Mercedes Pérez Salazar

Interview in Spanish.

Summary of Interview

Ms. Pérez talks about her family and what life was like growing up with her grandmother; in addition, she remembers always having to carry water home from the well, which was far away; she describes meeting José Biurquis Hernández and their ensuing courtship; when she was twenty-four years old, they were married; they lived with his mother and sisters, and they all got along very well; José worked selling ice and sweet potatoes in town; a year later, José and Mercedes had their first daughter; not long after, he was not making enough money, and he decided to enlist in the bracero program; while he was gone her hands were full caring for their daughter who was very mischievous; Mercedes even had problems with her sisters-in-law, because they would hit her daughter for misbehaving; even so, they would read the letters José sent her and write responses for her; he sent money to his father, and he in turn gave it to her, so she could buy clothes or other necessities; in his letters he mentioned having to wear his pants backward, because they were so dirty; moreover, he also told her that life there was very sad, and he worked a lot; he returned home with a suitcase full of things, like clothes, a bedspread, pantyhose, and fabric to make clothes; one time, he even brought a radio; after his time in the program, he went back to selling sweet potatoes with help from Mercedes.