Eiguren, Evelyn

Mikel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Boise, ID
Interview Date: 

Evelyn was born on 31 May 1921 in Jordan Valley, Oregon to Eulalia Mallea and Manuel Acordagoitia.  Her father herded sheep for George Anchustegui, and her mother took care of their home and six children, of which Evelyn was the youngest.  Drawn by economic opportunity, her parents decided to move to Boise, Idaho when Evelyn was three years old.  With help from other Basque families, they found a home on Main Street and were welcomed into Boise's large Basque community.  Evelyn remembers how Basque families used to meet for picnics, weddings, funerals, and at each others' homes before the Basque Center opened in 1950.

Evelyn's family spoke Basque at home, as many families did, and she remembers the difficulty her older siblings had adjusting to speaking English at school.   Once they learned enough of the language, they helped each other at home, which exposed Evelyn to English and helped her adjust to school.  Boise was still a small town when she was growing up, and Evelyn remembers the difficulties the Basque community faced in its early years, before it grew to be accepted and appreciated by the rest of the community.  She enjoyed school a great deal, and graduated from Boise High School in 1940.

Evelyn went to work for the State Treasurer's Office after she graduated, and volunteered for the American Red Cross and United Service Organization during the Second World War.  She met her husband, Domingo "Txomin" Eiguren at the Delamar Hotel on New Year's Eve in 1945, and they married in 1947.  They settled in Boise to raise their three children, and did their best to teach them about the Basque country, language, and culture.  When the children were old enough, Evelyn went back to work for the State of Idaho, this time at the Auditor's Office.  Feeling the need to relax and spend more time with her husband, she retired in 1976 and pursued other interests, including traveling to Basque functions in Bakersfield, Elko, and Winnemucca.

Audio Recording: 
Early Basque community
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