Antoinette Rivas

Duration: 1hr: 27mins
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Interview with: Antoinette Rivas
Interviewed by:
Date: April 26, 1989
Archive Number: OH 323

I: 00:03 This is an April 26, 1989 oral history interview with Mrs. Antoinette Rivas of 2604 Fulton Street in Houston, Texas. Mrs. Rivas, thank you very much for agreeing to be part of our oral history project.

AR: Your welcome.

I: Mrs. Rivas, where are you from originally?

AR: I'm from Aguascalientes, Mexico.

I: I see. May I ask when you were born?

AR: I was born in 1917. My mother was in the house. I think it was about, oh, it was in the time when Pancho Villa used to (inaudible), and he came through the streets of Aguascalientes, and I was just about 3 days old. And as he come in, into the city, he had other officers of his army, I guess, and he told them he wanted everybody on the verandas and balconies. And my mother said, "My baby just 3 years old—" He said, "Regardless, you stand out on that balcony." So she did and as General Pancho Villa came down the street, he looked at me and he asked mother had I been baptized, and she said, "No, my General, she hasn't." He said, "All right. I'll come back in about two hours, and we'll see about that." So all she could answer, "Yes, of course." But he never did get back. The Federales came in, I think, and (inaudible).

I: I see. How long did you live in Aguascalientes?

AR: Ah, let me see. Well, my parents came here in 1919.

I: 1919. So you were 2 years old when they came, right?

AR: About 1—1-1/2 years old.
I: I see. Why did they come?

AR: They came to this country because my father worked at the railroad shops in Aguascalientes, and there began to be very scarce of work. So my aunt had already moved to the United States with her husband—I don't remember his first name, but it was Mr. Bradford, and they had come to San Antonio to make a living, and she called mother and daddy to come to Texas. So that's how come we came over here.

I: 03:08 I see. Did they come directly to Houston?

AR: No.

I: Where did they come to?

AR: San Antonio.

I: San Antonio and then came over to—

AR: And then came over here. Uh-hunh (affirmative).

I: How long did they stay in San Antonio?

AR: Well, I would say maybe about a couple of months. Uh-hunh (affirmative).

I: He came to Houston to work here?

AR: Yes. He already had a job for him waiting at Pacific Shops.

I: Your parent's name—what were your parent's names?

AR: Gonzales—Carlos Perez Gonzales.

I: I see. And your mother's name was?

AR: Josephina Y piña Rosales.

I: I see. There were other Y piñas and Rosales here in Houston at that time, wasn't there?

AR: Yes. They were all over—well, no, not at that time.

I: Not at that time.

AR: 04:03 After awhile, my mother wrote to my uncles, and she was the one that began bringing the rest of the family to the States.

I: She helped bring them—she got them to come up here?

AR: Yes.

I: Now is that—there is a very famous Rosales Y piña here in town of Mariano Rosales Y piña.

AR: That's my uncle.

I: That's your uncle.

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

I: And it was your mother who really got them to come up here.

AR: Right.

I: I see.

AR: She saw the opportunity for them to be better off here, because still in the revolution or the aftermath—it was—life was very difficult. So they had just married and had their first son, and they came to live with us. And then Mother, somehow or other, she was always very active in social and community service too. So when—somehow they introduced her to the Mexican Consulate at that time. And through the Consulate here, then they wanted a group of women to have a headdress and also a __(??) of—they called it the Blue Cross.

I: Is that so? The Blue—which was called La Cruz Azul, right?

AR: Right. And then Mother went to work, and I even tagged along; I wanted to know what it was all about. I don't know—we didn't use babysitters then, so she took me along, and her job was to teach the new people coming from Mexico since they also didn't know the language. Well, Mother spoke very little English—to teach them sanitary conditions—to teach them how to diaper a baby correctly and to go to school to learn English. So that was very interesting because she did—she had to bathe, I don't know how many, babies all one week, but also to teach them the sanitary conditions.

I: Where did they teach them—where did they go to do this?

AR: 06:25 They go to their houses. They would go to their houses.

I: Do you know where it was—it was—this La Cruz Azul here was organized through the Mexican Consulate.

AR: Yes.

I: Did it have—did they have a base of operation so to speak?

AR: No, just there in his offices of the Consulate. That's all I remember.

I: Do you ever remember them having anything to do with the Rusk Settlement House at all?

AR: Oh, absolutely. Yes. They were under the umbrella.

I: I see. Do you remember, were there quite a few ladies in that or did you remember—?

AR: Not very, very many. It was years later that there were other—here is one thing that I do want to say—that we always tried to stay within our class, and that comes from the culture of how you were brought up. Unfortunately, we have now accepted some of the illegals to come into the United States, but that unfortunately, is our worse class of people. Just like __(??), and that’s why they put Mother to teaching a little bit more about things—the way should be run, because they came from very (inaudible) backgrounds.

I: Very poor.

AR: I don't mean murderers and thievery and all of that, no, but they were rather—you know—not educated at all.

I: Were your parents educated fairly well?

AR: Yes.

I: Your mother—what type of education did she have?

AR: 08:17 Well, she went to school at that time when she was a young girl. I imagine she went up to the 5th grade, that I remember.

I: And your father?

AR: About the same.

I: I see. Did they go to public school or Catholic school, do you remember?

AR: They went to public school.

I: Public school. About what year—I mean—I know this is a long time ago, but about what year did your mother get involved in La Cruz Azul?

AR: Oh, I would say we had been here about 2 years, so it must have been in 1919.

I: So it would be about 1921 at two years—you all got here in 1919.

AR: No. We came here in 1918.

I: 1918.

AR: Yes.

I: I see. And it was about 2 years after that?

AR: I think so. Just as far as my memory can say.

I: Right. So it was around 1920 when she got involved.

AR: Yes.

I: I see.

AR: And she did have another very different __(??) that got together there to help this program—people to cross __(??).

I: Who was that lady?

AR: Oh, let me see. __(??)—I don't remember her last name. She moved to California.

I: Had her—she and her husband come from Mexico?

AR: Let me see. No, she was not married. She came here with her mother.

I: 09:53 I see. From Mexico?

AR: I believe so. Because of the Spanish that was spoken, immediately Mother would—you know—say, "uh-oh, this __(??) be all right," because she was always afraid for us to pick up Spanish that—you know—it was being below her. She was taught from there. So this has been practically all our lives the same thing; we always tried to stay within our class, I guess.

I: Were there any other groups that your mother was involved in besides La Cruz Azul?

AR: La Cruz Azul and not any—well, just fun clubs. Ones they called the Machete Bandos and they had little—a pin if you belonged to the club with a little—you know—a machete.

I: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

AR: It was a little machete and some ribbons around it—of course, with the colors of the Mexican flag. And if you belonged to the Machetes Bandos, you were something.

I: What was the name of the club?

I2: Machete Bandos?

I: That is right.

I2: Where was the name from? Who made up the name? That's a funny name.

I: What does that mean? I mean, I'm gonna profess my ignorance here.

AR: Machete Bandos—well, a machete—you all know what it is.

I2: Yeah.

AR: So in the curve—

I2: Yeah, Bandos, it's like—

M: Was that the handle or was that the metal part?

AR: No, that was the metal part.

I2: It's when you're—it's like saying crooked, right?

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

I2: It's very—

I: Curved.

I2: Machetes are crooked anyway—they have curve, so it's just—but it's kind of a cute little name.

I: The curve of the machete in other words.

I2: Yeah.

I: I've never heard of that club. Was that just for ladies or was it for men too?

AR: No, it was for men and women. They weren't—I think all of them were married couples.

I: I see.

AR: But I do remember there was two young men that came from Mexico City and, of course, they came to Houston and immediately they were introduced into Mother's group, and they were highly respected people.

I: Did they start the club? I wonder who started the club?

AR: Mother did.

I: Who's that?

AR: Mother.

I: Oh, your mother started the club.

I2: Oh, she started it.

AR: 12:26 She was a highly social person.

I: Was she more sociable than your dad?

AR: Oh, absolutely.

I: She was, definitely.

AR: She was. And let's see, Machete Bandos and—well, she never belonged to the Mexico Bello Auxiliary.

M: No.

AR: No.

I: Was this last club—was that in the 20s or 30s? Do you know about what year?

AR: Back in the 20s.

I: That was in the 20s.

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

I: Well, that's the first time I've ever heard of that club. You learn something new every day.

AR: You see like I come back again, it was the same social level, all right? So they tried to recruit all that they could of that same social level. It went over real nice for—every time they'd meet, it was fun time—nothing else but fun time.

I: Did they put on any kind of parties or functions or anything like that?

AR: Just parties. The Mexico Bello still is the A-one club, and it still is as far as all the doctors and lawyers and just laymen.

I2: How was this club different from Mexico Bello?

AR: 13:51 Well, they just met just to have parties. I don't know—I don't remember their purpose.

I2: Okay. It was a social club.

AR: Yes.

I2: Yeah, it was just a social club.

I: Was it before Mexico Bello or about the same time as Mexico Bello?

AR: Oh, Mexico Bello dates back—

M: Yeah, I've gone to Mexico Bello since I came to town in 1934.

I: I see.

M: (inaudible) and I've been a member since then. And with the exception of during the war, (inaudible) service.

I: Yes.

M: And before that, my brother was already in it about 3 years. (inaudible)

I2: Yeah, it's an old club.

AR: Just a matter of getting, like I say, your own same class of people that go and even have moonlight rides—you know—hayrides and they would always having a good time.

I2: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

AR: Cause they loved to sing.

M: I did get in one or two of those (inaudible).

I: Anyways, so they had this club, and it—how long—do you remember it lasting long?

AR: Oh, let me see, a good at least 10 years.

I: I see. How long did she stay in La Cruz Azul?

AR: 15:18 Oh, that was quite a number of years. I would say about 10 or 20 years.

I: At least 10 years she stayed in it. I see. Did they ever—I was thinking of any other clubs besides those two that you can think of.

AR: Well, there's the International—there was the International.

I: But now that came along more in the 1930s, right? That was—

AR: I think that was in the 30s.

I: Yes.

M: Yes it was because that's when I came to Houston.

I: Yes.

M: When they started out. What was that other club (inaudible).

AR: Chorrito de Agua(??).

M: (inaudible)

AR: Well, all that was on the __(??).

M: (inaudible)

AR: Young Blades.

I: What was the name of that one?

AR: Chorrito de Agua(??).

I2: Chorrito de Agua(??).

I: Which is?

M: (inaudible) a real little bit.

I: Oh, I see.

AR: A little squirt of water.

I: I see. Sort of a trickle.

I2: Yeah. Water—chorrito.

I: Was that a 30s club, Mr. Rivas. Like a 1930s?

M: Well, yeah. It was before the war.

I: Before the war.

I2: And that was both men and women in that club?

AR: No. It was young men.

I2: Just young men.

AR: Young boys.

I: There again, I've never heard of that one.

I2: Young boys—unmarried—probably unmarried, young boys.

AR: Yes.

I: When did you and Mr. Rivas get married?

AR: 1941.

I: 1941. So just as the war started, so to speak, or a little bit before the war.

AR: Just months before.

M: (inaudible) We got married August the 31st of (inaudible).

AR: December the 7th.

I: December '41.

M: December of '41. Yeah. You can see we have been married (inaudible).

I: 17:24 Well now where did you go to school Mrs. Rivas?

AR: I went to—first I went over here to Lamar and then to Sherman and then Davis—no, Marshall.

I: Marshall Junior.

AR: And then Davis.

I: And then Davis. Did you graduate from high school?

AR: Yes.

I: What year did you graduate?

AR: In 1935.

I: 1935. So you were in high school during the early 30s then.

AR: Oh yes, oh yes.

I: What type of activities were you involved in as a school person when you were a young lady in school?

AR: Well, I loved to play basketball.

I: You played basketball.

I2: That's wonderful.

AR: I always wondered why they ever picked me to be the captain of the team. They said, "Well, you're small and you can get around."

I: Was this at the high school that you were there?

AR: In junior—I mean—senior high.

I: Senior high.

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

I: 18:34 And you played basketball for the school or was it just sort of—?

M: (inaudible) that school. That's what it was.

I: It was the team at school in other words. I see.

M: It's not like it is here like it is today. The manager gets paid (inaudible).

I: I see. I see. What about clubs yourself—what type?

AR: Well, I have belonged to the Azalea Club which is purely nothing but a social club. Then I belong now to Fiestas Patrias and the Houston Liederkranz.

I: The Houston what?

AR: Liederkranz.

M: Liederkranz.

AR: It's a German Club.

I: Now, this Azalea Club—we're very interested in this Azalea Club. Tell us about that.

AR: Right. That club was first born when all the young ladies that we all knew would—they were very careful to be picked. And they started out with one—two dances a year. If you went to their spring dance, then you would be invited free to their Christmas dance. So that went off real good, because everybody was trying to buy an invitation—they knew that the other one they would get free. That had to be cut out because of the economic conditions. It became a little more—too difficult and we began from 15 girls, it got down to 12, and as of today, they only have 8.

I: There are only what?

AR: Eight.

I: Eight in the Azalea Club? About when did the Azalea Club start?

AR: 20:28 Let me see. About 19—oh, I'd say—'59 or '60.

I: '59 or '60. So this is a later club.

AR: Yes.

I: I see. What about in the 30s? Were you in clubs during the 1930s?

AR: Oh yes. I belonged to the Pan American of the YWCA.

I: Pan American—tell us about that. Were you—did you help found the club or did you come in later?

AR: No, it was already there because it was formed in 1919.

I: 1919.

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative). And my mother was also already with the Y with some activity there. But I don't recall the exact—ladies had belonged to the Pan American first.

I: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

AR: And then I joined in 1930 something.

I: Early 30s?

AR: I was already—about 1930, I guess. And there was no problem of a girl walking maybe one or two blocks from her house and getting a bus to go to wherever she wanted to downtown. Nowadays—

I: You can't do that very easily, can you?

AR: No.

I: Maybe go out with a big gun or something but not on your own.

AR: Or two.

I: Two guns—two guns.

M: (inaudible) we had an incident last night.

I: 22:11 Really. I'm sorry. It's getting bad. How did you—why did you join that club? How did you get into it?

AR: Because, like I said, Mother belonged to it, and she took me with her, and then I began seeing all the wonderful programs that they had; the swimming and the gymnasium and we also had socials there. (inaudible).

I: Where was this—where was the Y at that time? Where was the building?

AR: On Rusk.

I: On Rusk.

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

I: Downtown near—

AR: Yeah. Downtown.

M: (inaudible) Post Office.

I: Across the street from the Post Office?

AR: Yes, that's where it was.

I: Kind of. The big new Post Office and it was near there?

M: Yeah, across from the Post Office on Rusk.

I: Yes. Okay. Where were you all living at that time Mrs. Rivas?

AR: We were living here in the north side and Mother had just built a home. Because they moved over there on Harrington 1930.

I: Was your father always working for the railroad?

AR: Yes.

I: 23:30 I see. Southern Pacific?

AR: Southern Pacific.

I: Here at the foot of Fulton Street over here.

AR: That's why you still see us down here, because after him—I mean—he had passed away.

I: Is that so?

M: (inaudible) Houston. (inaudible)

I: Yes sir. I see.

AR: But you were born in Mexico City.

M: Yes, I was born in Mexico City (inaudible).

I: I see. You were—Mr. Rivas, you were born in Mexico City and then you came—how old were you when you came?

AR: I think you were 5 years old.

I: Five years old.

M: That's a different thing all together.

I: Where did you all meet? How did you all meet?

AR: Actually, this lady, Stella Holt—she always was having parties, and this was one of her graduation parties. But I had met you, I think, at some point.

M: You met me before and you invited me.

AR: And they were joking and playing all this and that, and we got on the porch—

M: Was that the party that your mama got on you for me bringing you home? That was the party?

AR: __(??).

I: 24:57 Best looking guy in the house.

M: Well, I think I was the only one that had a car.

I: Oh, well, I see. (all laugh) It was simple at that time.

M: Well, I was 11 years old—already owned my own car.

AR: Playfully, you see, we got on the porch and we all formed couples, and one of them played the preacher and the other one a witness. So they all married us, supposedly, you see. So when I got ready to go home he says, "Well, I guess I have to take you home."

M: You were walking down the street __(??) it wasn't too far it was over here from __(??) all the way down—

AR: And playfully, we had married.

M: (inaudible) no problem for me. I picked up some of the other girlfriends before. I think it's so much different than when I raised. (inaudible)

AR: Well, because Mother was so hard trying to keep the culture—you see—and our customs and everything.

I: Your mother did? She tried to keep the culture and customs. How so? Do you remember anything in particular that she did?

AR: Well, just to form—you know—groups to get together and have a social every once in awhile and of course—

M: (inaudible). Her father used (inaudible) table. (inaudible).

AR: That's one of his rules—that was one of his rules.

M: (inaudible)

I: That was your father's rule at the dinner table.

AR: And everybody at the table—he wanted everybody that was going to eat at 6-o'clock—that's what you were supposed to do.

I: 26:45 And everybody spoke Spanish at the table.

AR: Yes. Absolutely. If you spoke English, he'd just do this.

I: Was he involved in any clubs?

AR: No. No, he didn't. He just let Mother go out.

M: (inaudible) I don't remember him ever dancing, period.

AR: Uh-hunh (negative). He didn't like to dance and Mother did—oh boy.

I: She liked to go and do—

AR: Oh yeah. And then they would bring some of their Spanish music—not only Mexican music—Spanish music. And I remember her wearing a great big comb and black shawl and her flower on the side and just trying to do one of the jotas that they play Spanish music only. Just some of them—some parties, just to see her dance, they would do it.

I: Really. Did she ever—was she ever involved in the early Fiestas Patrias like back in the 30s or anything like that?

AR: Yes, as a matter of fact, my uncle Mariano Rosales Y piña. Yes, there was a lot of programs that was called—it wasn't called the center or convention center or anything like that at the time—this was over here at the auditorium—City Auditorium.

I: The City Auditorium. Did your mother take part in those?

AR: Yes. And when I got to be old enough, they put me to participate in it too.

I: Oh, you did. What did you do?

AR: I hat danced.

I: You did the hat dance.

AR: Oh yes, and I did it for a number of years. As a matter of fact, when I was 15, around the school, they would come and give us a ride over there to the Art Museum—to the Warwick—so that they could display some of the Mexican dances and culture and everything. But I was the first one in Houston—

I: 28:52 To do that—I see.

M: You had a (inaudible) men.

I: Tell us about the Pan American Club. What did you all do in the Pan American Club?

AR: Well, we participated in some of the programs that the YWCA had for us like swimming or gymnasium, that was always nicely kept, and then of course we would have our social dances and we'd get on the roof—it was beautiful. No air conditioning—I remember—no air conditioning. But we'd have our nice orchestra and all of would wear evening gowns and—now we had our mothers and daddies sitting right there. We did not go alone.

I: In other words, the family, your parents, came along as chaperones.

AR: Oh, absolutely.

I: Was this in the 30s? This was before you married, right?

AR: Oh yes. That was in the 30s.

M: Yeah that was before we got married.

I: 30:01 How long did you personally belong to the Pan American Club to you knowledge?

AR: To my knowledge, I guess I belonged until we married in '41.

M: You joined even after that, didn't you?

AR: You know in the 30s. No, I got involved with the Azalea then.

M: (inaudible). Can I tell you all the night before together with another buddy of mine before we got married?

AR: A bunch of rascals.

M: (inaudible)

I: So you were in the—you all took part in the YWCA. How was this different than the Club Chapultepec?

AR: Well, it wasn't very different because the Chapultepec also was under the umbrella of the YWCA.

I: I see.

AR: And __(??).

I: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

AR: That's another club that was under the umbrella of the YWCA.

I: I see. I see. What was the difference between being in—I mean—why did you all choose the Pan American rather than the Chapultepec?

AR: I don't know. We just caught on—all of us in here on the north side.

I: It was in the north side?

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative). That we finally got together with the girls all our same ages and that's how come the Pan American did start then.

M: Now me, I prefer to (inaudible) finally moved in. (inaudible) the other girls would try to make up and get her there. There wasn't too many people back then (inaudible). They'd say, "Well—"

[audio 323_01 ends 31:53]

[audio 323_02 starts 00:07]

AR: Five of us.

I: Pardon me. When you went where?

AR: 00:10 Davis.

I: There were how many?

AR: About 5 of us.

I: Five Latin Americans there. Who was there? Do you remember?

AR: __(??) and __(??) and, I think, Jelito(??) Perez.

M: Your sister.

AR: Yes, my sister.

I: Your sister? Who was—?

AR: Eloise Gonzales.

I: Okay.

AR: At that time.

I: Where is Eloise now?

AR: She is in Mexico City.

I: I see.

AR: She's lived there now for over 50 years. She doesn’t want to budge. (laughs)

M: (inaudible)

AR: You moved to San Angelo. And then I told him I'm going to send—I sent this picture so that I cannot be in—you know—personally there to tell you goodbye—I'm leaving for Mexico City—my sister's living over there. So what does he do? Zappo. He comes right back to Houston.

I: I see. He was in San Angelo then.

AR: 01:14 That's right.

I: This was before you all were married though, right?

AR: Yes.

I: Who else was in high school, though?

AR: Let's see. Oh, Dr. Separa(??).

I: Dr. Separa(??).

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

I: What did you do in high school for entertainment, Mrs. Rivas? What—?

AR: Not much in school really.

I: How was it for Mexican-American kids in school? Was there discrimination or—?

AR: Not to my knowledge that it could be said it was really noticeable. But there were certain little things—you know—still—the kids didn't want to mingle, I would say, their own activities to include. However, like I say, I don't remember being that much discriminated. They did have a Spanish teacher, Miss Tafoya(??), which she did a beautiful job with the kids trying to speak Spanish and to get together.

I: Was she Mexican-American?

AR: I think she was Spanish.

I: She was Spanish—Tafoya(??)—I've seen that name in the newspaper.

AR: I got scolded by her several times because sister sat across the aisle from me and whenever we had a test—

I2: She would look on your paper.

I: I see.

AR: She'd say, "Marie Antoinette, Marie Antoinette." She would speak my name in Spanish. __(Spanish)—don't copy your sister's work. "I wasn't doing that." You know, any excuse is a good excuse.

M: (inaudible)

I: 03:11 Let me ask you something, Mrs. Rivas. Did your mother work?

AR: No.

I: She did not work.

AR: No, she didn't.

M: We didn't allow our women to work.

I: That was it. She was in the home, hunh?

AR: Yes.

I: How many brothers and sisters did you have?

AR: I only had one sister—that's all I had.

I: One sister. Did she belong to any of these clubs?

AR: Curiously, no. No, she didn’t. She went to work, real young, to the Smart Shop.

I: The Smart Shop.

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

I: Where was that?

AR: That was right downtown on Main—now, no Smart Shop—just like __(??) they moved out __(??) and everything and it was __(??) as where they are now. But it used to be Smart Shop.

M: (inaudible)

I: 04:07 Did you work as a—say in high school—did you ever work?

AR: Let's see.

I: Before you got married, did you have a job or anything?

M: Yeah, she worked __(??). If Sophie(??) got sick and couldn't go to work, the manager called her house and asked her to come in.

AR: I'd substitute, yeah.

I: Oh, you substituted for your sister one day.

AR: I guess so.

I: One time. (inaudible)

AR: Oh, I know. Solo Serve.

I: You worked at Solo Serve?

AR: I'll tell you why, because most of the members of the Pan American—they went to work at Solo Serve—on Saturdays only.

I: Why is that? Why did you all just work on Saturdays?

AR: Because the store just couldn't afford to pay—you know—you'd have to make a lot of dollars. And they give you—over $15 then you'd get $0.75.

I: I see.

AR: $25, then you'd get $1.

I: If you sold that much?

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

I: 05:13 They didn't all pay you by the day or by the hour, they sort of paid you all by some sort of a commission.

AR: Commission. Yeah.

I: I see. What did you do? What—were you a sales person?

AR: Sales person.

I: Was that a clothing store or what was—?

AR: That was a clothing store and most of the clothing; they brought it from New York.

I: I see.

AR: And amazing what beautiful things they brought in. Like wedding gowns from New York—they were absolutely gorgeous.

I: Was this in the 30s when you worked there?

AR: Yes.

I: In the 1930s. What else did you all do in the Pan American Club? You were a teenager when you were in there then.

AR: Yes. Well, like I said, we participated in the programs that they had there at the Y, and we had international, you might call it, teas. And we served, of course, tea—we invited the Consulate of Mexico and the Vice Consul and if it's possible, the Consul from Galveston.

I: So you all hosted the Mexican Consulate.

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

M: (inaudible)

AR: Wanted to keep everything—you know—in one's own culture and background from Mexico. And with her, together with, I think, my uncles, they began having a group that they even sent money to—how did she ever get into the contest—I don't know—but she was __(??) as Miss Mexico, and then she was brought here with other girls, and then there was a contest. I mean the girls here could also participate to see which one would come out the queen. Now, Dr. Carrion(??), her mother participated in a lot of those programs.

I: I see. Was she—she wasn't in the Pan American Club with you, was she?

AR: 07:32 Dr. Carrion(??)?

I: Dr. Carrion's(??) mother.

AR: No. No, she wasn't.

I: She's older than you are, isn't she?

AR: Yes. She belonged to practically everything that Mother did.

I: Yeah. I see.

AR: And my uncle, he formed festivals and everything that he could to get the lower class also of Mexicans that to go to these churches and then they have bazaars.

I: What church did you all go to?

AR: Well, to tell you the truth, I began, like I said, it was two blocks from the house—Mother said, "No, you two girls have to go to church." And she found that little church.

I: Which one was that?

AR: The Greek Orthodox.

I: The Greek Orthodox. You all went to the Greek Orthodox Church.

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative). I didn't find out until years later. I said, "Well, that wasn't Catholic." Until somebody brought it over here to Holy Name.

I: Holy Name—you all came to Holy Name later on?

AR: Yes. That's where we married.

I: You all didn't go to Our Lady Guadalupe Church?

AR: 08:47 No. You'd be surprised. We would visit every once in awhile, but we did not belong to it. No. There was a—

I: Was your father a religious person?

AR: Not really.

I: And your mother—was she a religious person?

AR: Well, let's put it this way, __(??) in with my grandmother—she lived with us—and enough to believe __(??).Yes, we went to church every Sunday, but you know some people get up at 6-o'clock in the morning and attend that Mass every day—we weren't like that.

I: You all weren't a fanatical religious family at all. I see.

AR: Our religion was our religion—it was Catholic. One thing was we were, I'd say, fanatical about the whole, is the little saint always pounding your chest.

I: Did you and your mother speak Spanish to one another?

AR: 09:50 Oh yes.

I: You all conversed in Spanish. When did she die?

AR: In '87.

I: In '87.

AR: She was 96 years old.

I: 96 years old.

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative). And it looked like when she quit existing, I ringed out. I took care of her for 29 years.

I: Is that so?

AR: But she wanted to live in her home alone. Of course, Harrington is not too far from here. So I'd come over every day—sometimes twice a day. The last few months I stayed there at night also. She needed that special care.

I: Yes. At 97, it's very difficult. Any other clubs besides the Pan American?

AR: Pan American—

I: In the 30s, I mean.

AR: __(??). Familias Unidas.

I: Now that was in 1948—in the late 40s—so that's the one your uncle started himself—he and Mr. Costas I believe.

AR: And my mother was a member.

I: Yes. Your mother was a member of that club. Why do you suppose he was—she was so active? Did she ever talk to you about that?

AR: No, she just loved life. She liked to be happy and make other people happy and to bring sister and me up with a nice atmosphere.

I: I see.

AR: And she was the one that taught me the Mexican Hat Dance—the real Mexican Hat Dance—not some things that you make up in school.

I2: How many women belonged to the Pan American Club?

AR: Well, let me see. There was Bernice, Olga Ripley, Stella Holt, and myself, __(??) belonged to it. She's passed on now.

M: What about the one that (inaudible).

AR: We weren't more than ten.

I2: Okay. You were about ten. And how did you become members? Did the YWCA recruit you or just joined?

AR: No. Members of the club—they kind of figured that you would be a very good active member.

I2: 12:21 Okay. Members of the club then, so members—

AR: They were picked.

I2: Oh, okay. Would they look at—they would look at you and discuss whether they wanted to have you in the club.

AR: Well, your educational background and all this came into it.

I2: And would they talk to your parents too about it?

AR: No. That wasn't necessary. We talked to our parents and they had asked us.

I2: Okay.

AR: Mother was always with the YWCA, so I just stepped right in. No problem.

I: Who was the leader of the club when you joined?

AR: Let me see. Who was that? Was that Stella Holt?

M: Pardon?

AR: 13:01 Stella Holt.

M: (inaudible)

I: Holt?

M: Holt—H-O-L-T.

AR: She used to be Perez.

I: H-O-L-T.

AR: —Perez.

I: Perez.

M: Oh that's right. She wasn't Holt then—it was Perez.

I: She married someone named Holt?

AR: Yes.

I: I see.

AR: Don Juan—Don Juan Holt.

I: Was she about the same age as you were or was she older?

AR: No. She was a little younger.

I: She was a year younger?

AR: She was maybe a year or two younger.

I: I see.

AR: Like I said, we get together once in a great while now. Olga Ripley, Stella, and I, and Peggy Aldrich. She lives in Guadalajara.

I: I see.

AR: And she's supposed to be in this week. Bernice Bates.

M: Bernice Bates.

I: Bernice who?

AR: Bates.

I: Bates?

AR: I don't know her last name now.

I: 14:03 All these ladies married Anglo-American type?

AR: Let me see. Yeah, I guess so. I guess that’s right. Well, Ripley is a Mexican fellow.

I: Ripley, though, was a Mexican-American.

AR: Yes he is.

I2: Yeah.

M: Well, he's from Southern __(??).

I: I see. I see.

M: As far as I know that's where they come from. And Olga, she also comes from Mexico (inaudible).

AR: She was born, I think, in __(??).

M: __(??) come on over to the USA.

I: What was Olga's name before she married?

AR: Perez.

I: Olga Perez.

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

I2: I've seen her name.

I: 14:49 Yeah, I have too.

M: Stella Perez and Olga Perez have the same last name, but—

AR: But they're not related.

I: But they were both in you all's club.

AR: Yes. And the other ladies was—

M: What is your last name again?

AR: Bates—Bernice Bates.

I: Bernice Bates. What was her name before she married?

AR: Oh, that was her name before she married.

I: Oh, her name was Bates.

AR: Yeah, I don't know it now.

I: I see. Who else now—let's see.

AR: Bernice Bates and Peggy Aldrich.

I: Peggy Aldrich. Was she Hispanic—was she Mexican American?

AR: Well, her mother was.

I: Her mother was.

AR: Her daddy was an Anglo.

I: I see.

AR: We formed a nice little group, but you know how it is. Sometimes, even in a nice little group, there's going to be some picking, picking, picking.

I: Was there?

AR: When we held our—oh, everybody wanted to go to those social dances.

I: Where did you all hold them? There on the roof of the Y?

AR: 15:52 Uh-hunh (affirmative) or inside in the auditorium.

I: I see. Who did you all have play? What band?

AR: I don't remember.

I: You don't remember now?

AR: Well, I remember was a—I guess in the 40s and went to play the piano. And there was a man that played the violin.

I: Did you all ever do other—did you all do other activities other than just at the Y? Did you all ever go out into the community and do anything?

AR: No, we were very pleased with the Y.

I: You all just worked there in the Y?

AR: We had the dues and it has to reserved—the hall—the auditorium or the roof.

I: Oh, I don't mean for the dances, I mean like activities that you all got involved in. Did you all ever do Christmas baskets or anything like that? Get involved in any type of other activities?

AR: No, I know the Azalea did, but I can't recall. I think we did—through the Consulate.

I: Through the Consulate.

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

I: You all met—in other words, you all worked mainly through the Consulate.

AR: Yes.

I: Or you all worked a lot through the Consulate.

AR: Through the Consulate, yes. Mostly, of course, because we were at the Y.

I: At the Y. You remember the name of any of the Consuls(??) that you all worked with?

AR: 17:20 Oh gracious. No, I really can't remember. There was one we felt very, very sorry for. He was a consul here and then they moved him to El Paso. And he smoked without stop. We would invite him to our homes, and would have some dinners or tea or whatever, and he'd take a drink of something and his cigarette was never out.

I: He had a cigarette in his hand at all times.

AR: All the time.

I: Even when he ate?

AR: He died of cancer. He died of lung cancer.

I: He died of lung cancer—as you might expect.

AR: But at that time, none of this was a research into the cause of lung cancer. I can look back now and I say, "My goodness, so much advancement in medicine."

I: What was the great event—now tell us about this again.

AR: The formal dances that the Mexico Bello had. The president of the club would then pick out the president of the Pan American which was—she was ruling that year—and start off the march. And then each member could pick out his date or the girl that he preferred and march around the hall. I can still hear the music. (laughs)

I: You can still hear the music of that.

AR: Oh, my biggest thrill was when—was when Ramon Fernandez took me out, cause I was president that year.

I: When you were president one year?

AR: At the Pan American.

I: I see. What year were you president? Do you remember?

AR: I think it was about 1935.

I: '35. Did you stay president for long or just one year?

AR: 19:23 I think we had every two years.

I: Two years.

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

I: Who were some of the other presidents? Do you remember?

AR: Well, Stella Holt, of course, and I think Olga Ripley was president.

I: Did you all ever go over to Rusk Settlement House and do anything there?

AR: That's right. Mother made it to Rusk Settlement House and formed a club called Mitla.

I: Mitla.

I2: Mitla.

AR: Mitla.

I: Your mother—

AR: And they went into dramatics. You know, acting out a lot of drama and all in Spanish.

I2: All in Spanish.

I: That was a lady's club, Mitla?

AR: It was both.

I: Both—it had—

AR: So that they could put on their plays, they had to have gentlemen in the club.

I: Where did they perform their plays?

AR: 20:20 Well, at the Rusk Settlement House.

I: At the Rusk Settlement House?

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

I: This was in the 30s, wasn't it? I believe I've seen that.

AR: Maybe the late 20s.

I: Late 20s?

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

I: The Mitla—Club Mitla.

AR: Mitla—M-I-T-L-A.

I: Did she name the club? Do you know anything about that?

AR: I think she suggested and they all took it up—they all were—

I: I see.

I2: She was good at that, hunh?

AR: Well, yes. Oh yes.

I: She was very good. She named the other little Machete Bend too—whatever the name of that was. That's very good.

I2: I don't know if you asked her this, Tom, but I guess I still want to know more about the Pan American Club that you wanted—the members wanted to keep it fairly small then, didn't they?

AR: I think so.

I2: Yeah.

AR: 21:13 I think so. It never did get to be over—

I2: Over 10 or 15—you didn't want it bigger—do you know why you didn't want it to be larger?

AR: No, to tell you the truth, I don't know except maybe somebody had the idea that the smaller—you know—the less contradictions going on.

I2: Confusion maybe, yeah. Get more things done. Okay.

AR: Just like with the Azalea.

M: How about the (inaudible)

AR: I don't believe I can remember that she ever belonged to the club.

I2: She didn't?

AR: No.

I2: Okay. But that club was active all through the 30s and you were active in around '35, '36?

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

I2: And up until the war in '41.

AR: That's right.

I: Why did—did the club survive the war? Did it continue on after the war or not?

AR: Yeah, it continued.

I: It did. But you—

AR: Well, the First World War.

I: No, I'm talking about the Second World War.

AR: Second?

I2: Yeah, Second.

I: It did not.

AR: 22:27 No.

I: It did not go—

AR: No, it already had just—you know—just nonexistent.

I: Why did it go out in World War II? Why was that?

AR: I don't recall really the reason other than the girls had been getting married.

I: Okay.

AR: Perhaps their husbands didn't want them to participate in it.

I2: Yeah.

AR: And then some of them moved out of the country, state, or city.

I2: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

I: Did you stay in it after you and Mr. Rivas got married or not?

AR: Well, I joined Azalea then.

I: That's when you went into the Azalea Club.

AR: And then he retired, he rejoined again the Mexico Bello.

I: The what?

AR: The Mexico Bello.

I: You all joined the Mexico Bello.

AR: Yeah.

M: Well, see, during the war, we didn't have nobody—all the members was going in the service.

I: Did the club sort of discontinue there for awhile?

M: Yes. In fact, we had something—like a big rental house—you know—just pay monthly and then we had our meetings—

I: 23:33 Kind of a club house.

M: Yeah, small meetings and then that's about all it was.

I: Where was that house, Mr. Rivas?

M: What's the name—Crockett?

AR: Crockett.

M: One street north of Crockett on the other side of the overpass.

I: All right. In the north side of—

M: The other side of the bridge.

I: Oh, okay.

M: And there was—before you get to Houston.

I: Okay. Before you get to Houston.

M: Before you get to Houston, you go across the tracks to the first street over on the other side, go back a ways (inaudible) house.

I: Did you ever have any documents or photographs of the Pan American Club?

AR: No.

I: Never—

AR: I'm sorry to say, no. Really, I don't know why. I can't recall that I had missed any pictures of any kind at the club.

I: Were you all more active about the same amount as the Chapultepec? Did you all do about the same?

AR: We didn't. We did one. Because I think they even tried to get out of the YWCA—still stay in there for their meeting, but have their socials some other places.

I: 25:10 You all always had your socials there at the Y.

AR: Right there at the Y. I remember one time we had a tea and we invited all the Consuls we could think of and they all attended beautifully, and then we all girls dressed in—oh, in costumes of different countries, and that turned out real pretty.

I2: Who made you dresses? Where did you buy your dresses?

AR: Mother for one.

I2: Uh-hunh (affirmative). Your mother.

AR: And then the other girls looked out for themselves.

I: Was she interested in drama?

AR: Yes. Yes. She was the one that formed this group, Mitla, to do the little dramas or little skits, I would call them.

I2: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

I: Little skits. Where'd she get that from, do you know? Did she ever tell you?

AR: No, I really don't know and what I'm trying to do at the Arabia Temple in one of our units, I said, "Let's put on some little skits. The rest of the people, they would pay to see some dummy up there." (laughs)

M: (inaudible)

I2: It was—she liked to dance—she was a social organizer and she was in theater and she was very, very active.

AR: Oh, absolutely. And I tell you, during the Christmas—what am I saying—weeks before the day would approach, she was the first one that I know of that she had nine days of nothing but parties.

I2: Nine days!

AR: 26:49 I remember all the furniture was put up in one room, so all the people could go around certain parts of the house, and each one with their little candle singing to be asked to be let in like—she __(??)—you know—the __(??) St. Joseph. They would go around asking for shelter.

I2: Yeah.

AR: And then the fun began.

I2: So what did you father think of all this?

AR: Oh, he went along.

I2: Yeah. He just went along with it—he enjoyed it.

AR: Then my (inaudible). See, __(??) in Mexico.

I: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

AR: And there I got just a little piece of paper there that says __(??).

I: And that was you in the Hara via(??) in 19—May of 1935—Cinco de Mayo, 1935. This was Maria Antoinette Gonzales.

AR: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

I: And you were dancing with Senor Rocky Olivas(??).

AR: That's right.

I: And you were—this was the second part. Where did this take place?

AR: In the auditorium.

I: The City Auditorium?

AR: The City Auditorium.

I: 28:12 Was your mother—did she help put this on at all?

AR: Yes.

I: She did.

AR: Yes. As to who's going to sing __(??). Everybody was so worried about singing the __(??). The hymn of Mexico.

I: Yes.

AR: And I can just see my grandmother—just cried away because she loved her Mexico so much.

I: Did your grandmother come with you all?

AR: No. (inaudible) it was two sisters and two brothers after they had established themselves.

I: But she brought them up here—your grandmother and two sisters and two brothers.

AR: That's right. See that was when she was young.

I2: Oh, these are beautiful.

I: Yeah.

AR: Ah, Maria Rosales Y piña.

I2: Maria Rosales Y piña.

AR: See there were only two brothers in Spain that came to Mexico—Y piña. And that's why Y-P-I-N-A. And from that sprang(inaudible) and then on my father's side, his great great grandfather was once the president of Mexico. And then my sister looked into the archives of our ancestry which is to New York is the rest of them. She said, "I don't money to look into it." But it's so that we are descendent from the Aztecs, and we are from the royal family. She said, "As far as I have found out that you and I were princesses as it's considered in the royal family." She said, "Unfortunately, the line spread to Bismarck and Spain and (inaudible).

I: 30:28 What relation was Gustavo Rosales—?

AR: That was my uncle.

I: Mariano and Gustavo were brothers, right?

AR: Right. Now Uncle Gustavo was in the Army with Pancho Villa.

I: He and Mr. Y piña and your mother—the other Mr. Y piña—they were all very socially active, weren't they?

AR: Very.

I: Did they ever—was it just because they liked it or—?

M: (inaudible)

I: What's that?

AR: Well, no, they liked to socialize and have—if they could find their own __(??) in the Mexican community here, they were happy, and that's how come they formed little parties, little gatherings—you know—not to forget our singing and our activities and culture. Like I say, all the Christmases, we know we had to sleep on the floor because mother—

I: But your mother got here first before Gustavo and Mariano.

AR: Oh yes. She brought him from Philadelphia.

I: Gustavo?

AR: Gustavo had gone to Philadelphia.

I: I see.

M: (inaudible)

AR: __(??).

I: 31:46 Oh yeah, Leo?

AR: Leo.

M: Yeah, they were working for __(??) people up north too.

I: I see.

[audio 323_02 ends 31:55]

I: Already gone on an hour Mrs. Rivas.

AR: Oh, no, that’s all right.

M: That’s all right.

AR: It’s making me go back, too, making me feel young.

I: Well, bless your heart. We appreciate it. I’m trying to think, do you have any other questions, Emma?

I2: I don’t think so, Tom. I mainly want to know about the Club, the Pan American Club, but I think you answered almost everything.

M: (inaudible)

I: With what?

M: Masonry.

AR: Masonry.

I: Masonry. Those—a bit. We have some material. Right now, we’re interested—this is for (audio pauses, resumes).

AR: International (inaudible).

M: I’ll tell you, I’m there in all of them. (inaudible) away so fast. I think I danced with all of them.

AR: He danced with all of them.

M: I think that’s the fast part of the day was going across and once in a while I’d sit there a long time and (inaudible). A lot of them don’t know me either, but I did have a little bit more hair (inaudible).

I: Yes. I’m the same way. I’m having a little problem with that myself, but I still got a little bit longer to go, but not much.

AR: (01:17) Why don’t you do like some of the men and bring it up this way.

I: Just bring it up from the back.

AR: Oh, I think that’s so tacky! Oooh!

I: Oh, I do, too. If it goes, it goes.

AR: It goes.

I: It didn’t hurt Yule Brenner any. I mean, yeah.

AR: It certainly didn’t.

M: Of course not!

I: Yeah, there you go.

AR: So don’t worry about it. Just live.

I: (01:39) Well, I mean, your mother—I am real interested, also, in your mother. She clearly was very much of an organizer.

AR: Organizer. Yes. Then, like I said, just like me, I guess. She lived with that desire—to me, too--to keep on with our culture, and I wish I could emphasize more the language, her person.

I: She did?

AR: I’d liked to. Atrocious Spanish they speak now! Yeah.

I: When she was in that Azul—thank you very much—when was in the Cruz Azul, did they ever try to do anything with a place called El Alacran? I can’t even pronounce it right. El Alacran?

M: Yeah, that’s that bridge(??).

AR: I believe—now, that was Aleca’s mother. Either one nurse or two, and the gentleman to go with him into the Alacran.

I: She did? They went in there?

AR: That’s right. That was the longest part. (inaudible)

M: (inaudible) I collected that in there.

I: Very uneducated people, very poor.

AR: Yeah, they were poor, but not only that. You did have to fear for your life when you went there.

I: And she went in there as a—with the blue cross she went in?

AR: Yes, that’s why they made them wear their headdress, you know? She had a great big blue cross right here.

I: She did wear it?

AR: Uh-hunh. (affirmative) It was not only that, I think it was a coat, and also on the pockets, they had a blue cross.

I: So they had that little uniform, or coat?

AR: (03:20) Yes. To be identified as sisters. They were really trying to help the people.

I: Where did that come from? Was that from Mexico? Was it Azul?

I2: Was Azul from Mexico?

AR: No, all I can remember is that from the Mexican Council, they talked to mother about it.

I2: But it must have originated in Mexico, because the Mexican Councils were the ones who initiated it.

AR: Whatever it was, they did good.

I2: Yeah. Yeah, they did.

AR: And I believe she even went to Baytown because it was quite better on Mexican people in there.

I2: In Baytown?

AR: Uh-hunh. (affirmative)

I: They went all the way over to Baytown then?

AR: Uh-hunh. (affirmative)

I: Your parents, were they fairly close to the Council here, the Mexican Council?

AR: Yes. Uh-hunh. (affirmative)

I2: We don’t remember any of their names.

M: I’m trying to think about--when they smoke, smoke, smoke.

AR: Yeah, they were just old. I remember that. (audio pauses, resumes)

I2: (inaudible)

AR: No. Mama and Daddy were born in Pueblo.

I: Where?

AR: Pueblo.

I: Pueblo?

AR: (04:27) And one of the members was supposed to come in this week or next week from Guadalajara, of the Pan-America.

I: Of the Pan-American flight?

AR: And that’s Peggy Ulrich.

I: I see. She’s living there now?

AR: Yes.

M: In Guadalajara.

AR: She lost her husband, I think, two years ago.

I2: Peggy what? What is her last name?

AR: Ulrich. U-l-r-i-c-h.

I2: Okay, and she moved to Mexico?

AR: Yes. Moved to Guadalajara.

I2: To Guadalajara?

AR: Uh-hunh. (affirmative)

I2: Okay. After her husband died, she moved there?

I: Or were they living there?

AR: No, they would have seen their daughter (inaudible) next to the national. That was in Washington, D.C., so later on she married and she had to take her back to Mexico. So then Peggy Ulrich and her husband said, “When are you going to retire? What are we going to do without a daughter or no family?” So then they moved to wherever and they tell me that she is a very, very pretty woman and just here recently they told me that she can’t drive her car. I said, “Well, sell it. Trade it off. Do something.” “Oh, no. It’s a brand new car,” and that was her husband’s car, so somebody owns this to drive her around. (audio pauses, resumes) Earthquake. There hasn’t been any news. Sorry.

I: What specifically did your mother do in the Cinco de Mayo? How did she—what did she get involved in?

AR: (06:09) Well, in as far as the entertainment.

I: In the entertainment part?

AR: She was good to pick out people to sing or to dance, or to say poems or recite.

M: Not only that but the fact (inaudible).

I: She was good with names?

AR: Right. Yeah.

M: She was independent.

I: Yes, she was. She was that.

M: (inaudible) She felt so bad with those women and children.

AR: That’s right. I haven’t been able to get in touch with him on Fiestas Party et Dance comes up, because I’m involved in it.

I: Well, I’m going to call!

AR: I’m the co-chairperson, and we get a lot of people in there. I think what—no, you’re going to get a Radio Temple this time?

M: Oh, yeah.

I: Well, I’ll definitely come. Was your mother involved in—you know, she was involved in this.

M: The Radio Temple.

I: Sir?

M: Can you hold on?

I: Sure. (pauses, resumes) Was your mother involved in any type of entertainment in Mexico, or-?

AR: (07:13) No.

I: She wasn’t?

AR: Uh-uh. (negative)

I: She just was prone to do that, huh?

AR: She was, and right away, like I said, she saw interest in that I liked dancing, too. She taught me some of the dances from over there, and then she couldn’t teach me all that was supposed to be right to go with the dance, so they sent me to San Antonio.

I: You went to San Antonio to learn? When was this?

AR: Oh, my. I think that was before we married, wasn’t it?

M: Yeah. Before I met you (inaudible, speaking at same time).

AR: Around 1933; ’32 or ’33.

I: Where did you go in San Antonio?

AR: Oh, there was a famous dancer there and she had a studio, but I went to her house.

I: You went to her home?

AR: (08:01) Because daddy would take me; you see, he worked for the South-Pacific, so all we had to do was get a pass and get on the train.

I2: Oh, you could go for free then because your daddy worked for them?

AR: Uh-hunh. (affirmative) Yeah. Otherwise I-.

I: Did you all spend the night there, or did you stay there for a while?

AR: No, we didn’t. We just went for the class and came on home.

I2: And how often would you do that?

AR: Oh, maybe about two or three times a month.

I2: That’s a lot. How old were you?

AR: I was about fifteen, sixteen.

I2: And you wouldn’t go alone. Who would you go with?

AR: With my daddy.

I2: Your daddy would take you? Okay.

I: With your father.

AR: I remember one of the—it was my first lesson. The teacher, she said, “Okay, I’m going to put the music on. Get ready! Get behind that door and then when you hear the music, you come out.” Well, I did, and she said, “That looked like a bull coming down instead of a dancer.” That embarrassed me, but she told me, “You need to come out and then-.”

I: Was she Mexican-American? Was she Spanish? What was her-?

AR: Let me see. She was Mexican-American.

I: What was her name, do you remember? You don’t remember?

AR: No. No, I don’t. (audio pauses, resumes) Wasn’t he a Vice-Council?

M: Vice-Council.

AR: I think he was a Vice-Council (inaudible).

I2: Was he the one who smoked a lot?

M: No. They gave him tobacco to pay him.

I2: No?

I: (inaudible) He hit it hard.

M: He hit it hard. He had a daughter, boy, she really got after my brother.

I: Really?

M: Yeah, when was fifteen.

AR: They walk around with the (inaudible).

I: So you all have been married now for what? Forty-eight years?

AR: This August it will be 48.

I: Forty-eight years? That’s absolutely amazing.

AR: Yes, it is.

I: Not very many people do it anymore.

AR: I said, “I don’t want to holler.” Now I can’t do it. “I’ve had it with you!” “Oh, me too.” “Okay, we’re even.” Round one, that’s breakfast. Round two is dinner or lunch.

I: Where were you all married again? At Sacred Heart?

AR: Holy Name.

I: Holy Name. Holy Name Church.

AR: Father Cassada.

I: Father who?

AR: Cassada.

I: Cassada married you all?

AR: (10:34) I think he’s retired now. If he isn’t, he should be! (laughing)

I: Where did you and your parents live? What street, again?

AR: On Gentry.

I: On Gentry?

AR: Now, imagine—make my mind come back to the beginning—do you know anything about the people that own the European Import?

I: Not really, no.

AR: Well, they’re Lebanese and their name was Hiwadi(??) and he used to have a stand of fruit and vegetables or something outside of the Texan Theater, and he had I guess it must have been ten children. We grew up together and now here lately, when entered the Radio Temple, I found out that one of the girls—“girls”- (laughing)

I2: One of the girls, yeah?

AR: Her husband was in the same unit as my husband, so every time we get together now, we recognize of course so many things we have to go back. The lady made oh, gorgeous, delicious, fresh baked bread. “Okay,” she’d say, “it’s ready.” A long line of kids—my sister and I in the line, too—but she didn’t mind. She’d get that bread and, “All right, next.” She’d put some stuff out there and when you were a kid and now grown up, things don’t taste the same. Nowhere. Like when mother used to—you wanted a fried egg? So now when I eat a fried egg, it doesn’t taste like the ones that she made me.

I: That’s right.

AR: But I forget about it, might have known the Hiwadis.

I: Let me get one more thing. I want to ask you this; I probably already asked you this, Mrs. Rivas, but it’s better to ask twice than not ask at all.

AR: That’s right.

I: But you got into the Pan-American Club about 1930, you said?

AR: Uh-hunh. (affirmative) Just about.

I: And it had already been in existence before you-?

AR: Oh, yes.

I: It had been in existence since the ‘20s then, huh? Or-?

AR: (13:01) Because I was talking to a friend of ours—let me see, this Sunday, a week ago, and she told me she belonged to the Pan-American and I was—Vera Salas.

I: Vera Salas—yes, ma’am! Mrs. Salas.

AR: Uh-hunh. (affirmative) And she told me she belonged to the Pan-American, but that was before I went in.

I: I see.

AR: So that’s her-

I: Now that you said that, Mrs. Fernando-?

AR: Fernando Salas.

I: Yeah, Fernando Salas.

AR: Okay, then. He was a jeweler and he was friends of my mother and daddy. I remember him picking me up so many times and putting me on his lap and, “Coochie-coochie-goo!” and all that and stuff. So he even rented a car to go take me riding so that we would go early, a little like that and it would just tickle me.

M: (inaudible)

AR: And him and his wife didn’t have any children, so they would get sister and me to spend the weekends with them with the permission of my parents. Now, I remember, the table hit me just so high, and she was so insistent at that time that I would have the right nutritional value of all the food that I ate that I can still see a piece of liver—her putting it on the flour and the flour going every which way. “Oh, you must have your flour here and your liver. You’re doing good.” And they just liked to play with sister and me, and I’ll tell you (inaudible). My mother and her were born partiers—oh, real partiers, and they would last—oof, until six!

I: And Mrs. Salas?

AR: Uh-hunh. (affirmative) Up until maybe six o’clock in the morning. But us children, they would leave us in the room and we would fall fast asleep in there, but in the meantime, when the whole party was going on, they thought I was real cute and I would put on a real (inaudible) and they didn’t know who we were, and I was a little chubby thing and everybody would—here, they’d give me a dime or something, and they’d give a nickel, and then (inaudible) still accepting dimes and nickels.

I: Changing nickels.

AR: Because mother taught me how to do it—because I was so tight, you know? And oh, they loved it!

I: Yes, she would. Did you all—you all lived—was that the house that she died in, on Gentry? Did you all live in it? No?

AR: No. She had her house built over the hill on Harrington and Lane(??).

I: Yes. Okay. On the corner of Gano, near Gano?

AR: (15:51) And I just sold the house, which was on Style. I didn’t want to sell it.

I: But before you all had lived on Gentry, when you all first came here?

AR: Yes, on Gentry and Freeman. Freeman was the first.

I: Freeman?

AR: Uh-hunh. (affirmative) Just a half a block from the shops so daddy could just-.

I: Walk over.

AR: Uh-hunh. (affirmative) So there was Freeman, Gentry, and then inherited.

I: I knew a gentleman over there by the name of Juan C. Hernandez. Did that name ring a bell? He was real big in the Mutualistas around here?

AR: Oh. Those—those we don’t.

M: He might not work out of (inaudible).

I: Maybe so. That’s probably where he’s from.

AR: Have you any information on Ramon Fernando?

I: Yes, I interviewed him. Yes, he’s a wonderful man.

AR: Okay. When did you interview him, then?

I: This was several years ago, before he died, of course. He was a very-

M: Who is this?

I: Mr. Fernandez. (pause, resumes) Well, Emma, can you think of anything else about the Pan-American or her mother or her activities as a young lady?

I2: Well, do you, Tom-.

AR: (17:02) I had a very famous—who am I thinking?—aunt, that was called “The Nightingale of Texas.”

I: Is that so? Tell me about her.

AR: “The Nightingale.” Mimi Moreno.

M: That’s her right there.

AR: It was before her marriage—no, no. That’s not right.

M: Well, that’s your grandmother there.

I: This lady’s name, again, was what Moreno?

AR: Mimi.

I: Mimi?

AR: Moreno.

I: Moreno? Where did she live?

AR: She lived with William Herrington and she took lessons from the Houston Conservatory of Music. It was a Dr. Hammerstein. And I was (inaudible).

I2: Okay.

AR: (17:47) She took—and now he was getting ready to take her to Italy. But along came this young man that she fell in love with and he stopped it-

M: Frank Moreno.

AR: Which nearly killed my grandma.

I: What was her last name before she married?

AR: It was Rosalis Opinion(??).

I: Rosalis Opinion? The maiden name Rosalis Opinion?

AR: Uh-hunh. (affirmative)

I: She was very highly thought of.

AR: Very industrious Sundays, isn’t it? Used to play Sundays. Sundays would-.

M: She had the break at the time-. (inaudible)

I: There was-?

M: There was the original, first one.

AR: Yeah. My grandmother was married twice.

M: Then she remarried.

I: Who was she? How was she related, now? Who did she-?

AR: She was mother’s half-sister.

I: She was your mother’s half-sister?

AR: Uh-hunh. (affirmative) But it was never said, “Hey, ma,” but we never did go see her.

I: I see.

AR: I don’t know where she sang at.

I: They had the same father, in other words? Your mother and her had the-?

AR: (18:49) No, the same mother.

I2: They had the same mother. Different fathers.

I: I see. I see.

AR: They made a tour of Texas, and then there would be some exposure and (inaudible).

I2: So she was-?

AR: Never coming back. Mr. Hammond had just about practically everything prepared. Now, Nico(??)—Nico at the newspaper.

I: Yes. Emmy Foster.

AR: He sponsored her. (pauses, resumes)

I: Did she come up from Mexico? What was her story as far as you-?

AR: They came also from the city of Aguascalientes.

I2: Okay.

AR: And they came—Violet told me there’d be a better life over her and that she would sponsor them to come over here and while here they would get settled and get a job, too, and so they did and then I found out that my aunt could sing, so before you know it, Mr. Nico(??) heard her, and he said, “I’ll give you a scholarship.”

I: Well, I’ll be.

AR: She really did, so they named her “The Nightingale of Texas.” I thought in that drawer, I might find an article in the paper.

I: We’d like to see it sometime.

AR: Uh-huh. (affirmative) But right now—no, I mean, there’s so many papers in there.

I: We’ll pursue that—I don’t know, before it’s all over. She really was a very, very distinguished singer. But did she come up here as a young girl?

AR: Well, I would say yes. I would say yes.

I: Did she come with—who did she come with?

AR: It was my grandmother.

I: With your grandmother. She came up with your grandmother?

AR: Uh-hunh. (affirmative) And my Aunt Carmen and Uncle Emilio and Fernando, and also Fernando’s the only one that the family—left, that still lives, and he’s in San Diego.

I: I see. They all came up at one time or in different-?

AR: (20:57) No, all at one time.

I: All at one time?

AR: Uh-hunh. (affirmative)

I: And Mimi came with them then?

AR: Yes. Uh-hunh. (affirmative)

I: Very interesting. That’s a very interesting-.

M: How much older is she than you are?

AR: Oh, she was about ten years older.

M: Ten years older?

I: Has she passed away by now?

AR: Yes.

I: That’s too bad.

AR: Yes.

M: There, for a while it looked like you couldn’t get through (inaudible).

I: Yes.

M: There was her grandmother, then Emilio and (inaudible).

AR: Uh-hunh. (affirmative). Passed on, yeah.

I: Well, Mr. and Mrs. Rivas, we really appreciate your time and we’d like to come back sometime and we’re going to analyze this and then-.

M: Feel free to (inaudible).

I: Thank you, Mr. Rivas.

AR: (21:44) Thank you.

M: You know that we can have plenty of time. We ain’t going.

I: Let me ask one more thing, Mrs. Rivas.

AR: He was a machinist.

I: One more thing. What was your father’s job on the railroad?

AR: He was a machinist.

I: He was a machinist?

AR: Uh-hunh. (affirmative)

I: How long did he work for the railroad?

AR: Oh, God. All right, he went in like what, 1918 or ’19?

M: I would say about ’19.

AR: It was 1919?

M: About ’19, yeah. And he retired when?

AR: Oh, my.

M: He was retired what, 10-11 years?

AR: (22:24) He died in ’59.

M: In ’59?

AR: He did. I think it was ‘57 that he retired because he didn’t get to really enjoy his retirement. He loved relaxing.

M: He didn’t last too long.

I: He did?

AR: Oh, he would get on a plane, get on a scooter, and away. As a matter of fact, he was honored at one of the schools over there for the technical—the whole school come out on the patio to give him applause and whatever because he went over there to teach them how to use one of the tools at the-.

M: He worked in the tools.

I: A machinist.

M: Well, he was in the Tool Department. See, we had some very special tools you’ve got to be at the right angle and that’s what he worked on and finally got it down pat, and the foreman didn’t have the power but he wouldn’t let him go. He wanted him to stay there all the time, but he got old enough that he couldn’t move around fast and (inaudible) so he was very good like that.

I: Well, again, we thank you very much, Mr. Rivas and Mrs. Rivas.