Guadalupe Moreno

This interview was conducted by Amanda Sotello on  March 12, 2009 in San Antonio, TX. as part of Palo Alto College’s History 1302 – Spring 2009 class.

Introduction

Born October 11, 1938, first child to Dora and Jose Rodolpho Moreno. She was the oldest of the five children, consisting of three girls and two boys. There was Rodolpho, Tiadora, Juan Santana, and Rebecca; all were born and raised in San Antonio, TX. They were brought up, to be respectful of one another, and family was to be your main priority. She worked a majority of her life, as a laborer, beginning from when she was a child. She attended school first at the Sacred Heart of Mary, later transferring to Edgewood High School; where she would soon be taken out for work related issues. At the age of eighteen she married David Rodriguez, and had two daughters. She began work at Lancer Corporation in 1964, where she later retired from. She is currently still living in San Antonio, happily retired, and is a third generation Grandmother.

Transcription

What was life like growing up for a child back when you were a kid?
Well if you had money, you stayed in school, if you didn’t usually by the age of twelve you were taken out of school and put to work. I was one of the unlucky ones I worked mainly all my life.

What kind of jobs did you have while growing up?
At 10 I worked as the front clerk at my parents dry cleaner’s, but my father was sick so I needed to help. Between that I would baby sit for my little brothers and sisters also iron all their clothes; other times I would go to other peoples house’s and take care of their children.

How did your father’s sickness affect your families life?
Since he could not work there was a lack of help, a lack of money, we lost everything even with my help.

Did the other children in the family work?
No, the other children stayed home to tend to the house, and the older of us took care of the younger children.

The cleaners, Moreno’s Cleaners, when was it open, where, was it hard to keep up?
It was open Monday- Saturday, since it was family owned and we lived next door to the business we would have days starting at eight till about eleven. Between nine and eleven thats when I would start doing my homework. We worked long hours, there was only five people working, my grandfather, my father, a lady we hired who was only there while I was in school, my mother, and my self. The lady and I worked the front desk, because my mother could not read or write, and the men were needed in the back.

Working and going to school at such a young age, how did it affect your childhood?
I hardly had friends, I never really got to play, there are really no memories that I have of playing. All my time was taken up from working, and after work I would stay up late doing home work, because daddy, he expected only good grades from me.

Where did you go to school, how did you like it?
First I went to a private school, Sacred Heart of Mary, then I went to the old old Edgewood. The private school was very strict and the teachers were very mean, but at Edgewood, it was very different. I liked school there, I was smart the teachers liked me.

How would you get around trasportation wise for school and work?
To get to school I would walk about two and a half miles. You had to cross the picking fields where people worked, through the middle of the cemetery to get to school. At that time I was going to Edgewood. But, in the afternoon at work, for deliveries, my dad taught me to drive the truck. I was fourteen when dad taught me to drive, he needed the help making house deliveries.

Did you ever work out in the picking fields?
Yes, I was between 14 and 15, my mother and I would go pick everything from strawberries, cherries, apples, onions, potatoes, and cucumbers. Cucumbers, now those were hard work, I disliked those the most. You had to fill your crate, carry it down to the end of the aisle, and then lift it and dump it into a big crate.

At the age of 16, you worked as a nurses aid, how did you like that?
I liked it because I worked in the delivery room, you learned a lot just by watching, and I got to see a lot of new things.

When you worked at the hospital, what did you get to experience?
When I worked at Robert B. Green, I got to see mother’s give birth to babies, I saw pain of mothers in delivery, I learned a lot just by watching, and I got to see a lot of new things.

When you worked at the hospital, what did you get to experience?
I got to see mothers give birth to babies, I saw pain of mother’s in delivery, I learned to give shots, than I would sometimes comfort the patient while they were getting their spinal shot (epidural).

Did you ever get scared seeing what you saw?
The first time that I saw a baby come out of a mother’s womb, and the baby’s head pop out; I didn’t know what it was. I got so frightened, I ran and hid in the closet, I didn’t know what it was. Back than you never talked about things like that, sex boys, babies, nothing. I had to learn everything on my own from hearing the doctors and nurses talk about it.

How would you spend your money you made?
Working at the hospital on pay day, I would walk across the street to a restaurant, where I had an account. They would cash my check, than I would pay about ten dollars every two weeks on my tab. I would buy lunch there, but they would just put it on a tab. With the money that was left, I would buy clothes for my younger brothers and sisters.

What would you do for fun?
Well, when I wasn’t working, we would play marbles, jacks, and I would make little cars or wagons for my Brother Rudy, out of anything I could find laying around.

In the picture wtih Grandpa David, where were you going?
We went to prom, but we didn’t have any money; So the lady I would baby sit for lent me her dress that she wore to her prom. We went with another couple, like a double date.

Were you allowed to just go out, or were they strict with you?
Well for prom, they told David I had to be home by twelve, but it was the lady that I baby sat for, who gave me permission. I would stay with her sometimes to watch her kids; My mother must have trusted her.

How old were you when you got married? How did you meet David?
I was eighteen when I got married; I met David through my Aunt Anna. She was dating David’s brother Ernest.

In the picture with the family, what was the occasion?
In that picture it was me, David, and Rosie as a baby; I was expecting with Diana at the time. It was Easter Sunday, we were at Espada Park.

In the picture with the statue, where were you, what was the occassion?
That picture was taken in Mazatlan, Mexico. We went on vacation, me teh girls, and David. At the time we had a little bit of money, I started working at Lancer, and your grandpa worked part time as a architect.

How do you enjoy life now that you are retired?
I love it, after working about 42 years at Lancer, I was the first hired employee and the first to retiree. I worked so long I knew how to do everything. There we made soda dispensers, but it was hard work. But, thank God, finally after all my life working I can enjoy “my” time now.

Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview?
Through all my hard work, I was able to accomplish it, but only because i had
the love and support of my family. I now have my two beautiful daughter’s, three grandson’s, and my granddaughter. I lived life with no regrets, and I love where I am today.

Analysis

I learned a lot from doing this oral history project; not only about my grandmother, but about history. I learned of how she struggled and others as well; when she was in the fields working, there were others there in who knows maybe in similar situations. They main points made were how she was a victim to child labor, and because of this, you see how Guadalupe missed out on school, worked hard labor as a child, also there was no help for her family. Now if people have hard times making it, the government usually steps in to help. I gained much more knowledge of my grandmother in this interview than I thought. She shared with me the experience of what it was like to grow up poor, and the story of how she went to prom, I found that story very intriguing. I love how she has survived and made so many accomplishments, even with the struggles she faced as a child. Because, now I understand more of a inside perspective to child labor, my views have changed. I now think that kids now a days, take advantage of not having to work, and should make a greater effort to. But also, I now have a great amount of respect for those who had to work hard jobs as a child to help support the family, that is a unbearable stress that these children would take on. My six word memoir, included spontaneous, prideful, strong, loving, encouraging, and “Grandma”. I chose these words, because my grandmother has lived her life by all these words, never letting any challenge get in her way. Guadalupe was shy at first when I began interviewing her, I don’t think she knew I wasn’t there to ask hard questions, but towards the ending of the interview she became more open. She allowed herself to speak freely about her past and her emotions growing up. From the stories she told me, I saw that back then children’s education was not taken seriously. I verified most of the stories by looking up events, and places online, to see if they were actual places and were around during the time period given. I think there is a lot to benefit from, from the oral history projects. I enjoyed them, because you get a detailed inside point of view of a person’s life during a major time in the world, not only the same facts you get from a text book. Also, you do not only gain knowledge inside the class room, but also outside with your family.

Timeline

  • Guadalupe Moreno, born October 11, 1938
  • Started school at Sacred Heart of Mary, 1944
  • Started working at family dry cleaners, Moreno’s, 1948
  • Picked vegetables after school, with her mother, 1948
  • Parent’s took her out of school to start working, 1951
  • Married David Rodriguez, 1957
  • Had first child Rose Mary Rodriguez, 1958
  • Had second child Diana Rodriguez, 1959
  • Started working at Lancer, first employee, 1964
  • Became a grandmother to Rodolfo Sotello JR., 1975

Annotated Bibliography

  • Mother’s in delivery Guadalupe was a nurse assistant in the delivery room, she was able to witness any things in the delivery room. This web site has many informational things about the mother, and babies in delivery. All contents copyright © BabyCenter LLC. 1997-2009 All rights reserved.
  • Mazatlan, Mexico.
    A vacation site, along with information in detail telling about Mazatlan, Mexico. Guadalupe, and her family went there on a vacation; this website gives more information on why it is a good vacation spot. Copy right, 2008 Advantage Mexico all rights under copyright reserved : Mazatlan Mexico.
  • Photographs and/or documents on this website were provided by Gualalupe Moreno Rose Mary De Leon. Diana Sotello and Gualdalupe Moreno provided all information about the photographs. In the pictures were Guadalupe Moreno, David Rodriguez, Diana Sotello, Rose Mary Moreno, and Amanda Sotello. Photos were taken by, family members. Photos were taken in San Antonio, Texas and Mazatlan, Mexico. Most pictures were taken, for everyday occasions; special occasions were Easter Sunday, High School Prom, and family vacations. All photos were found stored in family photo albums.

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