Lejardi, Francisca

Begoña Pecharroman
Interview Location: 
Mountain Home, ID
Interview Date: 

Francisca was born in Gabika-Ereino, Bizkaia in October of 1927 to Marcelo Hormaechea and Segunda Aldamiz.  She was one of twelve children, but her brothers were taken by disease before their first year.  The family farmed on their baserri, called "Andiketze," which has been renovated and is on the historical registry today. 

Francisca grew up in the turmoil of the Spanish Civil War.  She gives a heartrending, detailed account of the bombing of Gernika, which she could see, at 12 years of age, from their farmhouse.  She also describes the period of food rationing, hunger, and abject poverty that followed the war, when soldiers, who were as hungry as everyone else, would come to her family's farmhouse looking for scraps of bread or some broth.  The conditions during and after the war made it necessary for her to find work in Kortezubi and Gernika, where she served as a maid from the age of 11 until she was 21. 

She married Juan (John) Lejardi, who had been working in the United States for 20 years, in 1951.  Francisca and John decided to emigrate to the United States, and set sail from Santurze on a cargo ship.  When they arrived in Boise, Idaho they rented an apartment for a month before moving to a farm in Marsing, where they raised their family.  After 20 years of renting, they bought a farm in Homedale, Idaho and started their own farming operation.  Francisca worked very hard on both farms, but made it a point to stay in touch with her sisters in Australia and the Basque country.  She became a US citizen in the mid 1960s.

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