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Gus Jimenez


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Gus Jimenez
Series Title:
Spanish Civil War oral history project
Physical Description:
1 sound file (67 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;
Jimenez, Gus R
Varela-Lago, Ana M
University of South Florida Libraries -- Florida Studies Center. -- Oral History Program
University of South Florida -- Tampa Library
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Ybor City (Tampa, Fla.)   ( lcsh )
History -- Spain -- Civil War, 1936-1939   ( lcsh )
Oral history   ( local )
Online audio   ( local )
Oral history.   ( local )
Online audio.   ( local )


Gus Jimenez discusses the Spanish Civil War and its effect on Tampa's Latin community, particularly on his grandfather, who was a consul of the Spanish Republic.
Interview conducted February 3, 1997.
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Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System Details:
Streaming audio.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Ana Varela-Lago.
General Note:
Supplemental material available in the USF Tampa Library Special Collections area.

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 029487182
oclc - 316064861
usfldc doi - S64-00010
usfldc handle - s64.10
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COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 2009, University of South Florida. All rights, reserved This oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrig hted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fo wler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.


1 Spanish Civil War Oral History Project Oral History Program Florida Studies Center University of South Florida, Tampa Digital Object Identifier: S64 00010 Interviewee: Dr. Gus R. Jimenez (GRJ) Interviewer: Ana M. Varela Lago (AVL) Interview date: F ebruary 3, 1997 Interview location: Centro Asturiano de Tampa Transcribed by: Unknown Transcription date: Unknown Interview changes by: Mary Beth Isaacson Interview changes date: November 19, 2008 Additional changes: Arlen Bensen Additional changes da te: December 16, 2008 Final Edit by: Maria Kreiser Final Edit date: January 21, 2009 Ana M. Varela Lago : Okay. We are going to start then by talking a little bit about your family, in general. And, I would like to know how did your family first come to Tampa? Gus R. Jimenez : On my father's side? AVL: Both. GRJ: Yeah, well. O n my father's side, they are from El Ferrol, in Galicia, Spain. And they went to, migrated to Mexico, Mexico City. They came in through Veracruz. To Mexico City. And then to T ampico, where some of the kids were born. They brought two children, William and Carmen. Carmen just died in 1993 or '94 of 102 years old. The rest of them died, average, fairly early in their 60s. My father was killed in a plane crash. So he had a violen t death. And during the Mexican Civil War, they were l iving in Monterrey. And, I know during the war one of the sides took over the city and they were throwing out all foreigners. So they put them in boxcars British, German, whatever. Spanish. And it took them three days to make the 150 mile trip from Monterrey to the American border. And every time that they would stop they would pull people out and shoot them, right o n the side. And they were looking for a Gustavo JimŽ nez but it turned out to be somebody else; it wasn't my grandfather. But he was pulled out two or three times. And left my grandmother with eight kids. Just like in the movies. And what I remember, the s tory that she tells with real vigor she was asked to strip at the border by a Mexican, a woman Mexican guerilla. And just like in the movies she had the bullets criss crossed against her chest. And she says, "Even your grandfather never saw me without clothes. And I had to strip, what indignities." And she could say the word "stupid" with s uch vile and vigor. And she says, "Then she asked me to strip and weigh.


2 And she weighed me with my clothes on, with my clothes, and without and with my clothes, and I knew that estœpida didn't know how to read the scale." 'Cause while they were trapped, two weeks, with the fighting, she had had all the girls sew all the gold coins she had into her corset. And my grandmother was a very small woman. She never weighed over 89 pounds. So she must have weighed 110, 120 pounds, and most of it in gold. And had that Indian known how to read the scale she would have been dead. So, anyway. She let her go. With her c orset she put her corset back on fu ll of gold. And they went to Houston where they stayed until the end of the war. Then they went back. The brewery w hich my grandfather worked for offered him his job back. And my grandmother said "No," 25 years in Mexico was enough. She wanted to go back to Spain. And my grandfather said, "We couldn't make it in Spain when we had two kids, how are we gonna make it whe n we have eight kids?" So, and then they offered him a branch to start a branch of the brewery in a Spanish colony in Tampa, Florida. So of course, grandmother begrudgingly said yes. They would go to Tampa, Florida wherever that was. And just like it is no w, the train doesn't come straight to Tampa. It has to go to Atlanta, then it has to come down to Jacksonville and from Jacksonville to Tampa. Well they finally got to Tampa. And they stopped. The railroad train used to go right in front of the Cherokee Club, which is a hotel, El Pasaje, and there they had reservations to stay the night. And they t ook the luggage out and put it o n the sidewalk. And there was little grandmother, the luggage was probably higher than my grandmother was tall, and the kids we re crawling all over the luggage and my grandma my grandfather was five feet something tall and almost five feet something wide, and baldheaded since he was 19. He never had much hair. So it took him 30 minutes to register, and when he came out my grandmot her and she had a temper. But she was a tremendous woman but she had to have a temper to control nine ki ds, or eight kids and she said, "You promised me that you were brin ging me to a Spanish colony and I' ve been o n this sidewalk thirty minutes and I do n't understand one potato of what these people are speaking." No ent iendo ni una papa de lo que est‡ n hablando ." She did not understand the Cuban brogue. They were speaking Cuban and she didn't it was Spanish, but she didn't understand the dialect. To mak e a long story short they opened up a room and board, boarding house o n Palm Avenue. AVL: What year was that? Do you remember? GRJ: Nineteen ten [1910] I think. 1910? They opened up a boarding house here o n Palm Avenue. And she took in boarders, and co oked. And all the girls helped. And the brewery was open or t he branch was open right here o n 6th and Nebraska Avenue. But the Americans and the Spanish here did not like dark beer. They were making dark Mexican beer. So they had a little trouble, until th ey finally started making the shipping in or however they were doing it the light beer. And things were going pretty good. Until P rohibition hit. And they were out of business. My grandfather always said if he made hats, the babies would be born without h eads. 'Cau s e everything he touched would go,


3 would turn sour. But he always had a good job. He was a very brilliant man. He could read The [ Tampa ] Tribune as fast, in Spanish, as he could read it you would think it was written in Spanish, the way he would read it to my grandmother. So, Ybor City in those days, you didn't have to really know English to have anything and everything you wanted; the best movies I mean not movies but performances, operas, everything else, were held here at the Centro Asturi ano, or Centro Espa – ol. Touring companies would come from Atlanta straight to Tampa. To Ybor City. And then to Havana, or vice versa. Ybor City was a stop for the arts, for the visual arts anyway; not necessarily the paintings or stuff like that. And, as far as I remember, my grandfather had an office. 'Cause I was born in '28, so the '20s are a little hazy. Prohibition I guess was in the '20s so that covers that section. But when I started remembering grandfather's office and that's a picture I have i f it's needed, that I can donate. I think I have two of them. It's in the First National Bank Building in downtown Tampa. Which they just tore down that building. It was a beautiful building but they just tore i t down. And his office, or the c onsular offi ce was there, and that's what I remember about his office downtown. He us ually did most of his business i n the house, o n Columbus Drive it used to be called la Michigan," Michigan Avenue, and they changed it to Columbus Drive in the '20s. And there's wh ere he, most of the people from Ybor City or Tampa wanting to do business with the [Spanish] Republic, would come to his office there. And that's where he had the I can remember the room just like we're sitting here right behind the kitchen was an extra ro om. It must have been another dining room or something like that not a formal dining room that he converted to his office. And one whole wall was a map of Spain, with a ladder, a small ladder to go up. And that's where he kept track of the progress of the war. And I used to change the flags back a nd forth and I'd always ask him, "When are we gonna win, Grandpa?" and he would say, "Don't worry, we are gonna win." Well he died before the [Spanish Civil] war ended. Which is just as well, because it would ha ve crushed him to know that. He was so sure that there was gonna be victory. Oh, I distinctly remember the arguments between my grandmother and him. And they would start everything would be real calm and all of a sudden that typical Spanish bombastic argum ent, which really wasn't a fight, it was just, it's the way we are; I mean, we're Spanish, righ t? My kids fuss at my wife and I my wife is Asturian descent and I'm Gallego des c ent and they always think we're fussing; we're not, we're just discussing. A li vely discussion. But she would look a t the purple flag and she'd say, "That flag doesn't do a thing for me. The yellow one raises flutters in my hear t." And he would yell across, "Y ou're nothing but a Fa scist!" And she would yell back, "And you're just not hing but a Communist!" And he'd pound the table with his fist and all the plates would jump up and down. And two seconds later they were fine, there was no problem. But every so often they had to have one of those outbursts.


4 And my grandmother died befor e s he ever saw the king back o n the throne. Which would thrill her to death, I suppose. Cause to the day she died she said, "We were better off with the k in g. We were better off with the k i ng." And my grandfather'd say, "No, no, the Republic is the one. That's a people's government." The Republic was the one. And those arguments kept going. And it was, if I remember correctly, it was, people sat o n the front porches, and these political discussions were part of the thing. Sometimes they would argue so muc h among, when my father would get in discussions with him for any length of period of time and I was playing o n the sidewalk with my little cousins, and my other cousin s, they were older than I was, I call them little cousins, the three of us would always be getting into some kind of trouble and we'd hear the voices rising; we'd say we'd better get in close because there's gonna be people leaving pretty soon. Sure enough, my father would call me and off we'd go and we wouldn't be back for two or three weeks. Because he was mad at his father about whatever. But my wife reports the s ame thing happened with the Corces family. They loved to argue and discuss. And they would get to the point, they'd get mad at whatever the issue was. And pound the table or p ound the rockers or whatever and stomp their feet and off they would go, mad. Heh. But they would make up. They would make up. I remember when my grandfather was operated for prostate cancer, which in those days was primitive. And he had one of the best surgeons in Tampa. At the Centro Asturiano Hospital at the Sanatorio. He came through the o peration beautifully. And four days later he got an infection, which was common in those days. The o peration was easy. The infections, they didn't have penicillin or anything like that. And he died, the infection killed him. Well my un c le Ferdie and my father went all over town to find the doctor they were gonna kill him. The doctor had to leave town. Cause they were gonna kill him because he hadn't saved their fath er. Which is, I guess, one of the perils of being a medical doctor in those days. If your patient died you'd better watch out. They could eliminate you. And not that my dad and my uncle were primitive. They had gone through what today would be called juni or college. They were educated, and very successful business people, as it turned out. But you just didn't kill your father you know, let anybody killed their father, for whatever reason. So, that's what I remember about them the most. On my mother's sid e, they came from La Coru – a. And they came to Havana. And from Havana they, my grandfather, I had an uncle that was a twin, born in Havana. And the twin girl died. He survived. They also had seven or eight children. And Grandpa couldn't stay home at nights And we didn't find out about that until 1940, that my grandmother had a cerebral hemorrhage. And Charlie Pu ll, which is Charlie Chan, was o n the Cuban radio. And she was paralyzed; she couldn't talk, she didn't know anybody that was born in the United St ates. She knew all her kids up to Havana. But nothing from Havana forward. So she didn't know grandchildren, she didn't know my mother; my mother was born here in the States. So every night when the nurse would turn on or the lady that would take care of h er would turn o n the ra dio for Charlie Pull she would start, "Richard, this can not go on. If you don't stop going to those houses, we're gonna go back to Spain. This can not go on." So it wasn't till then that the family realized why they came to the United


5 States. They couldn't keep the old man home. He's a Romeo. So, any case, my mother was born here. And six months after she was born, he comes home from work at th e cigar factory and lays down o n the couch. Has a heart attack and dies; leaves my g randmot her with eight kids in a foreign land. With a baby. So she put all the kids that were old enough to go to the cigar factory to work. Took in washing. And took in more kids to, to raise, and that's how that family got through it. No government aid, nobody h elping. Just through pure and they all turned out good. Every one of those, the two uncles and all the sisters from that side turned out good. And all the uncles from the other side turned out good. They all did well. Even those that did not do well, did w ell by today's standards. They had high achievement. High achievement. But in no case, that I remember on either side of the family anyone, except my grandmother having made those statements before I was born, that she wanted to go back to Spain. None of the second generation wanted to go back to Spain. They went later as adults to visit, to see what was there, to see any family. But we did not have strong ties to Spain after Grandfather died. AVL: Did they leave alone? I mean your g randfather, had he l eft what reasons did he say he had left Spain? GRJ: T hey couldn't make a living. And and they spelled the name with a "G" in Spain. They spelled it with a "G." And he says he changed it to a "J" over here. In the old records it's spelled with an "X" now c an you imagine having the Americans pronounce "Xim Ž nez" with an "X"? I keep telling t hem, "It's the same as Tejas, MŽ jico, but no no. It's still, "Jimenez" [pronounced with Americanized "J"] instead of "Jimenez." But one brother which we never he never heard of again one brother went to Argentina. And we don't know if he changed his name to "J" or if he still spells it with a "G." And he went to Mexico. They never saw each other or wrote each other again. I guess in those days the brothers and sisters l eft and there was no communication. That was i t. When I used to teach school I would tell the kids, this is, today it would be like going to the moon. You go to the moon, if you can send a letter back, fine, but don't expect it. You know. And I guess that' s how the people left the old countries. They just could not make a living. AVL: How did your grandfather become the consul? How, from his business life to becoming consul? GRJ: I have no idea how he made the jump from businessman to consulate. Unless th ere was an opening in the office and he went to work, like you mentioned in these other papers that you found. I'm learning as much here today as you're lea rn ing from me, I suppose. It seems to me that that's probably h ow it happened. He went to work for t he Royalist government, I su ppose. That was in the '20s. Cause the Republic was in the '30s. And then when the switchover came over, he just went with the go vernment that was in existence. I guess he pledged allegiance to the Republic. That's the only thin g I can figure. 'Cause he stayed loyal to the Republic till he died. And he wasn't cons idered I


6 was thinking of this o n the way here today I never considered him to be a liberal. I never considered my grandfather he was very, very conservative. With his mo ney, with the way he raised his family. In fact, my mother's side was considered more liberal than my father's side. My father's side was all business. Very Victorian. I consider my little grandmother and him the last people I knew that I would call "Victo rian." In morals and in dress and in the way they approached life. The old Victorian and for him to be associated with the Republic, I guess it's al l right. I guess, you know it was like. I guess he felt it was the right thing for Spain at that particula r time. Since all the rest of the world was democracies, and they were getting rid of all the royal houses at that time. And supposedly, since Mussolini had taken over Italy during the '20s, I guess he preferred that to the f ascism of Italy. You see? A lot of people don't realize that Hitler came late. Most Europeans knew of f ascism because of Italy, not because of Germany. And they knew the good and the bad. From Italy. So, I suppose he preferred the Republic to the f ascism that he saw in Italy. That's the only thing I can figure out, but I'm just second guessing. He never talked politics to that degree with me. There was a lot of, lot of active c ommunists in the colony at that time in Ybor City at that time. What they did is they took over the lectores [re aders] positions. And so they read c ommunist propaganda to the workers. If you are asking why Ybor City and West Tampa might have been so liberal why? there was no television, very few radios, if any. They did it through the lector s ystem. He selected w hat to read. They paid him to read to the workers to keep 'e m entertained. So that, that was a perfect conduit. And that's how the workers got liberalized. Through the unions and through the lector. That's how the propaganda got put into the factories. Whi ch was where most of the people worked. At the height of the factory system in Ybor City, there was 109 factories. It was the highest populated section south of the Mason Dixon. Ybor City. It had more people per square mile than any city in the South. Not tha t it was the biggest c ity in the South, but by square mileage, we had more people jammed into Ybo r City and West Tampa than any city. Like, Miami in the f irst World War had only 450 peo ple. And Tampa was the biggest c ity in Florida at that time and it o nly had about 5 0,000, 50 55,000. And half of, more than half of that were Hispanic or Cuban, so. The next question that might arise is, why did they allow the Anglos to govern them ? I guess most of them were not citizens. And the manufacturers were from the North. Absentee manufacturers. And it did not behoove either the Anglos or the manufacturers to have the Spaniards here franchised, or given political power. Because it would cost them money in wages. I mean putting it in economic terms and looking b ack that's the only answer that you can get. They had a lot of bitter, bitter, bitter strikes. The reason the industry was in Tampa was because of strikes in Key West and strikes in Havana. From the workers. So it was a turmoil. And maybe that's why, uh Grandfather, I still see him as a conservative. He was anti communist, for s ure. The other thing that I remember is helping him cut things out of the newspaper. One of the things he had to do was read anything that was published that came across his desk or he could buy that had anything about the war. Or about the Republic. Good or bad.


7 Clip it. No copying machines. He had to buy two of everything. He would keep a copy. And he would send another copy to Madrid, I suppose. Or wherever he ha d to send thing s to. So I guess there's a name for people that do that today, or did that. Newspaper clippers or whatever. Because there was no ease of information like we have today. Today something happens at one o'clock in the morning and by two o'clock the whole wor ld knows it. Back then, something got printed, you cut it out and you shipped it wherever. For the intelligence thing. The other thing I remember is the fundraising, funciones which are like, what do you call 'em? People, they'd come and have a performa nce and the money goes to the war effort. Here, at the Centro Espa – ol and at the Centro Asturiano. Money being collected at the cigar factories to go to the war effort. Generals you heard this earlier from the laborer here, at that building the infamous on e, and I forget his name, but you probably will come across it. One of the l ast ones to come a Republican g eneral came raising money. He never made it back to Spain. The rumor is by the time he got to South A merica he had $40 50,000, which is a lot of mone y for the 1930s. That money never saw, never saw the Republic. And a lot of people would come back collecting money, it was for themselves. Or, some of it went to the war effort but a lot of it did not. And I remember those functions. I remember workers marching in support of the war. And there was usually a mixture of Communist propaganda and Republican propaganda mixed up in it. And very rowdy; I remember 'e m very rowdy. I remember my mother warn ing me, under penal ty of death, not to get caught o n Nebr aska Avenue when the parade went by. But we did anyway. The kids would run to the corner, cause we lived right off Nebraska and 12th Avenue, and the parade would go up 7th and then take a right and going North o n 12th to Columbus Drive, Michigan, and then go back into the colony. Make a "U" shape. And they would want to parade in front of my g randfather's house, since that was the consulate, or vice consulate's home. So I guess now that's why the parade went that way. They wanted to be sure they would para de in front of his house. AVL: Did he participate in the parades? GRJ: Not to my knowledge. I never, I don't say he didn't. From these pictures, he must have participated, that you showed me, in a lot of things. But not to my knowledge. I don't, I don't, I think his participation was more of a, he was a very formal type of man if I remember correctly. It seems like he was a stand in for somebody of more authority. Let's put it that way. If they wanted to give the occasion legitimacy, he had to be there. But he wasn't the one that was gonna be go out and hand out flyers and stuff like that. That was beneath him. As far as I can remember. I never remember my father or my mother, anyone and we would have known you know how people talked in those days, had he participated in something that he wasn't a hands on that way. I think he made speeches, he represented the govemment, the Republican government, but to my knowledge, never rabble rousing; very Victorian type participation, you know. Archduke, whatever, King, gets in the although he didn't come


8 from money at all. He didn't like people to call him Don Gustavo. A lot of the older people would call him Don Gustavo and he refused that title. He said, "That's not used in this country, I don't want you to use i t." I didn't get, didn't remember that until my mother got Alzheimer's and we hired somebody from Colombia. And I could never break that poor woman from calling me Don Gustavo; that's al l she wanted to call me. I said, "We don't use that, I haven't heard t hat si nce I was a little boy." I said, "I don't have the money or the title to go with it, just don't use it." You know, you don't, your ears aren't used to that type of reverence I guess, I don't know. It's very common in other countries. I suppose. But not here. Okay, ask me another question. AVL: Yes. You mentioned before about clipping newspapers? GRJ: Yes. AVL: How did people in Ybor City get news from Spain? GRJ: Letters. AVL: Yes? GRJ: People would write. Many times they couldn't read. And you had to have somebody read. That's something else I, I remember people coming over. And either my grandmother or my aunt my aunt was very smart, Ferdie Pacheco's mother, was very smart but she devoted herself just to raising the two children so she didn 't work out. Until later in life when she just did it to keep herself busy. And they would write lett ers. And my other, my old maid Aunt Ferdie Pacheco's old maid aunt and mine, Lola. Dolores. Lola Jimenez; was a cashier for the Columbia [Restaurant] for years. She died working for them and they treated her very well. She worked there for years and years. They would write letters. People would go either to a bank, or to the consulate. To send money back. Or to write letters or to find out where somebody is particularly, most of the letters that I remember were after the war. People wanted to become I guess they had lost the war and they figured they weren't coming back. A lot of Spaniards came over with the idea of going back. Of retiring, going back ho me. With the money. Or whatever. And I guess when they saw Franco take over, they figured, "We're not getting back." And I remember information for citizenship papers almost constantly. People AVL: At that particular point when GRJ: After the war. A VL: the Republic fell? GRJ: Yes, fe l l. Grandfather was dead. But they would come to have my aunts write the papers, or see if there was any record, to see if they, where to do it. Because people didn't know how to do it, or where to do it. And most of th e bankers here were Italian. And they


9 had a lot of connections in Italy but not in Spain. So the family kept some contact with that type of thing. For a while. People would come over for help. My, then they went to my father. One of the biggest problems t hat the Spanish people had here in Ybor City was the habit of using the mother's name. So when they became citizens, and my I' ll use my uncle o n my mother's side as a good example. My uncle always signed, would sign himself, Manuel Fern‡ ndez Cano." Well my grandmother was a Cano. But my grandfather was a Fern ‡ndez. And my grand and my father kept saying, "It's gonna cause you trouble. You are Fern‡ ndez here in the United States. You're not a Cano. You're Manuel C. Fern ‡ ndez. You're not Manuel Fern ‡ ndez C ano." "No, no," B ut that's the way, wha wha wha ." Well it came to pass when he put in for Social Security, it showed he hadn't put any money down. There was no Cano with any money in; because they were taking it out as a Fern ‡ndez, not as a Cano. And t hat caused the Spanish people a lot of problems here. The older ones. Because w hen Social Security started in 30 something, they would sign up with, with their, and sign their last name their mother's name. And the American government would use the father' s name. Nobody cared until it came time to claim. Social S ecurity, in the middle '40s or early '50s. By that time all of those workers were in their 60s. And they didn't exist. Supposedly they did not exist, and it took a lot of, a lot of letter writing. And my father took over that, being a businessman and having secretarie s and all that. So, that's how I kept connected with the problems of the Spanish colony. Well it wasn't a colony really. Of the Spanish settlement in Ybor City. People that weren't educated to the extent that the others were, would go find people that were. And one helped the other. And that's how that went. And during the '30s, during the time that we're talking about, the Spanish Civil War, a lot of Ybor City young men couldn't fin d work here either. So they went to New York. Or to Chicago. Most of them came back; a lot of them didn't. They found wives or whatever. Over there and they stayed up North. But it was very very common. It was, in the '30s when we're talking about here, w hen my grandfather was consul, it was a peaceful little town. The biggest thing was, if somebody came from North back to visit was to go to the Union Station which they are going to open it up now, refurbish it, right here o n Nebraska and Cass and wait for the train to come in and see your uncle coming back or whatever. And then there was a big feast that night and everybody would come to visit and bring gifts and all that, and then to take 'e m back to the railroad station to go back North to work. And tha t was an event. We didn't have airports, so that was the transportation hub. And the other thing that we liked a lot was going to the beaches. The Latin people loved to go to A n na Maria. Or Indian Rocks, were the two or Pass A G rille. Those were the thre e popular beaches. The youngsters liked Clearwater. That's where the action was. But the older people, particularly the older people, liked A n na Maria or Pass A G rille. That's where they used to have excursion boats, would leave Tampa with a band. And my father was a leader of a band. That's how he met my mother. And spend the day at the beach, go swimmi ng and all that, then get back o n the steam ship and peddle and paddle, whatever, all the way back to Tampa late that evening. Now that was an exhausting d ay. But it was very popular. They called it, they called it las excursiones the excursions.


10 AVL: Yes, I know. GRJ: Which took up the whole day. But that was very, very popular. During the '20s and the '30s. Of course, with the war, with the s econd World War, all that changed. AVL: How about the people who weren't with the Republic who were supporters of Franco? Do you have any memories of that? Were there a lot of conflicts within the Latin community ? GRJ: Yes, a lot of arguments, a lot of fights. Yo u'd hear of it more than anything else. Everybody knew that we were R epublican leaning, so I guess they stayed away from us. You know, but, by the sa m e token, if it was known that somebody was a Fascist, because they called them Fascists. They didn't call them Francoites or anything, they called 'e m Fascists, Fascistas You had problems. You had problems. And then the workers had to be very careful because either tr uthfully or untruthfully, I can not prove this most workers perceived their bosses as always being Fascist, which is not necessarily true. You know, not necessarily true. Just because you have a little bit of money and you happen to be a boss doesn't make you a Fascist. But you have to remember that tempers were high. And education and communica tion wasn't what it is today, so. Word of mouth, you heard about this, you heard about that. And time s were rough. Everybody was not jobs were scarce. People were working for three, four, and five dollars a week. That's not a lot of money wh en you have kid s. Even then. So a lot of the problems, probably not only arose because of the war, but because of the economic situation in the United States was not good. So you had a lot of people do things, maybe in the name of the war, that wasn't necessarily because of the war. But when you grow up with something like this you know, amazingly, I didn't lose anybody that I know of in the war, in the [Spanish] Civil War. But in college we had a professor that, I found out later was a priest that had left the priesth ood and got married. Excellent man. And he made a statement in cl ass that the Republic was Communist. And I remember my grandfather, I banged the d esk. He looked at me shocked. I said, "Sir, where do you get those facts?" "We ll, uh I said, "I want you t o know my grandfather was a c onsul of the Republic and we were no Communists." He said, "I'll research that," and he researched it and he came back and he apologized in fr ont of the whole class. He says, T he Communists did back the Republic. And the Spani sh Constitution allowed the Communists to have seats in the Republic, but that didn't make the who le government Communist. I said, "That's what I was trying to tell you." So, in a way I grew up with that strain of politics and anti Communism thing. Althou gh this was way before we became, as a country, anti Communist because we were allies with the Russians all during the war. When I was a teenager. But you know when I went to Madrid, I refused to go see the monument that Franco built? In the battlefield, the big.. AVL: Valle de los Caidos?


11 GRJ: I would not go to the Valle. AVL: Why was that? GRJ: I just didn't feel right. AVL: So when you were growing up GRJ: Just didn't feel right. AVL: W hat was your sense of what the war in Spain was about? If yo u remember. GRJ: Well as it turned out. Because, then the war broke out in '39. See the Spanish war ended what, in '38? And Grandfather died in '38. Before it had finished. And then I guess we took the hate against the Fascists went over into the hat e against Hitler and against the Japanese and, you know. And against. A lot of people don't realize that my generation, while it was a small generation because of the Depression although I was born in '28 at the end of the big time. And I was the only chi ld. Because there wasn't any money, and M other would not bring any more kids into the world. They don't realize that we grew up, all during the '30s and all during the '40s with nothing but pure hate against Fascism. Then we transferred that as an adult ag ainst Communism. Well, because of my u pbringing, I really had that, "Y ou don't want Communism either," you know, type of thing from my grandfather I guess and from my father. My father insisted, I guess he died still thinking it, that beca use of some o f my liberal views that I picked up in college, that he, he would call me a Commu nist a lot of times. And I said, "Daddy, I'm not a Communist!" You know, things can't continue old fashioned, we gotta improve things. "You're a Communist!" So, we always had that thread of anti Communism in our family. But we also had a strong anti Fascist. Fed by not only growing up in a family that was embroiled in a war, but by then the s econd World War and then by then the Cold War. And so all my life is, it's been, so me "ism" that we have been, you know. A lot of times I would tell my class when I taught school, when I t aught at the university, I said, "Why don't we just be 'Americanism'," and forge t the left and forget the right? When are we gonna stand up for what's right and forg et the rest of the stuff? That'll never be, that's idealism. But anyway. AVL: How about the other communities here? The relationship between the Spaniards, for instance, and the Italians? GRJ: The Italians obviously were Fascists. They lov ed Mussolini. AVL: Why was that?


12 GRJ: According to them, he straightened out Italy. He made the trains run o n time. He promised them an empire which he never delivered. And had a lot of public works. And put the people back to work. Viewed historically now I'm not saying because I knew that when I was ten years old, [but] after I got [to be] an adult and taught history. Historically he did straighten out Italy for the '20s, in the '20s. Of course, the rest of the world was better off in the '20s than Ita ly was. But then when the world went into a depression, I don't think Italy went into that much of a depression in the '30s; because then Italy became militaristic and went into Ethiopia, and had the blacks beat them with sticks and all that, but that's an other story. There's an old joke that says that the biggest little book in the library is that of Itali an war heros. And a lot of their anti Italian jokes that were in Tampa. And all over the country I suppose, yes. AVL: Do you remember any of those? GR J: Of those, you know the biggest little book in the library is Italian war heroes. And the victory sign for the Italian army is both hands straight up. You know, the surrender sign? That's the Italian victory sign. And those are two that stayed with me. AVL: So was there a lot of conflict between Spaniards and Italians during the war? GRJ: No. No, because they controlled the money. They had the banks. And you needed the banks to borrow money. No, there wasn't outwardly that much. They argued, I suppose. And then the Italians usually stayed in the Italian Club. And they had their own organizations. There was a lot of "Don't marry an Italian girl," but everybody did. I know I've got three or four in my family; they're very good people, and vice versa But that was true of anything. "Don't marry Cubans because they have b lack blood." And you always point to the hand and do this as a sign. If you rub your finger o n top of your right hand, that means "Be careful. There's b lack blood there." That's what the gr andmothers would tell their daughters when they had brought home a date. And they would say, "If that is okay, watch the line between the top of the hand and the bottom. If there's purple there, there's b lack blood." There was a lot of that. During the 30s, '40s, '20s. And if that all fails, look at the gums; if the gums are purple, there's b lack blood. These are things that, you know, grandmothers told their daughters. They didn't want the mixture that's goin g o n now. And if they did, they were ostraciz ed. They were gone. Families didn't keep anybody that crossed the color line. The Cubans didn't care. Because the Cubans had mixed in Cuba. But the Spanish families were very race conscious. Very very race conscious. Of course the Anglos were too. Italia ns were very race conscious too. AVL: Why would that be? I mean, if Italians and Spaniards were European stock, white, I mean why was do you think? GRJ: I don't know, it may come I learn ed about that last year. I went to Italy for the first time. And o f course I knew that the Spanish had conquered Naples and Sicily for 200 years; we occupied them for 200 years. I think it comes from the time that we


13 conquered half of Italy. And we took c are, we took part in a lot of attacks o n Florence. A lot of attacks in Rome. Never could conquer the whole peninsula. But the Spanish troops allied with the German Hapsburg family. Kept raiding Italy constantly. So that must be it has to come from then. It has to come from then. Way back then. And I, I didn't realize that until I visited there. Because when, somebody said something about Sicily, why isn't there more beautiful things in Sicily? Today they' ll the Sicilians will tell you, "Because you Spaniards took it all." So even today they still say AVL: So there was st ill that resentment within this community GRJ: Today, yes. Even today in Italy there's that resentment. So that resentment will come over here. And then the other thing is that the Sicilians here rightly or wrongly were associated more with gangsterism, Mafia. Not that they all were; that's not a true statement, you know, you have a few gangsters no matter what nationality. You had some Spanish gangsters too. But f or the most part everybody said, "Oh, Mafia, Italian." And with Capone and all that; that wa s the era of Capone and all the gangsters of Chicago coming to Tampa. They had their meetings in Tampa. In Ybor City. Their winter meetings in Ybor City before they started going to Miami. They, they used to meet in Ybor City and plan everything, then go b ack to Chicago. So there was that, you know, "Gotta be careful if you go with Italians cause you know you gonna end up in the gangs." And that type of thing. So I guess that's where it comes from. It's not only ancestral, but it's and for some reason l et's face it, you're Spanish, I'm Spanish descent Spanish arrogance is the worst enemy Spain has ever had. I think Spaniards always looked down o n Italians for some reason. Rightly or wrongly, you know. Although the last Spanish Caesars were all Spanish, b ut. AVL: How about relations between the Spaniards and the Anglo community during this period, a lso? The Spanish Civil War. And the demonstrations in support of the Republic GRJ: It was very very rough. The Anglos didn't want the Spaniards out of the co lony, out of the Ybor City section. I remember going to Sulphur Springs pool. We used to either ride the streetcar, or my father had a car because he was a salesman; he had a car. And it was good to go in the evening and go in the, it's a spring, so the wa ter's real cold year 'round. And you'd bathe there and you could feel cool till twelve, one o'clock in the evening, you were so cool. Because there was no air conditioning, just fans and stuff like that. And I remember one day h e pulls me up. So it had to be 32 or 33, you know 1933. He pulls me up and says, "Read that sign, rea d that sign over the counter." 'Cau s e you had to get your basket to change your clothes. "No Do gs or Spanish Allowed." He says, "We'll never come back here again." And he took off and we never went back again. They finally had to close the pool. It was privately owned and they could allow anybody they want to in it; now it's publicly owned and nobody goes, but. The same thing that, you'd go to Clearwater. I mentioned Clearwater ea rlier. "Spea k only English," you know. Big s igns. "No Spanish Spoken Here." "No Italian Spoken Here." I


14 think this side of Florida had a lot of anti Latin sentiment, where Miami had anti Jewish sentiment. We had some. Because I remember two or three s igns in, at the beaches saying, "Gentiles Only." I said, "Daddy, what's 'Gentile'? Does it mean 'gentle people'?" And he had a heck of a time explaining what "Gentile" was. But, I do remember some of those signs. You had a lot of hate signs in the '30s. You ha d a lot of lynchings, I remember the lynchings, hearing about the lynchings, where they'd tar and feather b lacks that did something they weren't supposed to do, according to whatever. So it was just like the movies portrayed it. AVL: And how about, what d id they think about the situation in Spain and how the Latin community here was taking sides? Do you have a sense of GRJ: I don't have any, I don't think AVL: In terms of maybe the newspapers, the kind of portrayal GRJ: I think they had a, if I remem ber correctly and I'm trying to keep the history that I know from what I remember. I think they had a hands off policy. We didn't want to get involved in the war which we didn't, in the Spanish Civil War. Had we gotten involved Franco would not have won. T his is my history talking. All we sent was a couple of ambulances, you know. We could have sent Roosevelt could have sent some stuff over. But I don't think Roosevelt, I think Roosevelt was scared of the Communists, really. I think he was scared of the Com munists, because you see, if you remember from history, the Communists were having meetings in Madison Square Garden and all that. There was a lot of scary stuff going an in this country. And we weren't in any position to g et involved. We got involved anyway, but it was with a bigger wolf. I don't think the Anglo community here gave a dam n, really. I don't think they did. I don't think they did. AVL: And how did Latins people like your grandfather think of the United States approach of neutrality GRJ: They were very disappointed. I do remember that. I remember that. I remember them talking. They said, "If they don't fight" until you asked the question I didn't even remember this, this thing just flashed an my mind. You ha ve to remember, this is almost 60 years ago something to the effect "I f they don't help now, they're gonna pay later." Tr anslated, Las van a pagar ." They will pay later. And it was poetic or, prophetic, or p p p p, however you wanna say it. I'm trying to think of how it was said in Spanish and I get tangled up in English. Yeah. They knew it was a mistake. For them not to send at least money or something. Or technical help; it's just like in the war with the British and Argentina over the Falkland Island s. The only reason the British won is because we had the spy plane telling them where the Argentines were. If it wasn't for that, the Argentines would have sunk the whole British Navy. Five years ago, eight years ago. But we did send a spy plane. Had we ha d sent something to tell the Republican Army what was going o n with the Fascists, they wouldn't have won the war.


15 Side A ends; side B begins AVL: I wanted to ask you also about the Church. The Church in Ybor City and the relations between GRJ: The Chu rch was Fascist. And that comes before the war. The Church tumed against the workers in the strike of, the 18 month strike, and I forget what year that was. 1918, 1917, whatever. The strike lasted a year and a half. The Church sided with the fabricantes, w ith the manufacturers, with the owners. And till just recently, til l just the last 20 years, most of the people in Catholic churches here in Tampa were women. My grandmother went religiously, almost every day. Walked all the way downtown, and back. The act ual people that were of age, and experienced that or their kids which are older than me, of course; they were workers in the '20s and the '30s they never went back to the Church. Then when the war came, they backed the Fascists also, supposedly did. Bec ause the Church in Italy backed Mussolini. So, the Church suffered very severely during this time as far as membership. Rightly or wrongly again, I have nothing I was not allowed to go to church. I was baptized and all that but I would not I didn't go to church regularly until I married my present wife and she's a very devout Catholic and I go regularly now every week. But I think the Church saw its problems during World War II and right afterwards it started changing, trying to change. But the Church w as, always said, always backed according to what the older people said; I didn't hear it they always backed the owner, the owner's always right. No matter what happened the owner's always right. They never start having, it was unheard of to have s isters t hat would go into the jungle and help the workers or the rebels. That never happened. You know they'd have been ostra t hey would have been thrown out of the Church back then. That's only recently that, in the last 20, 30 years that the Church has taken an active role in common people's problems. From what I can gather. AVL: Did the Church have an active role in Ybor City, would you say? GRJ: Yes, they had a AVL: In what way? GRJ: They had the Church here right in the middle of the town. They had the s chool. And they had the Academy of Holy Names o n Bayshore that started downtown. But you had OLPH, Our Lady of Perpetual Help. And a lot of the Latin kids were educated in private schools. Those that wanted them to have a Catholic education. A lot of them were pulled out. After, around the First World War, and they were pulled out during the '30s because of the war in Spain.


16 AVL: What did the Church do against the Republic? I mean I know theoretically they, we know they supported Franco, but what was the cause, why Latins actually pulled out the children? GRJ: As far as I can tell they might have been asked to back the Republic locally and they couldn't. Or they didn't. I'm guessing, I don't know. Because we were not allowed to go to church. My grand, my father was gonna be a priest. They were getting him ready to be a priest. And when they went into Texas, he said and he was no dumb bunny either, the kid he says, "You know, ba ck in Monterrey, if I do this and I forget what it was "it's a sin. But in Hou ston, it's not a sin to do the same thing. How come?" So my father started questioning the Church when he was only eight or nine years old. Much to my grandmother's fury. Because my gra ndmother said to my grandfather, "I don't care if you don't send the re st of the kids to church but I'm you can not keep me from going to church." So she kept going to church and she never, never, do I remember her ever asking me to go to church. And we were baptized, and we would go once a year. On Palm Sunday. We would go on Palm Sunday. Not o n Easter Sunday. Because o n Easter Sunday they said that people went there just to show off their clothes. Because in the old days, everybody put an a new suit and a new dress to go to church. And I think that they were right as far a s that, but they wanted to go to church o n Palm Sunday to get the sacred palm to make the cross out of the palmetto palm, and put it over the bed and over the doors. And they would let us go to church o n Palm Sunday. I remember one year, I didn't get too m any palms and one of my aunts who was deaf and couldn't go to church and she wouldn't go to church, she had four, five kids and she, she'd get lost said to me, Did you bring me palms?" I said, "Yes, but I don't have them with me." So I went outside to the cabbage palm tree, cut the same kind of palm, fixed them up, brought them back an hour later, and say s, H ere, I went all the way to church and got you all these sacred palms." I'll probably die in hell because of it. But I couldn't see why they were any different than the ones that had been in church. This is the stuf f kids do. AVL: Why do you think women kept the faith more than men? GRJ: I think they always had it more than men. I think they well, you have to remember that men worked six and a half da ys. Back then. So, if the men went to church at all they had to go Sunday evening. If the church was open back then in the evening, I don't know, I don't remember; I d on't know their schedules. But today they could go o n Sunday evening and have no problem. But you used to have to work six days. Do your groceries o n Saturday night. Stores were, all the li ttle stores o n the corners, were open; you had a lot of neighborhood stores. Get your groceries for the week o n Saturday night. And then a lot of them, they had j obs, and they had to go back to work Sunday morning until twelve or one o'clock. So that didn't leave the men too muc h time f or church work. So I think that's one of the problems. It was a labor situation. And then when that didn't, when they stopp ed working o n Sundays, that was the only day that a man could be with his kids. And take 'e m to the beach or take 'e m fishing or take 'e m hunting, which is the


17 things we did. You know, you either went fishing, you went to the beach swimming or you went hu nting in the winter. The activities of the boys. Or you went to play baseball o n the corner lots. Baseball was real big here. That was the activities. Or, the recreation clubs had their dances o n Sunday. So I think you had a lot of competition for that one day, you know, that one and a half day. That's the reason I think. And then they had lost their touch because of the strike and all that. The big strike. And there were a lot of strikes in the early 1900s. You can read about all those and all the problems that they caused. AVL: What was the feeling of the people here during the war when they saw that the Republic wasn't really winning? Do you have a sense of how morale was going ? GRJ: I think they knew all along they weren't going to win. AVL: From t he beginning? GRJ: When Madrid was surrounded, I think that was the beginning of the end. Because Madrid lasted so long, I think they could have I think they could have taken it, really. I don't know for s ure, but I look back now and say, you know. And th en when I visited Madrid, I say they could have taken this town. I think for some reason they left it there and just fought around it. Because this No Pasar‡n ," all this. They could have, they could have bashed in and taken the city. I think that they thi s is again supposition, it's just a re the main reason the Jews didn't take Cairo. When I was in Cairo, I asked the Egyptians, "How come that the Jewish Army was right across from Cairo and didn't take it?" And the Egyptian says, "How would they feed it? We have more Egyptians than Jews." How c ould Israel feed Cairo? How c ould the Fascists feed Madrid? If they needed all the food to, to feed the army, to finish the war. So it's better to just leave Madrid there and go around it. From what I can see. I've ne v er read this. But I think Madrid lasted as long as it did because they just, the Fascists didn't want it; they couldn't afford to take it, I think. So, but the reports that kept coming in, you know, "The capital is surrounded." And, you know, falling ba ck, falling back, falling back. And then, Hitler of course, rising and giving more support and all that propaganda. It was a huge propaganda war. A huge propaganda war. In the papers. AVL: What papers did people read? GRJ: The Tampa Tribune The Tampa Ti mes and La Gaceta and all the, you had La Gaceta and you had La Traducci — n Prensa I think existed back then AVL: How about radio? Was there radio ? GRJ: There was a lot of radio talk. But radio didn't have the coverage that we have today. News in the evening, I think in the evenings six o'clock, seven o'clock, I mean seven o'clock, eight o'clock news. They didn't have six o'clock news; they had people still working, coming home from work. People worked longer hours back then than they do


18 now. No I do n't think, I think by the time the war ended, I do not remember anyone telling me the war ended in Spain. AVL: How do you remember then? GRJ: I don't remember. All of a sudden it was AVL: Suddenly just fade away? GRJ: All of a sudden there wasn't a w ar. Once G randfather died, you know. I'm sure I heard it. But I do not remember an impact, an me or my family or anything else. I don't remember at all. And I was what, ten years old when it ended? I was born in '28 and in '38 yeah. I was ten years old. I just don't remember it ending. AVL: Who took charge of the consulate at that point? I mean when your grandfather died GRJ: I have no idea. I think the war ended and they just closed it. I don't think we had any for awhile. AVL: And how about the people who had supported Franco all along? Once he won the war. Do you have any sense that there were some kind of problems GRJ: They didn't. I don't remember them showing off, I don't remember them taking anything over. No, it was just like like exhaustion, I guess. It's over, that's it. Let's go on. I remember family. From Spain. Sending over some papers to sign. When my grandmother had died. In '41 or '42. My grandmother died in '40. O n my mother's side. So they could sel l some property that they had in La C oru – a. Apartments. Now my grandmother didn't know these apartments were there. They never offered her any money w hen things were well in Spain; I know they wouldn't send anything in the '30s. So all the brothers and sisters got together and said, if they didn't bother to help their sister here I think there was three sisters in Spain wanting to se l l the property. There were four sisters, one was my grandmother we will not sign the property. Let the government take it. So they refused to sign. So that they could sell the I think they had two stores and two flats. Stores over the houses? But my grandmother never received one penny from that property. Not one cent. When she really could have used it. They wouldn't send it over. But, that's how brothers and si sters do. I remember that incident. And I remember my, one of my aunts o n my mother's side going back because her husband was Asturiano, and he liked to go to the A ldea, and she hated it because she says, there was nothing to do there. And he liked to go spend a month every year over there. And she would visit what was left of my family o n my mother's side but I never met them. When she died, we lost touch. And she never gave me the addresses. But they were always telling her that she should bring more mo ney because the streets here were paved with gold. She says, "Paved with gold? Paved with


19 sweat, is what they're paved with, not gold." AVL: Did people use to go often, back to Spain? GRJ: No. There was not that kind of money. AVL: To spend summers, o r ? GRJ: No. Fabricantes would go. The supervisors would go, occasionally. But it wasn't like it is today. I think we got more people going back and forth today than ever. Than ever. No, no. No, because remember, you got Spain has just finished the war. T hen you had World War II. So really travel didn't get eased up until around 19 what? '48, 1950. And you had, I mean, I'm not saying people did not go over. But, you wouldn't hear of anybody. You know,it wasn't common. It wasn't common. No. And people comin g over here no, Cause they didn't have the money either. You know. Spain was real broke. In fact, it wasn't until recently that we started seeing some people come over and visit us. And it still costs a fortune for them to come over. You have to be really well off to be able to come over here. The exchange has never been that good till recently. No, no. The contact with Spain almost, because of the depression and the war and then Korea so we really didn't, really touch back and, like, try to find our roots till probably the l ate '50s and '60s. I think is when we started saying, W hat's over there? Let's go over there." A nd then it's like Spain woke up and wanted to go, to start the trading again. To tourism. I remember when I was in Spain, I was in a rest aurant; they were all in the hotel and they were saying, "Oh, but we need to do this," and I said, "You all need to check with the Mexicans and see how they take care of the tourists," because the tourist buses all got in the same little spot at the same t ime. Th ere was always a jam. I said, "W hy do n't you all just stagger the dam n buses and have them every 30 minutes and everybody gets to spend more money and everything else. Go see how the Mexicans do it. They know how to handle tourists. You know, don't be so proud, come, come over. And then one day I said, in the restaurant, I said, "What you all need to do is declare war o n the United States, give up and then we' ll take care of you." From the back of the restaurant this waiter says, Se–or we tried t hat and it didn't work." I for got about the Spanish American W ar! I said, "You're right. Tienes raz—n you're r ight." Because when I was there in '85 they had people with degrees and couldn't get jobs. And then go back for another degree and couldn't get j obs. Everybody was, you know, when they found out that you c ould speak Spanish and you were from the United States, they woul d ask how are things over here. Course you ask how are things over here, and they tell you. I've got a girl with a degree, she can' t find a job, I got a boy with two degrees and can't find a job. Of course, I understand things are much better now, but in '8 5 they weren't that good. AVL: Going back again to the Spanish Civil War, you mentioned that there were a lot of things going o n in terms of people who would come here to speak, and theater performances


20 GRJ: Yes. GRJ: Do you remember any of those guest speakers, what sticks in your mind, when you think about GRJ: The heat in this auditorium. It was hot! They used to get so many people in there, and of course no air conditioning and the fans were very tiny. But I do remember the fans. The noise of the fans. They had these big, beautiful Spanish fans. And the more money you had, the prettier the fan and the bigger the fan. And eve rybody's looking around, the women all looking around. And you hear 'em open and click. Click click. Click click. Click click. And you' d know how hot it would get as to how many clicks you would hear all over the audience. And sometimes the performers wou ld stop. And say "Cool yourselves and then we'll proceed." Because there was so much noise. People you would just melt. It was so hot in these auditoriums. Melt. I remember the heat more than anything else. I remember certain songs that they would sing, a nd everybody would cry. AVL: Like what? GRJ: What's a Spanish song anything that had to do with Asturias, or anything that had to do with Galicia. You know any of these and then the reading of the poems. When they would read a Spanish poem. There were te ar jerkers. Tear jerkers. And then, when somebody would come out and play the bagpipe. They used to play the bagpipe here a lot. It's disappeared; I've been trying to bring it back, and I can't get anybody to come in and teach us. Y la asturianada Which i s a lot like a Moorish cult chant. It's just like a Moorish prayer chant. La asturianada is a Moorish prayer chant, I don't care what asturianos say. I didn't realize that till later. And they'd start one of those. Of course the gallegos hated it and the a sturianos in the audience loved it. When they'd get o n the stage and do that. I don't remember them by name. I just remember seeing them. I remember them in uniform. I remember the audience going wild. The little hat with the little thing hanging in the f ront. AVL: Did you ever wear one of those? GRJ: No. We didn't wear boinas No, no no no. No, it was AVL: Do you remember for instance when the Ambassador would come? You know Fern ando de los Rios, did your grandfather use to deal with him? GRJ: Yes I've got a picture. Do you know him? Have you s een any pictures of him? AVL: Yes, yes. GRJ: If I can fmd a picture of him and his beautiful wife they took them to Sarasota. And we have a picture of this beautiful couple. He's real tall.


21 AVL: Yeah. G RJ: That's him. AVL: With a beard. GRJ: No, no youngish. Very handsome couple. I also remember a guitarist visiting. I almost played guitar because of that. And they would have concerts o n Columbus Drive. In my gran d ma this woman I know [looking at phot ographs]. Yeah, Delia Sanchez. Delia Sanchez. That's her. Delia's the one that got you to get to talk to me? Hm. [looking at photo graphs] That was my grandfather you see how reserved he was? I don't think he would have allowed us to do something like this. [referring to the photographs of youngsters dressed up in miliciano outfit] AVL: No? GRJ: I don't think so. AVL: Now, when they had Republican speakers, did they stay at your home, or they'd visit your home? GRJ: My grandfather's house. Yes. And then, visiting, I guess the guitarist was here to raise money. A classical guitarist. Gorgeous! He played beautifully! Beautifully. To keep little kids enthralled, you know, he had to play good. They let us in the house just to see how he did it. And then we ha d to sit o n the porch. Because the living room and the dining room and the bedrooms all had people. Sitting. To listen. And I don't know who he was I was just too small to keep track of all that, you know. And, like I say, my father was too busy being Amer icanized to worry about it, I suppose. AVL: He wasn't really interested in what was going on? GRJ: I don't think so, no. And my young his brother, my younger brother [uncle] was single and good looking and wild and, women after him. Ferdie's un c le, my un cle too. So, I don't think he was that interested. Oh, he backed his grandfather [father], just like my father did. But I don't think they were active in anything like this. No, no. Nothing like that. We were not that involved at all. AVL: Do you remember any people actually going, volunteering to fight in Spain, some volunteers from Tampa? GRJ: I don't know of anyone. I'm sure they did, but I'm not. I don't know of anyone. I know no one in our family did. Or in my mother's family either. None whatsoever. It was almost like the last thread, you know? AVL: Well, to end this interview I would like just to ask you, is there anything else that you would like to talk about? Maybe I didn't ask you, or some aspect that you think was


22 important related to this top ic, some other memories we didn't get to talk about? GRJ: No, no, other than, that I think with my grandfather's generation, the Victorian Age died. You know, finally died. He was older than my grandmother. My grandmother didn't, wasn't that Victorian, bu t she was very stri c t. And, you know, we were fro m, "Don't speak unless you're spoken to." And then you know how the kids today ask questions and then you didn't dare open your mouth. So, a lot of things that may have been going on, we weren't privilege d to. Like, I'm amazed at these photographs that you showed me. I don't remember any of that. Of course I'm a little younger than these people are. Delia, for instance, is my cousin's age. And I won't mention the age. They're about five, six years older th an I am. So that makes a difference. They're in their teens and I wasn't. I was ten. See and when the war got started I was eight. So that, that's a little tiny. I'm surprised I remember as much as I do. End of interview

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Jimenez, Gus R.
Gus Jimenez
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Ana Varela-Lago.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (67 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (digital, PDF file)
Spanish Civil War oral history project
Supplemental material available in the USF Tampa Library Special Collections area.
Gus Jimenez discusses the Spanish Civil War and its effect on Tampa's Latin community, particularly on his grandfather, who was a consul of the Spanish Republic.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Streaming audio.
Interview conducted February 3, 1997.
Jimenez, Gus R.
Ybor City (Tampa, Fla.)
x History
y Civil War, 1936-1939.
7 655
Oral history.
2 local
Online audio.
Varela-Lago, Ana M.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
Tampa Library.
4 856