Yzurza, Emeterio

Mikel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Boise, ID
Interview Date: 

Emeterio was born in Iurreta, Bizkaia on 14 April 1931 to Juan Yzurza Urrutia and Catalina Zelayeta Urzueta.  He grew up on the family's baserri, working on the farm, spending time with friends and fishing with his father.  Emeterio shares his perception of the economic, political, and social atmospheres in the Basque country during and after the Spanish Civil War.

In 1956, drawn by a desire to improve his economic situation, Emeterio boarded a train to Madrid and flew to Boise, Idaho.  He went straight to Grandview, where he started working as a sheep herder for the Bruneau Sheep Company.  Four years later, having grown accustomed to life in the United States, he returned to the Basque country, where he learned to cook at the Taberna Basca in Gernika.  Attracted by job opportunities in Idaho, Emeterio decided to go back in 1961.  He found a position as a cook for his uncle at the Valencia Hotel.  Emeterio eventually ran the Hotel for five years.  He shares the insight he gained into what is involved in operating a large boarding house.

Committed to maintaining contact with friends and family in the Basque country, Emeterio visits whenever possible.  He discusses how the country has changed tremendously over the years.  An active member of the Basque Center in Boise, Emeterio and his wife, Flora, cook for monthly dinners and other social gatherings.  

Audio Recording: