Goicoechea, Jose Antonio

Daniel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Boise, ID
Interview Date: 

Jose Antonio was born Bilbao in 1943 to Jose Luis Goicoechea and Paula Gabiola, but grew up in a baserri in Aulestia, Bizkaia.  He remembers his father's involvement in the Spanish Civil War, and the depressed economic and social conditions of the Basque country that followed it.  Even though Jose Antonio attended school in his hometown, classes were not conducted in his native tongue, the children were frequently punished, and he cannot recall having learned much of any real value there.

After a few years working in the charcoal industry, Jose Antonio decided to work in America as a sheepherder.  Even though the job was physically and mentally demanding, Jose spent his time self-learning English from tapes and texts.  Never one to keep his money in the bank, he invested it, and now owns several houses in Euskadi.

Jose Antonio returned to the Basque country to marry Milagros Anitua in 1978, and the couple returned to Idaho a year later, where Jose Antonio became chief landscaping engineer for J.R. Simplot.  The couple has one daughter, Dina, and the whole family loves to take trips back to Euskadi.  They still communicate in Basque, and even though Jose Antonio is a US citizen, he and his wife feel most comfortable in their native land and hope to retire there.

Audio Recording: 
Being Basque and American
Food rationing
Live as a sheepherder
Other Images: