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An Interview With Ruth Lopez
Not available online
TitleAn Interview With Ruth Lopez
AbstractInterviewer: Irene Ruiz. Interview recorded September 30, 1980. 1 sound cassette (ca. 90 minutes): analog, stereo.; 5 7/8 x 2 1/2 in., 1/8 in. tape; 1 sound disc; digital; 4 3/4 in. Has printed guide to contents.
NotesMrs. Lopez was born October 17, 1922 in Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico. Came to Kansas City at four months of age. In the interview she discusses her early life in Kansas City including cultural events, family, education, as well as the future of the West Side.

Number 28 on MP3 disc.
LocationSC69-1, Tape 31, CD 31
Local SubjectOral History
Lopez, Ruth
West Side
Hispanic Americans
Item TypeArchival Material
TranscriptionSynopsis of Interview:

Born October 17, 1922 in Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico. Parents moved to U.S. when she was 4 months old, has resided in Kansas City ever since. Mother was Delores Zamarillo, father Refugio Juarez. Family lived on W. 24th Street. Taverns, restaurants, other businesses operated by Mexican-Americans were numerous along 24th St. Most operated business downstairs, lived upstairs. Father ran a confectionary store. Mother took the store over when father died after being shot at a pool hall. 11 children in family, 10 still living. Mother was widowed with 5 children, remarried and had 6 more.

Attended Adams, Switzer, West Junior and Manual Vocational schools. Graduated high school 1940, married in 1941. Pleasant memories of school. Most friends dropped out. Attended Altausta Christian Church with grandmother, converted to Catholocism when married. Most neighbors went to Guadalupe Catholic Church. Remember the "casas blancas" or white houses which served as parish center. Most scout meetings, social clubs met there. Remembers annual fiesta. Attended free sewing classes at the Baptist church. Enjoyed conversing with the ladies. Took classes in reading and writing Spanish from the Union Cultural Mexicana. Met husband there, married 1941.

Husband born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Came to U.S. during early childhood. Volunteered for service in WWII but U.S. would not accept him because he was not a citizen. Later he was drafted anyway, spent 3 years away from home in Iceland. Moved after the war to a house on 20th Street. 5 sons and one daughter born there. Mrs. Lopez worked in a clothing factory making uniforms during the war. Despite her high school diploma, most jobs were not open to her because she was not a U.S. citizen. Husband had taken printer's training at Lathrop High. Secured an apprentice job after the war, but was denied social security, GI benefits. Finally became a citizen after becoming sick and being hospitalized with no medical benefits to help pay the bills.

Two children graduated from college in Pittsburg. One now employed by Hallmark, the other sells insurance. Other sons are postman, barman, UPS employee. Daughter took 2 years secretaries training. Mrs. Lopez bought the small grocery she still runs before her husband retired. Children were getting into trouble at West, so she decided to send them to a private school. Store supplied extra income for tuition. Owned store 18 years at the time of the interview. Husband died early 1980. Hopes to see neighborhood revitalize, become more like it used to be. Highways and construction of Kemper Arena hurt area. Fears closing West High School will hurt the area more.
Access This ItemYou may come to the Missouri Valley Room to listen to the interview.
Item ID210351
CONTENTdm number36349
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