it was only paying $65 a month, I only worked for Brown & Bigelow three days. I said, "No, that's no money for mel" Then the Minnehaha A bushe1man is So I

Cleaners, in St. Paul had an ad in the paper for a bushe1man.

a tailor, but all they do is alterations, remodeling and alterations. went to work for the Minnehaha Cleaners. Saucedo: Coronado: Saucedo: Coronado: What year was this? That was in 1924. The early part of 1924.

Was that the same year you arrived in Minnesota? No, I arrived in 1923. packing house. hard work. After I left Brown & Bigelow I went to work for the It was

It was only paying forty-two cents and a half an hour.

Then in early 1924, which was in January sometime, I went to work It was paying 33% on a dollar;

for the Minnehaha Cleaners for about two months. piece work.

I used to work from five, six, or seven o'clock in the morning,

until midnight.

check, my first check was ninety-two dollars and fifty cents. I showed this to my moth.r and I said, "Look mother, There's where I

I'll never fo,:-get this!

see the difference between an office job, and tailoring?" learned some dry cleaning, and a little spotting.

So after two months they

stopped paying 33%, and they wanted us to work at the salary of twenty-seven dollars and fifty cents. I said, "No," I qui·t the job. In October, 1924, my

father went to San Antonio, to sell the house and to ship some of our furniture to St. Paul. part of 1923. At that time, I bought a 1919 Model T Ford, in 1923, the last That's the car we made the trip with. Coming back in 1924, we

stopped in Houston, Texas.

In those days we used to get snow quite early, my Now you

father said, "Well, son, we can't make it anymore, it's too late.

remain here with my family, uncles and my grandparents and then you go back to St. Paul in the spring," which is what I did. That's when I met my wifel

-6Saucedo: Coronado: Saucedo: Coronado: Saucedo: Coronado: Saucedo: Coronado: You met her here? I met her in Houston, Texas. In what year? In 1925, March. Where did you meet your wife? I met my wife at a party. When you were planning to return? Yes, when I was planning to return to St. Paul. wife. Yes, that's where I met my

When I was ready to leave, I went to say good-by, and I said "Honey, Then we went to the City Hall or Court House, We applied for a

why don't we get married?"

whatever you want to call it.


They took

my name and wanted to know where I was from. Minnesota.

I told them I lived in St. Paul, Then they asked my wife They

I gave them my mother and father's name.

her name and how old she was.

She wasn't quite sixteen or seventeen.

said, I'm sorry, we can't give you a marriage license. your parents.

You have to go bring

So I told them, "That's impossible for me, to bring my parents. They said, "Who are you staying with?" "Well, he said, "Go He's a very Then I

They are in St. Paul, Minnesota."

.said, "I am staying with my grandfather and my aunts." and bring your grandfather."

I said, "Well, I'm afraid I can't.

old man, but I can bring my aunt to represent me."

He said, "Okay."

they asked my wife to bring her father to approve our marriage. Saucedo:

Coronado, could you give us a little background?

Were you born in

Mexico; what year you came to the United States; your brothers and sisters and who they are? se:i"ora: I came to the United States from San Luis Potosi, Mexico. San Luis Potosi. Saucedo: Senora:

I was born in

And your parents? My parents were Valecio Gamez, but the name was changed because there was no one else by the name of Gamez. So they changed it to Gomez, but my real name

-7Senora: was Gamez. Mexico. Saucedo: Senora: Saucedo: Senora: Saucedo: Senora: Saucedo:

My mother was born in a little small town in San Luis Potosi,

Her name was Serjia Navarro Martinez.

And you had brothers and sisters? I didn't have any brothers. Are you the youngest? No, I'm the oldest one. You were born in what year? I had two sisters.

When were the other children born and what were their names? They were born in Mexico, my sister, Estella and my sister Ana Maria. Is your sister Estella th~\ oldest? No, I'm the oldest one and! my sister Estella is the second one.

Senora: Saucedo: Senora:


Ana Maria


the youngest one, she passed away about seven years ago. Saucedo: What did your parents do? Mexico? Senora: Oh, they had a wonderful life. grocery store. My father was a broker and my mother had a How did they make a living? How did they live in

We came to the United States because my father was looking for He found out that she was in Houston,

a sister that was lost in the Revolution. Texas. Saucedo: Senora: Saucedo: Senora:

So he went to Houston to look for her.

In what year did he go to look in Houston, Texas? I don't remember what year, but that was before we came. Did you come with him? No, we didn't come with him. He went by himself and he found his sister.

When he was with his sister, he was in an accident, so he was put in the hospita1. Then we had to tell grandma and mother to go to Houston because my So that's the way

father was in the hospital and in very serious condition. we happened to come to Houston, Texas. Saucedo: Senora: Do you remember how old you were? We came and visited my father and found out how he was.

I was about ten or

-8Senora: eleven years old, maybe younger, I don't remember. We came in 1920 to Houston,

legally, after my mother found out that my father was sick and he couldn't be moved. My father said, "Yes, I wish you'd apply for a residence". They said, "No, never "I So I went

with my mother to the American Consul.

He said, "If

your husband is in the hospital, you can't support yourself and your three daughters. states." But if you can prove you can support yourself, you can stay in the Now, my mother and sisters and I were lucky. Like I mentioned be-

fore, my father was a broker.

He used to transport merchandise from one city He had our passports

to another and he'd make a lot of money, a lot of gold.

and my mother proved that we had come to the States legally and that we had enough money to live in Houston, Texas. My father invested some of the money

on building a home in Mexico because he planned to retire depression came. Saucedo: Senora: Like supermarkets? He opened our grocery

Then the

He had three grocery stores.

Yes, but before that he sent us to one store every Sunday, to help there people, and at the same time to learn the work of the grocery store, so we could help him in the store. But I married before he opened the stores. During the

depression he lost everything because he charged all the merchandise to the people who needed it. After I was married, I went back to Houston. He had a

restaurant then, and I liked it very much.

He had one in Mexico, but I didn't He had maids. He had every-

get to see very much of it because he had cooks. thingl I used to go to the kitchen.

I loved the kitchen.

One of the times

I was looking to see what they were cooking and I burned myself in the face. I was lucky, I didn't ge'u any scars. in mind that I wanted a restaurant. When I went back to Houston, I still had I talked to my husband about a restaurant.

He said, "No, I won't open a restaurant for you because what are you going to do with the children?" Saucedo: Senora: In Houston? No, he opened one in St. Paul. That was in 1938. That was his first restaurant. Then he opened one.

-9Senora: He didn't let me cook. cook. He hired a cook by the name of Bravo. He was the only

He closed it up shortly after he opened.

Six months after he open it. So then

I told him, "If you won't let me cook, you're not going to make it"l after he closed it up, I insisted that I wanted a restaurant. Saucedo: Senora: Where was your first restaurant? It was 154 East Fairfield. That was my first one. I had only


which he bought for me just before the war ended. year.

I think the war ended that

We couldn't find any equipment for cooking or anything concerning So I moved all my things from my own kitchen in the home, and


opened the restaurant with his help. Saucedo: Senora: So your ambition was always a restaurant? Yes, that was my ambition. I always had in mind a restaurant. Every time I

went to visit my father that's all I had in mind. cook and make all these good things. the people from the Twin Cities. cessful too.

I used to see my mother

Then I wanted to come and share with all

That was my ambition, and I was very suc-

I said one day to my husband, "I wonder why I don't have business He said, "Well, you do not advertise, I think that is I said to myself, that 'ad-

the way I should have?"

one of the reasons you don't have the business." vertising would take longer. schools and colleges.

So I picked up the telephone and called different

I asked them if they were interested in a demonstration They said, "Yes". Minneapolis was the first one

to learn about Mexican food. to answer.

In the beginning of my going out to cook in the schools, there was

no kitchen so I used a desk with an electric, I don't remember what it was, but it was electric and I did the best I could with it. One of these schools

was St. Thomas College, which my son had attended, before he went into the service. I'd make tacos for all the classes. Then I was in the St. Thomas

paper for the first time.

I was already happy with this and a reporter for He sa:ild, "Did anybody

the Minneapolis Star Tribune just happened to stop by. give you any publicity?" I said, "No".

"Well, how about letting me know when

-10you are going to get something special and Itll come and see you. give me a call". Saucedo: Senora: What was his name? His name is Paul Presbery. He said, "Here I've discovered you and I want You can


everyone to know that you are here and about Mexican food" l Saucedo: Senora: What paper was he with? With the Minneapolis Star Tribune. they were coming. took the pictures. whole school. Another time one school called me and said

I called him and he came to the restaurant on Fairfield and I had no way of fitting them all in because it was the

I took them down the basement and let them go out the front as Some of them made faces They

I was passing the food from the tray to the children. because they had never seen any Mexican food.

Especailly the tamales.

looked at the tamales, wrapped in corn husks, and they'd say "What are they? No, I don't think I'd like that". hands. Then the Department of Education sent me a letter asking me if I would accept any Spanish classes so they could come and visit the restaurant and learn something about the food. I had a lot of invitations to go to the schools. I Then I would give them an enchilada in their

would come in and it was hard work for me.

It was better for them to come to

me than for me to go because I had to take baskets and all kinds of things in which to make the food. And then Doctor Mosalite, I am so grateful to him,

he was a teacher at Macalister College, discovered me and added me to his paper. Then he started coming and bringing his class to the restaurant. They

were student teachers.

He said, "All the future teachers are going to be coming, We are going to send you all the Spanish classes

if you can enlarge the place. we can.

I'll fly to Washington to set up Spanish classes allover the state. So we enlarged the place. We had classes

We'll send you the Spanish classesl from morning until five o'clock. with the food.

We served them all.

They were not familiar

Then I had a problem.

I gave out more food than the money I

-11Senora: was making I But my interest was to introduce the food and let the people
I started making chicken and wine.

know what the Mexican food was.

We called

it in Mexico "Cosina Alta", which is gurmet food. Mrs. Coronado, that food we don't want. Most of them wanted tamales.

They used to say, "Oh, no,

We like enchiladas, tacos, and tamales."

Then I decided to make a switch from the menu, Before I knew it,

I made a small menu and I put in the tacos and enchiladas.

was in businees, real business I

The place was too small with four tables,

so I moved to 184 Fairfield •• Saucedo: Senora: You moved from one corner to the other corner on the same street? Yes. The church of Our Lady of Guadalupe was there. We helped. My husband and I took

part in that church.

My husband asked his employees, when they

cleaned it, to paint the walls, the church walls. We had a hard time getting my first license. courthouse. They denied the license to me. My husband went with me to the
I mentioned to them, "Have you

been to the place?" place."

They said, l'No, but we would be happy to come and see the They said it

After they came to see the place, they were very happy.

was something different, and something that the people from the Twin Cities needed. They were lappy to give me the license because the place was all deI

corated in Mexican style. sent me. Saucedo:

had a few things from Mexico that my sister had

At that time, we couldn't get very much here. When you were on the corner of Eaton and Fairfield, What year did you open that restaurant?
I remember that day, because I

Now, can we get some dates?

that was your first restaurant. Senora: 1946, before World War I I ended.

closed the

restaurant to join the people in the streets that were singing and praying with joy that the war had ended. Saucedo: Senora: You were at the first restaurant for how long? From 1946 until what year?

1953, I moved to the corner of Fairfield and Eva, just across from the Guadalupe Church.


So you were there seven years?

-12Senora: Saucedo: Yes, I was there for that long. Then you moved over to Eva and Fairfield in 1953? From 1953 business improved? Senora: Yes, business improved, but my intention was not to move out of St. Paul. wanted to stay there. I had plans to open a patio. I How long were you there?

They denied the license, I

because they said the dust will harm the people.

Then I just gave it up.

always wanted to own a patio, but that dream will never corne true. Saucedo: How did you decide to move to Minneapolis? and what brought it about? Senora: Why did you make that decision

What year did you move to Minneapolis? When the Industrial Park moved in, We looked My We

I didn't make the decision, or my family.

we had to move and we had to leave the restaurant and our house. for a place in St. Paul and we couldn't find one.

Nobody helped us.

husband called the real estate people and nobody helped us from there. used to go out after we closed the restaurant.

He'd pick me up and we used to We happened I told my I

go looking for a place until three or four o'clock in the morning. to go to Washington Avenue and we saw this big building for rent.

husband, "Well, maybe this is the place after we have looked for so long." was ready to turn the stone. I said, "I thought '.a11ithis time that there .

would be a place to build one." Saucedo: Senora: Saucedo: What year did you officially moved into the restaurant on Washington Avenue? 1960. What memorable incidents do you remember in the restaurant between 1953 to 1960? Senora: The restaurant on the West Side, you had quite a few students? Also, I had a lot of people from allover the I had a lot of I had certain Also, I had They were

I had quite a few students. world.

I was close to the airport, the whole running field.

pilots and attendants and a lot of civilian people that carne. families that carne all the time. another family that '41ame.

They used to all corne and eat.

They used to like my stuffed peppers.

very unlucky, because when they went back to their place, which was chicago;

-14Senora: Saucedo: Senora: Saucedo: their plane crashed and they were killed. So I lost customers in an accedent.

I believe your husband and your son had an accident?

Yes. Maybe I could ask your husband about that. you with? Where were you going? Who were


I was with my son, but we were in a man's plane who was just graduating from law school. His name was Ernest Beedle. I had a meeting with a councilman

in Crystal Village. Saucedo: Coronado: Was this in reference to the restaurant? We were negotiating to buy a place at Twin Lakes. for a big restaurant. There was a lot of room

I had that meeting because they had reclassified that

place which used to be a big dance hall, they didn't want any more commercial places there. That was supposed to be only for residential. Anyway, we had Afterwards, I didn't

the meeting and we crashed taking off on the way back to St. Paul. we kept looking for a location. want to be downtown. place in Mendota. We went allover the Twin Cities.

I wanted to be in the suburbs.

We were going to buy a

Somehow, they opposed it.

They wanted to move the building.

They wanted to go to an awful expense and I just couldn't place was right across from the Sibley House.



After that we kept looking and Also at that

found this building on Washington Avenue, near Seven Cbrners. time mother' 'had~ put.·9Ul:' boy in the import business. up the place, Coronado Sales, on Robert Street. Saucedo: Coronado: Saucedo: Coronado: Do you remember the

That's when my boy opened

or the address?

One block from the drugstore. Robert and Fairfield?

My boy was in the import business, 1953 until 1959.

And then we found this I told

spot over here on Washington Avenue and he came into business with us. him that mother and I were getting pretty old.

I was afraid that we wouldn't

be able to handle it, because we couldn't get any help in Mexican cooking.

-15Saucedo: O.K., now we are up to 1959 or 1960. that we haven't included. was that? Coronado: Saucedo: That was April 28, 1925. Your wife told us that main interests were in the restaurant business. your family comes from a long line of business people as well. your dad interested in? Coronado: Saucedo: Coronado: What do you mean by interested in? Well, for example, other than the restaurant business. My father, like I said, used to work as a conductor for the railroad in Mexico. But we came here to Minnesota. Mexico. One of my grandparents was a shoemaker in I knew a little bit about both trades. However, There are a few pieces, odds and ends

For example, going back to your marriage, what year

What area was

The other one was a tailor.

When I went to the business school, after classes, I used to go to the Mayo Tailors. I learned tailoring, like I told you before. When we came here I

went into the tailoring business. Saucedo: Coronado: Saucedo: Coronado:

I went into dry cleaning.

You went in the dry cleaning business then? I went in the dry cleaning business in 1930. Where did you have your shop? I had my shop on Snelling and University Avenue, it was a little place. was there for about a year and a half. I

Then I got a bigger location about

three doors away from the firs,t place, which was four times larger than the place I had. Saucedo: I put in shoe repairing. cleaning, pressing, alterations,

So altogether in that business place you had: and shoe repair, what else did you have?


Well, we used to make shoes for crippled people, when we opened the shoe pairing.


There wasn't much profit in that, so we just dedicated ourselves to Then I started wholesale renovating, in which I was very

repairing shoes. successful.

I used to take care of all the small places from Dale Street to

the city limits of Minneapolis and to the University Barn and also to the

-16Coronado: Ford Plant. That was the area that I was able to take care of. We had four

people, blocking and cleaning hats; and two men picking up and delivering hats. I used to do most of the blocking of hats from all the other dry cleaners in the area. Saucedo: Coronado: Saucedo: Coronado: So your father was a shoe maker? Yes. Did he help you? Yes, but of course, he didn't know much about the shoe repairing. equipment we have now, anybody can repair. work. But with the

See, we have everything in machine

I started helping my dad to sew the soles, because he was afraid of the He was afraid he would get his fingers caught in the needles. So I


used to do the sewing of the soles and my father used to do the rest of it. Saucedo: Coronado: Saucedo: Coronado: How long were you in the dry cleaning business?

I was in the dry cleaning business until 1951.
And you were always on the corner near University? No, then we moved to a larger place on University Avenue. part of 1933, I moved to 1563 University Avenue. streetcar barns. That was in the last

I moved right across from the

There I had a 10nderful business. We know that you have


We haven't touched upon the members of your family yet. a number of daughters and grandchildren.

Coronado: Saucedo: Coronado:

Yes. Can you give us their names and where they were born? All my children were born in St. Paul. sent my boy to St. Thomas Academy. Academy. They finished grammar school. Then I

I sent my daughter, Carmem; to St. Joseph's

The rest of my children didn't get to go to those schools, because One went to Mechanic Arts High School. The

they were pretty strict and hard.

rest graduated from Humboldt High School. Saucedo: Could you give us the names of all the children? member when they were born? And perhaps if you can re-

-17Coronado: Senora: Saucedo: Coronado: Senora: Saucedo: Coronado: My boy, Arthur, was my first and only boy. January 22, 1926. Then who followed? Then Carmen was born, about a year and a half after that. In April. April of what year? 1928. Then A1vira, she calls herself 'Viral, because she doen't like to be Vira was born in Houston, Texas. My wife went to visit her He was born in January of 1926.

called A1vira. family. born. Saucedo: Coronado:

The doctor advised her not to comeback until after the child was That's how she happened to be born in Houston, Texas.

After Alvira, who else? I forgot to tell you this. was in Houston. I was going to go into business. In 1929, my wife

I decided I wanted to go into business.

My father-in-law
See, I

made me a good proposition, that he would go into business with me. had three different kind kind of jobs. in the morning until five.

I used to work in one place from seven

Then I used to work in another place, this was Then from six

from the last part of 1925, I worked for Per1er's Dry Cleaners.

clock until nine o'clock at night, I used to work in another store as a

tailor, and I used to work in the house making pants, jackets, pressing, repairing, and so on. That was the way I was able to save a little money for Then we decided to go to Houston, my wife I decided to go and

myself, so I could go into business. was there.

We were supposed to go and bring her back.

bring her and my father-in-law. the nineteenth of May of 1929.

I got into Houston, I'll never forget this, I worked instead of going into business. I couldn't take that weather anymore. It was so hot, I got sick the I I

worked because it was terribly hot.

had been in Minnesota from 1923 until 1929. very first week. of May.

I got into Houston on Sunday at one o'clock on the nineteenth Monday morning, I went to look for work and I The dry cleaners thought that silk

It was terribly hot.

got another job as a presser on silks.



couldn't be pressed on machines.

They thought it had to be pressed by hand. I found a way

They used to have all kinds of pleated dresses in those days.

to pleat the dressed on the machine, providing that the pleats were over onefourth inch wide. I discovered a way to pleat these dresses and these skirts I was doing

on the machine, which made it much faster than doing it by hand. all this fancy pressing at the Per1er's Dry Cleaners.

So when I went to They

Houston, I went and applied for a job as a p1eater, a silk p1eater. laughed at mel machine.

I told them what they had to do with the top of the pressing

They had to use the aluminum plate, instead of cloth, that we used Anyway, they fixed the machine the way I That was the first week, then I went

to use before, for main sewing.

asked them to fix it and I got the job. and got myself another job.

I worked there for five months, then I left I came back to St. Paul. But

Houston, exactly the nineteenth of October.

before I left for Houston, Texas, Ernest Wells, who was the spotter for the Per1er's Dry Cleaners; where I was working, the one that taught me how to spot clothes; and also, Roy, who used to work for the shop in Minneapolis, and myself, got together and we hired an organizer from Chicago, to organize the Presser's Cleaner's and Dry .C1eaner' s Union. We organized this. I left and

right away after we organized our local, our Union, they wanted us to work fifty-four hours a week; nine hours a day; for six days a week. down to fifty hours. That's when I left to go to Houston. We cut it

When I came back

there was no more Union. milkmen.

There was no one to help us in the Union, except the They were the only group. There They

They were a very strong Union.

were no other groups.

When I came back, nobody would give me a job.

called me a Bolshevik, because I was one of the organizers of the Local Union of the Dry Cleaners. Saucedo: Coronado: What year did you come back? That was October of 1929. to go into business. Nobody would give me a job. So, in 1930 I decided

I started in a little bit of a place, with one person)

-19Coronado: one pressing machine and one littler boiler. machine. Saucedo: Then I bought a hat-renovating I kept adding and adding.

That's the way I started the business.

How was it that both of you made the decision in 1946 to go into the restaurant business? What was the big transition or how did you reach that decision?


I didn't want any restaurant, because I had a restaurant in 1938 and I didn't let my wife cook. All my children were too young.

Saucedo: Coronado:

Where did you have that restaurant? That was right next to the parking lot of the auditorium on Fourth Street in St. Paul. I forgot the name of that hotel. Maybe it doesn't exist anymore.

We rented the place and I made all the tables and all of the chairs from Knotted pine. We fixed a beautiful place. Then we added a room, that we called the

"Curious Room" we ordered some merchandise from Mexico through my sister-in-law in Houston. We only lasted six months, because I wasn't able to help and I We hired Mr. Bravo, as a cook. He wasn't too good

didn't let my wife cook.

of a cook and I was losing money in every way. with the dry cleaning business. Saucedo:

I closed the place and I stayed

I imagine you encouraged your husband to go into the restaurant business after working for so many years at the dry cleaners?


Yes, he often mentions, when he talks to his friends that his wife turned him into a tarnal, because in Mexico the men don't really go into the kitchen. mostly the wives. The rich ones, they just give orders to the cooks, what The men don't really know anything about the kitchen. Also, we have the custom in Mexico, that I used to do that in the restaurant. I'd say, "Because It's

they want for the day.

All they do is sit down at the table. we serve the men first, not the ladies.

They used to ask me in the restaurant, "Why do you do that?" I'm used to doing that. home.

That's the way I always serve my husband, when he is

I serve him first, then I serve the children, I come last to sit down They couldn't get over the custom of Mexico. They were very interested in Spanish. Anyway, I liked

at the table." the customers.

One day, there was a

-20Senora: lady, she adked me if I wanted to join her. the Department of Education." She said, "We have a problem with What is it?"

I said, "Maybe I can help you.

She said, "They are going to prove that children, a boy or girl of five years of age, while learning another language, have a hard time learning their own." She and I and another teacher, I don't remember her name, used to go to Macalister College and demonstrate and prove that children, she had a small children, she taught them playing in Spanish. the children could eat.


I was to take the food so

Then we proved that children of about five or so,

could learn a different language, not only one language, but more than one. Doctor Mosalite, as I mentioned before, went to Washington to set up Spanish classes. Also, another teacher from Mankato College found my restaurant. He also used to bring his class, also teachers. He

liked my cooking.

He used to

tell me, "These teachers will also be the future teachers and they are all going to come and bring their classes."

After this date my girls started I enjoyed very much being in I never had an idea of whom I

the Spanish classes in the restaurant.

that business, because I met a lot of people. would come to meet. Saucedo:

Let's move over to 1960 when you moved over to Washington Avenue.

What pro-

blems did you encounter in getting set-up again, to get into full operation? Your facilities were larger there. Coronado: We didn't have any problems at all. First we ordered 200 Mexican chairs. It was a three story building. We We

started with one dining room downstairs. had a big warehouse in the back.

That's where I put my tortilla machine.

Also, I used it as a warehouse, for the merchandise I had when I was in the import business. We had quite a bit left. I was also selling some of that. We've had very good business right

But we didn't have any trouble whatsoever. from the beginning. Saucedo: Coronado: Did you order additional machines as well? Oh, yes! I had to for the restaurant.

We didn't have any equipment in that

-21Coronado: Saucedo: Coronado: little restaurant, whatsoever. Did you have any problems in ordering a certain type of machine that you needed? No, well, the tortilla machine, I didn't know at first where to buy it. I found out I could buy it from California. Saucedo: Of the three restaurants that we have covered so far, the first one on Fairfield and Eaton, the second on Eva and Fairfield and the third on Washington Avenue, which one did you enjoy working at the most? Senora: I enjoyed the first one because I used to do the cooking and I used to serve it. I had contact with the customers all the time. I'd never lose contact Some of the Then

with them, because I used to cook, then go out and serve them. customers used to take my apron off. dining room."

They'd say "Little mama, come to the She was

So then after that, my daughter Rosie started cooking.

at the University of Mexico for three years, not for cooking, she never took a lesson in cooking. She wanted to be a Spanish teacher. When she came back, A few

she joined me in the cooking.

She and I used to do a lot of cooking.

years later I became ill and I wasn't able to do the heavy work. suffering from the heart for many, many years. doctor told me to stop and I never did.

I've been The

But I never gave up.

In fact, we closed the small restauThe doctor told me, "Don't open

rant with the four table for one whole year.

up, because if you do you are going to drop dead on one of those tables." But I insisted, and I didn't tell my husband that. "back again. So he helped me to clean it up again. I wanted that restaurant Then I was back in business.

We moved, as I mentioned before, to 184 Fairfield, across from the church. When the church was just built there. This used to be a pool hall. A few I

Mexican people that were there, took part in it and helped clean it up. helped, my husband helped, we all helped.

Except for one thing, I had some They used to play

friends, they used to call themselves the "Milch" sisters. the violin. Coronado: They used to play for the Symphony in Minneapolis.

-22Senora: One day I was taling to them, the "Milch" sisters, they told me they were going to have an open house for the church, to let the people know that we had a church, a real church I Then, she said, "Well, who are the guests coming?" She said, "If you'd like to,

I said, "Well, I'd like to invite the banker." I'll go with you."

So we went to the mayo\!! , s office and I think that at that

time it was .•• Oh, I can't remember the name of the mayor, anyway, we went over there. We invited the mayor to come to the church for the open house and We also had a speaker, Esiquiel Moreno. The mayor was pleased. Later he

we cooked dinner for him.

came with his family to St. Paul. introduction to the Mexican Colony.

That was his first

From there on there was a society, the I can't remember the names. Anyway,

Sacred Heart or something, in the church.

the president of that society invited me to join him in celebrating the 16th of September. There were other people, Mr. & ~rs. Guerra. They used to take

part in the program.

But I used to be in charge of the queen for the fiesta.

I was to present the queen on the sixteenth of September, until I was unable to do it. Coronado: Senora: Don't forget Mrs. Rangel. Oh, Mrs. Rangel, she helped me on one occasion, because of Tito Guizar, a movie star, from Mexico, was coming. He was well liked here in St. Paul. Every time

he used to come, I was invited to go and listen to him. asked me to set up a window display.

One of the times, they I set

I asked Mrs. Rangel to help me.

up a "bracero" which I.made myself, like they cook in Mexico with charcoal and bricks. On top of the "bracero", I set up a square frying pan. I used to give them to the children. Then Mrs. Rangel Our picture

made the tortillas by hand.

was taken while I was talking to the children and my daughter was doing the selling like the girls down in Mexico. first prize on that window. Saucedo: Senora: What year was that? Oh, I don't know. I'd have to look at the pictures on the clipping. There are I had them on the window, and we won



so many things for the stories: used to go allover.

Festival of Nations; Fiesta de Montevideo, I I met so many

I used to meet a lot of dignitaries.

people, I wish I had the list of all the people I have met, from the restaurant. I met President Kennedy, I met the Attorney General. Miles Lord. business. Saucedo: Coronado: We were good friends with

He helped us a great deal, when we were opening up the third I wish I could mention all the people that I have met. How long were you there? That

That was in 1960?

We were there until we had the fire in 1965, the eighteenth of January. was the restaurant on Washington Avenue.

Saucedo: Coronado: Saucedo: Cor onado : Saucedo: Coronado: Saucedo:

Then after the fire you made the move over to where? To Twenty-three North Sixth Street. Where you a?re now?




are now.

That was in 1965, that you moved to the present location? Yes. Have you enjoyed being here at the present location more than you have at the others? Is it easier or more convenient?


No, it was very convenient at Washington Avenue, because we had a parking lot. In fact, two parking lots. in the streets. After six o'clock there weren't any people parked Up to

They used to fill the streets for blocks and blocks.

four blocks north on Washington.

We had cars parked on Eleventh Street by the They used to park allover We

tracks, on Twe1veth Street and on Fourth Street. the place.

When we had the fire, we had seating capacity for 500 people.

had two big kitchens, like we still have now. Saucedo: Coronado: Saucedo: So what are the problems you have encountered in this restaurant? There is a parking problem. I noticed that your family has been quite involved in your business, not only the dry cleaning business, but also the restaurant business. Have they bene-

fitted tremendously in learning how to, for example, deal with the public?

-24Saucedo: Coronado: Saucedo: Or how to keep records in a business? Yes. How in a way, do you feel that you have instilled in your children a certain philosophy of live in working with them from day to day? Coronado: Well, I had all my children right in St. Paul. my wife used to help me. When I was in the dry cleaning My wife used to help me

I had two branch offices.

take care of one branch office.

I hired somebody to take care of the other. So I used to They really

But there wasn't anybody else that could help me in the business. have my boy, then Carmen and Vira come to the dry cleaning place.

didn't have much to do, but you know, I wanted to keep them away from the streets after school hours. to wait on customers. Then they learned how to mark clothes. Also how

Then Carmen learned how to press, because we used to My wife

have a lot of pleated dresses in those days, which were hard to press. knew a lot about dry cleaning.

She was able to take care of the customers, All my children She',,-remained

explaining, taking orders, promising of the job, and so forth. helped me mostly in the restaurant, except one daughter, Aurora. in Houston, Texas with my father-in-law.

came back and got married. All my children

She moved to Montana, because her husband was a veterinarian. are still here in St. Paul, except Aurora.

She still lives in Bosman, Montana, He killed himself in his own

after her husband died in an airplane accident. plane. Fair. He was coming after the kid.

We ran that big restaurant at the State

That was a big place, we needed a lot of help, so my daughter from Then her husband used to come and take them

Montana used to come and help us. back before school opened. and was killed. help us at times. Saucedo:

In the last trip that he made, he had the accident My daughter still comes to

That was about seven years ago.

Some families find it difficult to keep all the members of the family together. Would you say that because of the restaurant business that your entire family is very close knit? Or would you say that this is more of a Mexican tradition

-25Saucedo: Coronado: to have the family together as much as possible? No, well, yes. I really can't answer that truly, because the reason why we

kept the family together, was because I tried to keep them away from being by themselves after school hours. I used to take them to the cleaning shop. Then I used to take them home after closing That's how they got to meet the public, get They all liked the

Often, they couldn't do anything. hours. They did their homework.

used to the public. business very much. Saucedo: Coronado:

They learned to be in business.

In fact, I believe, isn't one of them in business? Yes, my daughter, Gloria Frias and her husband. Texas. I don't remember the year. They got married in Houston,

Do you mother?

Senora: Coronado:

No. Then after they married, they came to work, that was in 1963. My boy was su-

pervising, I forgot the name of the dry cleaning place on Payne Avenue. boy gave him a job, he taught him how to spot and press clothes. father had the same kind of business in Mexico. sing shops.


Mr. Frias'

Not dry cleaning, just pres-

When his father passed away, then they came and we gave him a job. He only worked

My boy quit that job and went to work for the post office.

there for a couple years when Mother put him in the import business. Saucedo: Has the Guadalupe Church played an important role in your life, your wife's life, or your family's life? Coronado: Yes, the Guadalupe Church has helped us a great deal. We also have helped the

Guadalupe Church very, very much •. We are still helping the church. Saucedo Do you remember when the church was first organized? one time? Coronado: Do you remember when that was? Wasn't it a mission at

Yes, I don't remember the exact place, but that was sometime in 1932, that we rented a store on Wabasha Avenue. and cleaned it up. That was an old grocery store. So we painted

We had Father Guillemette, from St. Thomas College, that Then we moved to Fairfield Avenue, which used to be a

was our first priest.

-26Coronado: pool hall. worked hard. We fixed part of the building. We made a church out of it. We

Father Guillemette was still with us.

Then Father Dicks came

from Mexico and he took over. Saucedo: Coronado: Then Father Ward? Yes, Father Ward came after Father Dicks. away. That was about seven years ago. He was with us until he passed It was when I had

That was in 1968.

my first heart attack.

He had a heart attack and then he died twenty days

after he came to the hospital to give me my last rites, I thought I was going to die, but I didn't 1 Saucedo: Did you belong to any organizations in St. Paul? Mexican American organization? Coronado:


For example, the first

Do you remember what it was?

Well, when I first came here, in the winter of 1923, we had what we called Sociedad Anahuac. They found out that I was a translator and a good typist.

I used to type eighty-nine words a minute', So I must have been good! Saucedo: Coronado: I guess! They made me President of Propaganda. I used to write in English and Spanish

to all the members of our society that we called Sociedad Anahuac. Saucedo: Senora, could you give us any of the organizations that yo.u belonged to and what roles you played with some of the organizations, as well as perhaps the church? Senora:

My first organization was related with the Guadalupe Society, which still exists
with the younger generation. Women of America Club. Then I belonged to the Business Women's Club, and

I used to belong to the International Institute and the

Latin American Club. But it's been kind of impossible for me to attend all of them, because I'm sick now and transportation keeps me from going to meetings. Saucedo: Both of you have done a tremendous amount in maintaining the heritage of the Mexican American in Minnesota through the foods, the restaurant business and giving the Mexican American a good image, that he can be successful in business. Can you tell us other traditions that you feel are extremely important to

-27Saucedo: instill in the minds of the children? Is this extremely important, that And if so, what the language;

people of Mexican American heritage maintain some traditions? traditions do you feel are extremely important? perhaps not only the foods, the music perhaps? to time? For example:

Do you visit Mexico from time Do your children go back

Do your friends or relatives visit Mexico?

to Mexico from Coronado:

to time?

My way of thinking, and the experience that I have had, in business, I started with the dry cleaning, and then after that my wife wanted the restaurant. So

I told her, "Well, we can try, but I doubt it very much that it'll succeed." The people in this part of the country don't know that much about Mexican food. Anyway, that's when I opened up a place on Fourth Street in St. Paul, near the auditorium, on one side of the parking lot. Well, I wasn't too successful I let somebody else run it So finally,

there, because I didn't take care of the business. and that didn't work out.

From there, I didn't want the restaurant.

after the World War II, prices, salaries, and everything started going up, so high, and I wasn't making enough profit to satisfy myself. decided to go into business with Mama Coronado. So that's when I

But I never wanted a big res-

taurant here in the Twin Cities, although"'we hag' a wonderful clientele; tight here from Minnetonka, Bloomington, the South part of Minneapolis, all the college towns south from the Twin Cities; White Bear; some from Duluth. we had the theater. Then

We had the theater for about a year, showing Mexican films, We were serving

and of course American films, but especially Mexican films.

all the Spanish classes of the Twin Cities and also from other towns as far as La Crosse, Wisconsin. Also Montevideo, Minnesota, Duluth, some came from quite Even some from Iowa. My boy wanted to open

far away from the Twin Cities.

I used to tell people, why doesn't someone open a store.

a grocery store, when he was running the import business, but it would have been too much for him to take care of both. I used to ask some ofllimy friends, After I moved

"Why doesn't someone open up a bakery, open up a store here."



to Minneapolis, "Why doesn't someone open a store, a bakery, to supply the Mexican colony?" And not only the Mexican colony, because we had a great deal They like Mexican sweet rolls. After

of American people that go to Mexico.

I sold the dry cleaning place, mother and I used to go to Mexico and we learned how to make candy. many things. I learned how to make Mexican chocolate. I learned to do

That's why I used to tell the people, "Why doesn't somebody else We can't handle any Well, I guess a couple She

open a store to supply the Mexican people with this?" more with this big restaurant I of them did. Nobody seemed to care.

Now my daughter opened a restaurant.

She's very successful.

has a very good business.

When we had the fire, we helped my daughter a great In the place where we had the fire, we

deal by sending the customers to her.

had the tortilla factory in the back, because we had a big, big building, a great big building and warehouse. We helped our daughter with the tortillas It took us over six That place

until we were able to fix this place that we have now. months to finish the place.

First, we started with the upstairs.

had been vacant for thirty-five or thirty-seven years! of money fixing up the place.

Well, we spent a lot But

Then we opened the downstairs dining room.

before that, we opened the restaurant, then we moved the tortilla machine and the rest of the equipment to the warehouse in one of the rooms. six or seven big, big rooms, separate rooms as a warehouse. Juarez: Now looking back on your lives' from the time you came here and started your business in St. Paul, what things would you do the" same and what things would you do different? Coronado: Well, now of course, it's different. Now we have to educate the people here, If I was to start again, I would We had about

in the Twin Cities to like'the Mexican food. never start in downtown.

I would have to be in the suburbs of the Twin Cities,

with a big parking space, and with an appropriate Spanish, really SpanishMexican building, with the Spanish decor as a yard and for parking and so forth. Now, I would do that, because of course, don't forget that it cost us an awful

-29Coronado: lot of money to teach the people of the Twin Cities to like and to enjoy the Mexican food. Saucedo: Coronado: You made it easier for Zapata to make a profit I Yes. We started with tacos and also with a package of spices, selling in the But it was too much for us to handle. Of course, I was getting old.


I'm seventy-one years old, and I'm blind. would start a business in the suburbs. Juarez: Coronado:

But if I was to start right now, I

Do you still sell products in the stores now? No, not any more. a Spanish teacher. That business was taken over by Mrs. Simon. She used to be


The import business was taken over by her, because Arthur couldn't handle it anymore because he was sick.

Saucedo: Coronado: Senora: Coronado:

Is she still in business? She's in Mexico. She sends the merchandise here.

She lives in Pueb1a, Mexico.

really did a very, very successful, wonderful business.

But like I said,

we had to stop the import business. Juarez: Coronado: Senora: Don't you sell frozen tortillas? Yes, we do. We make tortillas, corn and flour.

We started with hand-too1-1eather goods.

It took six months for my daughter Rosie First we had a

and I to improve the recipe for tortillas, to make it good. problem in making it.

My daughter and I decided there had to be a different Like I Also the

way to make them, to keep them fresh and for the people to use them. mentioned before, it took six months before we put it in the market. bags had to be tested by the Health Department. Coronado: Juarez: Senora: There had to be a special kind of paper. Who handles that operation now? The American Frozen Foods. that buy them.

Then we had a lot of individual grocery stores

My daughter Carmen, goes every Thursday to the factory and she



sells the tortillas to the grocery stores and the restaurants. restaurants that buy tortillas.

There is three


There is quite a few stores that buy.

They buy through the American Broker's.

In other words, American Broker's sell you almost anything you want in line of frozen foods. Island. We had open the frozen plant, right over here at the Nicollet It was too much

But like I said before, my boy had heart trouble.

work for him and we had to close it. Senora: My son worked really hard. He wanted to build the business and he did. The

last time he was with us, he'd really work. the business after we had the fire. Saucedo: Coronado: Senora:

He'd concentrate on bringing up

Did you rely on him more than you did on any other member of the family? Oh, yes. Yes, we did. My son was very intelligent. He managed to build up the business. I was

He was also the treasurer. the president.

We formed a corporation among the family.

I think I'm still that, because they gave us one year after my But then, I'll be through.

son died to change the names of the corporation. I have been a volunteer. Coronado: We advise them.

I'm no longer in the business. The only

We can't help, because she's crippled and I'm blind.

one in charge now, as the owner, is my daughter, Rosie. know.

Well, now I just don't We are supposed We

The business is going good, especially in tortillas.

to make the best tortillas.

Also we get tortillas coming from allover.

get tortillas from -Chicago, and from Dallas, from California. claim that ours are the best, which makes us happy. Juarez: That's very good. Mama, I want to ask you a question.

But still they

What things would you

do the same or different looking back on your life time in St. Paul? Senora: Well, if I was to start allover with the restaurant, I would never give it up. The business has been a part of my life and I like it and I'm used to it. at home, especially after my son passed away. I'm

I used to tell my son, "Son, I

am getting old and you can have me here, in. the wheel chair, and I'll still be

-31Senora: with you?" He'd say, "Mother, don't worry, we'll be here." But I think I

would never open up a big building, a restaurant, especially now the situation with employees. Some are short of work; some work only one day; and some just They want a lot of money. It's difficult

want to get easy things for them. to run a business right now. in the years before:

But I feel one satisfaction, that is what I did

I not only introduced the food to the children, but also I wish that my children had that opporI did a lot for the

to the parents, and to the schools.

tunity, in the different fields, when they were small.

Department of Education, for the groups of children from the different schools. We consider that we had more than other people. husband had a contract~with the Welfare. We helped a lot of people. During the depression, my

We were better off than anybody else. They'd come to my

They didn't have enough food.

door and ask for a cup of sugar or anything. because I had more than enough.

I was happy to give it to them, He also was

My husband was a good provider.

working for the Changing Case and he did very good. us. We never had any Welfare from the County.

We never had anybody help

We never had any help from the People used to

City, or any other thing.

We did everything by ourselves.

tell me when we used to go away on -our trips to Me:xico to buy merchandise, "Oh, your children get like a beast, they all get together and work together." But that's the way we had taught them, to get together and to have unity. my husband was in the business, I was home, I used to play with them. to play in the sandbox. When

I used

The only thing I could never do is ride a bicycle. I grew up with them. I was young when I

But I used to go allover with them. married. children. I had them young.

I was twenty-five years old when I had my six I enjoyed her very much, because Now, she's the one

My Rosita, came six years later.

the others were big. helping us. home. Coronado:

I spent a lot of time raising her.

She's the one taking care of us, because she's the only one at

Well, she's the one that owns the business.

We have nothing to do with it.

-32Coronado: We are retired. See, I retired in 1969, when I was sixty-five years old.

Mother retired in 1972. Senora: Coronado: I know that otherwise, I would have gotten sick. The reason we retired is on account of sickness. have a pace-maker withi,',me now. I have heart trouble. I

I'm due for my other pace-maker next year, if

God gives me the grace to live that long. Saucedo: Coronado: Who has been running the business now? Which daughter? Then of course, We had up to Now this

Rosa, and Carmen, with the help of some of my grand-daughters. the boys. But when it comes to the cooking, it's the family.

fifty-four people in the restaurant, when we had the Mariachi group. is going back to six years ago. so high.

But like she said before, wages have gone up

Prices are going up so high in corn, flour, shortening, lard, we don't Now we serve as brokers also.

used lard at all, but we do sell it wholesale.

We sell cheese, and beans by certain amounts in sacks and all kinds of spices. But if I was to start allover again, like I said, we would start in a restaurant of about, say, no more than a hundred people. trouble with help. unemployed. Then you don't have any

Also, they claim that there are so many millions of people They go to work and they maybe

But they don't ,want to go to work.

work a week and then they quit. Welfare.

Then they want to go on Sociel Security or A lot of big restau-

It's too much trouble for a big business now.

rants have closed.

Lots of big restaurants right here in the Twin Cities. But I still say, like I said

Not only in Minneapolis, but also in St. Paul.

before, that I do not know or understand why some of our people have not gone into other businesses. Saucedo: I can't understand why!

If your grandchildren, say, right out of high school, were to ask you, "Grandpa or Grandma, what advice do you have for me?" into business? What would you say to them? Would you encourage them to go


Well, no.

I told them and I've been telling them, to go to the University. But up

I've been trying to have some of my grandchildren, to take medicine.

-33Coronado: until now, none of them have agreed to it. of them, are going to the University. Now my grand-daughter, I had three They

They are taking I don't know what.

take one thing this year, then they take another thing next year and so on. Up until now, I don't know what they are going to do. working for 3M. She took programming at Control Data. I have a grand-daughter, She was the only girl

in that school that graduated with big honors. for 3M now, getting a big salary. Saucedo: Senora: Coronado: What's her name? Marcia Yo11anda Rodriguez.

That's the one that's working

She is Carmen's daughter.

I also have a grandson that took science for a year or a year and a half at the University. Then he 'went and enlisted in the service, because he was due to So he went

be called for service in the trouble that we had in South Vietnam. and he enlisted and he served two years. Now he goes to school at night. Senora: Coronado: Senora: Saucedo: Coronado: Senora:

But then he went and got married.

I think he's going to go this year full time? So is his wife.

Yes, he's planning to continue his education. He is a very intelligent kid. Carlos Rodriguez. You know him?

So your advice then, is to continue their education as much as possible? Dh, yes, by all means! I was not very lucky to get a very good education. be part of the Revolution in Mexico. I was unfortunate enough to Then when

My experience was very bad.

we came in 1922 to Houston, Texas I only had been to school one day and the doctor discovered that I had rheumatic fever. I had heart trouble. getting bad. I had that before. From that

I have had heart trouble all my life.

But now, it's

As 11m getting older, it I S getting worse.

So theu",my father had

a tutor in Spanish, not English to help me.

When I came to St. Paul, after I They asked me, "How do

married my husband, I didn' tknow a word of English. you say

dress I in Spanish?"

And I started by telling them a dress was there. Then I figured that it was very impor-

I went over and changed into a dress.

-34Senora: important for me to be sure of English. They had classes at night for English. I

I only attended one night, because I had my son I couldn't leave him alone. was always attached to the children very much. I played with them. I did

everything the children would like or wanted to do. of them, even my son.

They cooked for me, all

The English that I know, I taught to myself, I don't

like to say it, but it's the honest truth. paper on the floor and look at the comics. English is not correct. very hard to speak. Coronado:

On Sundays, I would lay the newsI'd tell myself, that's why my English is

I didn't go to school more than one day.

Well, I'm sorry to interrupt you Mama, but the question you asked me, I do like to see more Mexican people in business. different fields: Because we do need other merchants in The colony and

like groceries, bakeries, butcher shops.

the neighborhood need them. Saucedo:

But I do not understand why they haven't tried it.

Through your efforts, I know you have done much to give the Mexican American in Minnesota, a favorable reputation. I know your family and friends who listen We want to thank

to this tape in the future, will find it quite informative.

you for allowing us into your home and making this recording, and conducting this interview on behalf of the Minnesota Historical Society. Coronado: Senora: Thank youl Thank you. We are very happy to tell you our troubles and our good times!