Eva Ortiz

Interview in Spanish.

Summary of Interview

Ms. Ortiz talks about her family and what her life was like growing up; as a young woman she began dating Manuel Ortiz Orozco, whom she knew from the ranch where they were both raised; in 1955, he enlisted in the bracero program; she was happy that he joined, because it was of great help, especially given that the harvests were so undependable; they often wrote love letters to each other; when he and other men were gone their fields were abandoned, and the women and children did the best they could; after he returned from his first contract, they married in 1957; they continued living on the same ranch, but were very poor; Manuel renewed his contract three more times out of necessity; even so, he earned only fifty cents an hour, and consequently did not have much to send home; the barracks he lived in often had rats and snakes; Eva stayed with her parents, and a year later, her son was born; she suffered greatly in Manuel’s absence; they were so poor, she had to go to different stores asking for them to extend her credit for food; the other bracero wives all helped each other as best they could and shared what little money they had; many were worried their husbands would find new wives in the United States and not return home; Manuel went home roughly every year; in 1960, their daughter was born; the family later immigrated to the United States, and they ultimately became citizens.