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An Interview With Dolores Rodriguez
Not available online
TitleAn Interview With Dolores Rodriguez
AbstractInterviewer: Irene Ruiz. Interview recorded August 18, 1978. 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. Includes typed list of contents.
NotesMrs. Rodriguez was born on the West Side of Kansas City, Missouri in 1935. Her parents were born in Mexico. In the interview she discusses her early life and the neighborhood she grew up in, World War II, the 1951 flood, working for TWA, her husband's restaurants, etc.

Number 47 on MP3 disc.
LocationSC69-1, Tape 52, CD 52
Local SubjectWest Side
Oral History
Rodriguez, Dolores
Hispanic Americans
Item TypeArchival Material
TranscriptionSynopsis of Interview:

Mrs. Rodriguez was born on the West Side of Kansas City, Missouri in 1935. Her parents were Jesus Gonzalez and Bonifacia Sotelo Gonzalez. Her father was born in Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico and her mother born in Chihuahua, Mexico. She has one brother, Pete Gonzalez, and one sister, Anita Ortega.

They lived on Mercier Street in the only home on the block with indoor plumbing. There were mostly Mexicans but also Italians and one White family on the block. Her father worked for the Kansas City Public Service Company for 35 years, cleaning the streetcar tracks all the way to the Waldo neighborhood. She attended school at Adams Elementary, and then switched to Switzer when Adams closed. She recalls no problems in changing form Spanish to English.

She attended the Guadalupe Church and participated in the Guadalupe Center's (now Guadalupe Parish Center) sports teams. The priest was Jose Santiago ("Father Joe"), from Spain. There was an annual fiesta between July and September that attracted thousands. Belleview and 23rd Streets were closed off. Jose Garcia was music director for many years. She helped plan and direct the fiesta as she got older.

She recalls several prominent community members and their businesses as she grew up. 24th Street has a streetcar, most other streets were unpaved. WWII came and numerous friends and relatives entered the service. Her mother learned to make soap because of the shortages. She remembers crowds walking and cars full of furniture being carried away before the flood. Her godfather, who lived in the Argentine District, stayed with the family after he lost his home. He had a barn of fighting cocks which also was lost.

She attended West Junior High and graduated from Manual in 1952. During high school, she worked at Photocrafters processing photos and doing clerical work. After high school, she became a bookkeeper in Harzfeld's shoe department. She married Gilbert Rodriguez in 1954. Her husband was originally from Corpus Christi and attended junior and senior high in Kansas City. He served in the Navy. After marriage, she worked for Atliers IRS and TWA. She believes she was one of the first Mexicans to be hired by TWA. She was forced to leave her job when she became pregnant.

Her husband held numerous jobs until opening Gil's Chaparral Restaurant in 1970 at 47th and Mission Road. In 1977, he opened Gil's Taco Time on Highway 50. He does the cooking and bookkeeping. Mrs. Rodriguez is no longer as active with the fiesta, but considers Guadalupe Church to be her home. She occasionally sews costumes. She lived in Westport until moving to Merriam, Kansas near the business.

Her father was a "curandero", or healer. He used herbs to treat all kinds of illnesses. He always gave food to transients. After his retirement, older people would go to his house for meals near the end of the month. Her mother died in 1964 and her father in 1971. Her father lived alone until 7 months before his death. During that 7 months, he went to a doctor and stayed in a hospital for the first time in his life.
Access This ItemYou may come to the Missouri Valley Room to listen to the interview.
Item ID210411
CONTENTdm number36371
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