History II /11-12
November 14, 2005
Hello today I am interviewing my grandmother, Isaida Zepeda Garza. First I would like to thank you for setting aside some time so that I may interview you for my project.
EF: What year were you born?
IG: August 19,1946
EF: How old are you now?
EF: Where were you born at?
IG: San Jose, California
EF: How many children were in your family?
EF: Was it hard growing up in a large household?
IG: It was fun.
EF: What kind of things would yaíll do?
IG: Play baseball, we played hide and seek, and we just talked to each other.
EF: What school did you go to?
IG: Well back then it was called Calaveras.
EF: Where is that at now?
IG: Itís at broadband close to the cemetery.
EF: Where would you say you lived most of your life?
IG: Here in Del Rio.
EF: Have you lived in any other places?
IG: Well we just went back and forth to California.
EF: What city in California?
IG: Pleasonton and Livermore, California
EF: What kind of jobs did you have throughout your life?
IG: Working in the fields picking tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, squash, peppers, flowers.
EF: How much would you get paid?
IG: We didnít know because we use to work with my dad so whatever they would give us.
EF: It was daily or hourly?
IG: It was by contract.
EF: Did anyone you know participate in any of the wars?
IG: 3 of my uncles on my motherís side.
EF: Do you know what war they went to?
EF: Tell me about what types of technology you were introduced to? For example, telephones, television, radio.
IG: Mostly radioÖI donít remember the t.v.
EF: Do you remember where you were at or what you were doing when JFK was assassinated?
IG: I guess we were at home when we heard it on the radio.
EF: What events happened in Del Rio while you lived here?
IG: Well I remember that the president Nixon came to the lake.
EF: What was going on at the lake that he came?
IG: There was going to be the President from Mexico they were going to do that Abrazo Amistad or something like that.
EF: Is that when they opened the dam?
EF: What could you buy for a dollar back in the day?
IG: Well we could buy beans, chile, tomatoes, rice, and a little bit of meat.
EF: Did women have any rights?
IG: Not that I remember.
EF: Did you get to vote?
IG: I donít remember that.
EF: How was it working on base?
IG: It was hard, because it was mainly for men, working as a janitor.
EF: How long were you there for?
IG: For about 4 years.
EF: How did you meet your husband?
IG: I meet him in a carnival.
EF: How old were you?
IG: 17 he was 19 and from then on we were boyfriend and girlfriend, then we got married.
EF: How many kids did you have?
EF: What can you tell me about downtown Del Rio?
IG: There were a lot of stores you can go to not like now thereís not that many stores. We would go to Kress, Morrisonís, the Guarantee, well mostly we didnít go to the Guarantee because we didnít have that much money to go. We would go to Three Sisters.
EF: What kind of store was that?
IG: Thatís for clothing. They had curtains, bedspreads, and things like that.
EF: Was it affordable?
IG: Yes it wasÖ..yeah.
EF: Was downtown the main place to go shopping?
IG: Yes everything was there.
EF: Did you get to go to the Paul Poag Theatre or was it called something else?
IG: It was called the Rita but those were for white people.
IG: Yes and the Texas Theatre was for theÖus people.
EF: Where was that located?
IG: In main street.
EF: What building is that now?
IG: Itís close to the where they donate blood, right next to itÖit was a little building there and we use to go there and we would pay 25 cents to go in the movies.
EF: They played American movies or Mexican movies?
IG: No they were all Mexican movies, they were Tony Aguilar, Fernando Fernandez, and all those movies, but we never went to the Rita theatre because mostly white people went.
EF: But were Mexicans allowed togo in or you just didnít go?
IG: Yes but since we spoke more Spanish, we didnít go there.
EF: What did your parents do for a living?
IG: Well my mom was a housewife my father was a bartender.
EF: What bars did he bartend at?
IG: He worked at the bar Maria Feliz, thatís what it was called and the other one was called La Piedra.
EF: Are either of those bars still around today?
IG: Yes they are. One is close to the Brown Plaza. He worked there for many years after that he would go sheepshearing, he was the cook there, where the people there would sheepshear and after that we would go to California and we would work over there. We would go in April, and would stay there April, May, June, July, August, September we would come back and then we would go pick cotton here in Synder, Tx , San Angelo, and then from there we stayed November and December and then we came back to Del Rio. We stayed here for a couple of months and then went to California again. And that was our life going back and forth to California. Thatís how come we didnít have that much education.
EF: And you would drive over there?
IG: We would go all of us in a big truck. A lot of families would go and we would stop along the road, my mother and grandmother would cook on the side of the road and we would sleep there on the side of the road.
EF: On the grass?
IG: On the floor, weíd just put blankets. In the morning everybody would cook in the ground. They would light fires and we would cook there and after that we would get our blankets and everything it would take us 3 days to get to California. Then one time we got lost in Los Angeles, everybody was scared because we had never gone inside Hollywood and we were looking out the truck a police officer got us out of there, because we didnít know how to get out of there. It was an embarrassing moment. We were people that everybody would go and work, it was not embarrassing, but it was embarrassing for us to be in Hollywood in that big truckÖaltogether!
EF: Did any of your brothers or sisters go finish high school or go to college?
IG: No just one of my sisters went to 11th grade, but that was the only one.
EF: Did any events happen at Brown Plaza? Did they hold any?
IG: Yes, the Cinco de Mayo and Diez y Seis de Septiembre, those are the only ones I can remember.
EF: When working in the fields in California did anything special happen over there?
IG: Yes one day we were working and our boss told us that back then it was President Kennedy he wanted for him to get the best pickers he had to pick the strawberry. It was my brother, my mother, my father, and me and we picked him a crate of strawberry. It was 12 little baskets in it and we got the biggest strawberries. Then he sent us a letter telling us he was very thankful that we had worked hard to get over there to California to where he was in Washington, D.C. because nobody had done that for himÖever. He sent a letter to our boss thanking all of us with our names.
EF: And each of yaíll got a letter?
IG: Yes we did, but I donít know where that letter is right now.
EF: Did you have any friends of color?
IG: Yes we did have friends.
EF: Did they also live here in Del Rio?
EF: Did they experience any racism?
IG: No everybody would talk to everybody good. There was nothing like that. EF: What would you say your daily routine was when you were growing up?
IG: We would go to school, we would get up at 7. Nobody woke us up we got up by ourselves, we would go to school, then we would come and eat lunch. We would walk then we would go back, half an hour. My dad would gives us 5 cents and we would buy 2 lemons, one for my sister and one for me for 5 cents. We would go to school we at the lemon on our way, then we would stay in school and at 3 we came home.
EF: How many miles would you have to walk?
IG: It was about a mile. The when we got home we would have to help our mother hang up the clothes, wash dishes, help her sweep the house or whatever was to be done that was everyday we had to do that. Then on Sundays we would get up, clean the menudo. The menudo because my parents would sell menudo. We would have to clean it, cut it, and it smelled ugly! We would have to cut it and help her with all that. After that we would go take a shower and go to mass. After mass we got out of there and if we wanted to go to the movies we had to help our mom with all that. If we didnít help her with that we couldnít go to the movies.
EF: What church did you go to?
IG: Guadalupe church
EF: Did you go to CCD there?
IG: No, back then I donít think they even had themÖI donít remember because we never did go.
EF: Did you have any types of toilet..like bathrooms or outhouses?
IG: It was an outhouse and they didnít have toilet paper like nowadays. It was newspapers. My mom would save the papers and thatís what we would use. We didnít have no toilet papers nothing like that. Like today they have everything, it was just newspaper.
EF: How do outhouses work? Does someone have to clean it out everyÖ
IG: No it was just a hole in the ground. When it got to where it was kinda full they would just cover it and make another one and when it got like that again they would make another oneÖ like rabbits digging holes.
EF: Who was your favorite group or singer to listen to?
IG: Back then it was Frankie Avalon.
EF: What types of music?
IG: It was rock and roll and the Everly Brothers, those were nice groups.
EF: Were they very popular?
IG: Yes they were.
EF: What types of tools would you or a family member use to do chores with?
IG: Well for washing dishes we didnít have a sink to wash dishes, we would wash them in a pot. One of those big pots. We would dry Ďem not with paper towels, they were just rags, we would dry them with that. Thatís the way we washed our dishes, we didnít have a sink or anything like that.
EF: What would you do to wash clothes?
IG: Well my aunt she use to live by the river and she would ask people to give her clothes so she could wash with a rock. She would wash the clothes there. Then she would take them to the clothes line and would dry them there and they were real white because she would wash them with a rock.
EF: The rocks wouldnít stain the clothes?
IG: No, she knew just how to wash the clothes.
EF: What room had dirt floor?
IG: The bedroom, we didnít have enough money to put floor in the bedroom.
EF: What were some remedies?
IG: Well when we had upset stomachs my mother would give us vicks with sugar, I donít think we were supposed to have been given that, but we are still alive so I guess it wasnít that bad.
EF: What was monkeyís blood?
IG: When you would cut yourself, they would put some of that stuff, it was like peroxide.
EF: Thank you very much for letting me interview you.
IG: Your Welcome.