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Interview with Esther M. Avaloz

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Esther Avaloz was born February 21, 1911, in Topeka, Kansas. She worked in the fields from the age of eleven and attended school for one year. She lived in Colorado and California and came to Minnesota in 1935, where she met and married Gabriel Avaloz. She has five children. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Family history, her own and her husband's - St. Paul's Mexican-American community when she arrived - holidays celebrated by Mexican Americans - weddings and baptisms - and advice to younger generations. COMMENTS ON INTERVIEW: In Spanish, transcribed into English.

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1:20:06

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TRANSCRIPT OF AN ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW WITH ESTHER M. AVALOZ

This interview was conducted as part of a series on the Mexican American in Minnesota. Esther M. Avaloz, was born in Topeka, Kansas on February 21, 1911. both born in Guanajuato, Mexico. for workers. Her parents were

Her father was both a field worker and a 'contractor From the age

As a child Esther spent time traveling from state to state.

of eleven she worked in the fields with her family.

She went to school for one year.

In 1935, Mrs. Avaloz came to St. Paul where she met and married her husband, Gabriel Avaloz. They were married the same year they met and had five children. She describes the

Mrs. Avaloz discusses her family history as well as her husband's. life of working in the fields of Colorado and California.

She also talks about her

husband's job on the railroad, St. Paul's Mexican American community when she first arrived, the holidays celebrated by the Mexican Americans, weddings, and baptisms. conclusion, she advises the younger generation to take advice from older people with experience. This is a transcript of a tape recorded interview in Spanish, tr~nslat~d"and edited to aid in clarity and ease of comprehension for the reader. The original tape recording is In

available in the Audio-Visula Library of the Minnesota Historical Society.

INl'ERVIEW W1TH HRS. ESrHER 11. AVALOZ

JULY 28, 1975
Ilill'ERVIEv[ER: BARELA:

VICTOR BARELA

This is Victor B3.re1a intervie,dng 11rs. Esther H. Ava10z of 138 Nest Robie Street, at the State Historical Society, st. Paul, 11innesota. This interviev,

is for the l'1exican American History Project, under the auspices of the Hinnesota Historical Society.
Do I have your permission to intervie\v you?

Do you agree then that this interview will go on to the Minnesota Historical

Society?
AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ:
~.rnELA:

Yes. vJhat is your full name? Esther Harme1a Ava1oz. IVhere were you born? In Topeka, Kansas. VJhat 1.vas the year? February 21, 1911.
\~10 Here your parents?

AVALOZ: BARELA:

Vicenta Valdivia and Severiano Torres Where was your father born? He Has from the state df Guanajuatoo
Do you remember the year?

AVI'J...,OZ:
BARELA: AVALOZ: BA..B.ELA:

I don't recall the name of the town.

No, I don't.
VJhere was your mother born? In the state of Guanajuato, also. 1Vhat did your father do for a living?

AVALO'Z:
BARELA: AVAIDZ:

He Has a field Horker and a contractor.

Both of them worked.

-2BARELA: AVALOZ:

You said he was a contractor, what do you mean by that? He 'would contract ,\,Jith farmers or companies and then he would contract the people to do the work. He also worked in the fields 1rl.th thA other Horkers.

BARELA:

Did he go to Mexico to recruit the workers or did he recruit them here in the United States?

AVALOZ: BA..'R.E1A: AVALOZ:

In the United States. Is this why he came to the United States, to Hark the beets? I guess he Has already here when I was born but I suppose he did come here to lIork.

3AREL_!l...: AVALOZ:

Did you have other brothers and sisters? I did, but they have all died nOH. lJ'ere there a lot of you? Four.
fu you remember some of their names?

BARELA:
AVALOZ:

BARELA:
AVALOZ:

There

viaS

Juan.

They all died Hhen I Has still very young, but I remember
~'J'e

him because he was the onJ.y one left.

had a Victoria, Juana and a baby

named
BARELA:
AVALOZ:

VisaJ.~.

Did they die here in I1:i..rmesota? No, they died in Colorado.
Do you remember your parents?

BARELA:
AVALOZ:

Very little, because I left after I got married.

I went back shortly after

but my mother died and I did not want to live vuth my father.
3.A..liELA: AVALOZ:
fu you remember the year that your parents crossed the border?

No.

They Here here since 1902.

They probably lived in different places.

·.
I

-3BARE;LA:

Do you remember hearing your family taJJc about the revolution? No. I think they vlere already here w'hen the Revolution
vlaS

AVALOZ:
BARELA:

going on.

You mentioned that your father had seen President Juarez in person? No, it \'Jas my husband. So after your parents crossed the border, uhere did they go from there?

AVALOZ:

AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ:
BARELA:

They lived in Esme1da in Ciudad Juarez for a long time. From there where did they go? They lJent to Colorado. 'VJhat did they do in Colorado?
By father 1-JOrked for the railroad in 1908.

AVALOZ:

From Y.ansas they "Jent to

Colorado J vIhere they started working the beets.

BARELA:
AVALOZ:
BARELA:

Do you recall approximately Nhen this was?

No, I donlt, because they did not tall( much about their past 1ifeo
, So they went to Hork the bee·ts? They became residents of Colorado. Do you remember La Junta? Yes, I remember. They lived in La Junta, Colorado.

AVALOZ:

BA..'lELA:
AVALOZ:

Did you go to school there?

I went to school there for a yearD

BARELA:
AV ALOZ:
I don t t remeIuber.

B.ARELA.:
AVIILOZ:

How old \Vere you then? I was about 10 or 11
~rears

old.

BJIRELA:
AVALOZ:

So by then you vlere Horking the beets, too? Yes, I started to work when I was 11 years old. 'IV'as it hard Nork '? In the beet, yesG Did the family make much money?

BARELA:
AVALOZ:

BlillELA:

:

.

-4AVALOZ:

Yes, He made money because there Here three girls and one boy and myself. We all vlOrl<.edo home.
~/le Horl~ed

during the su:nmer but in the l.Jinter we stayed

3ARELA:
AVALOZ:

You TtJorked in La Junta? Yes. 1oJ'ere there many Hexicans in La Junta'? Yes, but I donI t remember hOvJ many. 'l>Jhere did you go from La Junt.a?
~oJ'e

BARELA:
AVALOZ:

BARELA:
AV1l.LOZ:

went to Rl."'au1ey, California.

BARELA:
AVALOZ:

Do you remember the year?

It Has around 1926.
So when you 1V'ere in Brm-Jley, the L1Iperial Valley, Hhat did you do there? We ,·wrked in the melon fields. r-1exicans were not the did it too.
o~

BARELA:
AVALOZ:

vie "t'l'Ould cover them with dry weeds.

The

ones to do this vlOrk because other nationalities

The Japanese were the OI,mers of the ranches because they kneH There I-Jere not marv Anglos that knevl much about The Japanese have

a lot about agriculture.

how to plant watermelon, melons, cucumbers, and squash. more experience at planting these than the Anglos.

They would spread out

the plants, put a circle of stakes around them, put a newspaper to the north to shelter them from the cold. February, l1arch, April and l'1ay.
BARELA:
AVALOZ:

This was the work l-le did during January,

Did you also cover the melons 1.Jith the dry 'Iveeds? Yes, so they \-Jould not freeze in case it got cold. }1e1on is very sensitive.

vIe l'lou1d pick it during July, but by then it 'vas so hot people iiould pass

out from the heat.

-5AVALOZ:

They Hould put their sacks on their backs and pick the melon so tl"wt sometimes they vJould be carrying about 20 or they filled their sacks.

25

melons on their backs until

Then they would empty it and start allover. 1-Jorldng there, too:?

BARELA: AVALOZ:

Were there a lot of

~1exicans

Oh yes, we lived in grass huts. looked like
VIe

We

on~

had a roof over our heads.

It

Here having a picnic outside.

BARELA:
AVALOZ:

Like a little house? No, not even that because all we had Has a roof and
1'18

cooked under it. Here 1-ie have plerrt.y So

Like I tell my children, you still see this in Hexico.

but we don't appreciate it because the more you have the more you want. this is how we lived. If you had a creative husband, he could cover the If not, that was all you had.

four sides of the house.
BA.• 1.ELA:

Did you sleep there, too? Yes. Did you have blankets? No, Vie did not need them in that heat. It wasn't until three or four years

AVJU.,OZ:

BARELA:
AVALOZ~

after we Here there that the farmers started building little houses for us -vuth screens all the way around and roofs, because there Here a lot of snakes and some of the people died from snake bites. pressure the ranchers to provide better shelter. Someone started to

BARELA:
AVJU.,OZ:

So you must have suffered a lot there? Yes, it was
aVlful~

hot.

We were in Brawley for six months and for the next We left around

four to sLx months we went to the coast to pick prunes. July or August. a month.

")ve stopped in Kochela and El Indio to pick onions for about

After we finished there we Hent to a place near Santa Barbara to From there 1-Je went to pick onions. When we finished picking

pick apricots.

prunes in September, He I')"Quld go back homeo

.. .

-6BARELA:
AVALOZ:
~fuere

did you pick prunes?

In Hi llr oy , California.

(>

I

BARELA:
AVALOZ:

Was this during the time "I'lhen you ''lere 11, 12, or 13 years old? No, I was

15

when

Vie

first went to California.

I was there until I \'las

24
BARELA: AVALOZ:

years old.

So you did not go to school? No. I never went to school.
I worked.

BARELA:
AVALOZ:

Did you only go to school for a year? Only a year. Whatever I have learned here has been through word of mouth.

BARELA:
AVALOZ:

How about the other Mexican children, did they get to go to school? No, most of them did not. Did some of them get to go to school? Some did. To public schools or did someone come out to teach them? To public schools. There were some parents who wanted their children to get
My husband Gc:)riel Hanted

BARELA:
AVALOZ:

BARELA:
AVALOZ:

an education to have a better life and get ahead.

his children to get an education rather than ,vorking because there will always be work, but you cannot always get an educationo So he always encouraged the

children to get an education so they would not end up breaking their backs like he dido field Ivork
0

He worked laying track most of his life.

He also did some

BARELA:
AVALOZ:

Were you married in California? Yes, I had my first child in California. Where did you meet your husband? Here in St. Paul.

BARELA:
AVl\LOZ:

-7BARELA: AV/U.,OZ: BARELA: AVKLOZ:

So from California •••• I went to Colorado, and from there I came here. V.Jhat did you do in Colorado? I worked the beets. Did you ltlOrk in the beets? I also Horked the beets here

I did that for tHO years.

for one yem:', near Chaska. vfuat year
l.;ras

it when you Vlent from California to Colorado?

N'ere you

25

years old?
AVALOZ: BA..li.ELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ:

No, I Has about 23 years old. And from there you came here to St. Paul? Yes, it
viaS

lJere you about the same age?

not long before I came here.

Here you met your husband? Yes, I met Gabriel here. Did you come by train? Yes, by train. Was it a long journey? Yes, it '\\Tas long. It took us about a day and a night. Something like that.

l'llien did you come to St. Paul? In

1935.

And you met your husband? Yes, we were married the same year. You mentioned that your husband i-1aS born in Mexico? Yes, he "\.Jas born in Nexico, but they brought him here when he was about five Dr six months old. They had also lived in Esmelda; it is betl.Jeen Ciudad Juarez The government at that time did not restrict
a~oneo

and El Paso, Texas.

If you lvanted to build a house you could live in it for nothing. built a house and they lived there for a long time. think.

His family

Until they came here, I

-8BA..11.ELA:

Did he ever taD{ about his parents, uhere they were born or where they came from?

AVALOZ:

No, his father did not tell him about his mother. did not know anything about her. vlhen his mother died.
}~

I guess his father

husband was about 16 or 17 years old

BARELA: AVPJ..,oZ:

Did he remember their names? His father's name was Faustin Avaloz and his mother's name was Petra
Galisi.

BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVPJ..,OZ:

What year was your husband born? In 1899. lias he born in Ciudad Juarez? In Chihuahua. town. The state of Chihuahua. I don't remember the name of the

BARELA: AV_4LOZ: BARELA: AVPJ..,OZ:

So they 'l-rent to Ciudad Juarez and from there l.Jhere did his family go? They worked in the fields.
Do you remember the towns?,

He told me they Horked in Dutch City, and all those places where they had ranches. His mother is buried in Emporia, Kansas and his father is buried

here in St. PauL
BARELA: AVALOZ: BA..B.ELA:

So his father worked the beets? Yes. Did they ever go to California like you did? Noo I never knew them. TMhen I married him he was about 35 or 36 years old.

AVALOZ:
BA..'IlELA: AVPJ..,OZ:

liJhen l'1ere you married? In 1935.

-9BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: At this time was he working for the railroad? Yes, he worked for 39 years on the tracks, until he retired. When did he retire? He died six years after he retired, so it was around 1966. year s old when he died. BARELA: AVALOZ: Was he treated fairly at work? Well, he had a missing eye. Did he like it? A playmate shot He was 66

He lost it when he was young.

an arrow and hit him in the eye.

He felt that it could have been saved but
1

back then people tried their home remedies first becaui:>je they could not
j

I

afford to take their children to the doctor. cure him. BARELA: AVALOZ: Do you know how they tried to cure him? They would put drops in his eyes.

So his grandmother tried to

His eye still watered so I think it could So this is why he always He was always a spiker.

have been saved but he did not try to get it fixed. said he had no ther choice but to do hard labor. BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: Did he enjoy his work? Yes, he loved it. So after you got married he worked the tracks? Yes. And you stayed horne with your family? Yes. When you first camein1935 ..•.. Yes, I carne in 1935, but he was already here. or 1920. BARELA:

He carne here around 1918

Do you remember some of the families that were here by then?

-10AVALOZ: Yes, this was when I met Mr. Aguilar, the Rangels, Celia, Lupe Cruz,

the Coronados, Juan Rodriquez, Agustin Rodriquez, Alfonso de Leon, Esiquia Monita, Munoz, David Limon, and the Ruiz family. BARELA: You said that when you came, there was not just one Mexican community, that there were others? AVALOZ: Yes, there were those of the West Side, East Side, and the ones on the other side of the West Side. The people on the West Side would always

get together and whenever anyone outside the area would come in they would consider that person an outsider. BARELA: AVALOZ: But even so, they all got along.

Was there a group that was with the church and others for other things? Some would not come to our church because they already belonged to another church or because they would attend a church that was closer to where they lived.

BARELA:

What was St. Paul like when you first came? fields, so it must have been quite a change?

You WE;lre coming from the

AVALOZ:

\Well, it was a big change.

As I tell my children, I am grateful to God I am used to living different styles, poor The difference

for having given me this much. and comfortable.

I am very happy with what I have now.

was that we did not have to move around from town to town working like a tramp. Here I stayed in one place and I have gotten used to it. I learned

how to drive when I was 16 in California. a car. to work.

When we got married we bought

My husband never learned how to drive so I used to drive him Every Sunday I would take my children to McCarrons Lake.
On~

They always took their friends. adults in our Model T.

time we took 12 children and three

We were poor, but we had a good life.

-11-

AVALOZ:

My husband liked to drink once in awhile, but he never ignored his re sponsibilitie s.

BARELA: AVALOZ:

Where did you live when you fir st came to St. Paul? We lived on Fairfield for nine years, in a basement that my compadre Frank Lopez rented to us. she died. He was married to my husband's sister, but

We had three little rooms.

BARELA: AVALOZ:

How many children did you have? I only had two children. people. I have always been very compassionate with other

There was a woman that did not have a place to sleep so I invited

her to stay at our house. BARELA: AVALOZ: What was her name?
It was Maria Felix, :IT think.

I don't exactly recall her last name.

They

did not want to help her out and so she stayed with us for more than a year. Later there was another woman that lived with us for over a year. She also did not have anyone to live with.

Her name is Pola Ca:t:npos. BARELA: AVALOZ:

Were all your children born here? Yes, well, the oldest was born in Brawley, California. born here. All the others were

BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ:

What is her name? Her name is Maria. When was she born? In 1931. When were the others born? Jorge was born in 1936, Agustino ('lino) in 1938, he is going to be 36 years old, Nazaria (Chaya) was born in 1941, Juan is the youngest. living. They are all

-12 BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: Do they all live here in St. Paul? Yes, except the oldest. He lives in New York.

And your oldest daughter, is she married? Yes. Who is she married to? She married a black man, his name is G1aston. And the girl? She is married to an Anglo, his name is Mark Bauer. And the boy s ? Tino is married to Karen, and Jo'rge's wife was Pat. Were your first years in Minnesota hard? For me they were not because I had suffered a lot before. better life than what I was used to having. This was a He is divorced.

BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ:

Was the Mexican community united by then? No, when Gabriel's uncle carne in 1918 ..... What is his uncle's name? Pomposo Guerra, he and Luisa said that there were only a few Mexicans when they first carne. Later on some of the Mexicans would stop in the Little by little more and more

houses of the families that were here. people carne. BARELA: AVALOZ:

Were organizations formed to help out some of the new families? No, I don't think so. The only way they could help them was to let them

stay at their homes until they could find their own place. BARELA: AVALOZ: Did you ever take in any families like that? No, I never did because I did not have room and, as I told you before, I always had someone living with us.

-13BARELA: AVALOZ: Were you renting then? Yes, the first house we bought was in 1951 on State and Texas Streets. Then the government bought out the homes to build the Industrial Park. They.gave us $6,000 for the house and a lot that was 50' x 100~. BARELA: AVALOZ: And you had to sell it? Yes, we had to.

If we wanted to fight so they would give us more money
We did not put up a

it would have all gone to a lawyer for his fees. fight. more. BARELA:AVALOZ: From there you carne to this house on Robie? Yes, we only had three ohildren by then. 10 years here. BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ:

Others did put up a fight, but I don't know if they got that much

Gabriel, my husband, lived about

When you carne, did the people celebrate the patriotic feasts? Yes, they did. Was your husband involved with the Anahuac Society? I don't know because when I carne and got married to him he did not belong to any society. But later he took part in the Comite Patriotico. For about

10 years, we were in charge of pop selling for the festivals. would buy it and we would sell it for him. BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: For the church? Yes, for the church.

The priest

So your husband did not participate in the Anahuac Society when you met him? Not in the Anahauc Society. He was a member of the Comite Patriotico. They

Later my children became involved with danCing in the programs. did this for a long time.

-14AVALOZ:
The oldest was the first one and Iny youngest, Jorge was dancing when he was four years old. Flag Day in May. We have a picture of Iny son Jorge Inarching for He wore a little Spanish hat but it rained so hard that He did not Inind, he kept on Inarching. We did not have a parade

his hat got all bent out of shape.

There were others that Inarched for that day. but SOIne did Inarch for that day. participate. three years. things.

Father Dicks liked to have the children

He was a good priest, but he did not last too long, about Then Father Ward replaced hiIn and did the saIne kinds of

BARELA:

Were the holidays you celebrated then the saIne as the ones they celebrate now?

AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ:

I think those were the best.

In the first place they were very orderly.

Do you remeInber how you celebrated the 5th of May? I don't remeInber. My husband's uncle, POInPOSO Guerra, had pictures

of aP the Mexican heroes and he would lend theIn out so they could use theIn. For the 15th and 16th of SepteInber, they would put theIn up and

arrange theIn with a curtain for a background.

BARELA: AVALOZ:

Where did they celebrate these holidays? It was at the AuditoriuIn for Inany years. Before, when they did not have

enough Inoney, they would celebrate it at Harriet Island, and also at the Neighborhood House.

BARELA:

How did they celebrate the 16th of SepteInber? of May?

Was it the saIne as the 5th

AVALOZ:

No, it was much bigger.

When they first started to celebrate the 5th of May,

they would recite one or two poeIns to let the people know what the celebration was all about.

-15 AVALOZ: For the 16th of SeptelTIber, they would have the governor or the lTIayor speak to the people, especially if it was an election year. was one of the speakers. BARELA: AVALOZ: Did they recite poelTIs or what? They only told us how happy they were that we, as Mexicans, celebrate the anniversary of independence. thelTI. BARELA: AVALOZ: What did the Mexican cOlTIlTIunity present for the 16th of September? About two or three years ago, they had a parade. I don't know if they They would thank us for having invited HUlTIphrey

did not have floats because they did not have any lTIoney or what, but they had a short parade. SOlTIetimes they would only announce it., The first

night there wer e not too lTIany people, but the second night it was packed. BARELA: AVALOZ: What type of things did you have? We would have SOlTIeone recite poems, a group of children would sing the Mexican N,tional AnthelTI and other songs. girls would always be involved with :this. dancers. SOlTIe would dance, the Rangel They are very good singers and The

It seemed as though the people were lTIore enthused.

AuditoriulTI is a big place and it would fill with people. BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: Who were the ones that organized the whole progralTI? El Comite Patriotico. Was your husband involved with the cOlTIite on this? Yes. What responsibilities did your husband have for the progralTI? He helped to put up the alter and he would fix the booth were the falTIily was going to sell the pop.

-16BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: Did whole familie s participate? Yes, whole families. Did you celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe's Day? No, we only had a mass and mananitas. I have never taken part in that.

I did not go to any of those events until the children grew up and we could

take them with us.

We would even take the m to dances with us.

Sometimes

I would not go to mass because I did not like to leave them by themselves.

BARELA: AVALDZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ:

Were these dances for the patriotic celebration? Yes. Did you celebrate El bia de la Raza (Columbus Day)? No. Did you have some church festivals that you celebrated? Yes, Father Ward liked to have IIjmaicas ll , it is like a carnival. You have

booths which sell foods like tamales, tacos, tostadas, palm readers, games and rides. We had, a jail where we would throw in people and they had to This was to raise funds for the church. Mr s. Rangel said

pay to get out.

that she stopped putting these together because she doesn't know how to read. Mr. Rangel was a good person and he put on some good pastorelas.

I know how to read, but I would not like to take on that responsibility. BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: Did your children take part in all of this? Yes, they liked all those things. Did you ever participate in any of the church activities? member of any of their organizations? AVALOZ: No, it has only been four years since I joined the Society of Guadalupe. Before, I did not participate in any of those things. Were you a

-17 BARELA: Your husband was a member of the Comite Patriotico, did he belong to any other organization? AVALOZ: My son told me that his name was in the Anahuac Society. been before I met him. That must have

Later he liked to drink so maybe he'd rather Maybe that is why he stopped

go to the bar than go to the meetings. being involved with them. BARELA:

Do you remember who were the people in the Comite Patriotico who showed more enthusiasm?

AVALOZ:

Don Alfonso de Leon was one of them, Don Pomposo Guerra was another one, and a man that died long ago, he was Jorge Galvan's father - in -law. He was the one that started the Comite Patriotico again.

BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ:

You said 'that Father Ward organized a lot of things? Yes, he did. Did he also help the Mexican community? Oh yes, plenty. He helped them in different ways. People that come would

go to him for help. BARELA: Did your family ever have to go to Father Ward for help? Dicks was already here. AVALOZ: Father Dicks also helped the Mexicans. and showed how he helped us. hi s own humility and kindne s s. BARELA: At that time, did you celebrate weddings, baptisms, and funerals, the Mexican way? AVALOZ: Well, not long ago, we had some Mexican weddings where the man had to pay for all the expenses. Now days it is the other way around. He would show us as being poor Oh no, Father

Whereas, Father Ward helped us out of

-18 AVALOZ: Some of my husband's relative s got married here and it was half and half. They both paid for the wedding. BARELA: Were there some things about a Mexican wedding that were different from the other weddings? AVALOZ:
It depends on what type of food you want.

If you want Mexican food, you

can have it; if not you can have Anglo food. BARELA: AVALOZ: How are they different? Well, in an Anglo wedding you can have sandwiches and in a Mexican wedding you put on a whole dinner. Some of the food you would serve would be sopa,

mole, arroz, tortillas, all those things. BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: Would they have a dance with music? Yes, always. Was it at night, or during the day? In some parts they would celebrate all day, but now they don't. Then a lot

of people would have them in their homes, but now you have to rent a hall and you can only be there a couple of hours. BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: Was it the Mexican style to have it at home? Yes, to have it at home. Did this start in the morning -at church? Yes, and from there to the house. Are there certain Mexican wedding songs that they played at the dance? When the couple entered, they played a march. I have seen some weddings where they put coins on the bride's veil, is thi s typi cal ? AVALOZ: No, now they have the dollar dance. pay a dollar. When you dance with the bride, you

-19AVALOZ:
Before that, they would pin it on the bride, now they have a bag for the money.

BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ:

Is this a Mexican custom? No. Were the baptisms big celebrations? They were the. I don't know if they are now.
II

They would -have a dance

and give out a IIbolo.

BARELA: AVALOZ:

What is a "bolo? II The godfather

al the
'1

child has to give some money to the other children.

!

Other times, they would throw out a fistful of money to the kids after church. This is the "bolo ll , it is a Mexican custom.

BARELA:

Something I remember is that when the IIcompadrazco" took place, the people would get together to do &>mething. Do you remember any of this?

AVALOZ:

The only thing I remember is that when you baptized a child, you gave her to the godparents and certain words would be said so that the IIcompadrazco" would take place. other. The compadres would embrace each

BARELA: AVALOZ:

This was something special? Yes, because you have to respect those who are your compadres. are second parents to your child. This is a responsibility that the They

compadres undertake, in case anything happens to the parents, they becorne the child's parents.

BARELA: AVALOZ:

Does this IIcompadrazco ll take place for the weddi ngs? That I don't know, except for the people in the wedding. Now they call But, that

each other compadres when their children marry each other. is not so, they are not compadres.

-20BARELA: AVALOZ: Did you have some sports such as baseball, soccer, etc. ?

Yes, the students at school have always played these, my children played football, baseball, and basketball. them did, but the other s did not. They never played tennis. One of

BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ:

Did they ever play football, soccer? No, it wasn't until about 10 years ago that 1alo Sanchez started this. Did all of your children go to school here? Yes, all of them. Two went to Mechanic Arts, and three to Humboldt.

Where did they go to for elementary school? They went to Lafayette, Roosevelt, and Humboldt. Did any of them go to the University? Two of them did, but the oldest, Jorge, wanted to play in a band and go to the University. He only studied for one year. Two went to Mechanics.

BARELA: AVALOZ:

Did he study music? No, his field was something else, but he did study some music. music he knows, he learned at the University. Whatever

He played with Bill Elstein.

BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ:

Did he sing? No, he plays the drums. Did you encourage them to continue their education? Yes, he has always like music and he feels this is what he wants to do. won't leave that until he is an old man. and then he decided to go to New York. He played around here for awhile He is working there now. He

BARELA: AVALOZ:

Did your husband also encourage your children to finish school? Oh yes, my husband encouraged them to finish. trouble with our kids going to school. We did not have much

BARELA:

Did they ever encounter any problems in the schools?

-21AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: No, they never complained. Did you encourage them to go the the University? We could not encourage them because we did not have the money to send them. BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: We did not have anyone that could help us, like you do now.

Were there some that went? Not many, but some. Was this because of the efforts of the family? Yes. Do you still maintain some of the Mexican customs? The food is something nobody wants to give up. They eat Anglo food, but

when they come over to my house, they have frijoles and tortillas. BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: Do you still prepare it?
\

Oh yes, as a Mexican, that is something you like to have. Do you eat it every day? No, n ,t everyday,' but I always have some on hand. Do you make mole? Yes, I have a sister-in-law that makes good mole. Does your whole family speak Spanish? The two oldest do. The others understand it. They do not know how to

speak correctly, but they try. BARELA: AVALOZ: Do you take part in any of the Mexican festivities? The one that participates the most is the youngest. Black woman. He is married to a
I

One of my daughters is also married to a Black man.

have one son-in-law and two daughter- in- laws that are Anglos. BARELA: AVALOZ: What is the youngest's wife's name? Jay.

-22BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: Does your family still visit Mexico? I went to Mexico last year for six weeks. Do you have some relatives there? No, I went with a group of people that invited me. Did you like it? Yes, I liked it, but here you have all the comforts and you miss not having them. BARELA: AVALOZ: How about the re st of your family? Juan and the olde st girl went one time. Mexico City and Acapulco. BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: AVALOZ: They both loved it. They went to

They really liked it.

Your husband was well know in the community? Yes, he was. Why do you think he was so well known? He was a leader in the community?

He was a very serious perosn, visited the bars, got to know a lot of people, and made friends easily.

BARELA: AVALOZ:

What do you think influenced your thinking and life style the most? My experiences during my youth. Now that I am older, I have a closer When I was very young, I did

view of things which make me very happy.

not have the freedom to go out to the movies, dances, or make friends. Now that I have that I feel like I'm living the "Life of Riley. BARELA: AVALOZ: BARELA: You have no desire to go back to the past? No.
II

If you were to give advice to people that have not lived long or have not
experienced as much as you have, what would you advise them to do in order to lead· a happy life?

-23-

AVALOZ:

My advice would be to have re spect for the other people, and also to listen to the advice given to you by older people. When they advise I have had that

you, they already know the results of the consequences.

experience where someone has given me advice and has helped me. When I was in Mexico there was a boy, Luis, that lived in a bad neighborhood. I advised him to move out because his children would pick up He followed my advice and he sent me a

a lot of the bad influence s.

letter telling me that they have moved to a ranch where they have some orange trees, lots of eggs, and they are very happy. for my advice. He thanked me

BARELA:

I appreciate your cooperation.