Basterrechea, Leoncio "Leo"

Mikel Chertudi and Julian Achabal
Interview Location: 
Gooding, ID
Interview Date: 

Leo was born on 24 April 1948 in Nabarniz, Bizkaia, to Marcelino Basterrechea and Rosario Apoita.  Times were tough while he was growing up, and school often took a backseat to working on the family baserri.  He describes his activities as a boy: sports, festivals, dances (girls were lamentably proper!) and chores.  Leo worked in a few other baserris after age 14, but eventually decided that he needed to seek a better future for himself in America.

Some of Leo's brother's had gone to America, and one found a job for him in Idaho.  He immigrated in January 1967.  Leo mentions his first reactions to the United States, and the long process of adjustment to life and language.  After sheepherding for several years, he met Carol Molin in Gooding, and the couple was married in 1972.  With his naturalization papers in hand, Leo was able to seek different employment, and after trying a sawmill and landscaping, he has settled in now as the owner of the Lincoln Inn and bar.

Even though he is far away from his native land, Leo actively participates in the Basque culture.  He travels to Euskadi often with his family, has participated in the World Mus Championships, and enjoys attending picnics.  Leo describes some of the changes he has noticed in the Basque country that make him feel more comfortable in the United States, but nonetheless hopes that his culture survives in Idaho.  Ideally, his involvement with the Gooding Basque Association can ensure this!

Audio Recording: 
Basque in America
School and fun
World Mus Championships
Other Images: