Alegria, Henry "Hank"

Joseba Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Boise, Idaho
Interview Date: 

Henry was born in Ondarroa, Bizkaia on 15 July 1900.  His family's home was a stone's throw away from where St. Ignacio de Loyola's mother was born in 1461.  Henry's father worked in the transportation business; his mother managed the home and the family's grocery store.  One of nine children, Henry spent the first eleven years of his life in the Basque country before leaving with his mother, a sister, and two brothers to join their father and the rest of the family in Boise, Idaho. 

Henry left for America in October of 1911, absorbing every detail of the carriage ride from Ondarroa to Elgoibar, the trains to Irun, Paris, and La Havre, and the French ship "La France" to New York.  Valentín Aguirre met the family in New York and helped them find the train that went through St. Louis, Missouri, and Ogden, Utah before arriving in Boise.  Henry's parents died soon after he arrived, making his first years in Boise very difficult.  Even so, he learned English quickly and stayed with the Urresti family before joining his sister in Los Angeles, California.  Henry remembers how he learned to play pala, and gives a history of the Basque handball courts in Boise, Mountain Home, and Jordan Valley, Oregon.

He met his wife, Espe Alegria, in Boise.  They married in 1927 and settled in Boise to raise their family.  In 1981, Henry published 75 Years of Memoirs, his autobiography, which is full of photographs, stories, and interesting details of his life.

Audio Recording: 
Learning English
Playing Pala
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