This interview was conducted by Samantha Eardley on November 16, 2010 in San Antonio, TX. as part of Palo Alto College’s History 1302 – Fall 2010 class.
Aracelli Casso was born on November 2, 1947 in Laredo Texas to Blanca Cano Casso and Rodolfo Noe Casso. She was the first born of nine. She went to Mt. Rose elementary school and Christian Jr. high in Laredo before she moved to San Antonio in 1961. Aracelli Casso then started Jr. high School at Luther Burbank. Aracelli then continued her high school education at Burbank, back then Burbank was grades 7-12. She graduated high school in 1966. Aracelli Casso then went on to continue her education at San Antonio College. She attend San Antonio College from 1966-1968. She then decided her move was to attend University of Texas in Austin. She moved to Austin in 1968 to attend UT. Without finishing her degree she moved back to San Antonio to start work for the Texas Department of Welfare in 1974. Aracelli Casso started as a case worker. A few years later she moved back to Austin. In 1998 she returned to the University of Texas to fish her degree in liberal arts. While attending UT she continued to work for the welfare department. She is currently still working for the department. Aracelli will soon retire from the welfare department in December of 2010 after 37 years with the department. After retiring she will move back to San Antonio and live out her retirement.
What was it like growing up with so many brothers and sisters?
It was OK.
What was the best and worst part of being the oldest?
Since I was the oldest, I always had to defend my brothers, and I got into some fights with some of the neighborhood kids. I really did not interact with the younger girls, I was always the big sister and always helping Mom with chores. By the time they were all in high school I was already gone, living with Tia Emma and going to SAC, then I left to go to UT. When I was a kid, most of the time I was off playing with some of the neighborhood girls, skipping rope, playing jacks or just out and about in the neighborhood. Some times we play ball or flew our kites, it was never boring.
Did you feel like you missed out being the first born?
Not really, I got to do a lot of things. Since I was the first born from Mom’s side of the family all my aunts used to treat me like a princess. I always spent the summers in San Antonio with aunt Mimi and Aunt Ruth and Aunt Lilly. The used to take me to the stores to buy me clothes, that one time they bought me this dress and when I was modeling it for them, the people at the store wanted me to be a model in one of the fashion shows. But I was not able to, since I had to go back to Laredo. I also remember that Aunt Ruth bought me my first watch, it was a Cinderella watch. I never regreted having the rest of my brothers and sisters.
What was your first memory of?
My first memory of what, growing up, I guess it was the fun I had in school. I remember when I started school, usually it is the mothers who took the kids to their first grade class, but Dad took me. School was just down the street from our house.
What was it like growing up in laredo?
Back in the day, Laredo was a small town, and life was safe. We used to spend our summers out in the neighborhood not fearing that something would happen to us. All the neighbors seem to look out for each other. I remember is was hot, but the heat never bothered us. We also always had Mom at home, she took care of us while Dad worked. But in those times Dad used to come home for lunch as we did when we were in school. We come home have lunch and then went back to school the rest of the afternoon. Time were good, every Saturday afternoon we would be treated to ice cream and cookes and we sat down to watch cartoons (Mighty Mouse) and we watched the , Lone Ranger and rin tin tin , and the roy rogers show. When I was in school all the teachers were good, especially one teacher. She was from South Dakota, and she taught some of us girls to tap dance. Every year in May, for Mother’s Day, the kids at school put on a program for the Mothers. One year when I was in the 4th grade I was going to come out and dance two tap dance numbers. One was Take Me out the Ballgame and the other one I was going to dance to the song “I Don’t Know Why I Love Like I Do”. But my career as a tap dancer was cut short, because before I had a chance to go on stage, a group of kids that were running around in school ran into to me and I fell on top of my arm and broke it. I was taken to the hospital and I did not make it to the show. Bummer. There are too many memories, and not enough time for everything.
What were some of your hobbies?
I played softball.
What did you want to be as a kid?
I guess I always wanted to be a teacher, but things changed after I was in college. The idea of being a teacher was soon gone, because I could not have put up with unruling kids. In my day we respected our teachers, parents and elders. I could not take an unruly kid, so I decided to do something else. Not really knowing what I was going to do, I ended up being a Social Worker.
What was it like moving your big family to San Antonio?
I had just finished the 7th grade, it was the summer, and moving to San Antonio was a big adventure for us. We had lived in San Antonio before when were kids, any way up until Uncle Eli or Rene was born. Dad’s job brought us back to San Antonio, they had closed Laredo Air Force Base and Dad move to work at Kelly.
Did you have any family in San Antonio?
The move was also great because all of Mom’s sisters lived in San Antonio and also some of Dad’s sisters. So we had family, we just had to get used to a new way of life. The people in San Antonio were not as neighborly as those in Laredo.
What was your first job?
My first actual job was working at SAC in the Library.
How much did you get paid?
I was making about $1.25 per hour. That was big money back then.
Do you still feel like you have a lot to still accomplish?
Not really, I just want to live a lot more years to see my family finally be on it own. I have gone to college, which was something my Dad did not plan for me, but I had made up my mind, I wanted to go and I did. I have worked for 37 year with the State, I enjoyed helping people, and I met alot of people who will always be part of my life. I don’t know what else I can accomplish, but God may have something else for me to do.
How old were you when you first started to drive?
I was in my 20’s when I first learned how to drive. A friend of mine taught me in his Volkswagen, it was automatice. About two to three times a week he would take me and his girlfriend out to learn how to drive.
What was your first car?
I got my first car when I started working back in 1974, it was a used car a 1973 Oldsmobile Cutlass, maroon and white.Then I got my first new car in 1976, another Cutlass Supreme.
How much did it cost?
My 1974 Cutlass cost me 2000 dollars(now it would be worth 8,835.70),my 1976 cutlass was 7500(now it would be worth 28,708.26) and that was when my grandma said that my brand new cutlass cost more than her house.
Did you go to college after high school?
yes, I attended San Antonio College.
Did you graduate from SAC?
yes, in 1968.
Did you further youtr education after SAC?
Yes,went to UT, did not finish until 1998.
Was it hard to move to Austin for school?
No, not really. I was looking forward to being on my own, and I had visited Annabelle a few time before I came to school here. She was one year ahead of me, so anytime I could get away, I took the bus from SA to Austin to spend the weekend. It was great because I started meeting people and I enjoyed the town.
Did you lve alone?
I lived with my cousin Annabelle.
What was it like returning to school after being out so long?
You mean after I had been working and deciding to finish school I was like a weird world. The students were soooooo different, they were so young, compared to me, but I make friends easy and I was OK.
Are you afraid of anything?
Yes, dying. But I put my life in God’s hands. He will decide when it is my time.
Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview?
Yes, my only regret is that I did not have a family of my own, but it was OK, because I had all my brothers and sisters and all their children.
I learned many things from doing this oral history project. I learned that history can be affected by just the little things that you can accomplish in life. I learned that life’s path may not always be the one that you want to follow but, the path that you need to follow. Some of the most important points to me were the fact that she was able to accomplish a lot in her life with having such a large family. I learned that living in Laredo in the 1940’s and 1950’s was a lot safer than now. There were a few things that I did not know. One thing was that her first job was at the San Antonio College library. I also did not know that her first car cost more than her grandma’s house. My view did not change all that much . She has always been open about her life and living in Laredo. These stories taught me that life was so much simple that now. I learned that it is much safer to live in San Antonio rather than Laredo. There were a lot of benefits from learning from the past. One is that we can learn from all the mistakes that others have made. One drawback is that I wish we were in in the simpler times. This is a very effective tool in learning about oral history.
- November 2, 1947: Born in Laredo, Texas
- November 24, 1948: Rodolfo Casso (brother) was born
- December 6, 1949: Eliuhd Casso (brother) was born
- November 27, 1951: Rene Casso (brother)
- April 25, 1953: Alma Casso (sister) was born
- October 16, 1954: Sandra Casso (sister) was born
- April 11, 1959: Selma Casso (sister) was born
- June 8, 1960: Cynthia Casso (sister) was born
- 1961: Moved to San Antonio from Laredo
- 1961; Started Burbank jr/high school
- 1966; Started at San Antonio College
- 1968: Moved to Austin to attend UT
- 1974: Started for the department of welfare
- 1998: Fished college degree at UT
- 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.
- Texas Escapes Online Magazine: Travel and History has an extensive collection of annotated photographs of twentieth century Texas. Included in the collection are historical images of courthouses, churches, schoolhouses, banks, jails, cemeteries, gas stations, and water towers. Website Content Copyright ©1998-2008. Texas Escapes – Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
- Cost-of-Living Calculator. The calculator uses the Consumer Price Index to do the conversions between 1913 and the present. The source for the data is the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Consumer Price Index reflects the cost of items relative to a specific year. The American Institute for Economic Research. P.O. Box 1000. Great Barrington, Massachusetts. 01230.
- Photographs and/or documents on this website were provided by Aracelli Casso and Selma Casso.These photos were of her when she was a little baby through later in her life.Most of these photos were taken either at school or by her mother. She kept the photos on a yellow make-up case from the 1950’s or 60’s that was her mothers.