María C. Ayon


Violeta Mena


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

María C. Ayon was born on December 12, 1930, in Morelia, Michoacán, México; she had eight brothers and sisters, four of whom are still living; the small ranch where she was raised did not yield enough for her family to survive; consequently, they moved to México, Distrito Federal; she later married and had twelve children; in 1990, her husband passed away, and shortly thereafter, she immigrated to the United States; while there, she met her second husband, Vicente Ayón Luna, during the midnineties; Vicente worked in the fields of California under the bracero program.

Summary of Interview

Ms. Ayón discusses her family and childhood at length; she begins to sob upon recollecting the abusive relationship of her parents; her mother died when she was roughly fifteen years old; consequently, as the eldest of the five children still living at home, she was forced to care for the rest of her siblings; she later married and had twelve children of her own, nine of whom survived; moreover, she talks about each of her children, their careers, and how she lost three of them; in 1990, her husband passed away, and shortly thereafter, she immigrated to the United States; a few years later, in 1996, she met Vicente Ayón Luna, who was also a widow; three months later, they were married; they moved to Oakley, California, and labored in the fields together for about a year; Vicente was a bracero, and he worked primarily in California picking cotton, grapes, green beans, lettuce, oranges, and tomatoes; as a bracero, he suffered, particularly when crossing into the United States, because he was stripped in front of everyone; when the program ended, he chose to stay rather than return to México; he later married his first wife, and she was able to help him obtain legal documentation.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

36 minutes

Tape Number

No. 1145

Transcript Number

No. 1145

Length of Transcript

25 pages

Interview Number

No. 1145

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.