Achabal, Simon

Mikel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Boise, ID
Interview Date: 

Simon was born in Ispaster, Bizkaia on 29 October 1934 to Simon and Santiaga Achabal.  He remembers working on the family farm and helping his father in his blacksmith shop, which became a popular gathering place for farmers on cold, rainy days.  Simon describes life in Ispaster in the 1940s and early 50s, focusing on his school, friends, and the political atmosphere.

The political and economic situation in the Basque country prompted Simon to leave in 1952.  He arrived in Boise, Idaho at the age of 18 and was taken to the Letamendi boarding house.  His uncle picked him up at the boarding house and drove him to the Hammett Livestock Company's sheep ranch, where Simon was responsible for trucking troughs of water to the 5 bands of sheep.  Simon worked for the sheep company until 1960, spending winters in Boise during the last 4 years.  He learned English by readingnewspapers and conversing with people in Boise who spoke the language.

Simon married Mari Antonia Murelaga in 1967 and settled in Boise, where he eventually became one of the owners of Gem Meat Packing Co., from which he retired in 2001.  He has been very active in the Basque Center, serving on the board of directors for two terms.  He was elected president in 1978.  

Audio Recording: 
Blacksmith shop
Learning English
Other Images: