This interview was conducted by Jesse M. Roman Jr. on March 20, 2009 in San Antonio, TX. as part of Palo Alto College’s History 1302 – Spring 2009 class.
Julian Villagas Moreno was born August 5, 1941 he doesn’t remember where, but he says that he was born by a mid wife here in San Antonio, Texas. His parents are Fermin O. Moreno and Concepcion M. Villega who had six kid including my grandpa, Four girls Rosa, Chelo, Martina, and Gloria, and two boys Antonio and himself. Julian was born and raised here in San Antonio, Texas he use to live on San Saba Street and he also went to Lanier High School, but only made it to the ninth grade. After leaving High School he became a handyman doing plumbing, electric, and more for a living. Later met Maria Alicia Gonzalez Cantu (my grandma) and got married September 12, 1963 and had five daughters Norma, Julia, Yolanda, Diana, and Christina. He has six grandchildren Richard Ortega, Jesse Roman, Melissa Roman, Amanda Filio, Amber Filio, and Joe Filio. His religion is catholic and he votes democrat. He is a working class man and has no military experience. His hobbies were playing pool and now likes watching high school football games. This man is my Grandfather. He worked for Diamond Shamrock in the 80’s and 90’s, then retired in 1998 years before it became Valero. Now he enjoys life and does little jobs plumbing, electrical, etc. to keep himself busy.
What are your earliest childhood memories?
The beatings my mother use to give me after she finish making dinner, she was making capirutada that day. I remember I went swimming over at the pioneer with out permission. She asked me who gave you permission to go, I told her I gave myself permission to go. I asked her if dinner ready, she said yes it’s ready, but first come here. She took out the belt and gave me a good whipping. Since than I don’t like capirutada.
How was life growing up in San Antonio?
Pretty good, we had a good life, we play ball, football, basketball. We went king of clubs, St. Michaels, some record hops, but we had a lot of good times.
How was your school life like?
I went to the ninth grade, and I dropped out from Lanier High School. I played football while I was in Harris middle school, I had a good coach, Mr. Jack Jordan who’s later the superintendent for Harlandale School District. We use to go to Floresville and other little towns to play basketball, baseball, and football.
Did you join any clubs or organization in San Antonio?
No, but when we kids we use to go to the Wesley Center, it was funded by United Way. They had a gym, we’d played basketball and volleyball, and they also had a place to play records and play softball. I think that was to only one.
When did you move out of your parent’s house?
When I twenty years old and got married with my wife, I had to leave the house because I was married and I had to support my wife.
Where was your favorite hangout? What is it now?
Kikes Ice House, Boreas, Palmedos and that’s about it. And these places are no longer here, they’re all gone.
What did you and your family do for fun?
We use to go to Canyon Lake, and the parks by hemisphere, go to Laredo to see my wife family, McAllen, and to California to see my sisters. And going to Camargo Park with my family to barbque or have picnics. I even remember when i use to take you and your cousin Ricky to the Low Rider Shows, and we met my friend from high school Randy Gariby.
Did you play any sports in school?
Football and basketball when I was in junior high, I was an offensive guard when I played football and I played forward in basketball in Harris Junior High. I also use to play with local teams with the guys I use to hang out with.
How did you and grandma meet?
We met at Laredo Texas; I went over there with my brother to see his father in-law where I met her. Fell in love with her, asked for her hand in marriage and going on forty seven years. And had a good life with her and would never trade her for anything in the world.
What did your parents do for a living?
My father was a plumber and my mother with a house wife, my father the plumbing from an old German guy by the name of Fred Remming. I learned the plumbing from him, and I plumbing and electric work to keep me busy.
When was your first beer?
My first beer was when I was about sixteen or seventeen years old, we were still under to drink so I would go to the railroad tracks to go get drunk, well not to get drunk but to have good times. I even remember that I was drinking Lone Star Beer.
How much was it to gas up your car or truck?
Use to be about ten or fifteen dollars, gas was not as high as it is now. Back than gas was about thirty five to seventy five cents a gallon.
Did you work for any big companies?
Diamond Shamrock, Frontier Center Prices, Gephardt Mexican Food Company. I think the biggest company I worked for was Diamond Shamrock, I used to take out and install new gasoline tanks, gas lines, gas pumps, and dispensers, and then I was an environmental technician.
Where was the best burger joint in San Antonio?
The best burgers was Gyro’s drive inn on Nogalitos Street, they use to sell some good burgers. I use to go there about every Friday night, I use to take my wife and daughters when they were little. This to me beats McDonalds, Wendy’s, and Burger King. There weren’t many burger joints like that one.
Where there any taqueria or taco shops while growing up?
There wasn’t many taquerias as there are today. We use to go to COCOS on Guadalupe and Laredo to get some menudo, there were some other places were you could tacitos and gorditas and that about it. Wait I remember there was hotdogs on Coney Island on St. Mary’s Street; those were the best hotdogs here in San Antonio.
When did you get your first TV?
My first TV I got it around 1956 or 57, we use to come home and The Dick Clark Show and American Band Stands, and Little Rascals. It was a black and white TV no color or no remote.
Did you ever dreamed of playing in the NBA or NFL?
No because I dropped out of High School. When you’re young you think you know everything, but when you grow up you say I made a bad mistake of not finishing high school. So I encourage everybody young to go to school and get an education especially now in days the way everything is. A lot of people don’t any trades, learn a trade and make money.
Where did you buy Groceries before there was an HEB?
There use to be a Valasco Store on El Paso Street. And other little groceries that are not there anymore. Even at Sintenos by 35 on Commercial Street and Madonna. That’s about it.
What famous singers did you hear or see in San Antonio?
There was Vicente Fernandez and a lot of old Mexican singers as old as me. Locally a good friend of mine Randy Garibay. Also got to see Rudy T and the RinoBobs. Randy use to go to Lanier High School with me.
What was your favorite moment living in San Antonio?
My favorite moment is having a wonderful family in San Antonio. All my daughter, son in-laws, and grand kids and there is no problems with them, having them are wonderful moments of my life. Being able to see my grandsons play football, baseball, and seeing my granddaughters cheer and play sports. Those are great moments of my life living in San Antonio.
Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview?
No I don’t think so. Like I said I had a wonderful life.
I learned a lot more than what I already before doing this oral history project, like I learned that my grandpa was born by a mid-wife and not in a hospital. The only points he made was that he lived a good life in San Antonio with his family and friends. I never knew that he never made it out of high school and why he never liked capirutada till I did this project. I’ve never decided on changing my topic on growing up in San Antonio, this is the topic I chose because my grandpa was born and raised here San Antonio. For me that just seemed like the right topic to do with my grandpa, so I never thought of changing my topic. For a six word memoir I chose LIVIN GOOD LIFE IN SAN ANTONIO because he kept talking about living a wonder or good life with his family and friends in San Antonio, that’s why I choose those words. My interviewee didn’t get all emotional during the interview, he just talked about the way things were and was calm when answering the questions nothing went wrong. I think his stories taught about the topic because he tells me where these places use to be before what it is now. On the some of the stories I attempt to check online or ask my grandpa sister or my grandma. I think the benefit of working this project is getting to learn more on something or somebody else’s background, like where they come from and the places they grew up in. So to me this was a great project to work, if I got the chance I’d do it again. Overall this was a good project to do to learn about the past.
- 1941- Born by Mid Wife in San Antonio, Texas
- 1960- Got his First Job @ Gephardt Mexican Food Co.
- 1961- His First daughter Norma was born Dec. 25
- 1963- His 2nd daughter Julia was born June 27
- 1963- He got married my grandma
- 1965- He bought his 1951 Chevy (his first automobile)
- 1967- His 3rd daughter Yolanda was born Feb. 19
- 1969- His 4th daughter Diana was born Feb. 9
- 1971- His 5th daughter Christina was born June 10
- 1980’s-He worked for Diamond Shamrock
- 85 and 87- He had two grandsons
- 92 and 95-He got two Grand daughters
- 97-Moreno Family Reunion
- 98-Retired from Diamond Shamrock
- 01 and 03-He got one more grandson and granddaughter
- March 20, 2009-Oral History Interview.
- Lanier High School.
- Diamond Shamrock.
- Randy Garibay
- The Handbook of Texas Online
is a multidisciplinary encyclopedia of Texas history, geography, and culture sponsored by the Texas State Historical Association and the General Libraries at UT-Austin. It was produced in partnership with the College of Liberal Arts and the General Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin. Copyright © The Texas State Historical Association.
- Photographs and/or documents on this website were provided by Julian Moreno and Jesse Roman Jr.