Leo Reynosa

Duration: 1hr: 1min
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Interview with: Leo Reynosa
Interviewed by:
Date: February 6, 1979
Archive Number: OH 249

Interviewer
00:00:06 This is a February 6, 1979 oral history interview with Mr. Leo Reynosa. Mr. Reynosa is 80 years of age. Mr. Reynosa, let’s get a little background if you don’t mind. Tell us about how you came to Houston, when you came—

Leo Reynosa
I come to Houston in 18—no—in 19—what mil ochocientos dieciocho.

Female Speaker
Mil novecientos dieciocho. 1918.

Interviewer
1918. Why did you come?

Leo Reynosa
Well, I was working on the railroad shop in Mexico. At that time, I come into United States. I had all my papers. They had lay-off over there in Mexico, so they gave you some passports and they gave you transportation to the border. As soon as we came to the border we hear, “You mechanic? I say, “Yes.” “Well, you’re too young.” I said, “Well, you can try.” So, they send me to Houston in Pullman—not me alone—maybe 10 or about 25 or 30 people coming to Houston. We started work for the Southern Pacific. We stay over there with the Southern Pacific for long time. That’s why we began to—then—

Interviewer
What shop did you work in Mexico?

Leo Reynosa
In Mexico?
Interviewer
What town were you living?

Leo Reynosa
Aguascalientes.

Interviewer
Aguascalientes. I see.

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. There’s a main—there was a main shop in Mexico that used to make almost everything for the railroad shop.

Interviewer
You were a mechanic there?

Leo Reynosa
Uh-hunh (affirmative). Well, I was apprentice. And then when I come over here I know all about it. When I come over here I go—to work in the back shop.

Interviewer
I just got through talking to Mr. Mariano Rosales Y Piña. Did you know Mr. Y Piña?

Leo Reynosa
Oh, yeah. I know Mariano, sure—Y Piña. Well, he come in after that. We come in first. His brother-in-law and his sister come in together.

Interviewer
00:03:37 Did you have any trouble getting across at the border when you came?

Leo Reynosa
Hmm?

Interviewer
Did you have any trouble at the border when you came?

Leo Reynosa
No. We had all the papers. The American Consulate in Aguascalientes—they give us all this paper.

Interviewer
Did they seem anxious to have railroad workers like yourself—mechanics?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. They sure needed. That’s why they gave us jobs right away.

Interviewer
I see.

Leo Reynosa
They say you want to work in San Antonio or Houston? I said, “No, we’re going to go to Houston.”

Interviewer
Why did you choose Houston?

Leo Reynosa
Well, they said it was a big city. They had a big shop. All they had in San Antonio—they had just a roundhouse in there—just to do little things in there. In Houston, we had the biggest place for the Southern Pacific.

Interviewer
So, the bigger shop appealed to you. I see. I see.

Leo Reynosa
00:04:45 So, we went out to the strike and, oh, 2 - 3 years later. Then they offered me a job as chairman—because we was out about 4 months. We need some money. The union—they give you something to eat. They give you some food. I say, well, I was married. And they send me to chairman. And chairman—I was lucky. Most everybody liked me, you know. The general foreman over there said—I was working myself. He said, “Oh, stop.” You know he just talked to me. So I just didn’t go over there. Then they started to say, “Well, can you do this?” “Yeah.” “Can you do that?” I said, “Yes. I do everything.” They put me over there. I didn’t speak no English. I can’t speak now, but there was nothing at all. At that time, I couldn’t speak it at all, you know? He said, “Well, you don’t have to work. Go ahead and do this and that.” I was lucky to stay over there about a year. Then, about a year later they make the lay off because everything—some of these people—some of these mechanics they go back. By that time, I decide to work in Chicago. Chairman said to me, “Leo, you got a job over there for life. We are going to leave you—you the only one that’s going to be on the job.” This fellow by the name of, let me see—I can’t remember right now—he’s going to be at the roundhouse. “Just2—it’s going to be you and this fellow on the roundhouse.” So, I said, “Well, there’s not going to be no more Mexicans there. I like to talk with them and have a good time.” He said, “Well, it’s up to you. You got it for life. You can be here.” He said, “What we can do to you is this—we give you transportation from here to Springfield.” That’s where—what is that—railroad shop (___??) the one I was working for was going out to Springfield, Missouri. They gave me transportation to Springfield, Missouri. Then they gave me another one to Chicago half-price. I went to Chicago. It was cold as can be. It was right around Christmastime. It was too, too cold, you know?

Interviewer
00:08:29 What year was this?

Leo Reynosa
I think it was 1919, 1920?

Interviewer
1920, okay.

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. It was bad. I stayed over that about 6 months. Then, I come back to Houston.

Interviewer
Why did you leave Chicago—too cold?

Leo Reynosa
I had my wife over here. Even though the people over there they was all right. Then I went to Chicago and work over there in the roundhouse. Then they offered me a job in Gary, Indiana, for the Houston, no, Chicago—where they make all the pieces you know? What do you call that thing? Anyhow, I went to Gary, Indiana, and I work over there for a while. Then I said, “Well, I have to go to Houston.” They said, “Well, how come you want to go to Houston for?” I said, “Well, I’ve got my wife over there. I might go over there for a while, or I am going to stay there. I don’t know.” They say, “I’ll tell you what we can do. If you need some money we lend you some money, but you have to come back.” I said, “No. I don’t think I’m going to come back.” About that time, I coming to Houston, and I started work with a carpenter. We was nail down the roof and all like that. I said, “Well, I think I better laid off for a while.” I walk up to Hughes Tools. At that time, I asked for job—mechanic. He said, “Well, we’ve got no place.” Like, they said he got no place for you because I was a Mexican. They don’t allow the Mexicans at that time. I walk all the way to Harrisburg, come into town. I see that Ford Auto Company they had over there. That’s where that coffee shop is, the café, where they make the coffee. I stop over there. “What do you want?” Well, I want to get a job.” “You don’t speak any English.” “It’s all right. I can do the work.” They say, “All right. We’re going to try.” At that time, you have to be American citizen to do that. They never ask me nothing. They put me to work. I worked over there 5 years. They lay them off—300 up to 400 at a time. They never let me laid off at all.

Interviewer
This was a coffee place?

Leo Reynosa
No, no. Working on the line. There was—put all the (___??) and all like that. The line that was like this, you know. We make it. They send all the parts, and we put it all together.

Interviewer
Oh, the Ford—cars, I see. I see. Pardon me.

Leo Reynosa
00:12:33 Ford Motor Company.

Interviewer
I see.

Leo Reynosa
At that time they laid off all those guys. They said to the foreman, “Why don’t you lay off that guy in there? That Mexican?” He said, “Well, that Mexican works 2 times that you, so they just can’t laid off him.” They put me over there painting and to the work, you know, and they didn’t let me laid off. They transfer through here to Dallas and they want me to go over there with it. I didn’t go.

Interviewer
For Ford?
Leo Reynosa
Uh-hunh (affirmative).

Interviewer
About what year is this?

Leo Reynosa
00:13:21 It was 1923 or ’24.

Interviewer
Why didn’t you go back to work at the railroad in Houston? Were there no jobs?

Leo Reynosa
In Houston?

Interviewer
Yeah.

Leo Reynosa
No, I didn’t go back to Houston. I beat up 2 guys when we went on strike.

Interviewer
Oh, you beat—you all went on strike and you had to beat up 2 guys.

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. I beat up 2 guys. I don’t know if I got a record of that. I don’t want to go over there.

Interviewer
What were the circumstances of that? What happened? That’s very interesting. What happened in the strike that you had to beat 2 guys up?

Leo Reynosa
Well, I don’t want to go over that.

Interviewer
All right.

Female Speaker
It was just a strike.

Interviewer
Oh, I see.

Leo Reynosa
I had a good job over here. I was making a dollar an hour at that time when somebody make a dollar a day—used to—a dollar a day.

Interviewer
Let me ask you this, Mr. Reynosa. Were you striking—were you one of the strikers when you beat the guy up or were you—

Leo Reynosa
Yeah.

Interviewer
Oh, I see. All right.

Leo Reynosa
0:14:29.9 Because they was working there on my place, so I beat him up. I thought we were going to win the strike. We lost.

Interviewer
You all lost the strike?

Leo Reynosa
Uh-hunh (affirmative).

Interviewer
Let me ask you, who were the men that came into work in your jobs? Were they people from Houston or were they from—

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. They were from Houston.

Interviewer
I see.

Leo Reynosa
They were the same guys that was working, but they never go out.

Interviewer
Oh, they didn’t go out on strike with you all?

Leo Reynosa
So, some time they come out to come and eat or something. We just went over there and beat them up. That’s what it was.

Female Speaker
About how many Mexicans were involved in the strike?

Leo Reynosa
Were there many Mexican Americans—Mexicans involved in the strike—in the strike with you?

Leo Reynosa
0:15:26.3 Well, there was a few, yeah.

Interviewer
Were there many Mexicans working instead of going out on strike?

Leo Reynosa
No. There was a few—not much. They stay inside. They really just wanted food and that.

Interviewer
I see.

Female Speaker
You really got him bent.

Interviewer
Yeah. I was about to say.

Leo Reynosa
At that time, I was making good money. We laid off too much. We used to work maybe 2 days and 2, 3 days a week. Then I buy me a little truck and I started peddling some ice.

Interviewer
I see.

Leo Reynosa
0:16:20.5 And, I was making plenty of money with that.

Interviewer
Peddling ice?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah.

Female Speaker
You used to deliver on Congress.

Leo Reynosa
You delivered on Congress?

Female Speaker
You used to deliver to this Del Montes, Studios.

Leo Reynosa
Everywhere. I used to carry about 2,000 pounds delivery, you know, and sometimes they didn’t charge me for it. They give me 2 or 3 blocks. “Take it. It’s all right.”

Interviewer
What kind of truck did you have?

Leo Reynosa
I had a little Ford truck. I was making about $25-$30 a day—a day!

Interviewer
Good night! (talking at once)
Leo Reynosa
At that time—

Interviewer
That was plenty of money.

Leo Reynosa
Uh-hunh (affirmative).

Interviewer
Then what did you do?

Leo Reynosa
0:17:05.2 Then I worked 2 or 3 days over there too. I would leave somebody over there to take my route. By that time, I deliver ice to little restaurant. The name was San Antonio Café. This lady was too old. She said, “Leo. Chato.” They called me Chato. “Why don’t you buy the place from me?” I said, “Well, what do you do with it?” “Well, you can—you got a lot of business here.” They had a farmer’s market close to the place. All these guys that came from the (___??) all the Mexicans, they go and patronize the place. They had a good business. This lady—there wasn’t enough to take care of the place. So, I said, “All right. I’ll tell you what I’ll do. How much you want for it?” “Oh, give me about $400.” I said, “I’ll give you 2.” “All right.” I give her $200, and the next day I tore out everything. You ought to see how many rats there was when we get the floor out. There was about 200 or 300 rats that come out all over. I decided to put some concrete in there and fix that place. I was making—I was making money on the ice and a little bit—not much—on the restaurant because at that time it was so cheap everything that when I take this restaurant it was 15 cents a breakfast—2 eggs, ham, and coffee for 15 cents.

Interviewer
Those days are gone, aren’t they?

Leo Reynosa
Then lunch the same way. You get a little—some rice and beans, maybe a little meat, and something, coffee or tea—15 cents.

Interviewer
Good night!

Female Speaker
Vendiendo hielo. You were making more money selling ice than 15 cent breakfasts.

Leo Reynosa
Oh, yeah. We can go over there to where they had all the meat—all this big—the meat market—where they keep all the meat.

Female Speaker
Meat company?

Leo Reynosa
0:20:05.6 And I buy a case of that veal for $10—$10 or $15.

Interviewer
Good night!

Leo Reynosa
So you get everything out of there.

Interviewer
Where was this little café? What street was it on?

Leo Reynosa
It was on Preston and Franklin. They come together over there.

Interviewer
I see. (inaudible)

Leo Reynosa
0:20:37.3 There’s where I had the restaurant right over there—right in the front.

Interviewer
Okay.

Leo Reynosa
Now there’s—it’s this place over that that police department they use all that stuff in there.
Interviewer
Oh, it’s where the police department is now?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. It’s Preston and Franklin.

Female Speaker
The post office—where the post office meets and the (inaudible) (talking at once).

Leo Reynosa
Entonces ya entra, esa es la Franklin. Despues entra la 5. Y ahora es la Washington sigue después.

Female Speaker
Turns into Washington and then Preston comes (inaudible).

Interviewer
Right. Okay.

Female Speaker
Right by the Post Office.

Interviewer
I see. I see.

Leo Reynosa
Yeah, but the post office is way back—2 blocks down.

Interviewer
0:21:32.2 Were there mostly Mexican people living there in that area at that time?

Leo Reynosa
Well, you know where the highway? There come the highway here, and this street come in here? This is Preston—they coming like this. Now, they come into Washington.

Interviewer
What was the name of your place?
Leo Reynosa
San Antonio Café.

Interviewer
It was still called the San Antonio Café?

Leo Reynosa
No this (inaudible) where I got this little Mexican—

Interviewer
Then it was San Antonio Café?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. San Antonio Café.

Interviewer
How long did you have that?

Leo Reynosa
Oh, I had it about 2 years, I think. Then, I buy that place over there, and I still run that San Antonio. Then I sell it to somebody. I’ve been there since 1943.

Interviewer
Why did you pick out on Shepherd? Why did you go out on Shepherd?

Leo Reynosa
0:22:44.2 Well, because you get restaurant with the Mexican and you get restaurant with the American—it’s slightly different. There’s no fights, nothing like that. Over there, they killed me when they kill one fellow over there in my place at that time.

Interviewer
They killed a friend of yours there?

Leo Reynosa
They was working with me on the ice route. This boy that was young. I think he was about 15 years old. During that time, I sell some beer—all day, all night long—all night café. It was Sunday. This guy he come in from the front to the back. They touch one guy over there—do like this or something. They say, “You so and so.” This guy that was sit down over there. This guy—they get mad and went home. Then come back. I think he had a gun—he had—I can’t remember what it was. So, this guy—they started to fight this guy. This guy had a gun. This guy when he push it—what happened—I think he just shoot the floor. This guy that was on the back. This guy sits down over there and they pow-pow. They killed.

Interviewer
0:24:42.5 He was a friend of yours?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. There was a bunch of them that was friend of mine.

Interviewer
What did they do—

Leo Reynosa
One of those guys—it was brother to this lawyer that—what his name? Ese que está muy vago en hora.

Female Speaker
Ahorita?

Leo Reynosa
The office is over there on Kress building?

Female Speaker
Romero.

Interviewer
Hernandez?

Leo Reynosa
No.

Female Speaker
Herrera?

Leo Reynosa
Herrera, si. Herrera.

Interviewer
John—brother to John Herrera?

Female Speaker
They killed him and 2 guys.

Leo Reynosa
0:25:29.4 It was his brother.

Interviewer
That got killed?

Leo Reynosa
Uh-hunh (affirmative)

Female Speaker
The other boy killed Herrera.

Leo Reynosa
No. No.

Female Speaker
Herrera killed the boy.

Leo Reynosa
That killed him was Herrera.

Interviewer
What did they do to Herrera?

Leo Reynosa
Well, they didn’t do nothing. They just say he’s the one that started that fight all like that. They take him to the jail for sales of marijuana and all like that, you know. He died already a long time ago. He went to Mexico, and he stay over there because he can’t come into United States.
Interviewer
Oh, I see.

Leo Reynosa
0:26:17.6 If he come to United States, they grab him—he jump bail over here.

Interviewer
Oh, he jumped bail?

Leo Reynosa
Uh-hunh (affirmative)

Interviewer
I see. How did police handle that? Were the police pretty good then? How did they act?

Leo Reynosa
At that time, well, they was pretty good—not much like it now. Well, at that time, there was few Mexicans. Very few Mexicans.

Interviewer
Uh-hunh (affirmative).

Leo Reynosa
Not much. They weren’t coming over there. They come into the farmer market. They go back again and bring stuff and all like that. I think most of the Mexicans at that time—they was employed on that Rice Hotel.

Interviewer
At the Rice Hotel?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah.

Interviewer
0:27:08.2 I see. The ones who worked downtown worked at the Rice Hotel?

Leo Reynosa
(talking at once) Yeah.

Interviewer
I see. I see. You had the café for 2 years—the San Antonio—for 2 years, but you also bought the one on Shepherd?

Leo Reynosa
Shepherd.

Interviewer
I see.

Leo Reynosa
I’ve been there since ‘43.

Interviewer
Who did you buy that from? Did you build it or did you buy it from somebody else?

Leo Reynosa
0:27:34.1 No. I buy it from somebody else. They already had the house in there. Then I build the back. I make my headquarters there. I mean, I living in there. I make it plenty room in there for me.

Interviewer
And that’s what you live on—

Leo Reynosa
No. No. Then, I buy the house on Norfolk and Mandell right in the corner. This place I make it a club—Valencia Club. We run them for 5 or 10 years, maybe, and I didn’t run it no more. I got it empty now. I am going to put it just for private—private parties.

Interviewer
I see.

 

Leo Reynosa
It’s too much trouble to be to 2:00 in the morning. Then go home and maybe about 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. Then I have to get up at 6:00. I said, “No. No more.”

Female Speaker
It’s like this work here. You get tired.

Leo Reynosa
We just about 10:00, quarter to 10—we close.

Interviewer
That’s it.

Leo Reynosa
I go home, maybe about 10:15, 10:30, after they clean up everything. I go to sleep. I have to get up at 7:00.

Interviewer
0:29:18.5 What year did you buy the one on Shepherd? What year did you go there at Shepherd?

Leo Reynosa
Shepherd? What day or year?

Interviewer
19—what?

Leo Reynosa
1943.

Interviewer
1943.

Leo Reynosa
I’ve been there since that time. Then the war come.

0:29:52.7 (end of audio 1)
Interviewer
Okay. Tell us about your background in Mexico, Mr. Reynosa. Where were your born?

Leo Reynosa
I was born in Aguascalientes.

Interviewer
Oh, you were born in Aguascalientes? Did you go to school there? Did you go to school—

Leo Reynosa
Oh, yeah. I go to school over there to 6th grade.

Interviewer
To 6th grade.

Leo Reynosa
By that time, I went to the—I went to a little bit of college over there for 6th grade. Then I transfer. I stay over there. I lost my father. I never know my father.

Interviewer
What happened to him?

Leo Reynosa
00:00:49 Well, I think he was—he was working on (factory??) I think he fell down and get burned. He die. Then, my mother—I lost my mother in 1910.

Interviewer
How did—did she just die—your mother? Your mother just died?

Leo Reynosa
Just died, yeah.

Interviewer
I see.

 

Leo Reynosa
So by that time, I didn’t go to school. Well, we call Pinta—I used to—my grandfather from my father. They had a grocery store. They had the grocery store and then they sell some liquor the next time—right next to it. They use just one partition and they sell some liquor over here. Then we had some—what do you call—

Female Speaker
Pool tables.

Interviewer
Pool tables?

Leo Reynosa
00:02:08 Pool tables, yeah. I steal a lot of money out of my grandfather. We live on the back—just down where the store was—just take $1 to them. They had a little room over there. He had some of that cans—square cans—about that big. They had nothing but dimes, quarters, and dollars and everything. Well, what I can get I put in my pockets. One time they cornered me. They say, “Where you been?” I say, “Well, I just get up. I was asleep. And I went through there and to go to toilet.” They say, “Oh. Okay.” I was afraid, you know. I had nothing but dollars in there. I just went over there. In Mexico, you know, the toilets at that time, just 2 holes in there. Then you know all that—everything accumulated there. They go out there. There was already—there was making another hole to transfer all the stuff in there. Then when there was 2 you can see everything. You can throw it about that much. I throwed them dollars in there and they stick like this. When I come back, they had a big barrel—about as big as this here. They had all the peppers. They had a lot of peppers. They already—with little holes in there. Then put some salt and vinegar. They had a big reata—a big rope—we call reata. They had it over there. My grandfather—my grandmother had already died too. So, my grandfather, he married a young girl. He was old. This girl was—I think it was about 20 years old. The prettiest girl you ever seen in your life.

Interviewer
That’s the way to do it, isn’t it?

Leo Reynosa
00:05:26 Well, I think she just wanted his account. He had good money. By that time, I say, “Why is the reata there? What is that for?” They say, “Your father wants to see you.” I say, “All right.” I went over there. “Do you want to see me?” “Yeah. Come on.” He get that rope in there and he give me a good whip. I went for my mother parents, and I say what happened to me. They say, “Well, you don’t have to stay there. Come on with us over here.” So, I go with my other parents. By that time, my grandfather said to this woman. He said, “Well, my boy is gone, so you have to go too.” So they run away. She died about 2 months later—young girl—I mean as pretty as you can be—prettiest girl I ever seen. By that time, I just go over there every week—every week go over there and visit him. They give me some money to go to show or something like that. That’s what happened to me.

Interviewer
In Aguascalientes, right?

Leo Reynosa
Uh-hunh (affirmative).

Interviewer
I see.

Leo Reynosa
My grandmother had a little restaurant, but she was open from 6:00 at night to midnight. That’s all—to 11:00 or 12:00. She was selling some enchiladas and all like that—pollo—everything just like we sell it right here.

Female Speaker
(inaudible)

Leo Reynosa
I didn’t know anything about that.

Interviewer
You didn’t know anything—

Leo Reynosa
00:07:38 She was making this money. Whatever I need, she give me everything, no matter. My grandfather the same thing. They put me in the little college over there. But I didn’t stay. I didn’t like it so I just started in farrier. What do you call it?

Female Speaker
Gifts?

Leo Reynosa
Farrier is the place where they put the shoes to the horses and all like that.

Interviewer
Blacksmith shop.

Leo Reynosa
00:08:14 Blacksmith shop—yeah. I work over there for a while. I was making—I think I was making $2—$2 Mexican a week at that time. I get money from my parents and $2 from where I was working. By that time—that was in 1910. I was against the government. I started to get some de estos papeles, you know?

Female Speaker
Illegal propaganda.

Leo Reynosa
Propaganda from the revolution. It’s all right. I get along—make a little money that way. By that time—that was in ‘10. Then they come—the revolution stop again. By that time, Madero descended this guy Victoriano Huerta. Orozco was one of the big chiefs—big guys in Mexico at that time with Madero. There was Orozco, Pancho Villa, and another—I can’t remember the others. But Orozco was one of the big guys and Pancho Villa the same thing. By that time, you know, after they settled down and everything, Madero name Orozco. He’s making revolution against Madero because—I think—he wants to be big guy, you know. They send General Salas to Chihuahua to go over there and fight with Orozco. Before they get to Chihuahua—what do you call that place over there? Anyhow, this guy, they beat him. I mean, they drew the maps and the trains and everything. He lost. On the way back from that place, Tutorel (??)—he get the gun and kill himself. By that time, they name Huerta—Victoriano Huerta—they name him main chief over there to come in and fight Orozco. At that time, Villa was there. He come in over there—Villa come to see—no. He didn’t come around. They send somebody to give orders to Villa and said he had to do this and that. He say, “I don’t take no orders from no so and so.” By that time, Huerta—he send a lot of soldiers and grab Villa. They headed right over there, and they just ready to shoot it. By that time, there was another general they called Madero—he was the president. He said, “No. Don’t do that. You just send him to me to Mexico City.” So they send Villa to Mexico City.
0:13:00.1 At that time, there come the other revolution again. They killed—by that time they killed this guy, Orozco, and they wipe out everything. They stop. Then, in 1913 is when they—no—1914. They started this thing over there—Huerta—they went back over there and Aureliano Blanquet and all those big shots from the other the other party they started in Mexico City, when they kill Madero, his brother, and everybody over there. By that time—before that—Madero—they had Villa in the penitentiary, but he send somebody over there to make him get out. They give you all the false evidence to go. So Villa went to El Paso, and he stay over there and wait and see what is going to be there. Before the revolution—before what happened in Mexico City. What happened at that time Villa was in El Paso. He started again. He come to United States. That was in 1914. Then he beat Huerta, and he beat all those guys. Villa—he do all La Divición del Norte, the Dorados and all those guys. They beat all the way through to Mexico City. That is when I joined. That was 1915 when I joined to Villa. Then at that time, they get all together and they had Carranza from one place and Obregón from the other place and Villa come. He was a mean thing—Villa. So at that time they had one convention in Aguascalientes. There was Obregón. There was Carranza. There was Zapata. There was Pancho Villa—all the generals. They was all together in Aguascalientes.

Interviewer
Were you there too?

Leo Reynosa
00:16:30 No. Not at that time yet. By that time I started—they don’t get together. So Villa go to one place—they started and fight against Villa—Carranza, Obregón, and all those guys over there. By that time, I was 15 or 16 when I joined.

Interviewer
You joined Villa? Were you in any battles?

Leo Reynosa
Uh-hunh (affirmative). Oh yeah. I got killed one caballo one time right here.

Interviewer
The bullet went through your leg?

Leo Reynosa
(00:17:24) The bullet through the caballo. And they kill my caballo.

Interviewer
Where? What town?

Leo Reynosa
Oh, that was in León. León, Guanajuato.

Interviewer
Oh, in León.

Female Speaker
You got hit on the leg?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah.

Interviewer
Yeah. He’s got a scar through the leg.

Leo Reynosa
They give me a shot in the leg. They coming through the caballo, and they kill him, and I stayed riding on the caballo.

Interviewer
So you were with the Dorados, huh?

Leo Reynosa
00:17:59 No. I wasn’t there. They call Brigado Villa (??)—the other cessation.

Interviewer
Oh, I see.

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. I was with general—I can’t remember right now. Anyhow, I wasn’t their man. They was with him.

Female Speaker
What was his rank?
Leo Reynosa
In 1915. This guy that run against Villa, so I descend from the mountains and go to the station—to the railroad station, and I take a plane to Mexico City. At that time, Villa and Carranza—no, Villa and Zapata—they get together and they went to that palacio and they take a picture. In that picture, there was Villa—sit down on that en la silla del presidente, you know.

Interviewer
Uh-hunh (affirmative).

Leo Reynosa
He was sit down. And Obregón was sit down here and (___??). They other guy who was there with the horse was there too. I was right behind them. I wasn’t with Villa or nobody because I already served, but I wasn’t joining again.

Interviewer
Oh. You were there? Are you in the picture?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. I got the picture over there.

Interviewer
Oh. You’re in the picture?

Leo Reynosa
In the chair behind.

Interviewer
How did you get in the picture—were you just standing (talking at once)?

Leo Reynosa
00:20:01 Well, everybody—they go right into the palace.

Interviewer
Yeah.

 

Leo Reynosa
A lot of people were behind Villa and all these guys, you know. So I stand behind there, just about 2. They take a picture.

Interviewer
Can you see you in the picture?

Female Speaker
Sure. I’ve seen it (inaudible).

Leo Reynosa
Oh, yeah.

Interviewer
Oh, well. I’ll be.

Female Speaker
(inaudible)

Leo Reynosa
Villa was in there.

Interviewer
How old were you at that time?

Leo Reynosa
00:20:32 I was 15—16.

Interviewer
Good night.

Female Speaker
(inaudible)

Leo Reynosa
I think I was 16.

Interviewer
16?

Leo Reynosa
It was in 1910—15.

Female Speaker
What was the time that you were ordered to shoot a person? A quién fusilaste? Que no te mandaron—

Leo Reynosa
Si, algún general.

Female Speaker
You shot a general?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah.

Interviewer
A general.

Leo Reynosa
Un general se llamaba, it was—me ordenaron que lo fusilara y yo no quería. “Entonces te fusilamos a ti y a el tambien.” Yo no quise, no, no. Pues tuve que—

Female Speaker
00:21:17 You shoot him—in other words—he was ordered to shoot the general.

Leo Reynosa
Uh-hunh (affirmative).

Female Speaker
He says, “No. I don’t want to shoot him.” They say, “Well, if you don’t shoot him, we’ll shoot you too.”

Interviewer
Well, that was it.

Leo Reynosa
Well, you know Ypiña—his brother? He was in the revolution too. His brother—he die. And then it was done. It was done with Ypiña. What happened that time I was on my horse. He coming through with a horse. He say that to me because I was lieutenant, and he was just one and me—there was 2.

Interviewer
Oh, I see.

Leo Reynosa
So he saw me and say “Hey, what are you doing?” I said, “Well, what are you doing yourself?”

Interviewer
You all were from the same town?

Leo Reynosa
We don’t know what he’s going to the other or he’s going to be with Villa?

Interviewer
I see. But you all knew one another—both of you—

Leo Reynosa
In León.

Interviewer
In León?

Leo Reynosa
León, yeah, Guanajuato.

Interviewer
00:22:29 Were you in any big battles? What big battles?

Leo Reynosa
Oh, yeah. I was in one big battle that was in that—the one over there on Zacatecas. We had to put all together like this—we throw some gasoline and burned it because—there was thousands and thousands of people.

Interviewer
Of dead people?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah.

Interviewer
Oh, I see.

Leo Reynosa
Yeah.

Interviewer
You had to burn the dead people?

Leo Reynosa
I see one time—wanted to get up and run. Another guy (inaudible).

Interviewer
But you all burned the dead people?

Leo Reynosa
00:23:25 No—yeah. We had to because there was too many.

Female Speaker
But one wasn’t quite burned—one wasn’t quite dead—

Interviewer
Dead?

Female Speaker
He got up, and they shot him and put him back in the fire.
Leo Reynosa
Yeah, you can’t bury all these people. It was too much.

Interviewer
When did you quit the revolution—what year?

Leo Reynosa
After we get—well, the thing was this. Villa buy all the valuables and all the arms and all the army’s machines from the United States. A Jewish who stay over there on the border right between El Paso—right in there. He buy all that. The same way they do Carranza, with this guy. So, I think, Carranza give a lot of money to this—he was Jewish. They said to this Jew, “Send everything to Villa, and send it with half the powder. Don’t put too much powder in there.” So they can’t use it. They shoot it and it won’t—

Female Speaker
You understand what he’s saying?

Interviewer
Uh-hunh (affirmative).

Leo Reynosa
00:25:01 They can’t kill nobody hardly. By that time—we didn’t have nothing. We was losing all the time.

Interviewer
You all were losing?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. We was going—we had a big battle over there on that—se me va la onda a veces.

Female Speaker
Leo, were you in the battle where Villa’s bullets were tampered with? I mean when you were in that battle—when, cuando le mandaron las balas que no tenían mucha porvora. ¿Tu estuviste allí en esa batalla?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. We had—not much. Almost everybody—all the bullets.
Interviewer
Were you at the Battle of Celaya?

Leo Reynosa
Hunh?

Interviewer
At the Battle of Celaya?

Leo Reynosa
Celaya—yeah—2 times. We go one time and then we lost—come back. We was damn fools because everybody—they go—they was not together. There was a just a few going there—pow, pow, pow. So we had to come back. Next time, Villa call General—I can’t—es el muy famoso—

Interviewer
Ángeles?

Leo Reynosa
Ángeles.

Interviewer
Felipe Ángeles.

Leo Reynosa
00:26:48 Yeah. They called Felipe Ángeles to come back to take—take the place. So he said, “Yeah. I can take it. I can take it. I can take that place.” Everyday we had to bomb it. We have to use artilleria.

Interviewer
Artillery?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. We had to use all that. He said, “No. There’s too many people over there. They don’t know anything about it. We don’t want to kill any civilians.” They say, “Why you don’t want to kill civilians?” He went to the station and take his Pullman train and they go to Chihuahua. So by that time the name—they name another guy to the battle. He wasn’t combined with the Carranzistas at that time. They give you one of the shots. They hit Obregón.
Interviewer
Obregón—knocked his arm off.

Leo Reynosa
00:28:07 Yeah. He lose one the arm. So by that time we lose it. From there, we went to the mountains before you hit Leon. We stay over there and fight all the time. Everyday about 6:00 they started fighting and fighting. Then at night stop. By that time, Villa say—he ordered some people—some brigados to go around and hit the enemy on the back. So by that time, they come in like this. They had these trains over here from Mexico, you know. So they’re coming over here and do—they fight these guys. These guys—they can’t go back. So by that time, they come and they’re pushing. And we lost on that. We had to leave that place. All these people over here, they come in with arms and they’re fighting. So we lost. Then we went to Aguascalientes. They waited for orders over there to another general. So we come into Torreón. Then, from Torreón they send me to—(inaudible).

Female Speaker
Zacatecas o León? (inaudible).

Leo Reynosa
No, this was a state—the town where we went to? Sabinas.

Female Speaker
Sabinas.

Leo Reynosa
Sabinas. We stay over there in Sabinas about 2 months and then they—one big general—they force. They had a lot of power and had a lot of people. So we had to leave it. We come into the mountains and go all the way to Chihuahua. In Chihuahua, we had orders to go—

00:31:07 (end of audio 2)

Leo Reynosa
By that time, Villa said—he sent fighters over to go with me. But we didn’t promise anything because we knew we were going to be fighting and ride into the mountains. We don’t want any big group. We wanted something—just anybody willing to go. If you don’t, you free to go home. So we decide—most everybody decide to go home. So we went over there and surrendered. They give you transportation, and they give you some money to go back home. It was in 1915.
Interviewer
In 1915.

Leo Reynosa
Uh-hunh (affirmative).

Interviewer
What rank were you—what were you a lieutenant?
Leo Reynosa
Lieutenant.

Interviewer
I see.

Leo Reynosa
00:01:02 Then I went to Aguascalientes and the general—he was the governor and he was the general—they had all the soldiers and everything all together. So they called me if I want to join. By that time, I was captain. He says, “I give you your rank.” I said, “No.” My grandmother—she was too old. I said, “No. I don’t want to join it no more.” They said, “We give you the major.” I said, “No.” At this point, I went to—starting work for the railroad shop over there in Mexican—

Interviewer
I see.

Leo Reynosa
1916.

Interviewer
And you worked there until you came to the United States?

Leo Reynosa
I work over there. I apprentice.

Interviewer
I see.

Leo Reynosa
00:02:20 You know, the apprentice. They give you all the—everything. You have to do this. You have to do that.

Interviewer
It trained you how to do—

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. They give you—

Interviewer
But then you came to the United States?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah, after that.

Interviewer
How did you come? Did you come by train to the United States?

Leo Reynosa
Well, at that time, I worked 2 years as apprentice. I know everything in there. By that time, they had a big lay off at the railroad shop—the Mexican—

Interviewer
Yes, sir.

Leo Reynosa
They laid off, and they give to you transportation where you want to go and everything.

Interviewer
00:03:12 How did you come to Houston?

Leo Reynosa
That’s where I come—at that time.

Interviewer
But how?
Leo Reynosa
On the train, yeah.

Interviewer
On the train?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. They give you transportation on the train.

Interviewer
Oh, I see. Yes, sir. Okay.

Leo Reynosa
00:03:23 I come to Laredo. At that time, I had all my papers already. I think I paid 10 cents to cross the bridge (talking at once) at that time.

Female Speaker
(inaudible)

Leo Reynosa
Or it was quarter—I don’t know.

Female Speaker
I think it was a nickel.

Leo Reynosa
No. At that time it was a little more. I can’t remember what it was—1918.

Interviewer
Did you know anybody here in Houston when you came?

Leo Reynosa
Hunh?

Interviewer
Did you know anybody here?

Leo Reynosa
No.

Interviewer
Just with those men?

Leo Reynosa
Just come—that’s all.

Interviewer
I see. I see. Where did you live when you came here? What street?

Leo Reynosa
Appaloosa.

Interviewer
Appaloosa.

Leo Reynosa
Appaloosa is north side.

Interviewer
On north side?

Leo Reynosa
The north side.

Interviewer
Oh, I see. I see.

Leo Reynosa
00:04:15 I just coming to know United States. And I was young too. I said, “Well, I’ll stay a couple of months and maybe I’ll go back to Mexico.” But since that time I stay over here. I was making a little money. Everything is different. So I went to Mexico one time and come back again. So here I am.

Interviewer
Did you bring your wife with you here?

Leo Reynosa
No. I marry here in Houston.

Interviewer
Oh. I see. Where was she from?

Leo Reynosa
She from—she was a Greek American.

Interviewer
A Greek American. Well, I’ll be.

Leo Reynosa
She was pretty as could be.

Interviewer
What year?

Leo Reynosa
00:05:07 1919.

Interviewer
A Greek American.

Leo Reynosa
In ’19 or ’20—something like that. I got a boy. He’s about that age—he’s electrician. He is making plenty money.

Interviewer
They do. Them and plumbers.

Leo Reynosa
I mean, you know, he’s been making plenty money for a long time. He’s been married, and his wife died. Now he’s married to one of the big friends to his wife.
Female Speaker
That’s your first wife.

Leo Reynosa
My first wife.

Interviewer
You’ve been married again?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. I married again. Right now, I call the other day. I say, “Why don’t you come around to see me no more?” Said well, “I’m so tired I can’t go nowhere.”

Interviewer
Your boy?

Leo Reynosa
00:06:02 Yeah. “I can’t go nowhere. I stay here. I just lay down and then they call me in the middle of the night to go do this and do that. I making plenty of money, but the money don’t do me no good.”

Interviewer
Well, that’s—

Leo Reynosa
He say he make enough—sometime he make $1,000 a week.

Female Speaker
That’s pretty good.

Interviewer
Yeah.

Leo Reynosa
Yeah.

Interviewer
00:06:27 How many children do you have?

Leo Reynosa
Five.

Interviewer
Five children? One boy?

Leo Reynosa
All boys.

Interviewer
All boys.

Leo Reynosa
He is electrician. Next one is Leo. Leo—he’s 40-somewhat years old. He born in ’35. So he go to school. I take him—I send him to school after they finish here. I send him to San Antonio—military school over there in San Antonio. He stay over there and come back. By that time, he say he wants to be—he want me to—“Why don’t you take me to Mexico?” Because I was in Mexico most all the time. I say, “All right. I’ll take you to Mexico.” I take him to Mexico. By that time he got a friend over there. They take it over to the bull fights. So he like to be bull fighter. I say, “All right.” So he’s starting to be a bull fighter. He fight 2 or 3. By that time, they call him—United States—to be drafted.

Interviewer
Oh.

Leo Reynosa
By that time, they draft him—he was a Marine.

Interviewer
00:08:08 Oh, he was a Marine.

Leo Reynosa
Uh-hunh (affirmative). Stay over there 2 years. Come back and started working with me. He’s been working over there with me from that time almost. Then I had 2 more—2 more children. There was Felix and (inaudible)—no—Felix—there was with Leo. Leo—there was Felix. Felix too goes in the school. He finished the school, and he was a good player of that football. They used to—they called him, “Come on Felix.” They call—what do they call it—enchilada.

Interviewer
Enchilada.

Female Speaker
(laughs)

Leo Reynosa
“Come on—enchilada. Make it.” He went—he win all the time. He had to practice every day.

Interviewer
(inaudible)

Leo Reynosa
By that time, he joined the Air Force. In August of this year, he is going to be out 20 years.

Interviewer
Oh, he stayed in there for 20 years?

Leo Reynosa
00:09:44 Twenty years. August—to be out.

Interviewer
What about the other 2 boys?

Leo Reynosa
The other boy—went to school. One is Fisher. He’s been working. He’s been working carpenter and all like that. Now he been working for me for long time—for 3 years. He making plenty money over there in the restaurant. My other boy, he is the coach on the St. Anne.

Interviewer
St. Anne’s?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. He’s a coach. He learned all the boys over there to football, basketball.

Interviewer
On Shepherd?

Leo Reynosa
Shepherd, yeah.

Interviewer
Oh, yeah. That’s a beautiful place.

Leo Reynosa
He’s been coach for 3 or 4 years.

Interviewer
Did they go to St. Anne’s or not?

Leo Reynosa
Everybody went to St. Anne’s. Everybody went to St. Anne.

Interviewer
Uh-hunh (affirmative).

Leo Reynosa
00:10:48 They went to St. Anne. They got the—what do you call that—there’s another—

Female Speaker
(inaudible)

Leo Reynosa
No.

Female Speaker
(inaudible)

Interviewer
St. Thomas?

Leo Reynosa
No. Robert went to St. Thomas.

Female Speaker
Robert.

Leo Reynosa
Yeah.

Female Speaker
(inaudible)

Leo Reynosa
Leo—no—he didn’t go.

Female Speaker
Robert (inaudible).

Leo Reynosa
Robert went to St. Thomas.

Female Speaker
What did Robert go? ¿Y Robert dónde está?

Leo Reynosa
Robert went to St. Thomas. He still go—now, he’s going to—he’s been going to some different school.

Interviewer
00:11:46 When you first came to Houston did you live with anybody or did you live by yourself?

Leo Reynosa
Well, I live all by myself, but I rented a room over there—on that—
Interviewer
Appaloosa?

Leo Reynosa
Appaloosa. Then I move on—right close to the church, you know. They had American girls—ladies—they were the owner of that place. They rented me a room over there.

Interviewer
Near the shops?

Leo Reynosa
Hunh?

Interviewer
Near the shops, you said?

Leo Reynosa
No. It was about 3 or 4 blocks from the Southern Pacific.

Interviewer
I see. Then you got married after that?

Leo Reynosa
No. At that time my first wife—I married in 1920 or 19—I can’t remember. I marry girl. This electrician is the one that was from first wife. The other 4 is from the second wife.

Interviewer
When did you get married the second time?

Leo Reynosa
00:13:17 In ’35.

Interviewer
I see. I see. What was your favorite job—here in Houston? What’s the best job you had—with the restaurant or—?

Leo Reynosa
Well—

Interviewer
Which one did you like the best?

Leo Reynosa
Well, I like the best—since I been in the business it’s all right because—

Female Speaker
Makes you money.

Leo Reynosa
I take it easy. Sometimes it’s hard. I enjoy myself in there. I meet the people and everybody—they come and see me. Leo, “This, this, that.”

Female Speaker
(inaudible)

Leo Reynosa
We closed today. I supposed to be home. I didn’t go home at all. I stay over there in the restaurant—somebody come around that’s got television over there. We got fellows—they clean the place right now. I rather be in the restaurant than be in home.

Interviewer
I know. When you first got married, where did you all live—what street?

Leo Reynosa
00:14:35 Let’s see. Well, when I marry her at that time—I was living—I had a house over there—what is that name—on north side. You know where that Espy (SB??) Hospital used to be—or still there. Well, I was renting that place right over there in the corner—right across the street from that hospital in there. My uncle from Mexico—my uncle and his wife—I bring from Mexico. I had a brand new Ford, and I went to Laredo and bring it—we had a hard time. At that time there was no roads. There was nothing but mud, you see. I remember they were—his wife, my aunt, get out of the car because the car was like this—it was just like it was going to turn her over. There were too many cars on the road. They already—

Female Speaker
Turned.

Leo Reynosa
Uh-hunh (affirmative). So she get out the car and come and walk because you just can’t—. I say, “Well, you can go around us, but I walk.” All the roads at that time in Texas from here to San Antonio same way. So I bring them. They lived here for a long time. So they went back. By that time, I was married. I was starting to get married again.

Interviewer
What happened—did you have brothers and sisters?

Leo Reynosa
Hunh?

Interviewer
Do you have brothers and sisters?

Leo Reynosa
No brothers. No sisters.

Interviewer
You were the only child?

Leo Reynosa
Only child.

Interviewer
Only child. Did your boys all get married—your sons all get married?

Leo Reynosa
No, well. Leo is married. Felix is married. Fisher—he was married. He is single now. The other, Billy, from my first wife. He married one time. He married. His wife died. Now he’s married again. The only one that’s not married is Robert. He is over there on that—the one that learned the boys to be—

Interviewer
The coach. Did they all marry Mexican girls or Anglo girls?

Leo Reynosa
No. No Mexicans in there. Very few. Not American boy—

Interviewer
No, I mean. Did your boys marry Mexican girls or did they marry—

Leo Reynosa
Well, Leo married a Mexican girl. That’s the only one. The others is nothing but American.

Interviewer
00:18:29 Okay. Do they have children?

Leo Reynosa
Oh, yeah.

Interviewer
How are they raising their children? Are they raising their children different than the way you were raised?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah, just like American. They hardly can speak English—they can’t speak in Spanish, I mean.

Interviewer
They don’t—

Leo Reynosa
Very, very little.

Interviewer
When did you first learn to speak English? When you came for the railroad?

Leo Reynosa
Well, when I come to the railroad, I didn’t know anything about it.

Female Speaker
Just picked it up.

Leo Reynosa
I know I remember one time in San Antonio. I stop in San Antonio, and I tried to cross the street. Somebody holler at me. “Hey! You so and so. Watch your step or something.” I said, “Oh.” I said (inaudible). I didn’t know what was said to me.

Interviewer
(laughs) Did you go from Laredo to San Antonio to Houston or did you go from Laredo to Houston?

Leo Reynosa
We stop in San Antonio for a while, yeah.

Interviewer
00:19:56 But you never lived in San Antonio?

Leo Reynosa
No. I never lived in San Antonio.

Interviewer
Your sons—they don’t teach their children Spanish at all?

Leo Reynosa
No.

Interviewer
Do you teach them Spanish?

Leo Reynosa
Hunh?

Interviewer
Do you teach them Spanish—the little kids—the grandchildren?

Leo Reynosa
Well, Leo, no. I take him to—over there he was a bull fighter. I take him over there. He stay over there about 2 years in Mexico City. That cost me a lot of money. I had to go over there on the plane and buy the bulls and all like that—sure. Felix—he speak little bit of Spanish.

Interviewer
Uh-hunh (affirmative).

Leo Reynosa
00:20:47 All these boys—Fisher speak very little. He just got a lot in my house right now in there that don’t speak English, nothing but Spanish. They have to learn a little bit something to tell them to do this or do that.

Interviewer
Your boys have to learn?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. Robert—he understand a little bit, like that. They don’t speak enough to hold conversation.

Interviewer
Your boys don’t? They don’t speak—

Female Speaker
I think Leo, Jr. is the only one.

Interviewer
Is the only one—

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. Leo’s the only one.

Interviewer
You just taught them to speak English instead when they were at home?

Leo Reynosa
No. They learned over there—they go over there to school. There was nothing but—
Interviewer
English.

Leo Reynosa
00:21:46 All the friends they had over there in that part of town—there was nothing but American boys.

Interviewer
Yes, sir.

Leo Reynosa
There were no Mexicans in that part of town.

Interviewer
On Shepherd?

Leo Reynosa
South Shepherd.

Interviewer
All those rich people that used to be in there.

Leo Reynosa
They can’t speak Spanish so they just had to speak English.

Interviewer
That’s right. That’s right. There were just none—no Mexican Americans.

Female Speaker
(inaudible)

Interviewer
Well, when you first came to Houston what kind of social activities were you in? Did you go to dances or movies or anything? What did you do for fun in Houston when you first came?

Leo Reynosa
Oh, I used to go with dances all like that.
Interviewer
Where?

Leo Reynosa
Oh. They had that place over there on Lamada (??), I think it was. There was big dance hall in there. I used to go to those dances over there.

Interviewer
I see.

Leo Reynosa
00:23:00 I was the first guy to make Mexicans—to make the dances here in Houston for the Mexicans.

Interviewer
Oh, really. You made dances for the Mexicans?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah.

Interviewer
Where?

Leo Reynosa
Here in town. Well, I had this—they had a place over there on Main Street they call Main—it was a big—at that time, that’s where that theater is over there. There used to be a theater over there on Main. It’s between—let’s see—

Female Speaker
I don’t remember that at all.

Leo Reynosa
What street is that?

Female Speaker
On Main Street?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. On Main Street.

Female Speaker
South?

Leo Reynosa
00:24:16 Yeah. South Main.

Female Speaker
End of Main?

Leo Reynosa
End of Main—they used to call “End of Main.” “The Hall.”

Female Speaker
Uh-hunh (affirmative).
Leo Reynosa
They used to make dances over there.

Female Speaker
I remember the End of Main.

Leo Reynosa
There was—

Interviewer
That was the name of it?

Leo Reynosa
End of Main.

Female Speaker
Main used to end right there.

Interviewer
And they called it the End of Main. I see. (talking at once)
Leo Reynosa
00:24:41 That place—just about a half a block there—

Female Speaker
(inaudible)

Leo Reynosa
There was this rich guy, one of the richest guy in town. He die. What’s his name? One of the richest in town?

Female Speaker
Collins or Jones—

Interviewer
Probably before that.

Leo Reynosa
What’s that name? He sell some wood and what do you call it?

Interviewer
Lumber company?

Leo Reynosa
Lumber company. He was down in the little bench like this. There was nothing but dust in there. Right over there—right in town—from the Rice Hotel 2 or 3 blocks down this way. Over there—there was not—

Interviewer
It wasn’t anything. Yeah. It was pretty bleak.

Female Speaker
Going to the End of Main was very far. It was an all-day affair.

Leo Reynosa
00:25:43 Yeah.

Female Speaker
Do you remember the Palladium? We’d go to the Palladium. That used to be on Main also—Palladium. It used to be almost where Old Spanish trail in Main ends, ¿te acuerdas? There used to be a big dance hall.

Leo Reynosa
Yeah.

Interviewer
What’s your religion, Mr. Reynosa?

Leo Reynosa
My what?

Interviewer
Religion?

Female Speaker
Religión. Tu religión. ¿Eres Católico?

Leo Reynosa
Oh. Católico.

Interviewer
All your life?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah.

Interviewer
Are you still a Catholic? Do you still go—every Sunday you go to church?

Leo Reynosa
00:26:22 Yeah. I never go to church.

Interviewer
Me neither. Do you go?
Female Speaker
No.

Interviewer
You don’t go to church anymore?

Female Speaker
Every once in a great while.

Interviewer
My mother said if I went into a church it would fall down.

Female Speaker
Cave in on you.

Interviewer
When did you stop going to church?

Leo Reynosa
00:26:45 Well, when I go to Mexico I go up church. Here I got no time to go to church.

Female Speaker
When you think about it, you go.

Interviewer
Yeah.

Female Speaker
Or something special.

Interviewer
Yeah.

Leo Reynosa
But I pray every morning, and I pray at night. I didn’t learn much of the pray, but I can pray pretty good.

Female Speaker
Just keep good standards.

Interviewer
Sure. Do you give to the church?

Leo Reynosa
Oh yeah, a little bit. Always we make something to raise some money.

Interviewer
Fundraiser?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. I give you, say, give me some rice or give me some beans or something like that. I give it, not every church.

Interviewer
Do you give to St. Anne’s?

Leo Reynosa
Uh-hunh (affirmative).

Female Speaker
He’s always been very generous.

Interviewer
To the churches?

Female Speaker
00:27:46 As a matter of fact, I’ve known Leo to personally help people—individuals—like Mr. Felix. Mr. Felix was the type that he would help friends.

Leo Reynosa
Yeah.

Female Speaker
Leo does the same thing. You help—
Leo Reynosa
Oh, yeah.

Female Speaker
You help people that you know. I’ve known him to give a lot of people out of tight spots. Leo never says no. They always go to Leo. El señor Tequerín tambien the same way. A todo el mundo le ayudaba. Las personas que he knew, personas que conocía el, les ayudababa.

Leo Reynosa
Yeah.

Interviewer
When you first came to Houston, did you go to a particular church—when you first came to Houston?

Leo Reynosa
00:28:53 Well, I used to go over there to this one, right over here.

Female Speaker
This is the only one?

Interviewer
Lady of Guadalupe?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. At that time, I was making plenty of money. They had a caravans—what do you call it?

Female Speaker
Bizarre.

Interviewer
Bizarre.

Leo Reynosa
Bizarre. I was so popular. Everybody know me. Leo this and Leo that. The girl—they come and, I was young you know?

Female Speaker
(inaudible).

Leo Reynosa
By that time, they come around—2 or 3 girls. “Oh, we going to put him to jail.” All like that—to grab me 2 or 3. “No, let me take him.” They had to pay the “multa” there, the money to the church. Every time they had something to eat over there, I paid for all. I was too—

Female Speaker
Generous.

Interviewer
Generous.

Leo Reynosa
Uh-hunh (affirmative).

Interviewer
When you first came to Houston, did you belong to any groups or organizations like Mexico Bello?

Leo Reynosa
Well, I’m the one—Mexico Bello. I am the one that started—one of the guys that started up Mexico Bello.

Interviewer
00:30:20 Why did you all start Mexico Bello?

Leo Reynosa
Well, just to make dances, have a good time. That’s all—get together. Shoot some dice.

Interviewer
(laughs)

Female Speaker
Do you remember some of the members?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah.

Female Speaker
Who helped you start it?

Leo Reynosa
Who?

Female Speaker
¿Quienes eran los que mas te ayudaban con el hall?

Leo Reynosa
Pues, el primero, no me recuerdo bien. Eso fue hace casi 50 años.

Female Speaker
50 years back?

Leo Reynosa
Almost—about 50 years.

Female Speaker
0:30:55.0 Do you have any old pictures of that?

Leo Reynosa
I’ve got pictures in there, yeah.

Female Speaker
Mexico Bello.

Leo Reynosa
Uh-hunh (affirmative)

Interviewer
00:31:00 What about mutual aid societies? Were you in mutual aid societies?

Leo Reynosa
What is that?

Interviewer
Mutual aid—mutualistas. Were you in a mutualista?

Leo Reynosa
No. I used to belong to—I can’t remember the name—but no.

Interviewer
Woodmen of the World?

00:31:31 (end of audio 3)

Female Speaker
00:00:03 You were doing 80 miles an hour. You scared us half to death.

Interviewer
So you go back to Mexico quite a bit?

Female Speaker
He travels all over.

Leo Reynosa
I used to—when Felix Tequerín, my compadre. He was my compadre.

Interviewer
Oh, he (inaudible).

Leo Reynosa
That was just like a brother to me. He want to go somewhere—he get the car and pick me up. Even when I was over there in San Antonio Café, we just go everywhere. We go to Mexico together almost every 2 weeks.

Interviewer
I see.

Leo Reynosa
Go to Mexico. Go to Monterrey—all like that.

Interviewer
You liked him a great deal then?

Leo Reynosa
Uh-hunh (affirmative).

Interviewer
When did you first meet Felix Tequerín?

Leo Reynosa
00:00:56 Well, I meet him—let’s see. I can’t remember when I meet him.

Female Speaker
He had a restaurant.

Interviewer
In the ‘20s.

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. He had a restaurant over there on—he went broke. Then he opened again another one doing RCA—what do you call it—RCA—at that time—the government?

Interviewer
Yeah—RC—yeah. I know—one of the government programs.

Leo Reynosa
Yeah—the program. At that time, he had nobody. I didn’t know anything about the restaurant so I went over there and help.

Interviewer
RCF—Reconstruction Finance Corporation.

 

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. So I went over there and help him out. I helped a lot of times over there and waited the tables and all that. He don’t pay me nothing, just a good friend.

Interviewer
Yeah.

Leo Reynosa
But before that I meet him somewhere. We was good friends all together. I meet all the family that was over there—all the family. I eat over there. I go over there just like it was my house. The mother was a very fine woman. The older sister the same way.

Interviewer
Uh-hunh (affirmative).

Leo Reynosa
It was a fine family.

Interviewer
00:02:38 Did you ever want to move back to Mexico at all?

Leo Reynosa
Not right now. No place to work and I got all these children. I had at one time—one of my parent’s friends in Mexico—he was the president of the senators.

Interviewer
He was a senator?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. He was a senator for the state of Zacatecas. After that—when he was senator was when my boy he was trying to be a bullfighter. So I stay over there in hotel right in the front of the hotel. He pass by, and he saw me. He say, “Hey. What are you doing over there?” I said, “Well, I just come back from the United States.” He say, “You still out there?” “Yeah.” He said, “Well, you want to go to the—”you know that—PRI—they called the PRI. “You want to go the PRI?” There was general— ¿Cómo se llamaba este general that worked with him? He said, “Let’s go to the place a tomar una copa.” “All right.” So I go with him in the car. So we started over there and talk and everything. This guy—he was the president of the PRI—this general. But he was the president of the senators over there. So they started talking and say—he said—“Well, they give you enough of everything than me. He was in the revolution. I guess you can do something to stay over here in Mexico.” I said, “No. I can’t do it. I’ve got 2 children over there.” I had just the 2 children at that time. I say, “I don’t think I can. My wife I don’t think want to come. She is a Texan.” I said, “I don’t think she wants to come.” He said, “Well, I’ll tell you what I’ll do. If you want to be mayor of the Aguascalientes, “he said to me that PRI—that president of the PRI. I say, “Well, I don’t know.” He say, “Whatever you need—a little over $2,000 for you—”

Interviewer
To campaign?

Leo Reynosa
Campaign.“And you can donate something to the PRI. You the solemn of the state. You be the mayor. In one month, you get your money back and more.” (talking at once) I say, “Well, I don’t know. I’ll go to Houston and talk to the wife and see what I can do.”

Female Speaker
(inaudible)

Leo Reynosa
00:06:30 You say, “No. I don’t want to go. You can go if you want to.” I said, “No I don’t want to go.” So there you are.

Female Speaker
(inaudible)

Interviewer
(inaudible)

Leo Reynosa
Then he running for governor the state of Zacatecas. He stay over there. He was a big guy over there—multimillionaire.

Interviewer
00:06:52 Really?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. Then later on he—something wrong over there with the people. So, this president, the one he died, you know. He was, for 1 year, what do you call it?

Female Speaker
0:07:20.2 ¿A cuál?

Leo Reynosa
Mateos. ¿Cómo se llamaba Mateos?

Female Speaker
Lopez?

Leo Reynosa
Lopez Mateos, yeah.

Interviewer
Uh-hunh (affirmative).

Leo Reynosa
Lopez Mateos. He was the president when this guy that was the—

Interviewer
Governor?

Leo Reynosa
My cousin or—I don’t what. There was relation anyhow. He was the governor. They said to him, “Come into Mexico. I’ve got a lot of complaints about you in Zacatecas, and I don’t want you to be killed. I am going to send you to”—I think they sent him to Spain. Minister Plenipotentiary.

Interviewer
To be the minister—?

Leo Reynosa
Big guy.

Interviewer
Oh, minister—ambassador.

Leo Reynosa
Plenty money. So they sent him to España. They call me from España before he wants to come into United States. So he is in South America now. He is a big guy over there too.

Interviewer
Ambassador (inaudible) (talking at once). Are you political?

Leo Reynosa
00:08:38 I’ve got another guy—he’s a movie star now. He is the president of all the movie stars over there—Reynosa.

Interviewer
Uh-hunh (affirmative). Reynoso is his name?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah.

Interviewer
A cousin?

Leo Reynosa
No it’s not Reynosa. My name is Reynosa. No Reynosa. My friend name is Reynoso. No, wait a minute. They make mistake when I was make an American citizen. Instead of put an O, they put A. So I’ve been using Reynosa.

Interviewer
Oh, but it’s really Reynoso.

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. Reynoso is my real name. But when they make—I make an American citizen they put Reynosa. So I have to use Reynosa all the time.

Interviewer
Well, I’ll be.
Leo Reynosa
I have to.

Interviewer
I see.

Leo Reynosa
Uh-hunh (affirmative). Because I go—they didn’t say Reynoso. I had to be Reynosa. So I have to use Reynosa.

Interviewer
So it won’t be complicated.

Female Speaker
Just one little letter.

Interviewer
00:09:48 Good night. I see what you mean. Are you political? Do you like politics at all?

Leo Reynosa
Well, I used to be a politician with Felix. I used to go with all those guys over there. I used to know all the police chief and everything at that time.

Interviewer
Locally? What mayor did you support?

Leo Reynosa
00:10:15 At that time there was—

Female Speaker
Mayor Holcombe was up for a long time.

Leo Reynosa
One of my best customers at that time when I take that place over there on the side of Shepherd—there was Holcombe. He used to come around every week and then bring some of these guys with him too. Sometimes they go to New York. Then they say they’re going to be in Houston. They take a taxi. They come through to my place first time.
Interviewer
When did you become an American citizen?

Leo Reynosa
Oh, 1950 or something like that.

Interviewer
I see. Who did you—did you vote for Holcombe and any of them?

Leo Reynosa
Oh, I vote—yeah—for the best all the time.

Interviewer
Who did you support in local elections?

Leo Reynosa
Hunh?

Interviewer
Which man did you support—I mean—like Roosevelt? In a national election, who did you support?

Leo Reynosa
Well, I don’t know. I used to—I’ve been going with the Republican.

Interviewer
Republicans?

Leo Reynosa
00:11:37 Yeah. I’ve been vote for Republican later.

Interviewer
Later on?

Leo Reynosa
For the last 10 years.

Interviewer
Before that you voted for the Democrats? I see. I see. Did you ever encounter any discrimination or prejudice from the Americans?

Leo Reynosa
0:11:55.8 No.

Female Speaker
Anywhere, Leo, at all—anywhere in Texas—anywhere?

Leo Reynosa
¿No qué?

Female Speaker
Aquí en Texas, in Houston, San Antonio ¿nunca te acuerdas de--?

Leo Reynosa
¿De que me hayan dicho algo? No. No. Not me. I see a lot of guys get discrimination. I had a friend that was good friend of mine. We went to San Antonio together. On the way back he bring his children with it. We stop in that place over there from San Antonio coming to Houston. The girl said she was hungry. I said, “Well, let’s stop over there.” So we stop over there. They say over there, “We don’t allow no Mexicans and dogs” or something like that. I didn’t see that. Anyhow, we went inside. I said, “Well, let’s go inside and see what they say.” We go inside and ask for something to eat, and they give it to us. They never said nothing to us.

Female Speaker
They didn’t notice.

Leo Reynosa
No. We was well dressed up you know.

Female Speaker
They didn’t pay attention.

Interviewer
They were probably like those 2 men over there—he might have beat them up.

Female Speaker
They didn’t probably pay attention. They expected (inaudible) (talking at once).

Leo Reynosa
00:13:42 I used to fight. I don’t care where we was.

Interviewer
You got in fights, well. Do you have any regrets over your life? Mr. Reynosa, do you have any regrets about your life? Would you like to do something else or do something over?

Leo Reynosa
Well, I don’t know. I always satisfied when it’s over. I just do the best way I can.

Female Speaker
I wonder what would have happened if you would have become mayor of Aguascalientes?

Interviewer
Well, he would have made a lot of money, that’s for sure.

Leo Reynosa
00:14:19 Oh, yeah. I could be millionaire over there right now. Over here, you know, just like Felix. Felix Tequerín say and you can tell this fellow that Felix Morales and everybody—they can tell—say about me—Chato, Leo. He said that he can be millionaire right now if he wants to. Then said, “Yeah. He can have more money than me and somebody else.” But the thing—I was gambling, and I like my womans.

Interviewer
You like gambling and women? (laughs) Well—

Female Speaker
He could have been a millionaire, but he enjoys life. He traveled all over. He takes his women and gambles and drinks.

Interviewer
Do you still go back to Aguascalientes from time to time?

Leo Reynosa
I was there in Aguascalientes—well, I just passed through there this time. But I stay over there about a year ago. I stay over there about 2 weeks about a year ago. But this time I just passed through there about 3 months ago.

Interviewer
And you still have relatives there then. Your people still there?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. Relatives—lot of relatives there in Mexico City and Monterrey and Tampico.

Interviewer
Yes, sir.

Leo Reynosa
Well, I’ve got—I’ve got some relatives over here in Los Angeles too, from Mexico.

Interviewer
Oh, I see. I see. Did you ever talk to Villa?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. One time.

Interviewer
What about?

Leo Reynosa
00:16:25 Well, this time we was taking—we was guardia. ¿Cómo se llama?

Female Speaker
Guard?

Leo Reynosa
We was the guard over there on that day. They had the Pullman in there for a ride in the station in Aguascalientes. We worked in the station to get a Pullman, and we was the guard. La primera Villa, there was the guard, you know, right there. Some fellow—they went to there. I thought it was one of the big guys. So he go into the Pullman. So he went inside. Villa—when he see this guy. He say, “You know? I know the way you looked to me. What are you trying to do to me? You better speak or I kill you right now here.” So he said, “Well, I just come”—just like he said I want to kill you or something like that. So they said, “Come on.” They called me, and they get the gun. They said, “Just take him somewhere and kill it.” So at that time I said, “Well.” I didn’t say it to him. The captain was there, and there was general—they say you have to do that. So I walk this guy from the station—just from here to—long walk. They say that, “We’re going to kill you.” He said, “It’s all right.” It was Joe Perla (??). He was the mayor.

Interviewer
He was the mayor?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. He was the mayor. So we walk up to the police station, and I had order to—. He said, “No. You can’t just do that over here in a police station. You have to go to the cemetery.” So we just walk up to cemetery. When we walk out there. I say well, I’m ready—just anywhere—no matter. There was a forces place over there. Say well anywhere. So there you are. They give me the—head to me—and they distribute everything to the soldiers—everything he have. The only thing he said to me—he said that, “This is the name of my wife, and this is the city. You just tell what happened to me.”

Interviewer
You don’t remember his name?

Leo Reynosa
No.

Interviewer
00:19:55 What town was it in?

Leo Reynosa
Hunh?

Interviewer
What town?

Leo Reynosa
Oh, in Aguascalientes.
Female Speaker
He was a general.

Leo Reynosa
That was the main headquarters.

Interviewer
No. That wasn’t—you don’t remember his name?

Leo Reynosa
No. I can’t remember.

Interviewer
It wasn’t Berlanga (??) was it?

Leo Reynosa
Hunh?

Interviewer
Berlanga (??)

Leo Reynosa
00:20:16 No. No. I can’t remember the name.

Female Speaker
But he was a general.

Leo Reynosa
No, he was. He was mayor—

Female Speaker
Mayor.

Interviewer
I see.

Leo Reynosa
El otro aquel era, no (___??) el otro era general. Aquel era Rincon Gallardo.

Interviewer
But Villa told you to take him and shoot him?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah.

Female Speaker
So you shot a mayor and you shot a general—general (inaudible).

Leo Reynosa
Rincón Gallardo.

Female Speaker
Rincón Gallardo.

Leo Reynosa
He was a good looking guy—I mean something attractive. Estatura alta, no muy bajo. Blanco el. I mean, a good looking guy.

Interviewer
Why did they shoot him? What did he do?

Leo Reynosa
Hunh?

Interviewer
Why did they shoot him?

Leo Reynosa
00:21:20 Because they find out he was a traitor of the other.

Interviewer
Oh, I see.

Female Speaker
He was on the other side.

Interviewer
What was Villa like?

Leo Reynosa
Well—

Interviewer
Did you like Villa?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah, he was all right. The only thing that he liked—he don’t like drink very much, but he like his womans. He married 2 times every month.

Interviewer
Yeah, he did.

Leo Reynosa
Yeah, he had somebody over there married. I want to marry her. All right.

Interviewer
Did you ever see Fierro? Rodolfo Fierro?

Leo Reynosa
Oh, that guy is awful. That Rodolfo—

Interviewer
Did you know him?

Leo Reynosa
00:22:18 He’s a killer. Yeah. I know Rodolfo. He was a killer. I remember in Mexico City. They had a big banquet. I was there too. I was at the banquet, but I didn’t sit down with it. I hear him tell Villa. He said, “I don’t like that guy over there. Can I use my gun?” He said, “No, don’t do that over here. Don’t do that.” Don’t do because it’s bad to do this in Mexico City.

Interviewer
Did you see Felipe Ángeles also?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. Felipe Ángeles—yeah, I know him.

Interviewer
Do you like him—I mean—

Leo Reynosa
Uh-hunh (affirmative). He was nice. He was a solider. They kill him too. They kill him with guy—stay with him in the picture. They kill him with it at little place outside of the city, a ranch—little place they killed him over there.

Interviewer
Carranza killed him didn’t he?

Leo Reynosa
Yeah. No. Well, Carranza, yeah. At that time, they call him and this guy. They were sick. They had flu—big flu. They just drag it out and put it over there and shoot it.

Interviewer
Uh-hunh (affirmative).

Leo Reynosa
Felipe Ángeles. Well—

00:24:28 (end of audio)