Madariaga, Aiden

Mikel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Jordan Valley, OR
Interview Date: 

Aiden was born on 10 June 1924 in Jordan Valley Oregon, to parents Eulogio Madariaga (from Ibarrangulua) and Trinidad Arriola (from Elantxobe).  He recalls a picaresque childhood during the troubled Depression era, during which he helped out with his father's sheep operation and helped produce moonshine.  Aiden gives a rich description of the Basque sheep ranching lifestyle characteristic of Jordan Valley when he was young.

Aiden's mother ran a popular boarding house, which was an important meeting place for Basques in the area.  He recalls speaking Basque at the house, and later having problems adjusting to school.  Although the Madariaga family switched to communicating in English when Aiden was still a child, he got a lot of exposure to the culture through picnics and dances, and later even on his tour of duty during WWII.  This is where he met his wife, a Polish girl named Sabina who had been liberated from a camp.  The couple has raised a son.

After working in various sheep ranches and the Oregon Highway Department, Aiden entered the hotel business. He and his family now own a hotel and a gas station in Jordan Valley.  Aiden has made a trip to Euskadi, where he spoke Basque so well that many people were surprised.  The Basque culture still figures prominently in Aiden's identity.

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