Lequerica, Lillian Zatica

Mikel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Arock, Oregon
Interview Date: 

Lillian was born 13 November 1925 in Oregon Canyon, to John Zatica and Delfina Coscorroza.  She describes her parents' immigration histories in some detail, and explains why her grandmother remarried at a young age.  Lillian grew up in a small rock house, and remembers her mother cooking for countless cattle crew and sheepherders, who often wandered by on the many trails around the ranch.  Many of these Basque men spent the night before continuing with the sheep.  Lillian herself helped with many of the chores around the house, including marking lambs and cleaning.

As a child, Lillian and her siblings would ride a horse-drawn buggy to school, and later ride the animals solo.  At that time, there were many Basques in the area, and she lists a few families.  Lillian had to finish school in Jordan Valley, where she stayed with her grandmother.  This is where she met her husband, John Lequerica, and the couple was married in 1943.  She recalls a lack of organized Basque entertainment, as well as the effect of World War II on her life.  The family ran a ranch for many years.

Lillian grew up speaking Basque, and although her children are not fluent speakers, they had constant access to the culture at home.  These language skills paid off when she finally got a chance to visit Euskadi.  Many people mistook her for an immigrant to the US!  As a result of the fine reputation Basques have earned in Idaho, Lillian is proud to call herself one, but is no less proud of her American identity.

Audio Recording: 
Home in Oregon Canyon
Basques Ride to School
Trip to Euskadi
Other Images: