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Interview with Ramedo J. and Catalina Saucedo

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Description

Ramedo Saucedo was born in St. Paul in 1930. Catalina Saucedo was born in Maxwell, Texas, in 1930 and moved to St. Paul in 1943. They were married in 1956 and have two children. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Ramedo Saucedo discusses life on St. Paul's West Side - his education at the University of Minnesota and several graduate schools - his teaching career at University and Southwest High Schools in Minneapolis, including the Hispanic Cultural Enrichment Program in that school system - and his work as the state's Mexican consul. Catalina Saucedo discusses her work at the consulate and her career as accountant, tax consultant and real estate agent as well as her participation in the Mexican-American community in St. Paul. They also discuss travels to Mexico. COMMENTS ON INTERVIEW: Ramedo Saucedo compiled Mexican Americans in Minnesota: An Introduction to Historical Sources"

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0:53:05

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Transcription

TRANSCRIPT OF AN ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW

RAMEDO J. and CATALINA SAUCEDO APRIL 6, 1977 INTERVIEWER: JUAN SANCHEZ

This interview was conducted as part of a series on the Mexican American in Minnesota. Ramedo Saucedo was born August 1, 1930 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Catalina Saucedo was born in 1930 in Maxwell, Texas and came to St. Paul in 1943 where she and Ramedo Saucedo were married in 1956. Ramedo received both BA and BS degrees from the University Minnesota and has done graduate work at the University of Arizona and the University of Colorado. He taught at University High School 1960-1966 and now ieaches at'Southwest High School. Catalina continues to work in the business world in one of her many capacitites: presently she prepares income tax forms and is studying real estate. Both Saucedos are very active in the Mexican-American community. Ramedo was director of the Minnesota Historical Society's Mexican American Project and Catalina was co-director. Discussion centers on childhood and adult life in the MexicanAmerican community of West St. Paul; the Mexican consulate established in St Paul and Ramedo's role as the fourth consul; and the organization of the MHS Mexican-American Project. This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview edited slightly for clarity. The original tape recording is available in the Audio-Visual Library of the Minnesota Historical Society.

0+

Transcript of a Recorded Interview with Ramedo and Catalina Saucedo April 6, 1977 Interviewer: Juan Sanchez

Sanchez:

Tell me, Cata - we will handle the interview in English so we can just feel free to discuss things easily and freely among us - can you tell us a little bit about your early life in the west side of St. Paul?

Catalina:

Well, I came to the west side of St. Paul in 1943. to school at Lafayette and then I.

I went

Sanchez: Catalina: Sanchez: catalina: Sanchez: Ramedo:

OK.

Where were you born then, Cata?

I was born in Maxwell, Texas, which is near San Marcos. Would you care to tell us what year? I was born in 1930. That's fine. (unclear) And Ramedo?

I was born on the west side of St. Paul and the year was 1930, August first, to be exact. I attended Lafayette School And then also, an elementary school, plus Roosevelt Junior High. Humboldt High School on the west side of St. Paul.

Sanchez: Catalina:

Where did you attend school, Cata? I just attended Lafayette. my high school degree. After that I just took my test for

-2-

Sanchez: Ramedo:

How about your

~urther

education, Ramedo?

Well, after high school I attended the University of Minnesota for a couple of years and then went into the military service. It was during the Korean conflict during 1949, 1950 At that time the and joined the National Guard for Minnesota.

47th Division was called into active duty and I found it exciting leaving the state of Minnesota and moving down to Alabama where they were going, and spent two years in the Army traveling the South, going to Georgia, Texas, Florida. at the University of Minnesota. Sanchez: Ramedo: You completed your studies then? Yes, graduating from the College of Science, Literature and the Arts and receiving a degree in history with a minor in Spanish. Sanchez: Ramedo: You also got into teacher training, I understand. Yes, thanks to a fellow by the name of John Sanchez.: Right And then when I returned, through the GI Bill I was able to continue my studies

between. • .As soon as I graduated from college, receiving my ',)bachelor of arts, I enrolled in law school, and I had been there for a year and I had just recently gotten married, and we were looking for additional funds since Cathy was working and in a way supporting me to a tremendous degree financially. And then I somehow happened to walk over or look into the College of Education, and someone suggested I speak to a fellow by the name of John Sanchez. I went over and I talked to John Sanchez, and thanks to He outlined very nicely how I could John in fact a.t him today I'm in teaching.

fulfill the requirements in the College of Education and receive my bachelor of science degree, and worked with University High School. Sanchez: Cata, while Ramedo was in Korea, or was during that time of the Korean conflict traveling somewhere, as he mentions, where were

-3-

you? Catalina: Sanchez: Catalina: I was at home. In. • • In St. Paul, yes, still at home with my family. And I was working at Farmers Union Central Exchange. Sanchez: catalina: Did you know each other then? I met Ramedo when I was thirteen and decided at that time that someday I would marry him. Sanchez: Great, great. Then when you finished, Ramedo, your educational And I was

going to Rasmussen's Business College for general office work.

training and you became then a certified teacher for the state of Minnesota, what did you do then? Ramedo: I taught, thanks to John again, at the University High School and was there for a period of six years, and enjoyed my teaching experience there tremendously.
')

Sanchez:

Now at that particular time that's when the famous National Defense Education participated there. Act and institutes were being held around the I understand you country for special training of special teachers.

Ramedo:

Yes, I received a stipend through the National Defense Education Act to attend a program of schooling - graduate school .... with the University of Arizona one year and the following year at the University of Colorado. So those two summers, the years 1961 and 1962, were spent doing graduate work at these two universities.

Sanchez:

Cata, when did you get married, you two?

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Catalina: Sanchez: Ramedo: Sanchez:

We got married September 22, 1956. Good, very good. Now that's teamwork, isn't it? I remember the day.

You remember the year.

So shortly after you were married, a special honor was given to you both by having a consulate established, a Mexican consulate established here in St. Paul. and why? Would you share with us a little bit what you actually did and how this came about

Ramedo: Sanchez: Ramedo:

The position had been vacant for a couple years, I'm sure. And you became the fourth consul, Mexican consul. The fourth consul after a gentlemen by the name of Pierce Butler had passed
dis~uss
away~

His son, Pierce Butler tne third, called

me one day and asked if I wouldn't meet him at his office to the need for continued consulate service in this area. there were several Mexican citizens as well as nonAnd he felt at that t!ffie, since At
that~time

Mexican citizens or people of Mexican descent who were going to Pierce Butler for information. handle both situations. Sanchez: What did the job actually entail at the time? was the consulate instituted here? Ramedo: The consulate originally was instituted for two reasons, for commercial purposes, to stimulate business for Mexico and to serve the Mexican citizens in this area. sanchez: What was your part in this work, of the Saucedos.
~ata?

he was consul for the Netherlands - he still is ":' he couldn't

Why actually

One;
two~

I.understand you have

always teamed up to do things together, and tnat was anotner venture

-5-

Catalina: that

Well li was in charge of the office, receiving the people
came~

giving them information that was needed, writing course, to Mexico, issuing tourist cards to people places, like Minnesota Mining. There were quite

letters, for the a few. Sanchez: Did

0.[

who were sning to visit Mexico as well as taking care of invoices
b~siness

y~u

find, Cata, in your work that you had to use your

work that you had to use your bilingual skills extensively? Catalina: Sanchez: Yes, I did. Did you have to use Spanish as much almost as English, both in writing and in speaking to people in St. Paul? Catalina: Ramedo: Yes. Yes, I did.

I must say that this certainly stimulated an interest or aroused a tremendous interest in Mexico for us, since questions were coming in constantly on anything and everything that had to do with Mexico. Therefore we made it a
poi~t

to travel intensively

through Mexico and get to know itts history, it''S people, our ancestors actually, as much as possio1e. Sanchez: I understand that the consulate also had some kind of a library, information library type elaborate a little bit there? Ramedo: Yes. Since becoming consul the government was sending
thing~

Would you like to

publications, periodicals, magazines, anything and everything that i t received. • • Sanchez: Ramedo: In Spanish? In Spanish and in English and forwarded it on to all the

-6-

consulate offices throughout the United States. in reading that information. who were interested.

And then we of We also

course would help make it available to anyone that was interested We would also distribute it. had a mailing list that we used to send information out to people They would call in. Some people would only be interested in certain aspects of Mexico and we would forward this information on to them. Sanchez: Was the consulate in a commercial location or did you have it at home? Catalina: Where was it actually located for awhile?

We had the office at home for the first ten, eleven years, and then the last seven we had it at the Gorman School building which is on the west side.

Sanchez:

So actually you were with the consulate for sixteen years roughly?

Catalina: Sanchez:

Yes. Now is the consul, Mr. and Mrs. Consul here almost, we can say that you probably had to interact with the Mexican authorities and that would probably lead you to what you were that you had to travel to Mexico as well, there, Mexican consulate?
mentioning~
\

Ramedo,

Now what was your

connection for instance, with Chicago, with the general consulate

Ramedo:

The Mexican consulate in

Chicago~

since it is a career

consulate and a permanent consulate, it is directly involved with the overseeing of a number of offices in the northwestern part as well as the northeastern parts of the United States. For example, Ohio and Indiana and Illinois of course and Minnesota, since there are no consu1tates in North and South Dakota and States.
Iowa~

It actually covered this entire area, northern part of the United And as a result, from time to time we could go to Chicago to turn in reports and also receive calls from them as well as make

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calls to them. Sanchez: Ramedo: How about Mexico itself? Official business led you there too?

On a number of occasions we went to Mexico, not only to the American consulate, but also to the Secretary of States office, which is called (Spanish)

Sanchez: Cata:

Did you go with Ramedo on these trips, too, Cata? Yes, I did. We also went to visit my relatives. Most of them

are in Mexico City. Sanchez: Now as a teacher, Ramedo, you also had an opportunity to travel to Mexico, I understand. a little about these trips? Ramedo: Being involved with Spanish, actually my full time position, we became so interested in my travels through Mexico that I couldn't help but let the students know and help develop a better understanding of another person "s culture.. language, as far as I'm concerned. you a certain limited amount of types of a travel program. school year. Sanchez: We have discussed traveling to Mexico, but where specifically, Ramedo, did you actually go often? Ramedo: Mexico
City~
I

Would you care to share with us

It t,s all part of the and my
whole~hearted

And the books of course give

information~

enthusiasm was to encourage the students to participate in some And we would go summers and also during
year~,

- lately - during the past four or five school

during the

Also Guadalajara, the second largest city, and

a small town by the name of (pasquerro?}

r selected these three
a more peaceful,

towns or cities, one: to give them a picture of how people live in a city of ten million - Mexico City, secondly: more Spanish colonial type architecturally designed city like

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Guadalajara, and thirdly:

a fishing village, a little more

remote, out of the way, difficult to get to such as (Pasquerro?) with cobblestone streets and roosters crowing in the morning and the typical atmosphere say that existed maybe three or four hundred years ago. Sanchez: (pasquerro?) is on the northeastern coast, and the Pacific coast? Ramedo: part. Sanchez: Ramedo: Catalina: Ramedo; Yes, that's' right out of Mexico City. Pardon me,. Northwest of Mexico City. Right. We also A good eight-hour drive.
~ade

The northwestern

some trips to Acapulco, resort area. On some travel programs we went to Tosco and

That's right. Acapulco as well.

Sanchez:

Now you have mentioned that you have traveled to Mexico quite often either for official business as a consulate, both of you, or for official business as a teacher, taking students. about friends, relatives? other people like relatives or friends? Have you done some How Any reasons to visit Mexico because of

traveling, visiting and so on, to visit your own people perhaps? Ramedo: Absolutely. Every time, every occasion that we were able to

get to Mexico we certainly made it a point to visit relatives, but the unfortunate part in the limit of time in traveling with groups is that once a person visits one relative, its very offensive not to visit the others, And because of that we would have to allow
relatives~

ourselves more time to spend in Mexico just visiting with

But it was extremely difficult to do when accompanying a group.

-9-

Sanchez: Catalina: Sanchez:

Want to add something to that, Cata? No. OK. St. Paul. Then maybe we should go on to discussing a little bit Maybe Cata, you could start out a little bit and tell

your adult life in West St. Paul or in the western side of us about your marriage and subsequent family and give us a few impressions • • • Ramedo: Catalina: Row much you have enjoyed being married to me. Well at least it hasn't been dull. That is (name unclear). we had our son Romado. Well after being married Three years later has

for five years we were .final1y lucky enough to get a daughter. She will be sixteen. I think that has completed our life;

added a lot to it at any rate. Sanchez; Do you have any other family in town? your side, Cata? Catalina: No. I have one brother in Minnesota. Re·-is in Crookston. Brothers or sisters on

The closest; one to me.

I have one brother infexas yet, one

brother in California, and two sisters also in Los Angeles. Sanchez: Catalina; Your parents are not alive? No, my parents • • • My mother died when I was sixteen and my father in 1972. Sanchez:
Ramedo~

Row about you, Ramedo? =itm fortunate enough to have a wonderful family. I certainly

have a wonderful daughter and a very enjoyable and intelligent son. My wife of course, has been a tremendous help to me in practically all of the work that I have undertaken in the past. ·my family is here in Minnesota.
I

And most of

As far as cousins and uncles,

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grandparents, I don't know where they live.

My dad became

an orphan at the age of ten and left Mexico, arrived here in 1916, and to this date he doesn't know where his six brothers live or whether they still are alive today. Sanchez: So • • •

When you say here, your family, Ramedo, where do you mean, St. Paul?

Ramedo:

In St. Paul.

My brother Fred lives in West St. Paul.

My

brother Rueben lives in St. Paul. Sanchez: Now with regard to jobs and employment, you might like to share with us all' kinds of things you can tell us. at the consulate. mother. besides. You have already mentioned the fact that you were of course, Cata, working You have".a full life being a housewife and a But I also understand that you engaged in other tasks Before you mentioned that you had some business

education before you were married. Catalina: Yes, before I was married I went to Rasmussen's Business College and worked after that. Once Ramedo resigned from the consulate, which left me unemployed, so to speak, I decided to go back to business college and I took an administration'schoo1. I have my certificate in business administration in accounting and I went to work for Northwestern National Bank. Sanchez: Catalina: St. Paul? St. Paul. For
~ixmonths.

I took a leave of absence from

there to help a little on the Mexican-American Project and now I have decided that I will just stay home and just do part-time work. At the present time I am working with income tax. I have actually worked on that for the past sixteen years.

Ramedo:

You-might ask her for her immediate projected plans for the

-11-

future, employment-wise. Sanchez: Oh yes, I understand that you are ,pursuing a new career, too, Cata. Maybe you would like to share with us a little bit. Sounds very exciting. Ramedo: Catalina: Never a dull moment. Well, I always ,I have to keep studying, or finding something else to do. So as soon as income tax season is over, I will be Hopefully by the end of the year, first And I am still doing studying real estate.

part of next year, I will be going into business for myself, which will include real estate and income tax. some translations and I still do some. • .Other people that come here from Mexico, help them get their papers to be here as permanent residents. Ramedo: She's very well familiar, I think she's an authority as far as Itm concerned, on the immigration laws, rules and regulations governing the entry of immigrants into this country. date. offices. 'Sanchez: How aBout you, Ramedo? What can you tell us about your But why She's up to She's worked with the various consulates and immigration

multiple joBs that you have held throughout the years? don't we discuss first perhaps your work as a teacher? Ramedo: It's been very rewarding, as I've mentioned before. walked into that office at Peik Hall. after I told him what school I was in. a lawyer?" I said, tlNo. II

I am

deeply grateful to John talking me into • • • 1 remember the day I And John asked a question He asked me, "Is your dad

"Well then, I hope you don't expect

people to be breaking down your door and just barging in or waiting in line to come into your office after you hang up your shingle." And that led me to think a little bit about an immediate

-12-

employment situation.

And that's when the situation opened up

at University High School and John invited me to teach there. As I mentioned before, I was there for six years until 1966 at the University of Minnesota, the laboratory school, the University High School run by the College of Education, also working with student teahhers at the time. Sanchez: Ramedo: Teacher training. Teacher training, right, for the College of Education. And in 1966 they were ready to
~erge

with Marshall.

And I

wasn't too happy over that type of situation.

As a result a

gentleman by the name of Dr. Jerry Arndt offered me a position with the Minneapolis Public schools and indicated that there was an opening at Southwest High School and I have been there Ever since and have enjoyed it very much. Sanchez: Can you tell us a little bit about that special program that you have in conjunction with the Minneapolis schools, the Mexican-American cultural interchange that you are trying to establish through some cultural ideas that you have? Ramedo; Two years a30 some 0f the Chicano students at Franklin
~unior

High School went to the principal indicating that they receiving enough information on the Mexican-American They weren't getting any Spanish They weren't receiving any cultural information on the At that time the principal, Mr.

weren~t

contributions in this country. at all. Hispanic world at Franklin.

Anderson, contacted the Chicano Studies Department of the University of Minnesota, who in turn sent a man by the name of Hermando (Straya?) to Franklin once a week.
f\'rf1\(\ot\o
e<;;-h-e.\\~

This was in the

afternoon between two and three and for • • • At the end of one trimester, or a quarter at the University, because Hermando's schedule was rather packed, he wasn't able to continue. To continue the encouragement and to avoid there being a gap, the

-13-

principal then contacted Mr. Arndt in Minneapolis who in turn then asked me if I would be willing to work with those students one day per week. I was then released from my duties at Southwest for • • • well, let's see, on Fridays, and was able to work with those students as well as students from Sanford and Folwell. So we would meet on Fridays, and basically we labeled The parents were very happy with it. it as an Hispanic cultural enrichment program for the Minneapolis Public Schools. We received several letters of encouragement for continuation of ~Y"''''\'Ib.o the program. We therefore • • • Hermando, with Hermando's help from time to time we were able to submit a letter of, well, a proposal, a small proposal, to the Minneapolis Public Schools and this year we were able to work a little stronger with the program. So currently then, it's the Hispanic Cultural Enrichment Program designed for children of Hispanic background but not strictly limited to. Sanchez;: In this vein, Ramedo, I understand that you are of course interested in all twenty basic Spanish-speaking countries in the world, besides Mexico and the United States with it's many millions of Spanish-speaking, and the Mexican-American movement here in this country. But I also know tha'J you had special After interest at one time and you took some students abroad.
understand~

many years ,of taking students to Mexico you went to Spain, I What prompted you to do that? Since all avenues -lead to And

Ramedo:

A number of reasons, of course. Spain obviously, whether
it~s

the language or the culture, the

traditions,c-all the customs.,.. they all stem back to Spain. Spain. And of course the Minneapolis public schools made a

I don t't know too many Dooks .,.. Spanish books .,.. that don't include travel program availaDle to the students, and one year we were able to charter a flight and we took students to Spain and enjoyed it 'Very much. Sanchez: Now you mentioned, Cata, that you were going to pursue a

-14-

real estate career, a real estate agency and service
bo~h

career~

And that reminds me of some interest that I have seen in of you in owning different homes throughout the years, one And I wonder if you would like to share at a time it appears. throughout the years. Catalina: Well I think it started somewhere about in 1960. All of a sudden Ramedo calls me at work and says, "Cathy, I have just made a bid on two homes and got them both. do?" I said, "That's your problem, not mine." Now what do we But we got the So then to

a little bit your venture of, your initiation to real estate

homes and got the lots and got everything settled up. a period of two years. keep him happy. Sanchez: Catalina: But how do you accomplish that? Therefore we have to keep

Ramedo gets quite bored, I think, living in the same house for
mov~ng

We -move a house and we remodel it and live in it for awhile and then we rent it or sell it and move another one.

Sanchez;

What do you mean,

~ove

a house?

How do you go about this?

Maybe you would like to explain. Catalina; Ramedo: area.

I'm not q'uite clear.

I think I'll have Ramedo explain that. There are a number of houses available during the year. There

are always development projects going on throughout the Twin City And checking the newspaper,of course, you will find a number And all one has to do of homes available for bid or for removal.

is call a mover, a house mover, and I'm sure that most. (End of Side one) (Begin Side Two) Sanchez: Yes, that sounds very interesting about this moving of houses,

-15-

Ramedo.

Now is this because of the extensive highway and

freeway construction in the Cities, the expressways that they are building through, that they have to displace these houses? Ramedo: Absolutely. actually. The constant changes that are taking place I got started on that by accident

throughout the city.

I was over at the Highway Department getting my So I quickly ran out

license for my automobile one day and I saw a sign posted, houses that were coming up for bid. and I took a look at the homes and then I came back and that same afternoon the bids were going to be opened, so I submitted my bid. And I wasn't sure what to-bid, so I bid a And luckily thousand dollars on one and a dollar on another. got them Doth.· SancheZt Ramedo; Now does the Highway Department then own these houses? The Highway Department in some cases buys the home from the owner. Sanchez: Ramedo: 194 was coming through at that time.

that afternoon at two 0'e10ck when they opened the bids, I

Right here by the Capitol. Right by the Capitol. Right. or different areas. the facilities there. And in another case the

Housing and Redevelopment or that one time the Port Authority The latest one that we were able to buy They were expanding So we moved that one Highway 61 and 36. came from the edge of Keller Golf Course. onto one onto one of the lots we own. sanchez: Ramedo: Now do you move the foundation too, or just the house? No, just the house itself. And the foundation has to be The footings have to be

put in after the excavation first.

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all moved, foundation, new electrical and plumbing all has to be brought up to code. Sanchez; Ramedo: Sanchez: To the present code. Yes, the city ordinance. Right.

Now is this a certain type of house, or can they move any type of house?

Ramedo: Sanchez: Ramedo:

Or the can move practically anything. Brick, stone? Oh yes, sure. Brick? Easy to move.

It's just a matter of • • •

Stone also.

I think

block is a little more difficult. and where it's going. buildings. Sanchez:
Ramedo~

But it's not the size of the

house.necessari1y, although wiring has something to do with it But they have moved up to eight-story Nor distance. So size is no really object.

How much does it cost roughly to move a house like this? Well at the present time, I'm sure, a story and a half, or a one-story home roughly runs from fifteen to two thousand dollars. ABout two thousand dollars, I would say.

Sanchez: Ramado:

To move it. To move it only. wired and so on. The foundation depends on the size of the

house, and the wiring depends on how many rooms have to be

Sanchez~

Cat~,

how many homes have you lived in then?
I

These new homes

that you move and renew.

Can you think of how many since • • • You

started you said in 1960, you started?

-17-

Catalina:

Right.

But we have been married twenty years and we That gives you an idea However I have my husband's promise

have lived in nine different homes. of how often we moved. have to move again. Sanchez: Catalina: Ramedo: Sanchez: Now that's in 1977? 1977 •

to build my dream house this year and hopefully I will never

I think you're making that very clear. Now tell us a little bit • • . Maybe both of you want to share about this exciting project which we are bringing to a culmination actually, this Minnesota Historical Society Mexican-American History Project. You have been of course, Ramedo, as director and Cata, you of course were co-director, basically, because. • • What was your official position?

Catalina: Sanchez: Catalina: Sanchez:

Oh, I did do some transcribing. You did transcribing. • • And some editing. You did the editing. You
kep~,

of course, all kinds of You backed

information retrieval and everything for Ramedo. him up in everything he did in the work. Ramedo:

She knew some of the families also who were here as community pioneers. She knew, when it came time to ask them She to identify certain photographs, she was able to do this. was very helpful in a number of ways.

Sanchez:

This recording that we are making at the present time, as the bibliographer, I can say that this is number seventy-seven, and some people believe that the sevens are of course the lucky

-18-

numbers.

But we are culminating the project.

It has lasted

now for what. two and a half years? Ramedo:
~d

No, two summers. This is what we have devoted to the project. Last summer and the summer before last, '75 and '76. Number one, a place in which to work. It was difficult to do justice this was the only time we were able to work on the project

for a number of reasons.

Second, the equipment that was needed; and thirdly, because of our full-time employment. to it during the school year. Sanchez: What are some of your ideas as to the goals or the main reasons for the existence of this project. Ramedo? Maybe you would like to share a little bit of your own personal philosophy or your thoughts on this project now that it has taken two summers 1975 to 1977. Ramedo: I was very gratified to know that I had been selected as director of the project from among a hundred or so applicants. I'm sure it was over a hundred applicants from throughout the state, throughout the country, people who had knowledge of Minnesota and it's people. And I was excited about the project because nothing of this type had ever been documented before. It was the first of it's kind. Yes, we always asked ourselves a question, why haven't we as Mexicans or Mexican-Americans or Chicanos submitted information for posterity reasons in the archives of the Minnesota Historical Society, a permanent building, a permanent record, established some information on our community pioneers. nothing existed. Juarez. for example. Nothing, relatively A picture of Oh, some A handful of items were here.

I don't know of anything else.

unpublished and a few published works were documented here, but nothing that would help any seriously-minded, or I should say sophisticated researcher. So I became interested and as I-mmved along on the project, even more and more excited about trying to find and go back

-19-

into history, when the first Mexican immigrants arrived here, what is available. There is still a lot of information out And I hope that this is a there that we haven't tapped.

beginning of a project rather than an end of a project. Sanchez: This project of course has been Minnesota-wide. project? Ramedo: One complete summer we devoted to Minneapolis and St. Paul and suburban areas in the metropolitan area. went outstate. concentrations of currently exists.
Mexican~American

How many

parts of Minnesota did you actually visit on behalf of this

Last summer we Or it

We went to visit cities and towns where heavier populations existed. Mainly, the southern part of the United States -

rather Minnesota - like Albert Lea and also east like Litchfield and the Red River Valley area, these areas where heavier concentration of Sanchez; Mexican-Americans are currently living.

Cata, do you have any further information you would like to share with us with regard to the project? people and connected into this project? What are some of the things you observed as you interacted with people and contacted

Cata:

Well I found it very interesting, and I learned a lot of things really from talking to some of the people that were interviewed. And of course when I did the transcribing and the editing I was surprised to find out a lot of things that I had never even thought of.

Sanchez:

About the very people who live in this state or have lived for quite a while, of Mexican-American descentl

cata; Ramedo;

That's right. We found a tremendous amount of contributions to the state of Minnesota, not only of course in agriculture. That to me is

-20-

only a small minor percentage of the population, (unclear) but a good random sampling of all professions and occupations. And this is certainly not the stereotype. Sanchez: Now is the stereotype are you talking about the idea that we think that Mexican-Americans have been and perhaps still are migrant, migrant farm workers? Ramedo: Exactly. I also might add that perhaps as an outcome of

this project other community leaders are beginning to ask the question, why not a film on the history of Mexican-Americans in this state? Another question, where is the book that should So that there are a number of have been written sometime ago? this pioneer stage. Sanchez: Why don't we move a moment back to reminiscing a little bit about life in the west side of St. Paul where you lived. Maybe Cata, you could start out by telling us a little bit about your life at home and what some of the things were, discipline and how you went about your life. Catalina: Well I had strict parents. I lived with my father and There was a I had two

active community leaders that have begun to go above and beyond

mother and two sisters apd two brothers at home. larger family, a family of twelve to begin with. cousins living with us.

And of course I was brought up to

believe that you were not to go out without a chaperone, and you couldn't go out on a date unless you had somebody with you, your little brother or an older sister. But I managed to get out. Sanchez: How about - you said chaperone when you went to visit people? a group? Catalina: We always went as a family. We were very close. Where one
~

It was' very strict.

when you went to school or

Did you always go as a family, as

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went, everybody else went. had company. That made it convenient. Sanchez: Catalina:

However, most of the time we

We didn't visit as much as we were visited.

Did you live in a big place? Yes, we had • • . We11 in St. Paul we lived in several different places when we first move here. about fifteen my dad bought a four-p1ex. a three bedroom home, part of a four-p1ex. But when I was We lived in one,

Ramedo: side. Catalina:

This was on Chicago and Robertson Street on the west

On the west side, right. worry about anything.

At that time no one had to When we

We knew all our neighbors.

did go someplace we never locked doors. Sanchez: Were your neighbors of Spanish descent or were there other ethnic groups living in that area? Catalina; We had mostly Spanish or Mexican. were Mexican. Ramedo: I might emphasize that it's a fact that this occurred every day of the year. locked their doors. No one on the west side that we knew We knew We We knew how many members We knew where everyone lived. I think we had only All the others

one Anglo family in one of the apartments.

our neighbors by name, first name. of the family there were.
rigli~

We knew what each family owned.

knew if someone was riding a bike, we knew who it belonged to away. So it
wa~

interesting in that respect.

We didn't No one

envy, you know, because no one had any more than we did. had any less than we did.

So it was really an open • • • open in We

the sense of being open with one another, frank with one another and honest with each other and stealing was (not) condoned.

-22-

just didn't think that there was such a thing as stealing. No one ever • • • This was pounded into our heads when we were small. permission." "Don't ever take anyone else's things without And we just didn't do it. And I am sure it So we trusted each other

was the same with her family. trust. Sanchez;

automatically without even gaining that confidence and that

What are some of the recollections you have of your youth, your early youth, Ramedo?

Ramedo:

I spent my • • • My mother, a very religious woman, involved the family in all religious services at the Guadalupe parish<church. My father, not so religious. And when I went to Mexico on a number of occasions I would· see and look around in the church and I would see mothers with their children, but very few men. mass. And I always recall my childhood and how my mother got me involved in serving In fact I was an altar boy from the age of eight or Till I was still goigg nine till I went into the service. around the church activities.

to college my: life tended to revolve around the commnnity,

Sanchez:

This brings me of course to this point of activities. How about organizations? Did you as a family participate in some of the social organizations?

Ramedo;

Practically all of the organizations. involved with most of the organizations.

My father was

Sanchez; Ramedo:

Could you name some perhaps? The Reconstruction Committee. (Spanish) (unclear) In fact he was

My dad was involved and instrumental, attending meetings and participating actively in those organizations. one of the original board of directors, signed for the mortgage

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on the church.

That was on Wabasha.

When they bought

the building on Fairfield (unclear) old mission to the building on Fairfield they needed co-signers for the note. Sanchez; And he was one of three, I believe. As young people of different ages, of course, can you remember some of the ways you spent your time playing and where and how. Catalina: There was no TV at the time. We listened to the radio and

There wasn't any TV.

we • • • or at least at my • • • 1 think mostly we entertained each other, talking, or we all learned to do some crocheting or this type of thing at home to keep entertained. my house we always had someone over. someone that would always come over. Sanchez: Ramedo: H,ow about you, Ramedo? Well the playgrounds across the street from the church on Fairfield and Eva, we would go there and we would play marbles, big marBle championship every year. The oBject of course was to try to my age.
gE'~

And at

I don't think a day

went by when we didn't have some neighbors or relatives or

We would compete.

the championship, and We

most of the kids were involved as I recall, at least the kids And of course we would trade a lot of comic books. would also go to the (unclear) belonged to. encouraging. We went to camp. There were a number of camping So all in all it was a very My parents were very

experiences through the Boy Scouts, the church had Tropp 99 I enjoyable childhood as far as I could see. associated with the church. Sanchez: Ramedo: Did you come to downtown St, Paul often? Every day that I can remember my dad wanted a newspaper when he got home. I remember it cost a nickel. La Prenza. Over on Wabasha Street. So I would walk across the Wabasha Bridge almost

But it always had to be someway, somehow always

-24-

every day to get my dad's paper. this. Sanchez; Ramedo: Winter and summer? Winter and summer.

After school I would do

When my dad got home of course there one, to listen to the news on the

were two things he wanted I read the newspaper.

little Phi1co Radio, and secondly, after supper to relax and Come to think of it we spend more money And my dad had relatively He would have a couple of socializing and going to restaurants and night clubs and formal entertainment, automobiles. simple interests for entertainment.

beers now and then, a bottle of wine maybe on payday. I remember we used a charge at a local grocery store. For some reason he never, that I remember when I was young, he never paid up his debts. He would just walk over to the store The bill always continued. When and he would charge whatever he needed and on payday he would just payoff a certain amount. I got old enough though, I noticed some discrepancies in the bill and that's when we tried to encourage my dad to stop charging and pay cash if possible. That was a time when charge accounts were non-existant. Cash was the thing. Today is you have cash, there must be At that time if you something wrong with your credit rating.

didn't have cash you probably just didn't buy anything. Sanchez: What do you mean with credit rating? about credit cards? Ramedo; Credit cards,
~s.

Are you talking

If you don't have credit cards today

(unclear) your credi t isn't any good. Sanchez: Catalina: Sanchez; You mean those little plastic gizmos? (Laughter) Right. Well they are here

With the computerized numbers on them.

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to stay for a while.

Well this was a delightful time here

that we enjoyed together at the Audio-Visual Department at the Minnesota Historical Society Building by the state capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota on the sixth of April 1977. At twenty minutes to four we are completing this recording for the Mexican-American History Project. (End of interview) Muchas Gracias.