Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Maria Luisa Ramos Terriquez was born on April 3, 1949, in El Copalillo, Amatlán de Cañas, Nayarit, Mexico; she is the eldest of eight surviving siblings; she has a half-brother from a relationship that her father had prior to marrying her mother; her father was a bracero; her mother was a housewife, worked in the fields, and took in laundry to support the family; Maria L. Ramos Terriquez received very little formal education while living in Nayarit, Mexico; in 1960, her father moved the family from Nayarit, Mexico, to Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico; she attended school for several years while living in Mexicali, Mexico; her father worked in Fallbrook, California and in Illinois; at the time of the interview, Mrs. Terriquez was her father’s primary caretaker; they live in El Centro, California.
Summary of Interview
Maria L. Ramos Terriquez briefly recalls her childhood and the financial difficulties her family endured; her father was a bracero; he contracted in Empalme, Sonora, Mexico; she discusses the remittances sent by her father to her grandmother; she states that her grandmother kept the money, opened a store, and did not help support her or her siblings; she states that her grandmother, Andrea, would make her wash her uncles clothing; in addition, she adds that her uncles were verbally and emotionally abusive; she graphically describes an event in which she encountered her mother feeding a woman with leprosy; she, her mother, and her siblings, worked in the corn, peanut, potato and wheat fields; she states that her father worked as a bracero in Mexicali, Mexico and in California; despite letters from his boss, Mr. Ramos did not apply for residency; he believed that the working conditions were too harsh and he did not want his children to work in the United States; her father detailed the harsh living conditions the braceros endured; she believes that her father may have had another family in the United States.
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Length of Transcript
Interview with Maria L. Ramos Terriquez by Monica Pelayo, 2006, "Interview no. 1311," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.