Olechea, Juanita

Daniel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Boise, Idaho
Interview Date: 

Juanita was born in Gooding, Idaho on 28 May 1919 to Juan Leguineche and Casilda Bidaguren.  She tells her parents' immigration stories.  Juanita's father died during the influenza epidemic that raged through Idaho in 1918, leaving his wife and children to manage the ranch.  Juanita remembers taking milk cows and sheep to pasture, harvesting wheat and stacking hay in addition to other farm work.  She shares personal memories of the Basque communities in Gooding and Shoshone during the 1920s and 1930s.

Juanita graduated from high school in 1938 and married Henry "Hank" Olechea the following year.  They moved to Stockton, California, where Juanita went to work at Fermín and Augustina Alustiza's boarding house.  Having studied at the College of Holy Names in Oakland before she married, she was familiar with the bay area.  In 1947, after working in Stockton for several years, she and Henry moved their family to Boise.

In Boise, Juanita worked at the Valencia and Owyhee Hotels until 1985.  She tried to retire at 66, but went back to work for the Boise School District six months later, finding the need to work to be too strong.  Juanita finally retired in June of 2000.  She discusses her family's involvement in the Basque community and notes some differences between Basques in Idaho and California.

Audio Recording: 
Life on Her Mother's Farm
Boarding Houses in Gooding
Other Images: