Alice Perez

Citation
Alice Perez

Material Information

Title:
Alice Perez
Series Title:
Spanish Civil War oral history project
Creator:
Perez, Alice A
Varela-Lago, Ana M
University of South Florida Libraries -- Florida Studies Center. -- Oral History Program
University of South Florida -- Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publisher:
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 sound file (69 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;

Subjects

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

Notes

Summary:
Alice Perez describes how Tampa's Latin community supported the Spanish Civil War. She describes participating in demonstrations with other children, and goes into detail about the songs they sung.
Venue:
Interview conducted March 5, 1997.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
General Note:
Supplemental material available in the USF Tampa Library Special Collections area.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Ana Varela-Lago.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
029487417 ( ALEPH )
316064911 ( OCLC )
S64-00023 ( USFLDC DOI )
s64.23 ( USFLDC Handle )

Postcard Information

Format:
Audio

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This item has the following downloads:


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Alice Perez describes how Tampa's Latin community supported the Spanish Civil War. She describes participating in demonstrations with other children, and goes into detail about the songs they sung.
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segment idx 0time text length 201 Ana M. Varela-Lago: This is an interview with Mrs. Alice Perez. Alice, I would like to start by talking a little bit about your family. How did they first come to Tampa, what did they do here in Tampa?
1714 Alice A. Perez: Well, the actual events are dim recollections because I was so young. The emotions are still very vivid because as a child, you know, the impressions that you get kind of remain with you for the rest of your life, and you go, well, I in particular, go over the events very frequently, especially in my childhood, mainly because I didn't want to forget them. To forget them would be like forgetting a big part of your childhood and I'm a dweller in the past and there are things that I want to remember, so I go over them in my mind. I've gone through them in my mind, through the years. So, what I remember of, particularly my father telling us stories about how young he was when he left his land.
222 AVL: How young was he?
3311 AP: I believe he was between the ages of 14 and 16. He had a relative, an uncle in Cuba that owned a restaurant, and he was his sponsor. So, he left a widower father with two of his sisters and came to live with his uncle, and he was placed in a camp where aliens are kept until the sponsor comes to claim them.
4AVL: That was in Cuba?
589 AP: In Cuba. And I remember him telling us that he stayed there the allotted days, and on
61075 the very last day he thought for sure he was going to be shipped back because the uncle hadn't come to claim him. But, on that last day he showed up. And, he worked for this uncle washing dishes in this restaurant. And he would tell us about how his skin would come off in chunks after working the fields. He had all these calluses in his hands, which he didn't even realize that they were calluses, and having his hands in water constantly, the skin would just peel off by the chunks and that was very impressive. I hadn't thought about that for a long time, and it just came to me, you know, recollecting events. And, then, I guess, things didn't, weren't-my father was a very ambitious man, he liked to always better himself. So, I guess he didn't that he would go very far there in Cuba, so he decided to come here to the United States. It was easy because the communities already had been established as far as the Spanish speaking communities were concerned. The cigar factories were established and the communities were established, so he felt comfortable coming over.
792 AVL: Did he know already somebody in Tampa, I mean, he knew that he wanted to come to Tampa?
866 AP: Yes, he had a cousin and he lived with them, he boarded there.
969 AVL: What year was that, do you remember, when he came to the States?
10647 AP: I think to Cuba he went when he was 14 and I think around 16, in his early, in his late teens, rather. I definitely don't know the date but he still was in his teens, and he boarded with this family, for, I don't know what period of time. I just don't remember. But he came here and he worked in a grocery store. He didn't go straight in to the cigar factory. I don't know when that transition occurred. I imagine he might have worked as a practitioner for some period of time but he worked in a grocery store, I remember that. And then, I don't remember the transition, but he eventually ended up being a cigar maker. I think he was a roller.
1152 AVL: Roller is the one who actually makes the cigar.
12236 AP: No, he's the one that puts the last cap on it. My mother was what you call the buncher. She was the one that formed the cigar and she was the one that had to feed the two rollers that worked with her. She had to make enough bunches-
1342 AVL: So the three of them worked together.
1443 AP: No, no, she didn't work with my father.
15AVL: Right, but I mean the roller and the bunchers. There is one buncher and two rollers?
16198 AP: At its peak, when cigar making was at its peak, the buncher would have two rollers and she really had to work hard to keep up with those, but she was a good one, so-and he was a good roller too.
1723 AVL: Where did he work?
18254 AP: He worked in a factory that is no longer there, as a matter of fact he worked across the street from the house where I was born, on 14th, it was called La Pila [Cigar Factory]. And it was right across the street from where we lived, where I was born.
1939 AVL: And your mother also worked there?
20310 AP: My mother always worked in West Tampa. She worked mainly in Garcia y Vega [Cigar Factory] in West Tampa. So, I'm at the point where my father was a teenager. Whenever there was a strike he would go to Virginia to work. He was a very industrious man. Then when the strike was over, over here he'd come back.
2151 AVL: In Virginia he would also work as cigar maker?
22489 AP: Yes. Virginia grew the tobacco for the United States, so they had the industry over there. But really, you know what, I really don't know, I really don't know if he made cigars over there because my mother would talk about him, or he would anyway, about his leaving Tampa, and at one time he went to New Jersey, worked over there, but now that you mention it, I can't tell you that he worked as a cigar maker. He might have worked at a restaurant or doing-I have no idea. I don't know.
2356 AVL: Now, why Virginia, did he have somebody there, or-?
24321 AP: No, but I imagine that he didn't go alone that there were others that felt, you know, that they had to leave too. I'm sure that they left, maybe two or three or in groups. I never asked and he never mentioned, but I don't see him going by himself. I'm sure that, you know, there were others that were out of work too.
2548 AVL: Yes, it was like a network of people going.
26619 AP: Right. All right, let's go to my mother's side. Things were very bad in Cuba and I imagine that my grandparents left there for the same reason that my father left at the time he did. Now, my mother's family came earlier than, you know, than when my father did. My grandfather came over by himself to find work and find a place to live. He had my grandmother and two daughters, at the time, and then he went back for them and came down. I don't know if he was the first of his family to come, there were some nieces of my grandmother that came, but of her family, she and another sister were the only ones that came.
27621 And I don't remember too many other relatives, just some nieces of my grandmother that came and another sister, with a son. I believe my mother came one time, when she was two, I believe, but then they went back. I guess things didn't work out. But I believe that about three years later they came back and never left, so she was about five, I think, and my other aunt was about eight. I think there was a three year difference between the two of them. Then three more children were born here, two sisters and a brother. And my parents met at dances, organizations, you know, the clubs, these clubs that were established.
2830 AVL: The mutual aid societies.
2957 AP: They had dances and-she was 21 when they got married.
3046 AVL: What did her family do in Tampa? Was it-?
3114 AP: Oh, cigar.
3219 AVL: Cigar workers-
33177 AP: My grandmother stayed home and cared for the children and my grandfather worked in a cigar factory. He worked in a factory called El Reloj. There's another name, Regensburg.
3445 AVL: The one with the big clock on the tower.
35291 AP: Yes, and that gave us the time because we lived very close and I'd look out the window and I would see the time, but I didn't even have to, the clock would chime every hour and quarter hour. That was some institution. I mean, you know, my grandfather worked there, and a couple of aunts.
3626 AVL: Was he also a roller?
37AP: He-I think he was a roller. Okay, so he worked there and she raised the children. The two older ones kept the traditions. The three younger ones weren't too traditional. The oldest third, the oldest of the three that were born here, married a Spaniard, so that kept her within the tradition, but the other two, especially the younger brother, didn't abide too much by the Spanish tradition, he kind of, you know, got into the, his peer group and it was a little different with him. And, so now where are we? Okay, the girls marry into the Spaniard world. All of them married Spaniards, all of them married asturianos-
3890 AVL: Was that common, that intermarriage between Cubans and Spanish, or was that atypical?
39712 AP: I think so. I don't focus too far away from me, I'm more introverted so I only remember things that kind of affected me, but the marriage to the youngest of my aunts didn't work out. She, he was older and he was very traditional with his customs and things and my aunt having been born here and being the younger didn't conform, didn't conform, so that marriage broke up and they had one daughter. And incidentally, she married, this cousin of mine, married a Cuban and when the Castro revolution started he talked her into going back to Cuba, and here this Americanized daughter of immigrants with this Americanized daughter, having had an American little daughter, also, was talked into going back to Cuba.
4032 AVL: She did go there?-she went?
41862 AP: Yes, oh, yes, she's been living there since the Castro regime took over. So there was a big influence, they were very close to my grandmother who was Cuban and my grandfather. And I think this, being raised in this ambience it was easy to talk her into going to Cuba. Especially having married a Cuban fellow. Very, very devastating to me personally. Grace and Dalia [Alice's sisters] have been to Cuba to visit this aunt and cousin, but I just haven't been able to get myself to do it. I just see them as traitors, kind of, so, well. Now they're all married and they have children, so they rent this big house, and here's the grandparents with the daughters having children and having to go to work. Everybody worked, so my grandmother takes care of the children when they're very young and they each have their apartments in this great big two-story house.
4233 AVL: Where was the house located?
431045 AP: The house was on 14th Avenue, it's not there anymore, I think between 18th and 17th Street. And that's where my sister, Grace, was born. And, well, within a year's time everything broke up, they all went their way. And my grandmother and my grandfather rented this house. My mother, my father and Grace came to live with them. My mother stuck close to my grandmother, and I was born in this house, right down the street, on 14th [Avenue] across the street from this factory, La Pila. And that's where I grew up until I was 16 years old. My oldest aunt, and the third daughter, lived on the northeastern part of, it was rural, it was really rural, but they lived close to each other and my other aunt stayed close to, my youngest aunt stayed close to my grandmother, being she was divorced and had this daughter. My grandmother took care of her and the three of us sisters, the three. So, she had her hands full for quite a few years with little children. That was really-and then she also took care of another cousin. She had her hands full.
44707 But it was a nice childhood. You know, we didn't have to weather the weather, we were home, if it was bad weather we stayed home and the truant officer would come and she wouldn't see any reason why, if it was raining, we wouldn't be in school, and I was later able to confront her, because she's a very active person in the community and she takes pride in what she's done, she did a good job. And I told her, you know, just imagine an elderly lady who is taking care of children, and here is this downpour early in the morning and she's not about to send her granddaughters walking in it to school. But, of course, I forget that there are galoshes, that there are raincoats, and there are umbrellas, okay?
45262 But I should have seen the social worker's point of view in that regard, you know, but Latin grandmother is very protective and it was easier to just keep us home, I imagine. So this is what Mrs. Velasco had to do, go find those who were truant. Over protective.
4670 AVL: How old were you at that point? Were you already going to school?
47AP: Oh, I was six, six years old, seven, I remember.
4831 AVL: So Grace also stayed home?
498 AP: Yes.
50AVL: -or being older she was ?
51305 AP: No, no, no, no, my cousin who was the oldest of the four that my grandmother took care of, all stayed home. It wasn't going to rain on us, we were overly protected. That's just funny things that I remember. And-okay, so everybody is growing in their own part of the world. Now where do I go from here?
5272 AVL: What do you remember just growing up in your family, your parents-?
53AP: All right, now I'll just focus on my own-
5441 AVL: Did you speak Spanish, for instance?
5528 AP: Oh, that's all we spoke.
56AVL: When did you learn to speak English, when you went to school?
57497 AP: Well, I had picked up little bits of the language because I was, you know, I had my older cousin and my sister Grace, she already had spoken a little bit of English, so I picked it up here and there. The school that we went to, [V.M.] Ybor School, prohibited the speaking of Spanish, so you can imagine how quiet that school was, I mean, there was not very much noise in there. If you couldn't speak the language, then you didn't speak, because you hadn't had, you hadn't mastered the English.
5836 AVL: Did you have American teachers?
5995 AP: No, we had Italian teachers, we had American teachers and we had Spanish speaking teachers.
6038 AVL: So they chose not to use Spanish.
61664 AP: They didn't allow it. Mr. Geeters was the principal, and it was not allowed, not even on the grounds. I imagine that this is how they felt, you would learn the language by using it and not falling back into the Spanish. I had my name changed and Grace had her name changed at school. She was Graciela and it was changed to Grace. I was Alicia and it was changed to Alice. Now, I remember my father always saying that we had to have simple names, we were not going to have these elaborate Spanish names because it would be too confusing, it would end up in-we would end up being nicknamed and he abhorred nicknames, he just thought that that was just low-class.
62AVL: I've heard that a lot of people had nicknames-
63540 AP: Oh, yes, but not my father. He was such a friendly man, he was so down to earth, he wasn't the typical asturiano that's very staunch, he just-in a way, I think, inside he was, he had some of that, but yet it showed up in this name situation. They had to be simple names where either the Americans or the Latin people could say it, so he was very staunch about that. No nicknames, that was awful! So, that's the way we ended with the names, but as simple as they were they were still changed in school, we had to go by the American name.
64925 And I always tended not to want to be different. So I tried as much as I could to fit in to whatever circumstance I was in, you know. In other words, we leaned more to being Americanized. I think it was because my father felt strongly about this country. He always said that his country never fed him well, it didn't do for him, why should he be loyal to that country that didn't make it easy for him. I mean, at least make it halfway decent for him, so. He broke alliance-well, I think the war had a lot to do with it. I think that alliance finally came to an end when [Francisco] Franco took over. So, his alliance was to the United States. He was very proud of being an American and he and my mother would go at night to classes at Ybor School, they held classes. I imagined, yes, and they would go every night and oh, they were so proud when they came back with their little American flags, that they had passed the test-
65AVL: Were those citizenship classes?
6640 AP: Yes, those were citizenship classes.
67AVL: When did they become citizens, do you remember?
6873 AP: Well, I had recollection, so it must have been when I was six, seven-
6935 AVL: So, that would be in the '40s?
70219 AP: -maybe even younger, because my memory goes way, way back but I just can't, you know. It might have been in the late '30s, It might have been in the late '30s. I was born in '31, so it probably was in the late '30s.
71AVL: So, he never wanted to go back to Spain?
72AP: Oh, no, no, to live there, no, no, no.
7386 AVL: How about the family that he left there, was he still in touch with family there?
74555 AP: Yes, oh, no, yes, very much so. As a matter of fact, he went back. He would sell cigars, he was an industrious man, he not only worked in the cigar factory, but he would sell cigars and he won a big prize, I think for having sold the most, and they had saved up, so he took my mother in early '29 and while they were in Spain, they stayed there six months, and while they were in Spain the market crashed so they went just before they would have lost all they had in the bank. Towards the end of '29, I think, was the crash. They went early-early '29.
75AVL: Right, in the summer, um-hm.
76508 AP: And the crash happen while they were over there. They came back and my mother was pregnant. She hadn't been able for so many years that they had been married, I think eight years they had been married, and she hadn't been able to conceive and here they go to Spain and they came back while she was expecting Grace. And, of course, delivered Grace here. Being Grace was conceived in Spain she always wanted to go back, so she did, after my father died, they went back there to visit. But he kept in touch.
77444 I remember when his father died, I knew something was terribly wrong. We received a letter with-Grace would always open the letters that came from Spain, she just loved to read them, she learned to read Spanish, and I remember that day my-the mail came and my grandmother was holding this letter with the black frame around it and Grace wanted to open it, it was from Spain, she had to open it, and she says, "Nope, you can't open this letter."
78623 So right away I knew something was wrong and my grandmother was very sullen about it and put it aside, and when my father came he opened it and he was just so crestfallen, you know, and he was just so depressed and I kept saying, "Papi, what's wrong with you, what's wrong?" And then later on, you know, my mother told us that his father had passed away. It was really hard on him, it was really bad. I mean, he didn't outwardly cry or anything, but just the expression, his whole body language was-so, he loved his father very much and then he kept in touch with his-his father remarried and they had a daughter and a son.
79553 His other sister, his older sister was-well, eventually she became blind, she was very nearsighted and she became blind, so she stayed with the father. Another sister, I think there were three, the middle one, left with an uncle to Argentina, with an uncle and an aunt, and she passed away when she was 21, she had pneumonia, she caught pneumonia and passed away. That really hurt my father too, very badly. So, he kept in touch with the half-sister that he had over there. She was very faithful about writing, my mother would exchange letters with her.
80651 The brother was very aloof. I always had the feeling that he was afraid that my father would be looking after his interests in the land over there and that was the furthest thing from my father's mind. He just didn't want, not a grain of soil from there. His life had been too hard over there and he lost his mother when he was 12, 10, 11, 12, very young. So what he had from over there were very depressing memories. I don't know if you've seen the movie, How Green was My Valley? Oh, I wish I had never seen that movie, and I associate that movie with my father's life in Spain. That's the association that I make. Not that he's told me, but that's-
81320 So, but I always think that that's what-and when the communication between my mother-Oh! my mother was in the hospital bed, in her death bed and she kept saying, you know, "I haven't heard from Rosalía, I haven't heard from Rosalía," would you believe that a couple of days after she died, a letter from Rosalía came?
82AVL: That's the stepsister of your father?
83551 AP: My-half-sister. And she never-but those were her last thoughts, I haven't heard from her, I haven't heard from her. So, then the communication just stopped, even though Gracie and her son Robert-did they go back? I don't remember. I'd better not say, because I don't remember whether they went back after my mother passed away. I thought they did but maybe they didn't. But anyway, the communication stopped and I imagine that this aunt has passed away. And, I don't think that the brother, my father's brother, wanted this exchange, so it's over.
84191 So, but Grace and Robert, her son Robert, you know, know where they are and they know about them, so-But since they haven't reciprocated then, you know, you may as well just leave that alone.
8599 AVL: What do you remember of your father, and your mother also, their reaction to the war in Spain?
86287 AP: Oh, my father was devastated when it was over, it was bad. My mother didn't feel that much about it, she just, you know, went along with my father. He was a very friendly man, he liked social contact so he wanted to be in it, you know, so he joined all these clubs and he was active.
8791 AVL: What kind of things did he do, when you say he was active, in what ways was he active?
88141 AP: Oh, well, he held office in some of those clubs. I remember him going to meetings. My mother didn't appreciate this too much because she-
8965 AVL: Was she against it, or she just wasn't-one way or the other?
90764 AP: Well, she just-it's not that she was against it, but she didn't like him going to meetings too much, she wanted him home. But, it wasn't in his nature to be away from it, he had to be with people, he liked to belong to these things, to keep up with whatever was going on. See, he was a Spaniard, he had to belong to these things to keep up with them. And, she was here so young, you know, this is all she knew and those things were not important to her, really. But she went along, you know, when the functions came along she went but she didn't participate. Now my other aunt, the, not the oldest, but the one just below her, the third daughter, was very socially inclined, she liked to belong to things and she participated in a lot of things, much more than
91AVL: What was her name?
92498 AP: Josefina Huerta, yes, they were more socially active. Now my oldest aunt, her husband wasn't interested. He was a Spaniard, he was asturiano but those things didn't interest-I don't remember them participating in any of these things. And, of course, the other aunt, the youngest aunt, was divorced from her husband who was asturiano, so she didn't participate in these things. Now, on my grandmother's side, she belonged to the Circulo Cubano, and-Hi, Ol. [Mrs. Perez's husband enters the room]
9316 Recording paused
94AVL: You were telling me how some of your aunts participated in the events more than others.
95490 AP: Yes, yes. You know how it was, the husband initiated it, of course, so, because that's the way it was then, whatever the husband initiated. And my oldest aunt, her husband wasn't-wasn't motivated by any of this patriotism. Now, my Josefina Huerta's husband joined all these organizations but I don't remember the part that he played during the war. I just don't remember it, I think he wanted to block it. He had a brother in Spain that was taken from his home and never seen again, so-
96AVL: Where in Spain were they from, Asturias?
97AP: Yes, from Asturias, yes.
98AVL: He was taken from what side?
9929 AP: From his home, they came-
100AVL: Who took him-?
10127 AP: Well, Franco's militia-
10225 AVL: From the other side?
103342 AP: Right, the other side, and right, and never seen again, so that was an emotional thing. But, I never, in conversations, you know children sit and listen, I never heard anything about it from that uncle. I had heard it from my parents, but never anything from him, he -as far as I was concerned, in front of us, he never discussed it. And-
104110 AVL: What kinds of things did your parents talk about in relation to the war, that you remember, as you said-?
105697 AP: No, just about the picnics, the fundraisers that were coming up and that we needed uniforms and that we needed to learn songs, but, and how terrible Franco was. And that was the extent of it that I remember as a five-year-old. I mean, the excitement was getting uniforms and learning the songs and I remember my father was always very emotional about it, and every time I sang those songs I got chilled, very emotional about it. Because-that's when I could feel, more than listen or understand, it was this feeling that youngsters get about things that are emotional around them. And there was a lot of excitement and, you know, eating together and everybody and the music and socializing and-
106271 AVL: What would happen in some of the meetings? I mean, how do you remember the whole process of knowing that there's going to be a picnic or a meeting, and getting ready for it, and then the kind of things that went on in the picnic? If you could give me a sense of how-
10750 AP: Oh, there were always speakers, but of course-
108149 AVL: How did you hear from them, I mean how did you know, or your parents knew, that so and so was coming, or how did they choose to invite somebody?
109173 AP: No, I have no recollection of that. Now, my father would go to these meetings and, of course, they would-that's the way he would hear about it because he was in it, and-
110118 AVL: But, for instance, I have a picture of you here in one of these picnics, you remember? This picnic at La Columna.
111AP: Oh, yes! we had just performed, we had sung the song.
11264 AVL: What do you remember about this day, about how the day was?
113AP: Lot of excitement, getting ready, putting on the costume, and thinking, Oh, what an ugly color.
114AVL: Who made the costumes?.
115171 AP: Well, I have no idea. There was this lady on Sanchez Street that sewed for us, Manuela, and I'm thinking that maybe she might have made the costumes, but I don't know.
116AVL: Did you know at that time what those uniforms meant?
117124 AP: Miliciano uniforms, soldiers from Spain, yeah, Spanish soldier. And that's what we were portraying, the Spanish soldier-
11855 AVL: So you were told there is going to be this picnic.
119196 AP: And there was just going to be this gathering and there were going to be lots of people there, and we were going to sing these songs. By the way, this is the cousin that is living in Cuba now.
12018 AVL: Oh, Angelina?
121150 AP: Yes, she is the one, my youngest aunt's daughter. She was raised with us because my grandmother would care for her. So, she did participate in it.
122AVL: Who took you to the picnics?
12315 AP: My parents.
12476 AVL: Um-hm, so every parent would bring their children and the whole family?
125AP: Yes, the whole family.
126121 AVL: And then all the young children would be dressed as this, because the teenagers then seem to be dressed differently.
127AP: They dressed differently, right.
128AVL: So there were like different groups?
129170 AP: Right! And I imagine they learned different songs, the more difficult songs would be sung by the older ones and the simpler songs would be sung [by the younger ones].
130AVL: How would the event start?
131426 AP: Now, you know, I don't even know who taught us those songs, I really don't know. I don't remember gathering together to learn the songs, I really don't remember how we went about it. I just remember putting on the uniforms and going over to La Columna, I guess, was one of the ones that I remember, and so many people being there and all this talking going on and then just singing those songs, and that's my recollection.
13280 AVL: So, you would sing the songs like to an audience and people would be there?
13321 AP: Yes, yes, uh-huh.
134103 AVL: Now, did you attend many of these picnics or is this the only one, I mean-was that a very common-?
135AP: No, not too common.
13694 AVL: And did you go to other events apart from picnics? Do you remember going to other things?
137678 AP: Oh, yes, growing up. I remember, but I never really was in to it. We joined the Damitas Club and they would have picnics at Centro Asturiano and we would serve yellow rice and chicken. We would help put the plates on the tables and we would meet every month. No, they tried to keep it going, you know, although these people were so possessive of the club. The young people were intruders. They were sure we wouldn't follow the traditions that they would set, so they weren't willing to open it up to us, they were constantly in control. And, as a teenager, I remember this group of girls that were just like their parents, wanted to control, you know, very controlling. And-
138Recording paused
139123 AVL: Alice, you mentioned before that when the children would get together they would sing these songs. Could you sing one?
14013 Side B begins
141AVL: Yes, we are ready to hear the song.
142333 AP: Okay, now, I have sung this in my mind through the years, because forgetting these songs is like forgetting part of my childhood and this was a very emotional time and I knew it was very important to my parents, so I didn't want to lose this part of my childhood. And, one of the songs, I don't even remember the title, but it's,
143Al sonar de las metrallas
14424 Al estruendo del cañón
145Los valientes milicianos
146Van formando el batallón.
147Miliciano español
148Miliciano valiente
149El orgullo del sol
150Es que estás en el frente,
151La victoria ha de ser tuya
152Al final de la jornada
153Y esa sangre que hierve
154Es la sangre que redime
155Y ha de salvar a España
1564 OLE!
157AVL: What was the reaction of the people when you children would-?
158299 AP: Oh, I mean, forget it! You know, it was-I was so involved in my emotions so that I just didn't-it was just something. And this other one, I'll sing the first verse and then I'll give you a version of what we used to say alter it was all over. And this one-you have the title here, "No Pasarán."
159Ahí van marchando los milicianos
160Van para el frente con gran valor
161A dar sus vidas, se van cantando
162Antes que triunfe Franco el traidor
163En el espacio van los fascistas
164Bombas aereas destrozarán
165La bella urbe capitalina
166Pero a Madrid ¡No Pasarán!
167Matan mujeres, niños y ancianos
168Que por las calles suelen andar
169Esta es la hazaña de los fascistas
170Que allá en la historia se ha de gravar
171250 AP: Now, the rest I am not going to sing because I have forgotten those verses and I've lost the tune, but anyway, when the war was over, we would sing, my cousin Angelina, that was there, Gracie and I would sing the last few verses and we would say,
172La bella urbe capitalina
173Pero a Madrid ya pasarón
174202 So, you know, we did that as a kind of like a joke, but I'm sure it wasn't to my father. It was a very serious thing, but it was over and it was over. And then we just didn't think about it anymore, so-
175AVL: He never mentioned that anymore, I mean.
176AP: No, that was a closed chapter, so.
177276 AVL: Do you remember if the people, I mean, most of the people obviously supported the Republic but, how about the people who weren't that supportive of the Republic, do you have memories of that? Any confrontations between people, if not physical, but, you know, understated?
178414 AP: No, we just avoided them completely. My father was that way, he was not a person that confronted people, he was, he wasn't that type of a person, he was very much to himself, very private, and we just avoided anything that had to do, there were many ramifications, I mean, forget, forget the Catholic religion. And that's all my father knew, so as far as religion went we were raised very much without it. Now-
179AVL: Because of the war?
180844 AP: Oh, yes, because of that, yes. Now, I was unaffected, I was very introverted and I had my own ideas. Now, Grace was very much affected because she was more in touch with what was going on around her than I was, I kind of isolated myself. And the church to her meant something terrible. And, like I belonged to the Girl Scouts and they are affiliated with the Methodist Church, but she wouldn't have anything to do with that, and I would go to Sacred Heart by myself. My grandmother was very Catholic and she would, whenever we were ill, she would take out her religious articles and things and she would bless us and all this, but very secretly, she would say, "Don't tell your father about this, you know this is just between you and me, don't mention it to your father," so we knew that there was something there that was to be respected.
18197 AVL: Why do you think he was so anti-clerical? Why do you think your father was so anti-clerical?
182AP: Because the church supported, he felt that the church supported the fascists. And I remember my father mentioning someone and say, oh, "He's a Fascist," you know, he branded them as such.
18359 AVL: So you wouldn't have anything to do with those people.
18488 AP: Well, yes, I mean, because I would go along with my parents to social functions and-
18577 AVL: Do you remember if the church in Ybor City was, in fact, supportive of-?
186378 AP: No, oh, no, I had no idea. I was too young for that and I wasn't in touch with things that went around me too much. I would go to churches, my own, with other friends. The Girl Scouts would promote going to summer programs in the churches and I loved being in church, I loved it. I loved it. I liked the ambience in there, and I would go by myself, as a teenager I would go-
187Recording paused
188AVL: Okay. Why do you think, Alice, that the Tampa community was so supportive of the Republic? Do you have any explanation for that? So overwhelming.
189808 AP: Okay, my views now, as an adult, okay, do you want that? Because I have none as a child, I have no idea. They were peasants, okay, and they needed help. They had socialistic tendencies, because, I imagine from the class that they came from, they didn't have wealth so they organized, like these social clubs, the hospital. How could they have survived without something like that? They would have been what it is for some people now, or before welfare, let's say. But, these people have a lot of pride in maintaining certain living standards and they had to do something, so they socialized. So they believed in this way of living, socializing medicine, so, I imagine that that's why they supported this kind of government. Not that they wanted it to be communistic, but a socialized government for sure.
19082 AVL: Was your father politically active in the sense of supporting any party, or-?
191524 AP: No, the way that he was involved was through these clubs. Now, they might have had some political implications but, I don't know how it would have affected anything here. Now, later on there was a big communistic movement going on in Tampa. As a teenager I remember it. My father was not involved in that. No, there were people who were very, very-leaned very much towards communism at that time, but this was, I mean, in the late 40s. I'm talking about way back in the 30s and in the 40s when the war had just ended in-
192632 Like I told you then, that was a closed chapter, that was the end of that, but he in no way was involved in this undercurrent going on here in Tampa. That was another class of people that were involved in a-and like I told you about that cousin that went to live in Cuba, that was something else totally. Those were the Cuban elements that were involved in that and that was apart from-no, no, that was, as far as my family was concerned, that was the end of that. And it was a more socialistic form of government that they wanted for their people in Spain. Take some of the power away from the rich, create a middle class, I guess.
193AVL: Let me ask you just this last question. Looking back from today, what would you say the impact of the Spanish Civil War was on your family and on yourself personally?
194AP: Lack of religious training.
195AVL: Lack of religious training?
196AP: Yes.
197134 AVL: Any other aspect of your life that you think the fact that there was this war in Spain really affected you in any particular way?
198AP: In that area, completely and totally.
1999 AVL: Yes.
200771 AP: Like Grace has told you that her son researched, he's a very bright boy, and he knows that-well, since he was little he had a tendency toward religion, and he would set up these ceremonies and celebrate all kinds of holidays with religion as a focal point, and he insisted that Grace become Catholic so, of course, she had been married originally in the same church that I was, a Methodist church, and he insisted that to become a Catholic they had to marry in the Catholic religion. Well, she did it without letting us know, I mean, she just went ahead and did it and we never even knew. My husband and I didn't even know that they had renewed their vows in the Catholic church. That's how much affected she was by this change. She felt like a total rebel, you know.
201708 But she shouldn't have felt that way; I used to go to the Catholic church, knowing that my father-but, I liked it and I wanted to be in there and be part of it. Nothing came out of it, because when we got married he felt the same way about the Catholic religion, so we just didn't pursue it. I think that was the main influence on my life, religion, the rest of it is as we saw it. You know, those are the formative years, it was our formative and that's where he could have the most influence. School wasn't part of it, it was just your social upbringing and whatever control a parent has over a child growing up would be religious beliefs and that's where he had the most influence, so-I hope I make sense.
202151 AVL: Yes. Before concluding the interview I would like to ask you, is there anything you would like to add to this interview that we haven't discussed?
203AP: No, I think.
20463 AVL: A question that you would have liked me to have asked you?
205336 AP: No. I wish I had, as an adult, I probably had lots of opportunities, being that I went to college and all, to research it but I never had any interest in researching it. And now I think back and, I should have, being that it was part of my childhood growing up, but like I say, I feel very American, my father made us feel that way.
206108 AVL: Did the Americans react to the Latin community in any way. What are your memories of that relationship?
207559 AP: Oh, sure, oh, sure. They always-I didn't receive the brunt of it as much because, as years went by, there was more tolerance, if you will call it. My husband and his crowd weren't allowed in Sulphur Springs, they would be stoned, they didn't belong there. An American girl, if her father found out that she was going with a Latin boy, wow, that was a no-no. Now, we grew up in this elementary school that was strictly-very few, you could count the Anglos on your fingers, so, I mean, this was my world. When I went in to junior high it was about the same.
208806 Now, in high school we chose to go to Hillsborough instead of Jefferson. The Latin community went to Jefferson. My cousins, my older cousins have set the tradition of Hillsborough and Grace insisted that we follow that tradition. Oh, when I said I wanted to go to Jefferson, wow, I mean, the world crashed down on me, "How can you? You're breaking tradition!" Well, when my youngest sister was going to high school there was no question, she was going to Jefferson, but that was being isolated at Hillsborough High School, everybody was Anglo and there was just this little group of Latins that insisted on going to Hillsborough because they liked it better, they liked the ambience, I guess, they wanted to get away from the Latin element that was loud and overbearing and-but that was isolating yourself.
209849 Now the Italians integrated better with the Anglos, they were accepted, but the Latins-Spanish, Cuban-well, when Grace graduated they got together, they had a bigger group then when I came along, and they nominated their notables and that was the first time any Latins had come out as notables in Hillsborough, and it's because they got together and chose their notables and-and then, you know, the cheerleaders, oh, forget it! No Latins in there, and then my daughter's generation gets-she gets to be the head cheerleader at Jefferson. See how things changed so much? But, a Latin cheerleader, there was one guy, I think, that was Latin, two of the guys were cheerleaders, all the rest, forget it, you were outnumbered. You were treated nicely and respected, you know, they respected you but you weren't part of them. You just weren't part of them.
210876 And we, of course, we had our social group. We went to the Centro Asturiano, there were still dances going on, and besides, a Latin girl marrying an Anglo was looked down upon, you know. Parents wanted to keep their culture going so, that's where we are now. My daughter is married to an Italian-Irish, and all my son knows are Anglos, that's all he deals with, that's all he lives with, that's all he associates with, no stipulations on our part. Whatever religion and whatever suits them, their way of life. Now they're very proud of their heritage. My son just spend $200 on a tile that, the family crest for the Perezes. He came down here during Christmas and went to 7th Avenue and found this place where they made the tile with the family crest and he wanted the Lopez and I said, "You don't want to spend $200 of the Lopez crest, Perez is your name, you keep that one."
211552 So I'm looking for a mug or something that has the Lopez family crest to send to him so he'll have it, but he's very proud of his heritage and so is my daughter. They both understand Spanish. Their first language was Spanish because my mother-in-law took care of them, but then, if you don't live the language, you don't keep it and this is what happened to them. But, they're very proud, they love their grandparents dearly and their grandparents love them. We were much of a family unit. They grew up together and so that's at the point we're at now.
212AVL: This concludes the interview with Mrs. Perez, and I want to thank you very much for participating in the project.
213AP: Oh, you're welcome, it was my pleasure.
214AVL: It's been a pleasure talking to you.
21598 AP: Yes, it was a very important part of my life because of my father and I don't mind sharing it.
216AVL: Thank you very much.
217End of interview
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159Ahí van marchando los milicianos
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