Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Rosario Renteria was born on May 14, 1939, on a ranch named Tacote, and she was raised in Nayarit, México; her father’s name was Eugenio Rentería, and her mother’s name was Refugio Gómez de Rentería; Rosario was the eldest of her eight siblings, one of whom died as an adult; although she was never formally educated, some of her younger brothers and sisters were; when she was twelve years old, she helped support her family by selling helados; her father, Eugenio, worked as a bracero in the fields of California, picking cotton and dates; she ultimately helped both her parents immigrate to the United States, but her father later died in 1991 and her mom in 1998.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Renteria talks about her family at length, including each of her siblings, and their corresponding occupations and families; her father, Eugenio Rentería, was a campesino, who later enlisted in the bracero program; she describes him as an extremely hard worker, fighter, and survivor; as a bracero, he worked in Calexico, Coachella, and Indio, California, picking cotton and dates; he often traveled back and forth between the United States and México; while working in Calexico, he was transferred to Indio; although he could not write, he regularly had someone help him so he could send letters and money home; Rosario’s mother, Refugio Gómez de Rentería, suffered greatly while Eugenio was gone; she cared for the children, and the entire family had to take over responsibility for the land; Rosario recalls crying and feeling alone whenever her father left; she used to ask him to take her with him to the United States; after the program ended he returned to México, but he kept returning to the United States; as an adult, Rosario immigrated to the United States and later married at the age of twenty-six; she ultimately helped both her parents immigrate to the United States, but her father later died in 1991 and her mom in 1998.
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Interview with Rosario Renteria by Violeta Mena, 2006, "Interview no. 1158," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.