Goitiandia, Sabino

Daniel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Caldwell, Idaho
Interview Date: 

Sabino was born on 19 November 1935 to Francisco Goitiandia and Juliana Lekona, both from Aulesti, Bizkaia.  He remembers life on the family's large baserri there in vivid detail, including their many chores and a tree farm.  Sabino began school when he was six, and the fact that both of his parents were bilingual greatly facilitated his command of Spanish--the required language of instruction.  While some of his teachers could be cruel, there were nice ones as well, such as one who married a local Basque girl.

Even though he was quite young at the time, Sabino has an image from the bombing of Gernika permanently etched in his mind: a German bomber pilot parachuting into a nearby town after his plane went down.  Even though his family lived through the worst of food rationing, they all worked hard and never went hungry.

Once he had finished public school and some seminary, Sabino stayed at home to help his parents work the farm.  When they were old enough to retire, he followed his brothers across the Atlantic.  Sabino found a job on an Idaho ranch for which his uncle was the foreman, and arrived in the US in 1955.  The hard life on the Grandview ranch was made easier by the presence of his brother Bene.  After studying English for a few months at Boise State University, Sabino was drafted into the Korean War, and very much enjoyed his experiences there.  Upon his return, he worked for various meat packing companies until his retirement in 1997.

Sabino met his wife Maria Carmen Uruburu while on a trip to Euskadi in 1962.  He was already a US citizen by this time, so when Carmen decided to immigrate herself, it was not difficult, and the couple was married in Boise in 1963.  They have 2 kids, both of whom are fluent Euskera speakers and who feel very connected to their Basque heritage.  The family likes to travel to the Basque country, and after all these years, Sabino feels strongly attached to his roots.

Audio Recording: 
Bombing of Gernika
Life as a Sheepherder
A Family of Basques in America
Other Images: