Legarreta, Julian

Mikel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Gooding, ID
Interview Date: 

Julian was born in Fruniz, Bizkaia, on 12 October 1942, to Luis Legarreta Echevarria and Juliana Uriarte.  As a truck driver, his father was away from home much of the time Julian was growing up, and so it fell to his mother to raise her ten children and take care of the baserri, which she did with surprising success.  Julian was inspired by a priest friend to enter the seminary at age 11, but the six-year formation did not work out due to his frequent bouts with illness.  He nearly escaped conscription into the anti-Basque Spanish army by moving to the United States--over his father's objections--even though he felt this decision was more of a necessity than a choice.

In the US, Julian taught himself English and attended college, but rejected the confines of an office for the freedom a career in trucking provided.  Despite an initial negative reaction to certain problems he experienced in America, he is now very proud of his new country, even though he identifies himself first as a Basque.  Julian has been one of the Gooding Basque community's most active members, and shares his concerns and visions for the future.

Julian married Lois Soloaga in 1968, then divorced and married Tina Stevens in 1970, and the couple has raised two adopted children to appreciate the Basque culture.  He frequently visits the Basque country, and given the political, economic, and social changes there over the past few decades, would even consider retiring there.

Audio Recording: 
Reasons for Entering the Seminary
Learning English
Challenges for the American Basque Community
Other Images: