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Interview with: Petra Ruiz Guillen
Date: March 3rd, 1989
Archive Number: OH 348
I: 00:02 This is a March 3rd, 1989 oral history interview with Mrs. Petra Ruiz Guillen of Houston, Texas, 31 North St. Charles. Ms. Guillen, I’ve been wanting to—we’ve been wanting to interview you for a long time, but we just never got around to it. Where were you born?
PG: I was born Matehuela, that’s (s/l stall) San Luis Potosi, Mexico. And I came here when I was a year and ten months.
I: What year was that?
PG: That was 1921.
I: When you all came to Houston.
PG: To Houston, and I’ve been living here ever since. My grandmother and my mother passed away. Those other people that I came—my father stayed over there. He never came to the United States, so actually it was my mother the one that worked to support us. I had a sister that lives in Baytown, and she has been living in Baytown since she got married 1925. See, that was the year that our parish was blessed and the present building—you know—‘cause we had another building.
I: Our Lady of Guadalupe.
PG: Guadalupe, and she was actually I think about the second person that got married in the church after it was finished ‘cause it started in 1923 when they first put the first stone of the present church.
I: Let me ask you this. Did you mother or grandmother tell you about the circumstances about them coming to the United States? What was that?
PG: Well, actually it was right after the First World War, and I think there was a lot of persecution and things going on over there.
I: In Mexico?
PG: Uh-hunh (affirmative). But they kept saying Carranza and all of those were fighting over there. So, my uncle had come since 1918, I believe, and he was working in Baytown building the Humble Refinery, and so he turned us in the money for to come, and they came with a person under her—you know—working for her and they stayed a few days in Donna, Texas.
I: In where?
PG: Donna, Texas. It’s a little town close to del Valle. That’s the name of it, Donna.
I: Donna, Texas.
PG: 03:06 It’s—I never knew about it. Now that I go on those trips that we take every six months to Del Valle we—I have seen it, but I had never known where it was.
I: What did they do there while they were there?
PG: Well, they came with this lady working for them cleaning the house or doing the house chores.
I: How many of your—how many were in the party that came up here? Did they ever tell you?
PG: They actually never did tell me the exact number. I know that it was my sister, myself, my mother and my grandmother, and about, I guess, two or three friends of theirs. I don’t remember even their names.
I: Your father did not accompany—
PG: Did not come, no, and he died a little after over there in Mexico so he never came to the United States, and we never went back. It’s actually me that had gone back now that my mother never went back. My grandmother never went back. My sister, after she married, with her husband she went back and forth, vacation. I had never gone until 1976 when I started making this pilgrimage to del Valle, Our Lady San Juan, and we crossed the border sometimes—you know—across the border. That’s about the only place that I had gone until about five years ago I went all the way to Guadalajara which was really pretty and nice. My hometown, this last time that I went is the first time that I even passed through my hometown. I had never seen it but it’s nice.
I: But your grandmother and mother never went back at all? Not even to visit?
PG: No, not even to visit.
I: Did they ever mention why? Why don’t you suppose they—
PG: Well, they said that they were living very peaceful and comfortable here that they didn’t even care to go back ‘cause they had family over there. She had—my grandmother had brothers, sisters, which up to now they’re all passed away, but she had family. They used to write to each other, but she never wanted to go, and I would tell her “Why don’t you want to go?” She said “I’m very happy here” and I’ve got—you know—they’ve got all what they needed better than over there so they didn’t—they didn’t feel like going. My mother either. Like I say, I have just recently gone, and now that I’m going to become a citizen—
I: 06:06 Oh, you are? You are going to be a citizen now?
PG: A week from today.
I: Well, I’ll be.
PG: So you’ve heard that—after so many years ‘cause I took the test. Well, we have been going—we went to classes in about 1950 something I think we went to classes. We were all ready to go but something happened in the family, couldn’t go for the test and everything. So, time passed, never got to it again. Helped a lot of people with their voter registration, pushed them to go vote, but I couldn’t vote. And that’s what makes me so happy that I’m going to be able to vote and just recently, last June, I went to my—sent in my application in April. They call me for the test in June. They said “Don’t despair. We’ll call you.” And my friend said “It’s been so many months already. Why don’t you call?” I said “If I waited this long to go and make an application, I sure can wait until they call me. I don’t have to call.” And sure enough, last week I received the day that I have to go in.
I: Did they call you or send you a letter?
PG: No, they sent me one of those—like the forms of the income tax but a little bigger, and I have to take that that morning when I go.
I: Where did your—where did your family—where did your mother and grandmother settle when they came to Houston? Well, did they stay in this little town? What was the name of that—?
PG: Not—not too long there. They must have stayed about—maybe not even six months I don’t think.
I: In Donna?
PG: Uh-hunh (affirmative) and they came to Houston and believe it or not, the house we used to live in is still standing on Garrow Street.
I: Here in the Second Ward?
PG: In Second Ward, and we’ve been here in Second Ward ever since. Well, my sister got married. The house that we used to live where she got married is not standing anymore. They demolished that one, but then we went to 08:29 (s/l Michael Pine) and they demolished that. Then we came to Buffalo. It was Buffalo then before St. Charles, and there’s a bakery now standing there, but there was a house. We lived there since 1929 until I got married in 1940.
I: How much older was your sister then you?
PG: About 11 years.
I: So, she was much older than you were.
PG: 08:55 Much older, yes. She’s—she’s 82 I believe right now, or 81.
I: Did your mother and grandmother and sister ever tell you—you were of course very small when you came, but did they ever say what they did when they came here? Did they get jobs? Did they go to work?
PG: Yes, fortunately enough my uncle worked for the railroad, so the roundhouse was right there on Commerce, and he used to work there. We used to live across the street, so he used to just walk across, and he worked there until he retired, and I believe he retired in either ’58—’57 or ’58.
I: Was that the International and Great Morgan?
PG: It was—that was the Missouri Pacific.
I: Missouri Pacific?
PG: Uh-hunh (affirmative). That’s where he worked until he retired, and he passed away in ’56 so—no, he passed away—yes, ’56.
I: Did you all stay with him or—?
PG: I stayed with him. My sister had gotten married, and I stayed with him and my mother. It was my mother’s brother. The three of us stayed until I got married, and then when I got married the two of them stayed and until he passed away, or rather, my mother passed away first. My mother passed away in ’59, and he passed away in ’66 instead of ’56. He passed away in ’66.
I: When did you grandmother pass away?
PG: 10:46 Thirty nine, 1939. Crespo was just kind of starting with his funeral home.
PG: He had a funeral home where the Nededa (?) Restaurant is but on the corner of St. Charles and Navigation, and then he got it here where Varia (?) is and then he put it where he has it now.
I: Was she buried through—
PG: Through Crespo. Crespo, yes, he has done a lot of burials, and I hope he does mine too.
I: Not too soon though—
PG: No, I don’t want to go soon.
I: Did your mother or grandmother ever work here, get a job while they were here?
PG: My mother. My grandmother never worked. She stayed—she stayed at home and then when she passed away, well, my mother kept—you know—house for my uncle so she didn’t have to work after my—I got married.
I: I see. What did she do when she worked?
PG: Well, she used to work for that factory of the—where they used to sew sacks for either potatoes or sugar. They used to make the sacks, and it was like a factory. They sewed all the sacks.
I: Burlap sacks?
PG: 12:10 Burlap sacks and—
I: What was the name of the company? Do you remember offhand Ms. Guillen?
PG: I don’t know if it was Houston Burlap.
I: Houston Burlap?
PG: It seems like it was—
I: Where was it located?
PG: Well, it was located here on the corner for a while, and then it went to Commerce, a little further down on Commerce. Those old buildings that are there.
I: Warehouse type?
PG: Warehouse, uh-hunh (affirmative). It was there.
I: In the Second Ward.
PG: Right, Second Ward. Then she went to work for the olives—you know—where they take the bone and put that pimiento in there. She went to work for that for a while, and then she also worked for a factory or something that had peeling pecans and getting the four parts instead of pieces. Well, they would put the pieces—she would tell me. I never knew where she was because she never let me work. She said “You stay home. I work” and I would stay with my grandmother until she passed away and then—well, I went to the convent for a year, and then I came out and was at home, but I still kept teaching. So, most of my time was spent with the sisters, and at night, I would come and sleep at home with my mother. She would come from work. She would pick me up after night services at the convent and I would come. So, actually, I didn’t need no babysitter. And then when I got married, well, I had my own home with my husband, and we went to live with her. For seven years we lived with her. She lived—just—there was a house right there and then the other house is where she lived. That’s why I bought this house ‘cause I didn’t want to go too far from where she lived.
I: It was—was it called Buffalo at that time or was it already St. Charles?
PG: No, it was already St. Charles.
I: St. Charles.
PG: 14:26 I am not sure what year was it changed. I think it must have been in the late 30’s.
I: What was your mother’s name?
PG: Lucia Ruiz.
I: Lucia Ruiz.
I: Your uncle’s name, what was his name?
PG: His name was Almaldo Ruiz because my mother, when she came over here and my father died, she took up her name, maiden name. And since my father was over there, I got used to giving my mother’s name, and they knew me at school by my mother’s name rather than Alvarez which was my father’s name, and I have never gone by my father’s name.
I: Was that customary to do that? Did she ever explain why she did that, if I may ask?
PG: Well, since they were married by the civil and he had stayed back there and she had come she says “We wouldn’t have him over here, and it’s better that I carry our name since we’re here, and we can take care of you.” And—you know—since in Mexico they always run two or three last names, so it was easier for me to carry on her name ‘cause anyway, if I had to have a doctor or anything, they right away would ask is she really your child or where is the father, and she didn’t want to have no trouble with that. So, she said “You just go by my name and that’s it.” And that’s the way we did it.
I: When did you—where did you go to school? When did you start school Ms. Guillen?
PG: As I remember, we started very young. Not really school, it was more like a nursery because we were only four years old, and the older girls used to take care of us so that our mothers or grandmothers—if my mother was working, well, my grandmother could work around the church, and that way she didn’t have to be bothering with—there were several ladies. Not only my mother, there were several of them.
I: Your grandmother worked around the church?
PG: Yes. My grandmother and some of—my mother, when she had time, like on Saturday, Sundays. They belonged to Guadalupe.
I: 16:58 Were they devout people with the church?
PG: Yes, more devout than we were. That’s okay.
I: So, you started going—where was the little school, the little day school that you went to?
PG: There at Our Lady of Guadalupe, the old building, that wood building that we used to have. We used to have the classrooms in the bottom, and we used to have the church on the top floor, and it would serve as a place to give—you know—programs from the school children, either a big play or a musical or anything up there. They had a stage and that’s where they—
I: Was the new church already built at that time?
PG: No, no. The new church, well, it started in 1923. So, well, they were making it but not—you know—they had put—in 1923 they put the first stone. So, they were building it, but it wasn’t finished until 1925, and we were going, like I say, like a nursery. They used to teach us or make us play or just (phone ringing) and teach us whatever.
I: So, then did you go to Our Lady of Guadalupe School?
PG: I went to Our Lady of Guadalupe School, and my husband went to Our Lady of Guadalupe School. So, we both graduated from Guadalupe.
I: When did you go? What years were you in school?
PG: I was—well, I must have been a pretty dumb person because I didn’t finish school until 1935, and my husband finished in 1936, a year after I did, and my children have all gone to Our Lady of Guadalupe. All 13 of them graduated from—no, I’m sorry, 12 of them because one was in her last year when she passed away. She passed away in January, and she would have graduated in May. So, she didn’t get to graduate but all the other—
I: When you say graduate, from the eighth grade or—
PG: Eighth grade.
I: Eighth grade.
PG: Uh-hunh (affirmative). And then they go to high school. They went to different high schools. Some of them went to Incarnate Word, some of them went to—well, one of my boys went to St. Thomas and the other ones, some of them—see, I don’t have all the pictures ‘cause if they don’t graduate their picture doesn’t go up there.
I: I see. That’s the price of getting up there.
PG: (laughing) Right.
I: Well, did you—did you go beyond the eighth grade from there or—?
PG: No. That’s—that’s the only grade I went to, eighth grade, and my husband also went to the eighth grade, just that.
I: How did you get into the Catechists? Tell us about that, and tell us about the Catechists.
PG: 20:17 Well, when we were in school, as you already know from those pictures that you already have, the pictures that I have there, Sister always thought of the children that were going to public school and didn’t have no religion—you know—education. They might have had the basics at home from their parents, but they would maybe not learn anymore than that, so she always had in her mind to make a group to go out and teach in different parts of the city, not only around Guadalupe, but different parts of the city.
I: This was Sister Benicia?
PG: Sister Mary Benicia, yes. And so, she formed—she had—all the time she had different societies. For the little girls, she had for the Immaculate Conception with white dress and a little blue cape. For the boys, she had infant Jesus, like this infant Jesus with a red cape and white pants and white shirt for the infant Jesus. Then she had for the St. Theresa black, all black with white collar. Well, from there she start thinking about the Catechists, and she formed the Catechists and she kind of dressed them almost the same and put us—something around our heads so that we could travel in the buses without having to pay because the bus company had offered them that if they travel like the sisters, they wouldn’t have to pay. You know, it was street cars more than bus then. So, that’s how we got to go all the way to Heights. We got to go to the Sixth Ward where St. Stephen’s is now. St. Stephen is a branch of Guadalupe. Our pastor, Father Dienda (?) who built Guadalupe, built St. Stephen’s. Maybe not the parish that is there right now, but that’s where it got started.
I: Is that named for him, St. Stephen’s?
PG: Yes, uh-hunh (affirmative), because the people voted that they wanted it named after him. That’s why they call it St. Stephen’s. Then Our Lady of Sorrow on Kashmere Gardens or that’s also a branch of Guadalupe, and Our Lady Immaculate Heart of Mary is also branch of Guadalupe. Of course, Immaculate Conception was before Guadalupe, and the priest used to live over there and come over here until they build Guadalupe. But it belonged to the Oblates.
I: 23:20 Now, Saint—did Saint—was it called St. Theresa Society?
PG: Society, St. Theresa Society.
I: Were you in that?
PG: I don’t think I was. Let me see the picture—
I: You don’t remember—
PG: I don’t remember. A group of older girls and then we had a group of younger girls. It might have been the younger group than this one that I have there.
I: Was it also called—
PG: Well, St. Theresa. There are two St. Theresa’s. The St. Teresa of Avila, well, she’s the 15th of October, and St. Theresa the Little Flower, who she’s October the 3rd. So, we had two different Theresa’s, the young one and the older one. They had to—there was the same—
I: And you were in the one that was the younger?
PG: The younger one.
I: What did you all do in that group?
PG: Well, we just got together and had retreats, and we didn’t go out then until later when she organized our Catechists, but most of the group—you know—some of them that were in St. Theresa went to Catechists, and that’s where we started going out and teaching Catechism.
I: When did you get into the Catechists? What year was that?
PG: I got in in 1930. I was going on 11 years.
I: You were 11 years old.
PG: 24:49 Then we wanted to go and teach. We used to teach the little ones, and the older girls used to teach the older children. We always went by two’s, an older girl and a younger one. One would teach the little ones, the other one would teach the older children, and we always used to go to the houses, like for instance, here, that I would line my house. I would put benches or chairs or whatever and then they would come and sit there and one would be in one room, the other one would be in the other room. But the people were very, very generous in lending us their homes.
I: Who was the force behind this? Was this Sister Mary Benicia who was the force behind it?
PG: Well, she was the one mostly behind it, although she had a lot of help from Father Dienda who was then the pastor. Everything had to be approved by him first and then—but she was a force behind it. She would—
I: Were there any nuns—
PG: —teach us or give us instructions and then we would bring the children. When they were ready to receive Communion, we would bring the children to the parish so she can give them their last instructions.
I: I see. Did you all do anything besides religious instructions with these children?
PG: No, ‘cause we just—
I: I noticed in one of the pictures in Mrs. Caciano’s (?) pictures that you all were feeding them. There was a little—
PG: Well, that was most around here, around the area—you know—the poor people that lived around the area. They would go and they would give them clothes or give them food to take home or eat. They would feed them there also.
I: Was that—were those Catechists who were doing that?
PG: Uh-hunh (affirmative).
I: Did you ever do that?
PG: 26:56 Well, yes. We used to help to do that. Sometimes—you know—not everybody would get to take the picture. They would take the picture of the older girls ‘cause we were younger, but they used to help them to do whatever they needed to be done, help around the church to clean the church or the candlesticks or put the flowers. All that was being done by the Catechists also, and besides, we had a big choir from the Catechists to sing in the church every Sunday.
I: Where did you go with the Catechists? You went—you said you went to the Heights and—
PG: 27:44 We went to the Heights way far, and I was telling my daughter today, one of these days we take the Heights bus and we go all the way, see where it goes. It might go to the place ‘cause I remember it went way far. Right now, we are working at the Heights but it’s not—it’s not even half, I think, of the place we used to go. I don’t know if it still stretches that far or what. Maybe with these freeways they might have cut it. I don’t know. That’s why I was telling my daughter I want to go on the bus all the way to Heights, see if it’s that place where we used to teach.
I: What was it where you all used to go? Where there people living up there or something?
PG: There was a lot of people living there, a big neighborhood of Spanish speaking people, and it used to be the factory of hair. I think they—I don’t know what they used to do with the hair, but they used to call it hair factory.
I: Is that Factory Village that—is that—
F: I’m wondering if that’s the Oriental Textile Factory.
I: Was it a textile factory or—they did hair. You seem to remember they—
PG: Yeah, a lot of things from hair because they used to say it in Spanish (s/l La fabrique a la pelo.) Pelo, which means hair.
I: Yes, ma’am. And that’s where most of the people were working?
PG: Working, so that’s—we used to teach close to that place in the neighborhood. The people that lived in that neighborhood used to work in that factory and we used to go—well, that was a far place that we went, and then, of course, Our Lady of Sorrows. No buses used to go there. We used to go on the Lion’s Bus or the Odin—Odin, O-D-I-N. Odin Bus, and we used to go to the end of that line, and then we used to walk all the way to where Our Lady of Sorrows is now. It must have been about two miles that we used to walk to get—no buses would go that far and there was a lot of Spanish speaking people over there in that neighborhood when it was just starting that neighborhood. Now it’s very, very—there has a lot of homes and things. It’s across the street, I mean, across from Liberty Road where that railroad is. I don’t know if it’s Engle—
I: Englewood Yards.
PG: Englewood Yards. Well, the neighborhood of this is—I don’t know if it’s called Bonita Gardens.
I: La Bonita Gardens.
PG: It’s one, and there was another one. Kashmere Gardens, right?
I: Kashmere Gardens.
PG: Okay, those two. We—some used to go to the Bonita Gardens, some of us used to go to the Kashmere Gardens but it was—to us, it was fun doing all that.
I: Who did you go with? What girl was it that you went—
PG: Well, sometimes I went with Miss Caciano. Sometimes I went with Raphael Aguilar also 31:11 (inaudible-background noise) and we kind of had to rotate—you know—not to be the same ones all the time. We had to rotate, go different places like if I took this neighborhood for about six months, well, I would change to another neighborhood, and those other ones would come to this neighborhood. Almost the same like the nuns do now, that they stay a certain years and then they’ll move. I guess that was the purpose for us not to get too attached to the people or the people not too attached to us. I don’t know. But we moved around.
I: Did you teach them in English or in Spanish?
PG: Spanish. Spanish ‘cause a lot of them didn’t know how to speak English so it was Spanish.
I: Were they—was there—was it—of course, this was during the Depression, wasn’t it? During the—
PG: Well, it was just right in ’29, 30’s. It was the Depression in those years—(tape ends 32:20) (new tape begins 00:01) —in 1932 but everything start going better and better. But in those years—and like I said, I was telling this person that also came and wanted to know of the hardships. Since you’ve been here so many years you may have gone—I said “I’m sorry, but I believe our Lord had loved me immensely.” I have never known any—you know—real, real hardship that you don’t have nothing really to eat ‘cause my uncle always had a job on the railroad. He always brought money at least for the light, the gas and the food, whatever we ate. So, actually—they said “Well, your husband went to the service. You had children.” I said “I was living with my uncle and my mother when he went to the service.” So, they had—they were sending me—you know—from the service. I never had a hardship really that I would sit back and think of hardships. I never—not even when I was growing up. I don’t remember any hardships like I see the poor people now. We saw a lot of it also in those years, not as much as we are seeing now, but I never did.
I: Did—how long did you stay in the Catechists?
PG: Well, until 1940 when I got married.
I: I see. You said you went to the convent for a year. When was that?
PG: It was in 1935 to 1936 after I graduated in May, and I got in the convent that October of ’35, and I went on in October of ’36.
I: Now, did you become a full-fledged member of the congregation? Was it a congregation?
PG: Well, it was a congregation, but the only thing it was that we were living together in a convent like a community of like what sisters do now. But we didn’t have vows.
I: You all did not take them.
PG: We just made promises. We promised for six months to stay here. Those six months, our promise was up. We wanted to renew it, we could, and we didn’t want to, we could go home. Even as a Catechist I stay, I promised—when we were in the convent, we promised for a year ‘cause we would have to stay in the convent for a year. But after that, if we didn’t want to we could have gotten out. A lot of them went out and were not Catechists anymore.
I: 02:56 Now, when you came out of the convent, what did you do?
PG: I got married in January. I got out of the Catechists, and I got married and then I kept house for my husband.
I: When did you get married again Ms. Guillen?
I: Nineteen-forty. But from ’36 until ’40 you stayed in the Catechists, right?
PG: Catechists, yes. I stayed in the Catechists. I would go every morning to church at 6:30, go to the convent and stay there all day, go and teach Catechism. While I was there, either we were helping in the school with the children in the school, the kindergarten or cleaning the church or doing something, then in the evening when my mother came home I would go home.
I: Were you—in those years and from ’36 or ’36 until ’40, did you all—did you ever do anything with the Catechists other than religious instructions and just helping with the students? Did you all ever provide any kind of material assistance to the people?
PG: Well, the lead sister did, but not as much as those years when they were really bad like in 1929-1930. You know, ’31 maybe even to ’33. But then Sister Benicia was moved from here in 1935 and ’35 was it? No, 1936, after—no, no, not even ’36, must have been 1938 when she left.
I: When she was moved.
PG: She was moved to San Antonio, and she opened a convent over there, and that’s why the sisters now make vows instead of promises, the Missionary Catechists of Divine Providence. I’m not—I don’t know if they have already been approved by the Pope as a sister’s congregation. I’m not sure. I should keep up more with them but I’m so—
I: Busy with 11 children.
PG: With the children. They keep me busy all the time.
I: Tell us more about the—about the food that they gave people here. Do you remember much about that at the church? How did Sister Benicia do that? How did the Catechists do that?
PG: Well, our parents—you know—those that worked around the church would cook the food in big pots, and then we would serve it to the children. Some of the school children also had to eat there because some of the school children that were coming to school didn’t have enough food to eat at home. So, she would provide a meal, at least a lunch meal, warm, for them to eat and we would help her to kind of serve the food, clean up, ‘cause it would have been too much for the sister. There was a sister that would supervise in the cooking. The ladies would do it and do the hard chores of cleaning up, and we would just help. We weren’t that old to do much.
I: 06:45 Were there older girls though that were there? I mean—
PG: Yes. The older girls would kind of help in the rooms with the sisters and the teaching of the children there. You know, the grammar, their—back then we had grammar. We didn’t have English or I don’t know what they call it now ‘cause every time they have something different. So, they would help them in their rooms, and some of them would be working, and they would just come out or going to high school and they would just come out to go and teach. Go get dressed and then go teach.
I: 07:34 Were there any other women’s organizations there at the church? What—you said they had the children’s and the little boys and the little girls. They had you all at St. Theresa’s. Were there any organizations for the ladies there at the church?
PG: Well, there was a lot of the organizations of the ladies, and there was one that also taught the ladies, the grown-ups—you know—the men or women that didn’t—haven’t made a First Communion. They would help some older people to go and teach those that hadn’t had their sacraments. And also, they were also called Catechists, but they had a different kind of a uniform. They had a kind of a blue uniform. Ours was black. So, that would distinguish who were the ones for the children, who were the ones for the older people. And yes, we—our organizations in church we had the Children of Mary, which is a society for the young girls that are not married and never get married. They belong to the Children of Mary. Then we have the Guadalupanas, which is a society of Our Lady of Guadalupe. We had the—
I: Who were—who was in the Guadalupanas?
PG: It was mostly all the members of the parish that—well, we had a big group for about maybe 100.
I: Was it men and women?
PG: We just had women then. We have men and women, children and young girls now that we have—
I: When you say then, was that in the 30’s that—
PG: In the 30’s, the 40’s. We didn’t start getting men, women, children and even young people that would want to go in there, want to belong to the Children of Mary. Well, they can come and join the Guadalupanas ‘cause actually the Children of Mary are kind of a strict society. Not that it’s very, very strict now, but in those years, you couldn’t go to the dances. You couldn’t go to movies. You actually had to dedicate more of yourself to the church, and a lot of them didn’t want to stay because, well, some of them got married, had nice homes.
I: 10:27 Were you ever in the Children of Mary?
PG: I was in the Children of Mary when I was very young, but then either you go to Children of Mary or you become a Catechist. You couldn’t belong to the two of them.
I: I see.
PG: So, we—I chose to be a Catechist.
I: Why did you choose to be a Catechist?
PG: ‘Cause I enjoy the children, and I enjoy going to teach them about the prayers that they would have to learn to make their First Communion. So, I chose that, but we still have the Children of Mary now. Some of the—my age, some of the ladies that are my age, younger or that are my age, they still belong to the Children of Mary ‘cause they never got married. They’re still there.
F: So, they couldn’t get married?
PG: Well, they could get married, but they would belong to the Guadalupanas.
F: Oh, I see.
I: Once you got married, you were out of the Children of Mary.
PG: Out of the Children of Mary.
I: Once you got married, you were no longer the Children of Mary.
PG: You could belong to the Guadalupanas then because that’s for married and not married. It doesn’t matter. And the men, we just started bringing them in about maybe in the 70’s, early 70’s we started bringing the men in ‘cause we started talking about it. We said we women would have to do work like when we have the kitchen to raise money. We women have to be carrying all those things. We need men to come, come on board. But there are some men that have joined, and they enjoy it with their wives. They have enjoyed it.
I: 12:30 Now, there was an organization called the Nocturnal Adoration.
PG: Yes, that was a beautiful, beautiful group. There was a group of men and young men and they had women but the women couldn’t go and be at night—you know—they had the Nocturnal Adoration. They had the Blessed Sacrament exposed all night, and they had to come either by two’s or by four’s for an hour.
I: So, you were talking about—they came in in two’s or four’s?
PG: Or four’s, and they would stay all night, since seven o’clock at night until five o’clock in the morning, rotating every hour. Every hour they would rotate. They would sleep in the gym. They would have their own cots. They would take them, fold up, take their blankets, their pillow, and they would sleep there. And every hour they would wake two up or four depending on how many were there to go and keep vigil for an hour and at five o’clock in the morning we had the mass. Then the women that belong to the Nocturnal Adoration would come for the mass.
I: But the women could not go in and hear that.
PG: No, we could go for the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at ten o’clock and then go home and at five come back, but we couldn’t stay there. It was only for men.
I: Was this during the—when was this organization?
PG: This organization was in the 19—I believe it started in 1933, ’33, ’34, ’35. Along those years.
I: In the 30’s.
PG: Uh-hunh (affirmative) and it was very, very big ‘cause they had every Saturday—you know—four groups for every Saturday of the month. So, they had it all month long, like they would have, I don’t know, maybe 30 people one Saturday, 30 people another Saturday. It was a very big group. It was very nice. I’m so disappointed that it finished ‘cause most of the people that were from here moved different places. I know that one parish still has it, Our Lady of Sorrows. That parish still has it, the Nocturnal Adoration, but we don’t. We don’t have it.
I: What about—okay, we’ve gone through about four organizations. Can you think of any others that were active back in the 30’s?
PG: Well, we had the Messiah’s, which I believe the Messiah’s is going to be 50 years this year, so what year would that have started if it’s 50 years this year?
I: It would be in 30—it would be ’39.
PG: Okay, and it’s 50 years. That’s a society that’s still going on. It’s men and women and also young girls and children.
I: What is this organization?
PG: The Messiah’s means it’s like a soldier of Christ or a servant of Christ, and this society is of Christ the King.
I: 16:31 Is that the one that had the procession downtown?
PG: They used to go from here. First we started at Villa de Matel the processions—you know—now they hold it for Holy Name, but then it was the Messiah’s that had it over there, and then they started from here to the—now it’s the Jones Hall. It used to be the City Hall.
I: City Auditorium.
PG: Or City Auditorium, right, and we used to walk all the way over there for the processions. That was the Christ the King Society.
I: And that started really in the late 30’s but 40’s is—I noticed some of the photographs have them in the 40’s.
PG: Uh-hunh (affirmative), the procession still kept on.
I: Even today, it’s still going.
PG: Oh, yeah. The members are still there in the parish. Like I say, it’s going to be 50 years next—yeah, next month, April.
I: Well, what made you decide to leave the Catechists? I mean, did you just decide to get married rather than be a nun?
PG: 17:42 Well, you’re asking a good question. My children have asked it, and well, I guess I fell in love, I guess. (laughing)
I: Sure. Where did you all meet? Did you all meet there at the—
PG: I’m not sure yet.
F: You’re not sure yet.
I: Did you all meet there at the church?
PG: Well, we met in school. We went to school together. We went to school together. He was in the—I was in the—‘cause when I went to school we didn’t—that’s right, we didn’t have an eighth grade when I finished school. We had seventh grade, and when he graduated, they had an eighth grade the following year. They put an eighth grade, so he graduated from eighth, I graduated from seventh. Let’s see, there’s seventh and then you have to go to junior high or—and I didn’t want to go to public school ‘cause I wasn’t used to—and my mother couldn’t afford Incarnate Word so I just didn’t go and he didn’t go either. He had to start working early, help support his brothers and sisters.
I: Did you—when you were at Our Lady of Guadalupe School, was it boys classes and girls classes? Were the boys and girls separate?
PG: No, we have boys and girls in the same room.
I: In the same room.
PG: But we had—you know—those are boys, these are girls. And the playground it was—the boys would be in their own playground, the girls would be in their own playground. We didn’t—we didn’t mix.
I: So, playgrounds were separate and within the room, you had one on one side and one on the other?
PG: Right, yeah. We had like maybe three or four rows of girls and maybe the other ones of boys, but we weren’t mixed, no.
I: Do you remember Sister Benicia well?
PG: Oh, yes. I do.
I: What type of person was she?
PG: Well, she was the type of person that had a lot of faith, a lot of faith and love for the Mexican people. You couldn’t say nothing against the Mexican people that she wouldn’t be right there, and she was not a Mexican. She was a Belgian. She came from Belgium, but she was raised in Mexico, Incarnate Word Sisters. So, she loved the Mexican people a lot, and she would do anything for the Mexican people.
I: 20:35 Was she the principle sister there at the church when she was there? Was she—?
PG: She was the principle until she was moved in 1938, I believe, around that time. She was the principle, and I believe it was 1938, and she went, like I say, she went to San Antonio. She was here all these years so they didn’t want to stay—for her to stay any longer. She was getting sick and up in age, so they took her over there. Over there she just worked with the Catechists. I don’t think she ever went—had a school over there. She just took care of the Catechists.
I: She founded that order over there.
PG: Right, right.
PG: Congregation, uh-hunh (affirmative), yeah.
I: Who were some of the other ladies that you knew that were in the Catechists here with you? What were—
PG: Oh, there were—
I: That are still around.
PG: Still around, well, still around is one of the first ones also, and she’s very sick, Ms. Nieto (?). She married—her name was Ramona Lopez. You might have seen her name in one of the books or the book of the Catechists, and she’s very sick now.
I: Where was she living? Does—is she living in the neighborhood?
PG: She lived in the neighborhood, yeah, when she was a Catechist. Almost all of them were living if not here, just pass where Montgomery warehouse is now.
PG: There was a neighborhood around that area where some of them were living in that area.
I: Where is that exactly now? Is that north of the bayou or is it—is it still in Second Ward?
PG: 22:39 I don’t—I don’t think it’s Second Ward, although I don’t know how far Second Ward stretches.
I: Second Ward would, say, go not this side of the bayou. It wasn’t on—was—
PG: On the other side of it.
I: They were living on the other side of the bayou.
PG: Yes, on the other side. There’s still a little—some houses, some neighborhood around there, but most of it is factories or lumber yards or there’s Montgomery Ward warehouse. So, there’s not too much of a neighborhood there. I don’t know if it’s Second Ward, might be Second Ward.
I: It might be. I don’t know.
PG: It might be. I’m not sure.
I: Have to check the map.
PG: I’m not sure if it’s from the bayou this way because now we’re—that you bring it up, we’re doing evangelization and the evangelization, we go and visit the homes, knock on the doors and visit the people. And when we visit them, we talk to them—you know—about different things. But ask them if they want to have a visit from our parish priest, that he would like to go visit them. If they say yes, we put in the card that we have with the address and name, we put yes. Then that card, we give it to Father, and he goes and visits them whenever it is convenient for them to receive him because he might go and knock and they might be—might be going out or something. So, they make a date and they say yes, we’d like to meet you, like we did today—you know—at a certain hour and he goes and visits them, and that’s what we’re doing now, evangelization. So, now that you brought it up, we had some streets on that other side of the—on Clinton. So, it may stretch over there.
I: 24:43 It may be over there. What about the other girls? Did they live in this area then?
PG: There’s still some living in this area like Ms. Caciano. She was one of the Catechists, and she lives on Middle Street which is the Second Ward. And—
I: What was her name before she married?
PG: Mary Marta.
I: Mary Marta.
PG: Now, let’s see. Who else that live around the neighborhood? Ms. Patino (?), Ms. Patino. Her name was Inez Gonzales before, and she lives around the neighborhood, although she lives more close to Blessed Sacrament than here, but it’s still Second Ward.
I: Did—after—after—now, you left in ’40 to get married, right?
PG: Uh-hunh (affirmative).
I: Did the Catechists stay much? Did it continue on here in the parish after you left?
PG: No. In 1938 or ’39 they went to San Antonio. Sister took all those that wanted to go to San Antonio.
I: I see.
PG: And they went over there. The convent that was Catechist Convent was left for the sisters that were teaching here. We had about 12 sisters teaching from the Sisters of Divine Providence. So, they took over the convent that was the Catechists, then they went to San Antonio. They stayed over there in San Antonio. Most of those that were here in Houston didn’t go. There were very few that went.
I: Why is that do you suppose Ms. Guillen?
PG: 26:30 I don’t know. I guess they didn’t want to part from their family or maybe it was because it was not like the sisters—you know—you go and become a sister. You’re already a nun, and this was just the Catechists. They were just making promises, so I don’t know. We have some from here from Houston now that have gone after, but not those that were living in the convent at that time. See, some of the younger ones that finished school went to be Catechists like Sister Lucinda. You might know her.
PG: Well, she’s from Second Ward. She’s Mrs. Patino, the one I just told you, she’s her sister and she went to San Antonio to become a sister. And there are other ones. There are the Lopez, Rosita Lopez.
I: Were these younger people than you though?
PG: Yes, they were much younger.
I: The ones your age, not that many you say went.
PG: No, no. I don’t think—I don’t think—it’s only one and she already passed away.
I: So, one out of you all’s entire group went to San Antonio with—what happened to the rest of them? Got married?
PG: Got married and some of them, like I said, belong to Children of Mary.
I: Sure. Oh, I see.
PG: And they haven’t gotten married. But most of them are married, Ms. Patino, Ms. Caciano are married. Ms. Avila, you know Ms. Avila. Although she doesn’t live in the Second Ward. She lives near Villa de Matel, but she lives here in Houston. Ms. Besara (?), she lives here in Houston but she lives Crosstimber, somewhere around there. But she is our organist, and she has been our organist for 32 years, I believe.
I: Mrs. Garcia wasn’t in that, was she?
PG: No. Mrs. Garcia was a member of the parish, but I don’t think she was—that I remember, she wasn’t. She was more close to her husband. She didn’t have no children, and her husband was too active in the ball teams, so she used to go with her husband everywhere. And it’s up until when he stopped playing ball that they, the two of them, got more involved in the parish. They were involved but not that involved. Now they both are involved. Now she’s very involved in the parish and the societies. But she didn’t belong to the Catechists, no. And in that part where she lives, there’s none there, only Mrs. Galban (?). She lives on 29:40 (s/l Endokine). Ms. Rosa, Quitos (?). She used to be Rosa Quitos. Now she’s Galban is her last name. She was a Catechist also. And there’s some but I can’t remember all of them.
I: 29:29 Did your—did your mother—
PG: I need to see the picture.
I: Did your mother belong to any organizations herself?
PG: Yeah, she belonged to the Guadalupanas and to the Our Lady of Mount Caramel was another one of the societies of the ladies. But the ladies belonged to one society. They’d belong to the other society. It was almost the same as we are now. We belong to one society. We belong to the other society. You know, and also different people or persons there, but I feel the same ones that belong to one belong to the other one and that is the same thing this—almost the same as I belong to one, I belong to the other.
I: What about—what about organizations like the Mutual Aid Society? There was a big Mutual Aid Society here in the Second Ward, wasn’t there?
PG: Mutualista (s/l verde) Americano.
I: Yes, ma’am.
PG: They’re still in operation I think.
I: Did your mother belong to that at all?
PG: No. My uncle did. My uncle did, but not my mother, no. But she was doing well with the church to belong to any societies and then coming from work—you know. But my uncle did. He belonged to the Mutualista when they started, and then he let go and got more involved in the church. That’s—you know, I was very involved in TMO, you know those—
I: Metropolitan Organization.
PG: Okay, I’m just letting it go because I’m too involved in the church, and I go maybe two meetings a week in church and then if there are meetings over there, well, you spend most of your time going to meetings. So, I said no more. I’ll stay here and—
I: How busy did they keep you all as—they must have kept you all pretty busy in the 30’s when you were in the Catechists then. They must have kept you all busy a lot with the church.
PG: Oh, yes. Yes. And then the people or parents or aunts or—they used to make tamales to—(tape ends 32:19)
I: (00:01 new tape begins) —about raising money for the church—
PG: Yes, uh-hunh (affirmative). So, that’s how we raised it and of course, we couldn’t do nothing. We were very young so our parents, mothers, were the ones that made it, got together and make them and they would just—we had to cook them on fire, wood fire. They used to put like bricks that high, about three bricks and put something in there and then we used to be sticking the wood under so to keep the fire going to cook them ‘cause we didn’t have no gas. We didn’t have no kerosene.
I: Where was this? Over at the church?
PG: Yes. We used to do it on the side and just yesterday I was talking to—remember when we used to put the wood under to keep the fire and we would—we wanted to go and play ‘cause we were young. We were—well, you keep sticking that wood in there so the fire won’t die and that’s the way they helped to—you know—raise money for the parish ‘cause the people, they couldn’t afford to give too much if it was the Depression. So, they would buy things to eat, and it’s only understandable that they would buy things to eat.
I: Was there a lot of that at the church in terms of giving people stuff, trying to give—help people out?
PG: Yes. There would be all the time, clothing. That’s why I say Sister Benicia had a very, very strong faith. You know, when she was going to make that convent for the Catechists she kept saying “I want you all to have a place where there’s going to be a community and those of you that want to come and live.” But we don’t have nothing. So, we will go to their chapel, the sister’s convent chapel, and she would put a list of the things she needed to build that convent and put it in the altar. And she used to say like St. Theresa used to say. She said “Bonita cannot do nothing by herself, but God and Bonita can do a lot.” And we would pray for that convent, and believe it or not, she got everything she needed for the convent. People would come and give it to her or if they would sell it to her, they would sell it to her for almost nothing. So, she built that convent, and it was a very, very beautiful place except that the people that built it, when they took the trees and took the roots and the termites start coming in. But it was a prettier place than this one. This one that they have in the office is the second, a second building that they built. It was not the one we used to live in. They had to tear it down and then take all the roots and build this one that they have the offices now.
I: 03:45 Did you mention this Ms. Guillen, did you all just receive instructions while you all were there in the convent? What did you all do in the convent?
PG: Well, we had our chores to keep up the house. Everybody had their own chores. Like myself, I had the bedrooms. Clean them up, do the beds ‘cause then we didn’t have sinks. We used to have like pails and pitcher. That’s where we used to wash our faces and then we had to clean all that, the ones that had that chores. Some of them had the kitchen, help the sister that was—some of them had the dining room. The dining room was supposed to clean up the dining room, put everything and put our plates, our forks, and knives and cups and then cover it with plastic because it was ready. When it was time for lunch or dinner they would take the plastic off and our plates would be clean. They were already—the tables already set. And some of them had the garden, but we would rotate that too.
I: What type of garden? Flower garden or vegetable?
PG: Flower. We had both. We had vegetable and we had flowers and then we had retreats. We had our prayers just like if we were in a convent, a sister. We had our morning prayers. We had our night prayers, and then we had our recreation. We had time for recreation. It was just like a convent, like a sister’s convent. It was very nice. I should have stayed. (laughs)
I: Oh, no.
PG: Not 11 headaches. (laughs)
I: Did you—how many young girls lived there at the time, stayed there at the time?
PG: We started with 9 and then we were 14 and we had Adoration all day long too. We had the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the chapel, and we had to rotate one hour in the chapel also.
I: What was the age of the—what was the range in age of the girls when you first began there?
PG: 06:25 Well, the oldest one was this one that went to San Antonio, and she passed away over there, and she must have been, I’d say, about 22-23 at that time. And we were all about 15-16-17. That was about the age. I don’t think there were none any younger ‘cause they had to finish—let me think before I say it. No, we had about three that were in the eighth grade that had to go to school for that last year. But they had almost finished school, enough to be in there.
I: Did you all have much contacts with the priests at all?
PG: Not very, very much except he would go and give us instructions also like retreats and then the mass every day. We didn’t have it in the chapel. We would come to church, but we had mass in the chapel almost every day. So, we did have it, but not that much. I think the priests now are more—more friendly, I would say, more involved with the people. But before, not too much.
I: I noticed in some of the pictures you all have the kids in a truck bringing—where were you? What was that truck? Had that little truck with the kids in there.
PG: Well, those kids I believe were the ones that were coming from Heights because that was the furthest place we had to bring the children, from Heights. Well, also there’s one from—but I believe those that were from the Heights, and they had to come for instruction for a week. So, we found trucks and people volunteered their time to bring them in the morning, and we’d keep them over here all day, and then they come and pick them up in the evening.
I: Who was taking them? Who was doing that?
PG: Some of the parents from the—and then they had to take two Catechists to kind of go with them because—you know—our children are—or we were—but the rest of them, like the ones from Hickory, I don’t know if you remember, but that was a few years back when we had—I think we had the paper. But it was the Texas Herald that did the write-up, and there’s the house where I used to teach on Hickory Street. That’s off of Washington.
I: Yes, ma’am.
PG: And the lady that loaned me the house was still living, and when the Catechists was the 50th year in the 80’s this photographer from the Herald wanted me to go over there. They took a picture in the house with the lady. But you know, we took the picture and four months later she passed away.
I: Who was she? What was her name?
PG: Her name was Luce, Maria Laluce Marta (?). Marta, no relation to Mary Caciano although her last name was the same, and she loaned us a house for many years there to teach Catechism. And the house is still standing ‘cause it belonged to them. I think her children are living there but that was in the 19—oh, 1934-35. Something like that, used to teach over there up until 1938, I think.
I: That’s when you—at that one house.
PG: Right, and we had several. We had close to—well, the bus—I mean, the police parking, there was a rice market or rice factory or something there. Well, on that street we used to teach Catechism also. They demolished the houses, and they built the parking for the police cars now, and then we also did on Sawyer, which is a couple of blocks from Hickory, we used to teach over there too. So, we had—you know. In Second Ward, I don’t think we had too many in Second Ward. We used to come and pick up the children and take them to church. I think we taught those in church. I don’t think we had houses around Guadalupe.
I: 11:51 So, in other words, you all were an outreach from here.
I: To Sixth Ward, if around Washington would be Sixth Ward.
PG: Right, Sixth Ward, Fifth Ward.
I: Fifth Ward.
PG: 12:00 We used to teach on Providence Street in Fifth Ward, on Providence, and then on Rothwell.
PG: We used to teach around there. That’s why I want to go on the buses ‘cause I want to see all those places.
I: Well, I think you should.
PG: And it’s about the only way I can get to see those places. The houses might not be there but—
I: But you all actually didn’t do much teaching in the—you all didn’t have a house here in the Second Ward that you remember.
PG: That I remember, no. Later on in years we had two houses on Velasco.
I: When you say later on in years what—
PG: I must have been around the 60’s.
PG: Uh-hunh (affirmative), and they had some houses there, and they would teach children there because the school is right there, Rusk School, so they would walk over there. But the children from Jones, well, Jones didn’t come to existence until—‘cause there used to be a black school there and Rusk School used to be where that other bridge is, that McKee Bridge.
I: 13:19 McKee Street Bridge.
PG: Well, the Rusk School used to be over there.
I: What was—was—around Dow School, were there Spanish speaking students going up there? Do you—
PG: No, no, no. They were all black and Rusk—Lubbock used to be a school on Simpson and Harrisburg and then they closed that one, demolished it and they built Rusk School. But I—I really don’t—
I: Did you all go all the way—did you all have to go all the way to Magnolia Park or was that taken care of by Immaculate Heart of Mary?
PG: Well, they used to go I think from here ‘cause it was the Oblate Fathers and—
I: But you yourself—
PG: —the Catechists that—some of the Catechists live—in fact, two of them live across the street from Immaculate Heart of Mary. Escoban, Mercedes Escoban and Ms. Santos Escoban. Santos Escoban is married. Mercedes is not. She’s living with her mother, and they live across the parking lot from Immaculate Heart of Mary and there’s some—there’s another one, but she lives up close to Immaculate, Amalia Lopez. She’s in the picture.
I: Now, but you said that two of them lived across the street from—did they live across the street at that time or they—
I: At that time.
PG: 14:59 They grew up there and then they came to be Catechists over here ‘cause they were coming to school over here. They didn’t have school over there. They used to have school at the beginning, and I don’t know why they closed it, but they didn’t have school anymore. So, the children used to come to Guadalupe to school and then they became Catechists. So, the children from St. Stephen’s, some of them didn’t have school over there. They used to come here, and we had Catechists, Carmen Castro was her name, used to be (s/l a senor) later. She came from St. Stephen’s. Tenovaya Barilla (?), she was a Catechist from St. Stephen’s. She came to school here also. So, we had a lot of Catechists from other neighborhoods.
I: So, there were then some from Magnolia and from Sixth Ward. Well, I can’t think of any other questions. Emma, do you have any that you would like to—?
F: I’d like to know the kinds of activities that—I know the Guadalupanas are—you know—you had a number of activities with the church, and you would have fundraisers, but what other kinds of things did you do?
PG: Well, we’d do the linens of the parish and with the money that we raised we’d buy the linens for the altar, for the altar boys or whatever is needed around the parish. The altar, rather, not the church itself. It’s just the altar part, and we have to do fundraising to get money to do that ‘cause it comes out of the Guadalupanas, whatever.
F: About how many of you were in the—I mean, starting—you began to be a member when?
PG: Well, I began when I was a young girl, and then I got out to become a Catechist also and then I went—we didn’t—we went back, but we didn’t start this until, again, kind of it died and it started waking up again on, I believe it was ’69, around that time. So, it has been some time already, and we do trips to del Valle to Our Lady San Juan over there and not only the Guadalupanas go. Anybody that wants to go can come. We charge them 65 dollars for two nights at the pilgrimage house, the bus and what is left maybe 100-200 after we pay everything goes to the society to the society fund for whatever we need in the church. Like this last year, we painted all the statues. The Guadalupanas paid for that so they could be painted ‘cause they were getting all smoked up from the candles. And they are very, very good at doing—we had the kitchen about two—on the 12th, on the 12th of February we raised 722 dollars clear ‘cause we pitch in buying things and whoever doesn’t want to buy, they pitch in money to buy the things that we need and it came out—it goes to the church. It didn’t go to our—you know—our account. It went to the church to help the church with whatever they need.
I: 18:57 One of the questions I forgot to ask you Ms. Guillen. In regard to the young ladies in the Missionary Catechists, were all their families close to the church here? I mean, did they all—were all the girls’ families members of the church here?
PG: Well, no. Not those that belonged to St. Stephen’s or Immaculate Heart or—I don’t think we had—no, I don’t think we had any from Kashmere Gardens although after she was a Catechist and she got married they moved over there but not before. So—but now, they’re—I think they’re deceased now. There were two or three of them that were from over there that have left us. But no, we did have from other places, like I said, but they were parishioners from their own parish but they wanted to—since they were coming to school here and they wanted to be Catechists, nobody was turned down. Anybody that wanted to come.
F: I have one other question. I know Tom was asking you about your grandmother and your mother and when they came, when all of you came over. I guess I was interested in knowing about your grandfather. He stayed in Mexico or was he—?
PG: He had been—he had died.
F: He had died?
PG: He had died.
F: Had he been in the revolution? Is that what happened?
PG: I believe so. I never did ask how he died, but I remember my mother saying that they were so scared when they were fighting because the people would get in their roofs to fight with whoever they were fighting, and that’s why I guess they were so terrorized that they never wanted to go back ‘cause those times were very vivid in their minds that I guess they just didn’t want to go back.
F: 21:20 So, your grandmother left behind quite a few brothers and sisters.
PG: Oh, yes. Uh-hunh (affirmative). Quite a few, and that’s one thing that I was telling my sister the other day. You know, it’s a shame. Well, she keeps in touch with one of the nephews, but that’s about it. I said—well, one of my mother’s cousins came here and I told him—I gave him my number. I said “Keep in touch.” That time that he came was the only time I saw him. He never came back, and he lived around the Heights somewhere, but I don’t know where ‘cause he had promised to keep coming so he didn’t give me his address. I just gave him mine and my telephone number. So, I never—I have never known—this nephew that I was telling you my sister keeps in touch is the only one that I also know of my family because he came to see me at San Juan del Valle. He was living in Reynosa. My sister call him and said she’s going to Valle, so he came to San Juan and saw me there. That’s how come I knew him. That was the first and last time I saw him, and he’s living now in San Luis Potosi, but I don’t know anybody. I know there’s some over there, but I don’t know their names. I don’t know nothing about them. So, the only family we have is my children, my grandchildren and my great grandchildren.
F: Well, that’s a big family.
I: Well, for the record, I don’t think we got this on the tape. You got married in 1940 and how many children did you all have?
I: You all had 13 children.
PG: And my first born was born on our first anniversary, a year later on the 7th of January and then I have a set of twins. That’s my picture from my 25th anniversary. The 13 are there. (tape ends 23:33)