Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Ana María Perla was born December 25, 1936, in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México; her mother’s name was María Torres, and her father’s name was Teodoro Delgado; she is the youngest of her four siblings; Ana was formally educated through the fourth grade; her father served in the bracero program during the 1940s, and he later passed away in 1951; shortly after, in 1952, Ana married a man who had previously worked as a bracero with her father; Ana was eventually able to arrange for legal status in the United States, and she ultimately became a citizen during the late 1990s.
Summary of Interview
Mrs. Perla talks about her family and the difficult financial situation they faced, which led to her father’s decision to enlist in the bracero program; she remembers getting letters from him to let the family know how he was doing and how much he missed them; her mother even took a family portrait to send to him; Ana was especially excited, because she was able to get a new dress for the occasion; when he returned home, between contracts, he made dolls out of old rags for her to play with; he also enjoyed cooking for the family and making pancakes and tortillas; as a bracero, he became ill and was hospitalized twice; he was then told if he could not work, it was best for him to return to México; shortly after his homecoming, he was hospitalized for pneumonia; he had to have liquid removed from his lungs, and he consequently underwent three separate surgeries; Ana cared for her father, the entire time he was ill; it was a great shock for her to see him so weak and sickly, because he had previously been so big and strong; he eventually died in 1951; later, Ana met a man who had previously worked as a bracero with her father; shortly after, they married, and he continued working as a bracero; before he left, he made arrangements at a store so Ana could continue to get whatever she needed without any problems; although Ana’s husband had a positive experience with the program, she continued to have a negative opinion of it, because of what happened to her father.
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Interview with Ana María Perla by Maribel Treviño, 2008, "Interview no. 1367," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.