Ana María Perla

Interview in Spanish.

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.