Juana Ortíz

Interview in Spanish.

Summary of Interview

Mrs. Juana Ortíz vividly describes her childhood and the troubles she faced as a child born out of wedlock; she remembers her mother tried to sell her to someone, which consequently led to her grandmother deciding to raise her; soon after, her mother married and started a new life after leaving her behind; when she was sixteen years old, she married Jesús Ortíz Torres [See also No. XX]; he struggled to find work, which led to his decision to enlist in the bracero program against her wishes; as a bracero, he worked in California, Idaho, Michigan, and Texas, picking cotton, cucumbers, and tomatoes; Juana vividly describes one instance when her husband left on a contract, and shortly thereafter she was informed that his bus had crashed and he had died; although she refused to believe any of it, after months of not hearing from him, she was beside herself with grief and started imagining him as a ghost; she explains how difficult it was for her while he was gone, not just emotionally but financially as well; about four months later she finally received a letter from him that had been written when he initially left; two days after that, he arrived home safely; she also talks about how homesick he was; working as a bracero, they barely broke even after repaying the loans they took out for him to leave in the first place; eventually, they both emigrated to the United States, and they were able to bring their children, except for two, with them as well.