Arbulu, Alberto

Mikel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Emmett, Idaho
Interview Date: 

Alberto was born February 12, 1940 in Berriz, Bizkaia, to Stefana Ugarte and Andres Arbulu.  The family did not live on a farm, but rather in town, to facilitate his father's employment with the railroad company.  Alberto recalls the fun he had growing up, when he and his friends made their own toys.  Life was not all fun and games however, especially at school, where Alberto was punished for speaking in his native tongue.  He finished school at the age of 12.

After a few years engraving shotguns, Alberto was drafted into the Spanish army, where he served for 18 months.  It was not long before he decided to go to America!  When he arrived in Boise on July 8, 1965, Alberto spoke no English, and was immediately thrust into the lonely lifestyle of a sheepherder.  He survived by writing letters to his sweetheart (and future wife) Belen Gabiola.  When he determined that his employer was crooked, Alberto sought better employment at a ranch in Grandview.  He very much enjoyed the strong Basque presence in Idaho throughout this time.

Alberto's intent was always to earn enough money in the United States to return to his native Euskadi, but once he had done this, he found that he missed his life in America.  Alberto married Belen and returned to Idaho to arrange for her passage.  The couple tried once more to move back to the Basque country, but found themselves so involved with their new country that they returned after only six weeks.  They have lived in Idaho ever since, raising two daughters, but have always remained true to their Basque roots by involving themselves in the various Idaho Basque communities.

Audio Recording: 
Homemade Skates
First Day in America
Other Images: