Odiaga, Juana

Dianne Tullis
Interview Location: 
Boise, Idaho
Interview Date: 

Juana was born in Ispaster, Bizkaia in 1896 to Francisco Mendozona and Teodora Erquiaga.  The youngest of ten children, Juana remembers how hard she worked on her family's baserri.  She carried apples, chestnuts, wood, and corn to the market in Ea in a basket she balanced on her head.  A burro helped carry the heavier items.  For three years, Juana made the hour long journey to and from market every day.

She married José Luis Odiaga in Ispaster on 28 November 1914 and agreed to come to the United States with him.  When they arrived in Boise in 1917, Juana went to work at the Uberuaga boarding house for room and board while her husband was out with his sheep.  She learned to drive a car and speak English before she moved into the Beverly Hotel, a rooming house she rented and operated until 1943.  She describes the Hotel and its operation.

Juana served as president of the Organizacion Independiente Sociale, a Basque women's organization in Boise, for three years and helped them with fundraising efforts for another ten.  In 1949 she and her husband settled in Boise with their children, Joe and John.  When asked how she found success in America, Juana pointed to her head and her hands.

Audio Recording: 
Juana Remembers Her Work in the Basque Country
Early Years in the United States
Other Images: