Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Matiana Ibarra Quintana was born on September 21, 1929; she had one sister and one brother who passed away; her mother also died when she was only four years old; consequently, she and her siblings were raised by her paternal grandparents; her father was a day laborer; although she was never formally educated, she did learn how to run a household; she eventually married, and shortly thereafter, her husband enlisted in the bracero program; they went on to have nine children.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Ibarra recalls her childhood and learning to read at the age of fourteen through a cultural mission program; by the time she was twenty, she was married and pregnant with her first child; her first born son was two years old when her husband enlisted in the bracero program; he went to Irapuato, Guanajuato, México, and waited for fifteen days before getting called; while he was gone she suffered greatly; shortly after he left, their son became very ill and ultimately passed away; it was not until later that she learned the day her husband left for the United States was the day their son died; she goes on to vividly describe all the details surrounding the tragic event, including notifying her husband while he was still in the United States; in addition, one of his little sisters, who was the same age as his son, also passed away about the same time; Matiana later had another son, but her husband was not there when he was born; they went on to have nine children in total; after her husband returned they continued living with his parents; he eventually began working in construction, and they moved around a bit; years passed before he returned to the United States looking for work, and one of their sons even went with him; overall, Matiana suffered greatly when her husband was gone, but as time passed it became easier, especially with the company of her children.
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Interview with Matiana Ibarra Quintana by Mireya Loza, 2007, "Interview no. 1283," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.