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An Interview With Lucy Lopez
Not available online
TitleAn Interview With Lucy Lopez
AbstractInterviewer: Irene Ruiz. Interview recorded July 21, 1981. 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.
NotesAt the time of the interview, Mrs. Lucy Lopez was a preschool teacher and secretary at Dos Mundos newspaper. She was born September 16, 1934 and her family moved to Armourdale in 1941. In the interview she discusses her early life, family, 1951 flood, gang rivalries between Hispanic areas, etc.

At a certain place in the recording there is reverse bleed through on the right channel and drops to a mono-signal.

Number 26 on MP3 disc.
Date1981- 07-21
LocationSC69-1, Tape 29, CD 29
Local SubjectHispanic Americans
West Side
Lopez, Lucy
Oral History
Dos Mundos
Item TypeArchival Material
TranscriptionSynopsis of Interview:

Mrs. Lopez is a preschool teacher and secretary at Dos Mundos, a local bilingual newspaper. Born Sepotember 16, 1934. Father worked for the Railroad Ice Company, an affiliate of the railroad which supplied ice for shipping perishables before refrigeration was invented. Family moved to Armourdale in 1941. Father was Jose Pinuelas Reyes; mother Maria Gomez Inda Mejillas.

Lived in Armourdale until 1951 flood. Oldest of four children. Attended about one month of school at Clara Barton before transferring to John J. Ingalls. Finished elementary school there; attended Central Junior High. Most neighbors were Mexican; next-door neighbor pure Mexican Indian, as was Mrs. Soltero's paternal grandmother. Father left railroad to work in packing houses. Mother, other relatives worked at Swift. Grandmother worked for WPA, then Fred Harvey's Union Station. Grandmother lived next door. Maternal grandmother was strictly a homemaker; never learned English. Parents both educated. Father born in Chihuahua, Mexico. Mother born in El Paso, Texas. Father came with family to Kansas City while very young. Parents met and married. Mother's relatives from New Mexico.

Good memories of school. School staff was experienced in teaching Hispanic children. Had same teacher for six years. Brothers played outside but as a girl she stayed home to learn embroidery, crochet, etc. Recalls grandmother's stories of the Mexican Revolution; evenings of father reading classic novels aloud in Spanish while women sewed. Grandmother was head of the household rather than father. Attended Mt. Carmel Church in Armourdale; then Sacred Heart. Parents returned to Kansas side in the lates 1950s.

Flood of 1951 - Mother left children with relatives in Rosedale and returned to rescue clothing before the flood hit. Family divided; parents moved in with relatives on the West Side. Parents and other relatives slept in Penn Valley Park after being evacuated from homes following a chemical fire on Southwest Blvd. Obtained a house on 27th and Belleview. Lived with family there until marriage.Commuted last two years of high school back to Argentine to avoid transferring schools. Father encouraged all children to graduate from high school; all four succeeded. Children never had extras like bikes and skates but father made sure they had books, school supplies.

Remembers gang rivalries between West Side, Argentine, Armourdale areas. Graduated from high school in 1953. Worked final year in school as a bus girl at the Terrace Grill in the Muehlebach Hotel. Met people like Glen Miller, Dorsey Brothers. Father made her quit when her grades began to fall. Had difficulty finding a job after high school. Feels there was prejudice against Mexican-Americans. Finally went to work in a factory; began buying parents furniture.

Married Jesse Lopez of Kansas City in 1956; moved to Chicago. Husband was an only child. Lived in Chicago until 1963 when she and husband separated. During that time had two children; one born at home. Details of daughter's birth in 1956 under a special home-birth program. Son born two-and-a-half years later in hospital. Mother-in-law took her in when she left husband; cared for children while she worked. Reconciled with husband two years after returning to Kansas City. Gave birth to twins in 1966; another son in 1969.

Began volunteering in Head Start when her youngest children attended the program at Douglas School. Took job as a transportation aide, then as teacher's aide for Head Start. Has worked there seven years. Four years prior to interview, was promoted to undergrad teacher. Takes night courses at Penn Valley. Details of how brother, his wife, and other Hispanic friends started DOS MUNDOS, a bilingual local newspaper. She helps out in summer doing secretarial work. Oldest daughter and son both married, with children. Twins attend Northeast High, youngest son in Our Lady of the Americas. Divorced husband in 1969. Head Start budget secure for two years; after that she is unsure about her job. Cooks during annual Mexican fiesta in Crown Center.

Future goal to get Childhood Development Associates degree. Hopes to continue teaching pre-school. Sees it as an important time to instill positive educational attitudes. Credits an elementary school teacher and an uncle with being positive influences on her life. Uncle taught her to seek answers to her questions by using encyclopedias, other reference books. Doesn't read much in Spanish; feels more comfortable in English. Took high school Spanish but found it difficult to unlearn all the incorrect grammar she was used to hearing in the neighborhood.
Access This ItemYou may come to the Missouri Valley Room to listen to the interview.
Item ID210346
CONTENTdm number36346
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