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Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo - Oral History Interview
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TitleAndrew Parodi and Karen Olivo - Oral History Interview
IntervieweeParodi, Andrew and Karen Olivo
InterviewerFernández, Natalia
TranscriberMahoney, Hannah
Description/NotesKaren Olivo and Andrew Parodi begin by chronicling Karen's early life and her time spent living in Alaska. They continue by discussing how Karen met Arthur Olivo, her future husband, while attending De Anza Community College; Arthur's work at Center for Employment Training in central California; and how Arthur and Karen began their relationship. The bulk of the interview begins when they explain Arthur's decision to move to Oregon. During this part of the interview they detail their time working and living at Colegio César Chávez in Mount Angel, Oregon. They discuss the physical grounds of the college; the people they interacted with while they were there; events at the college; ethnic discrimination they endured; and the politics behind the closing of the college. Throughout the interview the two discuss aspects of Mexican culture and the family structure of the culture. They conclude by explaining the end of Arthur's life and how having him in their life impacted them.
Original CollectionOH 18 Oregon Multicultural Archives Oral Histories Collection
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RestrictionsPermission to use must be obtained from the Oregon Multicultural Archives, OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center
File Nameolivo-karen-and-parodi-andrew-20120723
Full TextOH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 1 OH 18 OMA Oral History Collection Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo Date: July 23, 2012 Location: Corvallis, Oregon Length: 02:26:43 Interviewees: Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo Interviewer: Natalia Fernández Transcriber: Hannah Mahoney Note: [italicized words in brackets were added in by the interviewee, Andrew Parodi, for clarification] [AP] = Andrew Parodi [KO] = Karen Olivo [NF] = Natalia Fernández [00:00:00] [NF] Today is July 23, 2012. My name is Natalia Fernández and I am here with Karen Olivo and Andrew Parodi. And we are going to discuss the Colegio César Chávez Collection. So, let's start with you, Karen. Let's talk a little bit about your early life. Where you were born and where you grew up. [KO] Well, I was born in Chicago, and we were always very proud of the fact that my grandfather's mom was Algonquin. And he had a PhD and he worked at the University of Chicago. And it was quite a nice, whatever. And then he sent my father to school. My father was a product of a Chickasha father, half Chickasha and an Irish mother. And he didn't have an education because he had been put into "give a child to the church"- like all good Catholics do. He was going to be a priest and he was at Quigley Seminary and then dropped out because I guess the depression happened or something. He was working, running an elevator at the hospital and my grandfather brought him home for dinner and he was seventeen and my mother was seventeen and well, there we go! And so he wanted my father to have a college education, and my father became an aeronautical engineer and went off to Anchorage, Alaska. So, when I was a little girl, I was taken to Anchorage, Alaska, where we lived in a little tiny, we called it "the shack in the alley" and Andrew laughs at one of the pictures that mother took because she writes on the back "the view from the east window." And he said, "Well your mom never got over thinking she was all well to… ‘well born'"…whatever. Anyway, I was in Alaska. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 2 [NF] And when were you born? [KO] I was born in 1939. September 1939. And I was six when I went to Alaska in ‘46 or something. And there was no place to live in Anchorage because it was war years and they were trying to set up Fort Richardson. Anyway, then we went from there to Yakutat. My father went to work for the weather bureau and I lived among the Tlinget people, which is spelled T-L-I-N-G-E-T, but it is pronounced "Clink-et". And there was no high school for my sister and she was sent outside to Chicago. The lower forty-eight, it was still a territory [Alaska was still a territory], and then we went back to Cordova where I stayed until I was fifteen and then we came to the states. My husband came and got me. [This was Karen's first husband, a man named Evan Acey who was half-Aleut but who died of alcoholism before Karen met Arthur Olivo.] A man I had fallen in love with at twelve. And he was Aleut. My brother in-law was Aleut, so I lived in that world. Apparently I didn't know I did [laughs] I was just….that's the way it was. [What Karen means is that she thought everyone grew up with an "insider's view" of the Aleut culture as she had.] [NF] So, when were you married to your first husband? [KO] 19...Oh dear. [AP] Don't look at me [KO] Don't look at you! You weren't there. Yeah, 195…1956. [NF] Approximately? [KO] Yeah, yeah. And when he turned twenty-one, which we were not twenty-one then of course, he has in the Marine Corps and the marriage didn't last. He drank and then I married another man. And that one didn't last either. And so I was wandering around in Alaska with my children. [NF] So, your children. How many children had you had by that point? [KO] Just, well by the second divorce I had five. Yeah. [NF] Oh, okay. [KO] And we were wandering around in Alaska. Well, I had six! No, I didn't. Three were grown, so I only had three with me in Alaska. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 3 [AP] Do you think the term they use is blended family? [laughs] [KO] Blended family. [NF] So, was Andrew born at this point? {KO] Yes, he took his first steps on Kodiak Island. And I have always said he is going to be Governor of Alaska, but I found out, that although Alaska was my safe haven, it wasn't theirs. So, we had to come back to the states. At which point Aunty Julia said to me, "Stay here. B.I.A will help you go to school." And I said "They won't help me Aunty Julia. I am not Aleut." And she said, "You're not? Not even a little?" Well, I didn't know, but like Andrew said, my daughter Barbara. [AP] Am I allowed to, am I allowed to… [NF] Sure [KO] Sure. Say something. [AP] Well one thing that, I think is the question is always if we -- if my mother isn't Mexican and I'm not either – how did we become involved? One thing that my mother has mentioned is the first time she met my father, technically speaking, my stepfather, first time she met him she thought, "That's a good looking Indian man." [The point Andrew is trying to make is that Arthur looked like the people Karen had spent her childhood among. So, she had no concept of the fact that she was marrying outside her "race." And she didn't have a concept of marrying a "Mexican man." All she knew was that he looked familiar, like the people from her childhood, the indigenous peoples.] [KO] Oh, yes. [00:05:20] [AP] So, I think that was kind of seeing this is where my mother comes from originally. So, she didn't actually… people have questioned about so-called race mixing or whatever. My mother simply, I think, had no concept because it was all she had ever… [KO] I thought anyone who was handsome was brown. [Karen obviously means that her concept of what a handsome man looked like was formed during her childhood and adolescences, which was spent among indigenous peoples of Alaska who, obviously, have a brown complexion.] [AP] Well, because technically speaking these are the indigenous peoples and my mother had a childhood among them. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 4 [KO] Mhhm. [AP] So, I think that's where it comes from. [KO] Well like you, you thought you would be brown and speak Spanish when you grew up. [AP] Okay, but Mom, Mom we are trying to let her do the… [NF] Okay. We are okay, [laughs] so, when were you born Andrew? [AP] 1975 [NF] 1975, okay. So, since we are talking about Art, Arthur. Let's talk about him. So, how did that relationship come about? Where did you meet? [KO] I met him on a college campus. I walked into the administration building because I was there for a final and nobody else was and I didn't know what happened. So, I went to find out when the final was and I walked in, and as Andrew said, I looked over and saw this man and I said… [AP] It is not as I said it. I repeated what I have heard you say. I heard you say and then I repeated it. So, go ahead. [KO] Okay. I looked at this man, who was sitting there looking at a paper and I said to myself, "Mmm that's a good looking Indian. Wonder what he means to me." Because I always think I am psychic, ya know. And I said, "Oh! He doesn't mean anything to you. Shut up! You don't even know him!" So, then I was standing in line and pretty soon he was standing up ahead of me, still looking at his paper. And so then I found out I was an hour early for my medical terminology final and I left and I went walking to the room to wait there and here comes that man walking along again! And he stopped and he talked to me. Ya know, "what are you doing? What are you studying? What do you do for fun? Where do you work?" And I thought we were just having a little conversation and he was actually stacking up where to find me. And so he came out to my work the next night, he was waiting. [NF] So, where were you? Where was the college campus? [KO] Oh, De Anza Community College in Cupertino, California. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 5 [NF] Okay, California. [KO] Yeah, and he told me, [laughs] yeah I remember he told me that he taught at Center for Employment Training and his accent was so heavy I thought, "Oh yeah, you teach. You don't teach, you probably take." Well, he got a little card out of his wallet and it did say Arthur Olivo, instructor [laughs] Center for Employment Training. And he told me about the man who started it, Russ Turshey, was the guy who got with Father Soto and they went to the Archdiocese and asked for seed money and that was way back in, ya know, the beginning of the War on Poverty and I thought it was a very wonderful thing to do, to help people, ya know. But, I certainly didn't think I would ever see him again and there he was! And he kept hanging around and I used to tell my daughters that man on the motorcycle is out there. [NF] So, about what year was this? [KO] It was in 1980. [AP] No, no, no. Must have been…I was born ‘75, that was about ‘77 [laughs]. [KO] I know, ‘77. Okay. [NF] ‘77. Because you, Andrew you, mentioned you were about 2ish when… [AP] That's what I'm told, but I mean… [KO] You were two in October and I met him when I was trying to take my final the end of that quarter, so yeah. [AP] Assuming I was born in ‘75, if I was two, it must have been ‘77. I am a proud graduate. So, I can do that math [laughs] [KO] You are right. He had decided apparently that we were his family because… [AP] Umm, well, the missing piece there is that my biological father wasn't exactly responsible I suppose. [NF] By this time were you divorced from your second husband? [KO] Yes. [NF] And you were living in California with your children? OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 6 [KO] With my two youngest daughters and Andrew. The three other girls were gone, out doing something. [AP] We were living in an apartment in Sunnyvale, California, which is a suburb of San Jose. [KO] Yeah, sort of. [NF] So, you are the youngest of all your siblings Andrew? [KO] Yeah, yeah. [AP] Yeah. [NF] Okay. So, then you met him and he fell in love with you and your family and you fell in love with him and then, were you married? [00:10:00] [KO] Well, what was so funny was that I was busy getting an education and I wasn't interested, but Andrew's Godmother said, "Well, we will find out if he is serious about you." So, we went out and Andrew's Godmother said… [AP] Was her name Maria Catalina Villalobos? Is that her name? [KO] Yeah. [AP] Sorry that's minor part. I'm sorry. Sorry. [KO] Yeah, but Maria Catalina Villalobos, they took her name away from her when she came to the states, ya know. They called her Kay because nobody could say Maria Catalina. But anyway, she was his Godmother. She said, "I'll flirt with him and then we'll see if he is serious." Ya know women; they were very tricky. And he wasn't interested [in Maria when she tried to flirt with him], I guess, so he just kept hanging around [Karen and her children] and he wanted to move to Oregon. And during this time that we were together there was… [AP] He had an idea of Oregon as some kind of Utopia… [KO] Oh yeah! OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 7 [AP] At the time; I think a lot of people had that idea at the time. That it was like the rugged kind of, almost like Alaska frontier, where you could live with nature and go back to the "good old ways" or something, kind of thing [laughs]. [KO] Well yeah, but, during this time he was teaching at Center for Employment Training. And I was introduced to people who were, and I saw them bending nails around each other to make spikes to throw in the road. [What Karen means when she says "I saw them bending nails around each other" is that various men, at some points, were making contraptions to throw in the road to pop the tires of police cars in the event of harassment from the police.] This was during the things in Salinas, where the farm… [AP] Have you heard of Center for Employment Training? [NF] Yes. [AP] Okay, the way I talk about it is that it's kind if like a Job Corps. I think any ethnicity is welcome, but based in San Jose, from what I have seen, about 95% is Latino. [KO] Well, they got a lot of their funding too from the farm workers… [AP] Yeah, the United Farm Workers Union. I mean my father's memorial was there and they have a big mural of César Chávez. So, it is like very much aligned with the Chicano movement, at least at that point. [KO] …and I remember when he was little and we went to this lecture and Andrew behaved himself of course and Russ Turshey, Arthur's boss, who had founded Center For Employment Training, wonderful man, he had two little boys there who didn't behave. And you know how smug you can be when your child is behaving and that was the occasion of Andrew and me first meeting César Chávez. We were in a little reception line and he patted Andrew and said, "Your Father is a good teacher, "which Arthur was. And the children were instructed to not to tell anyone that Art wasn't their father, so we've been told that this is kind of a thing that is done. I don't know. He said it was nobody's business. Okay. We minded him [laughs] but, anyway… [A university official recently told Andrew that it is relatively common in the Mexican and Mexican American community for a man to tell his wife or girlfriend to say that his stepchildren are his biological children. It's a distinct part of Mexican culture, at least in this university official's opinion.] [NF] So, then obviously I mean Art was interested in, like you said, helping people and activism. Did you discuss that with him? Was that something that he talked about with you? OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 8 [KO] It was just a given that we were both bent along those lines because my first husband and I were on our way to the mission field. I was going to be a missionary's wife, and being Arthur's wife wasn't too different. I was taken to babysit children whose moms needed to go to training and I took care of Maria Teresa's kids, ya know, when she went to work in the fields. [Maria Teresa was a homeless woman from Mexico whom Arthur allowed to live in an empty office room at Colegio César Chávez.] And it was just expected that you would be in service to other people, that that was your, what, your rent for being on this earth. [AP] I'm sorry. I don't know enough, but I think one story that I find interesting is something about they weren't going to give my father his diploma or something. [KO] Oh, dear yes! [AP] Is that what it was? [KO] I am glad you brought that up. [AP] And then you demanded that he demand it from them and someone said to you. So, maybe you could tell that story. [KO] Okay. [NF] What college was this? [KO] This was the De Anza Community College in 1979. And I wasn't; my husband was a kind, wonderful man and he stood there in line and they said, "Oh, well before you can get your diploma, you will have to get the class signed off." Because he had not completed this class, because his knee was injured. And the guy said that's okay I will sign it off and then he didn't. Well, he went to get the guy to sign it off, the guy shook his hand, "Arthur, how are you? How are you doing in Oregon?" The whole thing. We went back with the paper and the women standing there in the administration building said, "This isn't the class you were in! This wasn't your instructor." And Andrew, or Andrew, Arthur said, "Yes, it was." [Karen simply stumbled over names here. She meant to say "Arthur" but instead said "Andrew" twice. She then corrects herself.] And she said, "No it wasn't! You were in Slimnastics at 10 o'clock in the morning!" and I stepped up at that point and I said, "He couldn't have possibly been, he was at work. He used to come in where I was working in the bat lab when he was, you know, on break." And she looked at me and said, "What business is this of yours!" and I said, "How well I eat depends on his degrees." And then I called Leticia Montolvo, who was Andrew's OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 9 Godmother's sister, and she was the head of, I don't know, maybe…MECHA or some. [Leticia Montolvo worked with Mexican students on campus.] [00:15:35] [AP] I don't think there was a MEChA yet, but… [KO] Well, whatever. They are on campus and she said, "Oh, Karen go get them. Go get them, they are so mean to our kids." And Arthur simply said forget it. I said, "I absolutely will not forget it. You worked hard for that. So, it's an AA degree, it's a degree. And it's yours!" And boy I did, I just raised all kinds of, yeah. And especially with Leticia telling me, "Karen, go get them, they are mean to the kids" because there is nothing worse… [AP] What she meant by "the kids" she meant… [KO] The kids at the college, the Mexican kids… [AP] Mexican kids. So, in other words, the key to the story is that this woman was giving my father a hard time because he was Mexican basically. [KO] Because he was Mexican. Yeah. I didn't know about… [AP] That's in cliff notes [laughs] [What Andrew means is that he was attempting to give an abbreviated version of his mother's explanation.] [KO] Oh, thank you. Getting, you know, stopped driving while Mexican. I didn't know about those things. [AP] Although it happened one time when we were in the car. [KO] Yes, it did. And my own grandson, who was a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. was profiled in Salem. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. We know. Anyway... [NF] So, did he end up getting the degree? [KO] Oh yeah! Oh yeah! [laughs] [NF] And you as well? You graduated as well? [KO] I did, yeah. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 10 [NF] And what did you study? [KO] Well, I studied everything because it was free. I used to sit there and take the schedule and say, "I could take this, this, this, this." [AP] Community College was free. Can you believe that? [KO] Community college was free. [AP] In California at the time. [KO] When I was in the Model United Nations, third committee Poland, they flew us down to the Disneyland Hotel for our conference. And they paid for it all and that was for Proposition 13 in California, took a lot of the money away from education, but that is why they say the Silicon Valley became what is was because there was a lot of free education going on down there, I don't know. But, anyway, yeah I did get my degree. [NF] So, your degree and his, they were both free? [KO] Yeah! Well, we paid for the books or the lab fees, but the tuition, there was no tuition. There was no parking fee, there was yeah. And wonderful instructors. I had a wonderful education there, I really did, but anyway Andrew got, or Arthur, see I keep mixing your name up with daddy, he got his degree. [Karen sometimes refers to her husband, Arthur Olivo, as "daddy" – because she's affectionately speaking about him from the perspective of her children. Her children called Arthur "Dad" or "Daddy."] [AP] They both start with A's. [KO] Well they all start with A's. [AP] He used to mix up everyone's names too. [KO] Anna, Anthony, Andrew [laughs]. Anyway, he got his degree. He had a lot of degrees. He loved education, he had worked at, this was another interesting little thing. Arthur, said to me one day, "You know when I was still at Stanford?" he was at the Physics department at Stanford University, he said, "Marshall Klaus, Dr. Marshal Klaus came to me with some money and he said ‘can you build an alarm that we can attach to a baby that will go off if the baby quits breathing?'" He said, "Sure, I can make that." So, he made the alarm and Dr. Klaus said that, "We have had $500 donated; can you do it for $500?" And Arthur said, "Sure!" Well, a little later on Dr. Marshall Klaus called OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 11 me and said come to the hospital to see what we have made with Roberta's money. My baby had died when she was 2 months and 3 days old and I had taken her little insurance up to the hospital because I wanted them to put it into research for Crib Death. And Dr. Marshall Klaus said, "Nobody will ever research that." Or maybe he said "not successfully", I don't know. But, he said can we use this for research for infant's diseases and I said, "Sure." Well, isn't it kind of interesting that that money was given to that man?! [laughs] He built the machine that they brought me up to see and I was able to feel that my little girl, who was only on this earth for two months and 3 days, had contributed. [Karen's third daughter was named Roberta Leigh. She was born during Karen's second marriage, before she met Arthur Olivo. Karen donated life insurance money from Roberta to Stanford. Karen's future husband, Arthur, whom she did not know at the time, was working at Stanford. He built a machine to monitor infants that was paid for in part by Karen's donation.] [AP] We may have gotten lost a little bit here. Basically, my mother had a child that died of Crib Death, which now they called SIDS Sudden Infant Death [Syndrome]. My Father, Arthur Olivo worked with the group that helped design something to help… [KO] No, he was in the Physics department and he designed and built it himself. [AP] And that was at Stanford? [KO] Yeah. [00:20:00] [AP] Okay, so he worked at Stanford. And, so that is what my mother is saying, is that maybe she felt it was meant to happen or something. [KO] Well, you see. I had, had a little something… [AP] Sometimes I get lost when my Mother tells stories, so I assume other people might as well. [KO] They might [NF] So, this was, may I ask, this was your baby with? [KO] My baby with my husband I divorced. [NF] Okay. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 12 [KO] I didn't know Arthur, but he was there all the time in Sunnyvale and he used to say, "Oh, I was so surprised you…" [AP] This was back in like the early, well that was in late 60s [KO] Roberta was born and died in 1964 [AP] So, the area was a lot smaller then it was now [KO] Yeah [AP] and so… [KO] but I never saw him, his two children from his first marriage went to Sacred, no, to Saint Martin's with my kids. We went to the same church, to the same gas station, to the same health food store. And he said, "Well, I am just so surprised you didn't see me riding my full-dressed Harley." And I said, "Well I'm not surprised." [laughs] [NF] So, he was married and had children previously? [KO] He was married and had children and then he married, divorced her, and his mother came in and took the children and his sister was helping her raise these two children and Andrew's Godmother even knew his aunty. I mean it was that close all those years. Well, when Andrew was about a year old I had a thing, yeah know, a little information given to me that I would marry a man who was in Sunnyvale, who had been there all my life and I would be married to him all my life. And I said, "That isn't even what I wanted to know." [AP] It was kind of an intuitive thought that that might happen. [KO] I didn't want to know that! That wasn't even what I was asking. [AP] Excuse me, sorry. You had like an intuitive thought that that would happen. [NF] Mmm okay. [KO] I had something. And low and behold here was this man who had been there. So you see I've never bothered to look. Arthur's been gone, what? 12 years? [AP] I think one thing that my mother deals with is because she has no concept of any, okay, when we, this is jumping forward a little bit, when we were at Colegio people OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 13 asked her things, white people, racist white people, sometimes asked her things like, "Why did you marry Mexican?" My mother had no concept of that. So, she wasn't prepared for the kind of bigotry she would endure as a result. So, like to this day it still may be sometimes difficult to talk about. So I think, is that correct? [KO] That is. Well I was caught completely off guard. [AP] To this day people, there are people, people that you know that don't know about this background in your life. Correct? [KO] Oh I am amazed, as much as I talk they say I'm quite loquacious, I love that big word. Yeah, there are probably, but yeah I was amazed I said to Arthur when we were living at Colegio… [AP] I suppose what I am trying to say is that my mother is so unbigoted that maybe sometimes she doesn't quite understand why a movement was necessary to combat bigotry. [KO] Yeah [AP] Is that correct? You just see people as individuals and so… [KO] Ya, I am sure that's kind of it. I mean I knew something had to change, but my comadre [AP] Okay, maybe I don't know. Sorry. Did you, sorry. [KO] Go ahead. [AP] She loves telling stories so she'll go off [KO] Well, that's why I'm good for the archives [laughs] [AP] structure it a little bit [NF] Well, let's, so let's talk about you. You both now had your degrees and what happened that led to the move to Oregon? What was that discussion like and how did that come about? [KO] It went like this, "I'm going to Oregon."[laughs] and I said, "Okay" OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 14 [AP] Well, are you just asking my mother now? Or can I inter… [NF] Oh, sure. [AP] Okay, well. Okay basically, and you can interrupt me if this is incorrect, and I, this is what I have come to understand. Center for Employment Training opened, which was based in San Jose, opened an office in Tigard, Oregon and my father was offered a job and so he decided to take it because he had always had this romantic idea of moving to Oregon because it was a frontier. He loved Westerns and I think there is this idea of the Old West or something just, he had this idea of getting, he had like this idea of raising children in the country and it was going to be more wholesome or something. [KO] [laughs] [AP] So, anyway. If you want to chime in. [KO] Yeah, the dream was dreaming him. Yeah, he came up here and then he wanted us to come and I came up, Andrew and I came up, we drove up. My goodness. [AP] He had come up first, correct? [KO] Yeah he was up here. [NF] In 1977? [KO] nineteen seventy… [NF] or' 78? [KO] nineteen seventy… [AP] You can't look at me. I was three, I don't know. [Karen had looked at Andrew for reassurance on the date. But Andrew was too young to remember.] [00:25:00] [KO] Well, okay. [AP] You can't. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 15 [KO] Yeah, I have to date everything from. So that was in, we came here in ‘79, in September of ‘79. And I brought Andrew with me and I said to him, "I'm not going to stay unless you marry me because I am not giving up my safety net unless you marry me." And so he said, "Well… [AP] And I don't know if it's true, but you said that in impetus, I suppose the word is, a motivation for coming to Oregon is that at some point he had come up by himself and I asked the question of, "Where is my father? And who's cooking his dinner?" Is that correct? [KO] Yeah, exactly! [AP] And that that was some kind of guilt trip on you. [KO] "Who's cooking Daddy's dinner?" [AP] And, and that that was some kind of, well I suppose. Okay, here's the thing. I think it could suffice to say the two of you had an unconventional relationship. [KO] Oh, I think it was quite conventional. I think… [AP] Very, very, well I mean for a lot of people for one partner to move without the other one at first is kind of unconventional. Very kind of independent lives. [KO] Nnn…I think maybe not when you grew up as a migrant worker. You see that, he grew up as a migrant worker. That was what was so special about him was what was special about my mother-in-law. When he would look at somebody who wasn't doing it right I'd have to tell him that they didn't have Mima for a mother, Arthur. Now my mother-in-law was a tough old gal, yeah. [AP] Okay, but let's get back to the thing because, coming to Oregon. I'm sorry. [KO] Okay, coming to Oregon. He came to Oregon and we followed him up here, but let me say this too: he came with LeRoy Cordova and Socorro and their daughter Barbara. And… [AP] Some of this history is a mystery even to me, so I'm actually learning stuff, so keep going. [KO] It's a mystery to me! [laughs] OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 16 [AP] Okay, go ahead. Go ahead. [KO] Okay, so Bar… [NF] Were those colleagues? [KO] Yeah, LeRoy Cordova taught welding and he was a very bright man, a very good man, and Socorro was his wife. We had a lot in common and especially when we got up here together they have a girl Barbara, who is just a little older than Andrew. We spent a lot of time together because Socorro and I were very homesick and they were very good friends. They stood up with me when I married Arthur. [AP] And that was in Tigard? [KO] It was in Tigard. Yeah. [NF] So, you married in Tigard? [KO] I married in Tigard. Yeah, I did. And Barbara is, both LeRoy and Arthur are deceased, but Barbara is a nurse now over in Beaverton and I think Socorro is in Sacramento. [AP] And Barbara actually is the goddaughter of Sonny Montes, so. [KO] Yeah. You see, she… [AP] Because he was, he was, actually, and Barbara told me something that I didn't know. Apparently my father was also friends with Sonny Montes. Of course everyone knew each other back then. [KO] Of course he was, yeah. We were a very small community, ya know. [AP] Because I told them we were coming to the event about the book and she had mentioned, ya know, that's my godfather. [KO] Yeah [AP] So, anyway Barbara, I, I, may have even donated some pictures of, she may be in one of the pictures I donated. I just remember her from, I was like 3, 2 or 3 and then like forever. So. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 17 [KO] Yeah, yeah. We were always…a Socorro [AP] LeRoy was friends, well they were all friends, like I said. [KO] Yeah, but we stayed. We were the, some of the other people I remember, I met one couple who was on their way back the night we got here because she couldn't stay away from her family, you know? I think Mexican people are, the culture is that way, you know? You stay with your family. I know when my sister in-law was in a convent and that was wonderful, you know. You give a child to the church! Until they were going to send her to France and Mima got my husband and they… [AP] That would by my father's sister, was in a convent. [KO] Yes, yeah. Was in a convent and they went and got her and brought her home. Anyway, my mother-in-law was a very strong willed woman and she said, what did she say? She said she couldn't live where there were other Mexicans because they held each other back. And I know my comadre… [AP] I think when you make a statement like that you may want to clarify that she was actually from Mexico. [KO] Oh yeah. [AP] So, very Mexican woman. From Mexico, who actually swam the Rio Grande to get here. [KO] [laughs] I don't know if she did, but she came here. [AP] Well that's the story I was told. [KO] In nineteen five [1905], when they opened the borders and I've never… [00:30:00] [AP] And so the irony of that statement, her making that, of course is that my father was so involved in the Chicano movement, so she may have made a statement like that, at the same time she was very Mexican. A very Mexican woman. [KO] Except she quit making flour tortillas with white flour. She made them with whole wheat. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 18 [AP] And she made sure that all of her children got college educations. [KO] She did. And she said… [AP] I think that was pretty kind of revolutionary for that time period especially. [KO] She said, "I never taught my daughters to make tortillas. I thought there was something better they could do with their time, like learn how to type." I'm like, "Mima!" but Mima was of an age where she had had to marry a man she didn't choose. And she was of a time when they made people ashamed to speak Spanish and she tried very hard to speak English, which I believe resulted in a misunderstanding a lot of times in the family because if you aren't able to speak the same language. My youngest brother-in-law had to learn to speak Spanish in school, he only spoke English because by that time the older kids were speaking English. It, there is so much involved in a culture trying to acclimate to being in another culture and that was one of the reasons Art has such great hopes for Colegio because people would understand and they could help in the right areas. And Andrew told me that the year they graduated, how many kids were at Colegio? [AP] It was what I read; I am not the source of this information. [KO] Well, you were the source to me. [AP] In some book, I think, I think it's actually Nosotros: The Hispanic People of Oregon, I think it says Colegio graduated more Chicanos one year than any other college in Oregon, which probably isn't that surprising because it was like ‘78 or ‘76 something like that, so. [NF] Well, then let's talk about how Art became involved in Colegio. I have in the collection there are documents that he submitted to be a student in the Spring of 1980, but he missed the deadline so he was accepted in Fall of 1980. Then I have that, a letter or basically the job he got as a groundskeeper was also from the Fall term 1980, October 1980. So, can you talk a little bit about how that came about? How he wanted to become a student and how he heard Colegio, share of that story. [KO] He just came home one day, we were living in Tigard, and he came home and said, "Do you know there's a college named after César Chávez in Mount Angel?" and I said, "No! Of course I didn't know that." So, the next weekend we went out to see it and he was just severely upset because the grass was overgrown, the front doors stood wide open, there was what appeared to be human feces on the floor, which we found out later was probably from the babies that lived upstairs, and he was…he said I remember OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 19 he said to me exactly, "No wonder they look down on us, we can't even take care of our own college." He was just furious and so we he got ahold of somebody and we met Pola Ponce, who was the head of Proyecto Mujeres and Mark Levine, who had been hired to be, I guess Dean of Students or something because Colegio was a College Without Walls program and Mark had taught at a college without walls, which I can't remember the name of it, but he had taught either Peter DeGarmo, who was working at the Colegio at the time, or another a man, whose name I can't remember. So, they had hired him to come out and raise up the student body and he was trying really hard, anyway…we invited him to dinner, they came into Tigard, and we talked about it. Well, Arthur, the kids and I started going out on the weekends and mowing the lawns and trimming and just doing what you do to make things look better and then he talked to Irma and said well what if we lived out there? [NF] So, he began volunteering without being officially hired? It was just volunteering? [KO] Oh, yeah. We were out there volunteering, yeah. But we were coming all the way from Tigard, so he said what if we lived out there and in exchange for our rent we maintain the grounds. [00:35:05] [NF] Okay. [KO] And then he also was supervising the work-study kid. Remember the one you met on campus who said he knew Daddy? [AP] Yeah, Leonard, right? [KO] Leonard, Leonard. [AP] I think Leonard, is Leonard actually even in the student handbook? [KO] Yeah, he is. [AP] I think Leonard, he's the guy with the Afro. [KO] Yeah, he had an Afro and he had a girl, a wife, who was pregnant. [AP] He is in the student handbook that we donated. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 20 [KO] And Arthur was furious with him because he lived upstairs where it was cold and Arthur thought he should be doing… [AP] So, he actually lived at Colegio? [KO] Yes, he did. He lived there with…Maria Teresa and then Pola Ponce got a divorce and moved in with her three kids. [AP] Oh really? [KO] Yeah. [AP] Okay. Yeah, okay. [KO] Well they were living there when you… [AP] So, that's again, the things I wrote I mention that living at Colegio was like, I don't think I used the word compound, but I...I had a sense that it was like a whole community and I mentioned, I mention Perfecto and his family living there. But I just, I mean there were probably people that weren't, she wasn't even a student right? And she was living there. [KO] Pola? [AP] Yeah. [KO] She was head of Proyecto [AP] But she wasn't a student? So, it was just like a community. And as a child of course I didn't know any, it was just my community. [NF] So, approximately how many people, how many families were living on the campus buildings that you can remember? [KO] Well, there was us, and Leonard, Maria Theresa [AP] How did it, like who gave them permission to live there? Did they go through Irma or did it go through… [KO] Oh no we didn't give people permission to live there, I'm sure we didn't. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 21 [AP] So, it went through Irma [KO] Yeah. [AP] Oh, okay. [KO] Yeah, of course. [NF] The President Irma Gonzales. [AP] I wasn't sure, I don't know. [KO] No, no. Where daddy disobeyed was when the Salinas' especially wanted to use Guadalupe Hall and we didn't understand. My husband was not, he didn't have this ego, he wanted to help people, he was… [AP] He had an ego and that was to help people. [KO] Yeah, I guess, but it wasn't a monetary reward. [AP] He was, he was, he was, I think you could say he was very Catholic and he really believed… [KO] He was probably very Catholic, he hauled us off to Mass. [AP] Very religious, very Catholic and I think that that is where that kind of came from. That is my interpretation. [KO] Could have been. I don't know. Sure. He loved children, he loved little children. Why he came home… [AP] I didn't mean that in a bad way. [KO] No, no I know. [AP] I mean that's where he got his self-esteem from. Was by helping other people. [KO] He came home one day and took my stove because there was a family that had 6 or 7 children and they didn't have a stove. And I said, "And you're taking mine?" And he said, "Well we will get another one." I said, "Oh, okay." But I had done things like cook a turkey in an electric skillet because I, I do things like that [laughs]. And he felt OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 22 bad that there was somebody with a whole bunch of little kids who didn't have a stove. So, that was alright because we could get along just fine, you know. And yeah. [NF] So, then what was his experience? What was his experience as a student? Did he talk about the classes? I mean he already had a degree, so he wanted to continue his education. Can you talk a little bit about his experience as a student, if you remember them. [AP] I think he was quite disappointed in the whole thing truly. I think he had expected more. I think if had been running it, it would have been, he would have given more. He would've been like Sonny Montes, you know? He would have gone into, and he would have gone in and rescued people, he would have, but he had a full-time job [laughs] in town and it took a long time to get there and so our main concern was, you know, keeping the place clean. Mary Karen, our youngest girl, when they got a big donation for oil actually ran the boiler so they could have a little heat in the Colegio because for the most part there was no heat. They heated their little rooms with… [00:39:39] [AP] We moved out like a year before it closed, right? Or wait, wait. [KO] No, I think it was closing as we left. [AP] No, it was closing as we left, but it stayed open maybe a couple, what I'm trying to say, ya know, is that things, if it sounds like things were really bad it's because we were there towards the end. I mean, like I mentioned, or like you mentioned earlier, it did graduate a class of people, so it did do its job at one point, but Sonny Montes was long since gone and there was so much fighting. I don't, I mean as a child I remember, of course I didn't know what the specifics were I just remember, on one hand it just felt like I was part of this community and it was my world and the other hand I do remember just sense of fighting going on around me and of course I never knew it was about. I kind of wished it would stop because I really liked, I liked the community aspect a lot and it just, well in what I wrote, I don't know if I'm, If you need me to read it or anything, but I actually mention that it was the happiest, that some of those years were the happiest of my life. [KO] Yeah [AP] Because of that sense of community. So, you know, I mean I had my friends living right next door so [laughs] and… OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 23 [KO] Well, I think during that period of time too, José Angel Gutiérrez was hopefully that he would become President of Colegio and, you know, being well aware, of what he had done in Texas, you know, with La Raza, I thought, "Wow, okay, now" and… [NF] Well I read in the book, the Sunny Montes book that they were looking for a new President, but then Irma Gonzales and the board essentially made her President, correct? How much did you know about what was happening in the Administration? [KO] Did not know a thing, until I met somebody last year, not just this previous, but a year ago at the César Chávez Conference out at WOU [Western Oregon University], who said something about her getting that position illegally and using it to gain monetary reward or something. I didn't know anything about that. [NF] How much did Art know? [KO] I don't think he knew anything. [AP] He said he really wanted José Angel. [KO] But, he really wanted José Angel to be President. He would have, you know. [AP] He was like a big fan right? [KO] Oh, yeah. Well I think everybody was. José Angel: have you ever met him? [NF] No. [KO] José Angel Gutiérrez is one of those people that just has charisma. He really had… [AP] He was at Colegio for a year and we were there during that year right? [KO] And he gave lectures and of course we attended and I remember… Irma saying in front of me one time, "And of course the Olivo's attended." And I got the notion that maybe she wasn't happy, but I didn't care, you know. I really… [AP] Because there was kind of fighting between the two of them to try to get control of what's going on? [KO] There was, yeah. There was something going on that I didn't understand. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 24 [AP] Well, well I mean, I know that I've, I read his book that he wrote and he actually, I don't know if you'll recall, said that he felt like Colegio should have sued her or something. That she stole the position. [KO] Who said that? José Angel? [AP] That she stole the position. I mean I have no memory, no first hand memory of this, but this is what I've read. That he felt she should have been sued and apparently she stayed a member of the board, but also became the President and something like that. I have no, I mean I just remember the name José Angel Gutiérrez. And I probably met him. {KO] Oh, you did. Of course you did. [AP] Met him, but when I was a kid. [KO] You were with us at the lectures. [AP] Oh, okay. [KO] You went with us. You went to Alurista's poetry readings. Children went with us wherever we went, yeah. [NF] So, then, so Art was a student and he got the job as groundskeeper in Fall of 1980, so is that the time that you moved there? Fall of 1980? [KO] Yeah, that must have been. [NF] Around there or maybe '81? [KO] Yeah. [NF] And then you were there in what was called the Art Building or the… [KO] San Benito Hall [AP] That's what I've read it was referred to. [KO] Yeah. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 25 [NF] Okay and what was, so what were your experiences living there? What was the living condition like? And what activities occurred? And, just sort of your daily experiences living at Colegio. [KO] Well I worked at Benedictine nursing home and went to school, went to nurses training. Andrew went to Kindergarten because it wasn't mandatory in Oregon, it wasn't available at the public school, so he went to Howard Hall, where he was taught by Sister Claudia May, who I think is probably a relative of the fella that wrote the book about Sonny, whose last name was May. Then I took Mr. and Mrs. May at the nursing home, so I think there were quite a few families that dominated the scene there in Mount Angel and apparently he was from Mount Angel too, I don't know. But, whatever was going on we were right in the middle of it. Andrew's first Holy Communion reception was held, you know, right there in a big hall where what do you call it, a silhouette of Che… [00:45:05] [AP] I always called it a mural, but I don't know maybe it's just a painting. [KO] It was in black, yeah so it was like a silhouette. [AP] Yeah, by the fireplace. [KO] Yeah, they covered them all up, didn't they? [AP] See that's why, it's like people ask about why I love talking about Colegio, but because I was a little boy I was so unaware of any of the political importance of anything around me that all I can say is that it was the happiest, I know it was the happiest period of my childhood, but I don't know if I can relate it to anything political because I was so unaware of anything political that was going on. I just, the reason why I just… [KO] Well, you know, it was my first introduction… [AP] I think I just figured something out… [KO] What? [AP] Okay…for the rest of my childhood, in some ways, I would face some kind of bigotry for having a Mexican father in Oregon because there was more racism then than there is now, but it makes sense that I wouldn't have face so much without having a OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 26 Mexican father living at a Mexican college. So, that might be why because after that we were kind of like, you know obviously we went out of that community and went into Woodburn and other places and then I became aware of like, diffi..well, I'm sorry is this okay? [NF] No, that's fine, so… [KO] This is history, this is the way it was. [AP] But, but, but I don't want to go off on a tangent. [NF] But I am interested though. So, in the community itself that you were living in, it was obviously by Mexican-Americans for Mexican-Americans. So, they community that you lived in, the events that they had, activities and the people that were there, it predominantly Latinos. [KO] It was. Mexican, yeah. [AP] Well, that's thankfully I've taken, I've had, I haven't graduated yet, but I'm almost, I'll graduate soon, I've taken some, I've been a university student for some time now and now I know how to phrase things so I don't freak people out. My mother mentioned something earlier, which is accurate, which is that when I was a little boy I thought, well when I was a little boy living at Colegio and people think I'm crazy, so I'll try to set it up as much as possible, so I don't sound crazy. The only males that I knew were of the complexion of my father and the only women were, I knew women of all colors. So, my mom mentioned earlier that when I was a child I thought I would grow up to, basically I thought I would grow up to look like my father, not knowing he wasn't my biological father. So, I think that's one reason why for me Colegio was the happiest time of my childhood was, it was before those kinds of issues of coming from a multi-cultural background to come into my life. You know? Because it was dominated by people who had my father's appearance, who spoke his language and Spanish was the dominant language and I couldn't speak it, I learned a couple words, but I remember as a child, sounds strange, but I felt like the ability to speak Spanish was magical and I'm glad I figured that out. I always wondered why it was the happiest time of my childhood, but that's, I was, I think I just said it, sorry [laughs]. [NF] Well, can we talk for a little bit about, I mean that was the, we talked about the more immediate community, but what about the community in Mount Angel? Did you have interactions with the community beyond Colegio? What were those interactions like? OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 27 [KO] Well I remember, the Salinas' had come over and wanted to open Guadalupe Hall for a dance Christmas night. So, Art went and opened the Hall and people came, not lots, but people came and it was bring your own bottle and nothing was for sale and of course Art really didn't drink, so I don't even know if he had a bottle, but the Salinas have a band, or they had one anyway, my generation you know. Namé, Mr. Salinas' wife, came to me while we were at this part at Guadalupe Hall and she said, "I just got a ticket from the Sheriff." And I said, "For what!?" and she said, "Well, for having a dance." And I said, "Well, we can have a dance here. Art and I work here. We can use these halls, Andrews first communion party was there in the fireplace room. They can't give you a ticket." Well they did. So, that was Christmas. Well, New Year's we had another party. Well, she had gotten a permit and hired Chief Vickery to be the guard. So, I was standing there talking to him and I said, "It's too bad the Sherriff gave Namé a ticket on Christmas Day." And he said, "Really?" and I said, "Ya. They can't do that to her" and he said, "Were you here?" and I said, "Well, yes, we were here. Arthur and I are involved in anything that happens." You know, at Colegio. Well, then I found out it was him that had given her the ticket, not a sheriff, but city police, sheriff, whatever. It was him. And I was so angry I went down to January Roshlaub, who was the city attorney at the time, and I said, "They can't do this to her, it's prejudice!" It's you know, whatever. So, January of course agreed and refused to try the case and I told Namé, "You go in and you plead Not Guilty and then they have to call witness and then I can say my husband and I work there. That they were our guests, and it will be dismissed." Well, January wouldn't even try the case, he was so angry, Chief Vickery was so angry. I remember too, one of my stories. I was just coming out of the house and this little car pulled around the back really fast and it was all boiling over and four men jumped out and they were, you know, young men and really scared and "What's going on here?" And here comes the police, and the policeman got out of the car and was yelling at them in English, "Who was driving this car?! Who was driving this car?!" and they didn't know what to say, they were scared and I said, "I was." And he said, "You weren't in this car!" and I said, "Yes, I was. I didn't have my license with me, I was very humble and I was just hurrying to get my license." And he just got really mad and left, but it was a very…a nurse that I met up at Silverton Hospital said to me, "You know, you will have to prove yourself to the people of Mount Angel after your association with the Colegio [pronounces Colegio with ‘g' sound]." [laughs] I don't know. Then she said, "Your son shouldn't be here." My daughter was having a baby and he was with me in the waiting room and I said, "Yeah, he shouldn't be here." "He should be in school" "Well, there isn't any school today." And she said, "We live in Mount Angel and there is school today." And I said "Well, yeah we live in Mount Angel, but my son goes to Sacred Heart and its Ascension Thursday." And you know I just, the general… [00:52:51] OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 28 [AP] Mom, this didn't go on while at Colegio, but one, now I'm on another story, I am not saying that didn't go on, I'm saying the story I'm setting up I think actually happened while we were still in Tigard, but at one point people asked you, "Why did you marry a Mexican? Does he carry a knife?" Those kinds of things. [KO] I was in nurses training. [AP] I don't know. Because I think the question was kind of about the bigotry that we faced. [KO] Oh, Yes! [AP] That's what I was trying to set up. Is that my mother, and she because of her background was completely unprepared for this. She didn't, okay, the way I've heard my mother phrase it is she thought Mexican was white. [KO] My mother said it was. [AP] She had no concept. She didn't think she was marrying a man of color. She didn't know there was bigotry against doing something like that. She didn't. So she wasn't prepared for any racism from anyone because she didn't think she was doing anything unconventional. So, not only did she have to deal with the bigotry, she was completely unprepared, and at one point, I've heard over the years, that you turned to my father at one point and said, "Did you know you were setting me up for this? Did you know that we were going to have to endure this kind of bigotry?" And he said, "Yes." So, he was prepared, but you weren't… [KO] But, I said, what's that, my favorite line is, "I would rather live in your world with you than without you in my own." But what was my world, was his world. Well poor Andrew, we went to a picnic one time where they beat him up for not being Mexican and he beat all three of the kid's up. [AP] Okay, well let's re-phrase that. They started a fight with me and ended up… [KO] Beating them up. [AP] Well when we say "beat up", that sounds like the fight was over by the end. They basically picked a fight with me because I was at a Mexican party and they said I was white and a white boy shouldn't be at a Mexican party. Is that correct? [KO] Yeah. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 29 [NF] Was this at Colegio? This was after? [AP] This was a few blocks down from there so, yeah in my own life story that's always something I've had to deal with myself. Was like to deal with people being bigoted against my father because he is Mexican and deal with the other bigotry, which is, "that you're not even Mexican why were you there?" So, something I've…but we're not on to me yet." [00:54:54] [NF] But, I think this is a really good transition into something that I want to ask about. Is the newspaper ad from September 11, 1980 in the Silverton Tribune Mount Angel. [AP] Wow, September 11, I didn't know that. [NF] So, basically this ad, it's the, the whole paper is basically about the Oktoberfest Tradition because to my understanding, most of the community in Mount Angel was of German descent, is that correct? [KO] Yes, at least the settling people there were. [NF] So, Oktoberfest was a big deal. [AP] It still is. It's the whole town. [NF] There are pages and pages in this paper about the Oktoberfest schedules and activities, but then on the back page is an ad that says, "Cherish Your Heritage, the Harvest is Great", and it's about Colegio César Chávez. Part in English, part in Spanish and then there are three children and one of which is you Andrew. So could you talk about this ad and how it came to be? And actually September 1980, this was really even before Art officially got the job, he didn't get it until October 1980, but he was a student already, so how did this come about? [KO] Well we were out there every weekend. All the time. [NF] As volunteers. [KO] Yeah. [AP] Were we living on the campus grounds? OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 30 [KO] We might have been living. [AP] Well because, what I understood from my mother is that there's like the terms of our, terms of tenancy? That Irma wrote, but that it actually says in the paper that we were actually living there before that was written and so the date doesn't line up, that we had moved in before so. [NF] Okay. [AP] The story I've heard from you, because I have no memory of this is that we were living in the house behind Colegio when one day organizers from the college came and said that they needed me in the picture, is that correct? [KO] Something like that. [AP] Do you remember that? I don't remember that, that's a story I've been told [KO] and then we went out in front of Colegio [AP] and what I have been told is that one of the objectives was that I guess they needed a child and they also wanted to demonstrate diversity. Of course, I as a child, didn't know that because I don't know that my father wasn't my biological father. [KO] You didn't know you could be diverse. [AP] I didn't know that, and my mother has told me actually that a similar, that they would do similar things at Center for Employment Training in San Jose. That they wanted to demonstrate diversity, so they would get me in the pictures there too. [KO] They wouldn't give me the pictures they needed to show that little gabachos hit the Piñata. ["Gabacho" is a Mexican slang term meaning "white."] [AP] See I didn't of course as a child I didn't know that. I had no concept, but I do remember it being taken and I don't remember it being led up to, but I remember it being taken. The picture was taken by the Colegio, is this correct? The Colegio César Chávez sign on the front lawn. Like the Colegio César Chávez sign was right behind us here. I remember this bag, this thing of fruit and I remember all of us being really nervous and really scared and I think you can tell by looking at our faces. [NF] Did you know the two other children? OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 31 [AP] No, we didn't know each other and I think that's why we were nervous and scared because I think we didn't know each other and I didn't know what was going on. I just remember being posed and I remember them taking our picture of course and telling us how to pose. I think they were trying to get us… [KO] But you know their mothers name don't you? [AP] Yeah her name, well you, because you told me. {KO] And I forgot. [AP] You said Gloria Sandoval [KO] Yeah, I think some were Gloria Sandoval's kids [NF] Did you choose your outfits? Or were these, the hat, and the little bandana [AP] I don't know. [KO] I think, I think they did it. [AP] What was the theme they were going after? [KO] I don't know. [AP] This is obviously a very Mexican hat and…. {KO] I know Gloria Sandoval laughed after the picture was taken. She said. "It looks like padrón and the workers [laughs]" you know. That wasn't what it was intended to be, it was intended to show diversity. ["padrón" is the Spanish word for boss or overlord.] [AP] Who said that? [KO] Gloria Sandoval [AP] Really? [KO] Yeah. [AP] I didn't even know. I didn't hear her say. I wouldn't have known what that meant. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 32 [KO] Well, you weren't, you didn't hear it, no [AP] So, that's all I remember. That is was taken on the lawn in front of Huelga Hall by the Colegio César Chávez sign and I just remember, I just remember us being nervous and really not knowing what was going on. ["Huelga Hall" was the main campus building, or the commons building, for Colegio César Chávez. "Huelga" is the Spanish language word for "strike."] [NF] It sounded like it was very spur of the moment. They asked you to do it, and they took it. [KO] Yeah. [AP] I think because they, my interpretation, no one's told me this, but I think by this point Colegio was very "unliked" by the local community, so I think this was, kind of an attempt, to try "join in" in the, I mean because that's the point of Oktoberfest is harvesting and so we have this bounty of fruit and vegetables and all that and trying to be a part of local community and I don't think it worked. Don't think it swayed them. [00:59:58] [KO] No. Where are the pictures of people marching down the street carrying "huelga" signs and everybody hated us [laughs]. You know, they did. They were afraid and they were a very closed community. They really are in Mount Angel. One of the little girls I was working with when I said to her, this is out at WOU, I said, "Oh you're from Mount Angel? Really? What's your family's name?" and she grinned and said, "Well, my mom is…my dad is an outsider, but my mom is a Traeger." Yeah, so you know. ["Traeger" is a prominent family in Mount Angel. WOU is the acronym for "Western Oregon University."] [AP] Well, one of my other favorite stories is [Andrew motions towards his mother] didn't you ask someone living in Mount Angel, "Oh, you've been here your whole life, you must know everyone in Mount Angel and people in Silverton and in Scotts Mills" and she said, "I don't know anyone in Scotts Mills!" Like she was almost like offended by the idea that she would know someone that didn't live in her own town. [KO] [laughs] [AP] So, it's just like you don't want to know people who are from other places and who are different. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 33 [KO] And you see we knew everybody. I mean we didn't know everybody. [AP] She asked about the picture, so do you know anything more about the picture? [KO] No, I don't know anything more about it. I just know that [NF] okay [AP] Well, you saved this right? [KO] Well because I'm a hoarder Andrew. I save everything with you in it. [laughs] [AP] My mom, she's [KO] I am. I'm a hoarder. [NF] Was this the only type of advertisement type of activity that you were asked to participate in, something like this for Colegio? [AP] I'm pretty sure. I'm pretty sure it is. [KO] Mhhm. [NF] Okay. [KO] I think daddy went with Mark Levine to the prisons. [By "daddy" Karen means her widower, Arthur Olivo. She is referring to him from the perspective of her children.] Mark had gone out, Mark Levine who was the College Without Walls guy, went out to the prisons and got several people out there to sign up for classes and they went out there and worked among the people that, you know, were in the prisons and that was a wonderful thing to do. And, but as far as advertisement for anything that lady we told you about earlier, Sean, thought there was something going on there like a commons, you know, where she could set up a booth and discuss Cuba and Nicaragua and whatever was going on and she got there and there was nothing there. There was the Olivos in the house in the back…. [Karen means that by the time Sean arrived, campus community was winding down because Colegio would close in a few years, and so the Olivo family, Karen's family, was perhaps one of the most active things on the campus grounds at the time] and we befriended her and her little girl and tried to help her but yeah. There was yeah, I didn't ever notice any overt anything except for what Mark did, to try to do anything. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 34 [NF] So how many students were actually on campus that, when you were living there that you saw people came to campus and took classes or because it was the College Without Walls Program were most of the students getting credit for their jobs? Do you recall? [KO] I remember that we used to call Leonard, the student, because he was a student and that was all that we saw really. I remember one of the ladies who worked there, and I can't remember her name, she said to me, "I write out checks in names that I don't recognize. I don't know who these checks are going to." And that's all I was told, I didn't pursue it any further; I know that Mrs. Burnt, Andrew's first grade teacher, and said her neighbor was being sued for not paying his student loan and she said he never got one. He only took one class there and I know I shepherded him down to a state senator's office in Salem, so that I could have this… [AP] Didn't you say too that like Irma like other people lived in the area, but like Irma and like the people at that point that were running Colegio actually lived in Portland? [KO] Oh, Irma and Peter DeGarmo and all of them lived in Portland. [NF] The administration? [KO] Yeah, oh yeah. And I know there had been a big grant given to maintain the office of the presidency and I don't know who gave it to them, but I always thought well isn't that great, you know, you. [AP] One thing that I've read is that one reason that like Colegio had correspondent students and that that was one way that it was kind of hard to build an on-campus community for student was that a lot of them weren't there. I think I read at one point they even had students in Canada, so I mean we were there towards the end. [KO] Yes, it was very definitely the end. [NF] So then you had, you talked about the Holy Communion party and you mentioned, we have photos of the collection of the poet that came. Can you talk a little bit about that event? [KO] Alurista? Well I didn't know he was world famous either. I just thought, "A poetry reading? Oh we have to go, how wonderful because I love that." And so we were there and Andrew was there and who else was there, well daddy… OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 35 [AP] I don't think he's world famous. [KO] Isn't he? [AP] No. [01:05:00] [KO] Well he started MEChA didn't he? [AP] What I've read is that he was the one popularized the concept of Aztlán, which got integrated into the idea of MEChA. [MEChA is a support group for Latino students. It is an acronym that stands for "Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán. Alurista, the poet Karen and Andrew are referring to, is said to be one of the figures in the Chicano movement to popularize the concept of Aztlán.] [KO] and then the picture that we gave… [AP] So he is somewhat of significance in the Chicano movement. [KO] Oh, well alright. [AP] I don't know if that qualifies him as world famous. [KO] Yes it does. Yes it does. Andrew gave him a picture that he had taken and he used it on his Facebook did you say? [AP] I was friends with him for awhile on MySpace back when people still had MySpace and I went on there and I saw that he had actually put one of the pictures of his reading at Colegio, he had put it on his MySpace account, which I was surprised by. So, apparently he was proud of it. And I have since read his biography and he, I think he is referred to as Poet Laureate of the Chicano movement? I unfortunately have no memory of that reading, but you have told me that there is that one picture where I am asleep on your lap and my father purposefully took because he like wanted that angle. Is that correct or am I… [KO] I guess. [AP] That he like purposefully wanted me with Alurista in the background and there he's like signing books, correct? You have no memory of telling me that? [KO] I have no memory of why it was taken. I know it was taken. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 36 [AP] I really like those pictures by the way because I was probably in my like, I really, one thing that I loved about Huelga Hall was the, all the, I loved all the murals. And that was, there are a bunch or murals in that room and also the fireplace and that was just the place where it just seemed like there was a lot of community and that's, I mean like asking questions about how many student there were, it sounds like there was hardly anyone there, but there were a lot of people from my perspective, but apparently not many students, but didn't matter to me it just still felt like a big community, that's what it felt like to me. [NF] So, then something like that, the poetry reading, was that more-so for the students? Was that for the community? Was it for both? Attended? [KO] It was for the community, there were several people there. There wasn't and there was this big division between Centro Cultural and the people that were supporting them and Colegio and they like boycotted or something, you know. They… [NF] Can you talk a little bit more about… [KO] Centro Cultural [NF] Yes, can you talk a little bit about that? [KO] Well all I know about that is, and there are people who know about this because "Cheecho", my daughters, Anna's father… ["Cheecho" was the nickname Anna Guajardo's father-in-law. Anna is the half-sister of Andrew, and the daughter of Karen. She married a man named Ruben Guajardo, whose father, "Cheecho" was involved with Centro Cultural.] [AP] Is that his really name by the way? Cheecho? That was his nickname correct? [KO] No, Oscar Guajardo. There's a million Oscar Guajardos just like there's a million Arthur Olivos. [AP] Okay, okay. Answer. [KO] Anyway, Oscar Guajardo Sr., was the President [of Centro Cultural], I think what they did during the War on Poverty, they went around and they gathered up all these miscellaneous people and they said, "Okay! Let's get together and do this." And Cheecho said, "Sure, I like a party let's get together." [AP] Okay, Mom, mom just stick to the Cultural please… OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 37 [KO] Okay, so he was the President and he said to me one day, "I set up four daycare centers." You were in charge of setting up that daycare at Guadalupe Hall that never opened because there was no running water? [AP] Oh, I remember actually going there with you. I used, they had all those books. I just remember going through all the books. [KO] They had all the books, they had spent a fortune. I don't know about the other three day care centers, what happened to them, but I know the one there. [AP] I think the question was, whatever your opinion of it, I think the question was just about if you remember any controversies between the two organizations. [KO] Yeah, each one wanted control. [AP] I think that was. [NF] Was it, may I ask, was it because Centro Cultural disliked the current administration? [KO] It could have been. [NF] Did they want to take over for that purpose? [KO] It could have been the men like, who started PCUN [Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noreste]? Who started? Ramirez. [NF] It was someone who graduated from Colegio. [KO] See, yeah, see it's all convoluted. It's all not… [AP] He graduated from there at a point when I think Sonny Montes was still there. [KO] Could have [AP] When it was still kinda, when it was still during its… [KO] Now this is one of the things that we'll tell you a little bit… OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 38 [AP] I don't think anyone even graduated during the era that we were there. I don't think it, and it lost its accreditation when we were there too so. [NF] Yes, I think it was the college was always sort of on probation and then they didn't get accreditation. [KO] You're right, absolutely. [AP] I think that maybe, I don't know, I might be reading this in, but I think my mom sometimes thinks that Colegio didn't really do anything because it didn't graduate any people when we were there, but it did before we got there. [KO] Well I think it did; it did a lot of things Andrew. [AP] I think my mom, to be honest, I think that my mom is like really angry still. [KO] Well, that. [AP] Still, 30 years later that, like a lot of potential was lost and kind of lost in all the fighting and so I think that like sometimes when my mother asked questions, even when I ask questions, like you can, like my mother's frustration with it comes out. That's… [01:10:00] [KO] Mhhm. We got invited to go, Arthur and I, were attending a lecture [AP] that's my interpretation, I might…sorry [KO] José Angel, that's okay. And he invited us to go uptown and drink some beer. And Arthur said, "Okay." And it was one of those kind of those macho man to man things, you know. Art didn't drink, but since José Angel had said let's go drink. And when we came back there was a white pick-up truck backed up to one of the doors on the lawn, on the front lawn of Colegio. Obviously we figured out that José Angel had been putting up, put up to invite Arthur, the caretaker, to go have a beer while this was going on, but we got back before it was accomplished. So, we went in and here was Pola Ponce in a pair of high heels and they were stealing the Lupe Library and the Lupe [laughs] Lupe Library had come up from San Francisco in the back of a U-Haul and it was…the…were the letters L-U-P-E were written in the books and I could determine because of my association with the War on Poverty that this was a library that had been bought, to support some woman's program in San Francisco. And some way or OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 39 another…Colegio was contacted and did we want the books? And the books came up there and so they were sitting in this room and I didn't know anything about what they were doing there. They weren't reference books particularly, they were just children's books… [AP] I really like those books by the way. [KO] Yes, I know [AP] That was, that was where my, my love of books started I think because I used to go by myself and read all those books. I mean not all of them, but I mean I used to browse through them. [KO] Well there were such as books as Two Pennies For Rosa and… [AP] There were also like National Geographics. [KO] Yeah…no that was in the basement. That wasn't part of the Lupe Library. [AP] Oh. Where was the Lupe Library? I'm sorry, I'm sorry [KO] Lupe Library was on the 1st floor [AP] Really? [KO] Yeah [AP] Oh, okay [KO] The other books were in the basement. I'm just talking specifically about the Lupe Library [AP] Sorry, sorry [KO] and as Pola ran past me in her high heels with her arms full of books she said, "just another part the ongoing Revolution." And I said, "Well Paula maybe next time it would be easier if you had a Revolution in tennis shoes." [laughs] you know, because she…and so they unloaded all the books. Well I saw some of the books and I recognized them by the L-U-P-E, I saw them at Salud de la Familia in Woodburn, so I don't know what they did with them OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 40 [AP] Years later? [KO] Years later, yeah. And they had, I think they were being taken by… [AP] So this was, this was José Angel Gutiérrez trying to…. [KO] He was, Pola had put him up to it. [AP] Like trying to, like fighting for power within Colegio is what was going on. Basically. [KO] Well Paula had put him up to taking Daddy and me down to buy a beer. [AP] See this is what I refer to as like I didn't know the politics of it, but I just do remember from my childhood there on one hand feeling very happy and loving the community that I was a part of but also knowing that there was a lot of conflict. [KO] Well, far be it from Daddy to have anybody arrested for anything. I, as an example Chief Vickery came to us one day and… [AP] Can I ask a quick question though, by the way? Was the questions answered about the relationship between Cultural and Colegio. What was your answer? [KO] Well…well that was kind of answering it in a roundabout way, bad [laughs]. [AP] But what was, what is you answer, just that you remember that there was a bad relationship. [KO] That's what I remember. I remember that there was no working together on anything. And maybe…maybe Irma taking her place as President, I mean I don't know what caused it. [AP] And this was at a point…okay. Pola Ponce was living at Colegio at a point, wasn't… [KO] I don't think at this time she was, but she had lived there. {AP] Okay. And her daughter…I don't know, should I mention? [KO] You can, its history, its history. What are they going to do? Sue you for saying? OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 41 [AP] I don't know, I don't know. [KO] It's history, isn't it? It's important [NF] Yeah. [AP] Well, her daughter's name is Xochitl and that was something that was interesting because I remember my mother introducing me to her daughter at Colegio, introducing me, "This is Xochitl and this means "flower." And the word Xochitl means flower." And I remember I thought you meant that was the Spanish word for flower so later on when I started studying Spanish I remember being surprised it was actually "flor" and then finding out that apparently that that was like the Aztec or Nahuatl word for flower and you said Pola Ponce's other child was Zubnah or something. She had like her first child, her first two children, like were like Mary and William and then she became an activist and she had named one Zubnah and the other one Xochitl. [KO] See… [AP] So anyway, Xochitl was one of my playmates too at Colegio. So, I had Xochitl and I had Perfecto [laughs] Those were my best friends at Colegio. [KO] Yeah. [NF] and Centro Cultural was that in Mount Angel or where was that located? [01:15:00] [KO] That was in Woodburn, in Woodburn. [NF] Okay. [KO] Yeah, that was in Woodburn. [NF] And those were people that had a connection to Colegio and they… [KO] They had some claim there. [NF] And they wanted, they just had a different direction for where they wanted to take it. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 42 [KO] They wanted to, yeah, they wanted to run it. And see Irma's support network there was 2 non-Mexican men from Portland, who didn't give a damn what happened to us, didn't care. I guess Pola, I don't know what, where she stood on that, she married an old gabacho later, she invited us and it was kind of fun to be invited to her wedding to this older man who informed me that she was his "Hot Tamale." She was a good looking woman. Anyway, let me see, what else? What else do I know that would be an example of how they didn't get along? Well just the fact that, you know, the people wanted to use the Hall for different thinks and Irma got made when Art would open the door to them. [NF] Why, why was that? Was it because the school was in, the college was in financial strain? That, do you think she felt like she needed the money or was it in part because she wanted, like you mentioned, to make it more elite and so she didn't want the community there? What do you think perhaps was her reasoning? [KO] I think…I don't know. [NF] You're not sure? [KO] Because as I say I think she, in her ways she was a kind-hearted person. While Colegio closed she took Maria Teresa with her because the girl had nowhere to live, she was pregnant and she had two little kids, she actually took her to her home in Portland and took her to the hospital when she was in labor and they sent her home where she delivered Manuelito on the floor in the kitchen, you know. So, she didn't, she wasn't a mean person, she was a pretty, elegant, educated woman. I think looking for power and she was… [AP] ambitious [KO] hmm? [AP] ambitious [KO] Ambitious. And she was fighting against men. You know. That was, see that was another interesting thing too that I came to learn early was that because of the way our family was and my husband's beliefs, I really didn't have an easy time being friends with any non-Mexican people in the community because my husband had different expectations of how I was to behave [laughs] and so that was different too. [AP] Can you clarify that? What exactly do you mean? OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 43 [KO] Well things… [AP] A lot of this is news to me, by the way. [KO] Things like, I didn't have my own life. I, he told me there was room for a boss, one boss in marriage and he was it. [AP] Well that's one thing about my father is that he was very…As a child I didn't use these kind of words, but he in my opinion as an adult I've learned these kinds of words. I don't think he was very assimilated into mainstream culture at all. I mean, never spoke English very well. Very, in my opinion, very traditional in that way, which kind of leads to what we discussed earlier. He, a mentor of mine who is a Mexican man has explained to me that it is common in Mexican culture for a man to say, to tell people that he is my biological son even when he's not. Don't tell anyone that he's not. That these children are my biological, but mentor Jaime has mentioned that mine was the first situation he had seen where it actually crosses cultures. That usually it's the children are usually biologically Mexican as well, so it's an interesting thing for me to think about. [KO] Well, I, and I kept a Mexican kitchen you know when Arthur was alive, when Arthur was home. [AP] How did you…What do you mean by you kept a Mexican kitchen? [laughs] [NF] The food do you mean? [AP] Oh okay! [KO] Remember that, remember the comál your sisters fought over that daddy made me and Mary would steal it and then Anna would steal it back [AP] okay, I actually remember you making your menudo with pig's feet, so. [KO] Yeah [AP] I do remember that. [KO] You do. Do you remember that daddy wouldn't take a sandwich for lunch? It had to be he called them "tacos" and you know you call them burritos if you roll them like that's a burrito, no that's a taco and he wouldn't…and I had to make Chile Colorado for his tacos because he was not…that's what I liked about when I first met him, Mima OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 44 would make him tuna sandwiches and he would leave them and then I would get to eat the tuna sandwiches, but anyway yeah. That's…did you…you knew what I meant when I meant "Mexican kitchen"? [NF] Mhhm. [KO] spices and… [AP] It makes it sound like you had a kitchen in Mexico maybe. [KO] I always wanted a kitchen in Mexico. I always wanted to go live in Mexico! And he… [AP] My mom had never referred to it that way, that she kept a Mexican kitchen so I didn't know what you meant. [KO] Oh [01:20:00] [AP] You know some of this to be honest it's for me some of this, a lot of this background is mysterious even to me. Neither of my parents were people that I felt easy questioning really. My father never, I wouldn't ever question him. Like we would have Sunday drives, this is one of my favorite examples of this, we would have Sunday drives like after church and I would ask where are we going and my mother would start to answer and my father would say, "Don't tell him, he'll find out when we get there." So, I myself am not used to asking questions about some of these…this era in particular. Or at least I know if I do ask questions that some of it is going to be controversial, so some of this is news to me. I'm learning stuff. [KO] and what did you say to daddy when you leaned up over the seat and said"… [AP] Well yeah I was like three, but [KO] I know. He said to his father, "If you don't know where we're going why don't you get out of the car and let me drive." [AP] Okay, I was trying to be cute and I was about three. Three or four [KO] I know. And… OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 45 [AP] I could get away with that when I was really young. [KO] Yes you could. When you were really little you could get away with it. [AP] When I was really young. If I talked to him like that when I got older I…. [KO] Oh yeah that wasn't. Daddy…I think it's a very safe way to grow up, with a father who knows exactly what he's about. Exactly. He may not, but he sure thinks he does you know. [AP] I think the word we are trying to avoid using probably because of…I hope this doesn't sound stereotypical but the word "macho" would really apply to [KO] What's wrong with "macho"? [AP] Well because there's nothing wrong with that it's just that I think people don't want to endorse stereotypes and I think that might carry stereotypes so I try to avoid using that, but… [KO] Well if daddy and Leroy weren't macho… [AP] They would probably be called...actually I think my father would be complimented to hear me refer to him that way. He would be complimented I think, other people who are activists or whatever might find it offensive. [KO] Well I don't care what they think. [AP] Well you don't but… [KO] I know what my… [AP] I've had to learn which terms to use because I've taken Latino history classes and Chicano history classes and I've learned that when I say certain things or have certain perspectives, if I don't state them perfectly then sometimes people might be offended [laughs]. [KO] Andrew was directing a class one time out at WOU and he said, "And this is my mother over here, do you have anything to say mother?" Well of course! And one of the things I told the kids, the high school kids that were, I said, "Make sure you correct people when they don't pronounce your name right" like my grandson, he lets people get and he calls himself "Santi-lawn-oh" and I think the Santellano is a beautiful name OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 46 and I think he should respect his father and himself and say Santellano just because somebody can't say it…teach them how. I feel the same way about the people from Saudi Arabia…. [Karen is referring to the differences in pronunciation. The Mexican surname "Santellano" should properly be pronounced as "Sante-yawn-oh." But the common, Anglocized, mispronunciation is "Sante-lawn-oh."] [AP] How did we get, how did we get to this topic by the way? [KO] Oh well this is just, yeah. [NF] Well she's talking about, I think talking about your father and sort of… [AP] Talking about having Mexican…you had a Mexican Kitchen. [KO] I did...I did. [NF] So, let's, let's talk a little bit about towards the end; I mean you were there towards the end of Colegio, the 19' know 1980, 1981, 1982 so what was it that happened? I mean obviously there was already some tension between Art and the Administration, Art and Irma, so what happened that then she would send the letter saying, it was a termination notice letter in April 30th 1982 that, that you needed to vacate the premise and was that completely out of the blue? Was that expected? [KO] It kind of was I think. Yeah, I think it was, but I think Arthur was tired putting up with the boloney, putting up with the waste, putting up with the mistreatment of the people. You know, I think it was kind of what it was. He just could only be quiet for so long. They never gave him any help, they never helped clean. He buffed those floors, we polished those floors, you know, we took care of the place so that people wouldn't….they did get some kind of help there one time, somebody donated some chips, woodchips or something to make it look nice. But it lost its accreditation anyway and I think… [AP] I don't think, I don't think the condition of the yard had much to do with… [KO] but I think that's what they were doing, you know, well we are trying to keep accreditation and all that. I think he was just so tired of the whole thing and he was tired of her not wanting the people to be able to use and I don't know… [AP] Colegio closed, I think in ‘83 I think. [NF] Mhhm. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 47 [AP] and we moved away in I think ‘82 and so it was only a year after we moved away. So, I, I mean I myself don't know why we ended up moving. Was it because things like, like letting people have the dance? And that irritated Irma? [KO] Yeah…yeah. [AP] I mean it's like you commented in the beginning of the interview. The letter from Irma was on one hand really kind and eloquent and on another level kind of cunning. And so I myself never understood why we…why we ended up leaving you know? Why we ended up… [01:25:09] [KO] Well, the… [AP] I think in my perspective I was sad. It was because we had moved a lot by that point in my life. It was like, I just remember being sad. I felt like Colegio was my home and I didn't want to leave. I didn't understand why, but… [NF] So then she sent, she sent that letter, but then there was one of the last documents is the one from an attorney saying that, that Art denies that he bridged the contract and what came of that? I mean you… [KO] Is that written by January Roshlaub? [NF] Yes. [KO] Yes. Nothing. [AP] Can I see that by the way? I don't think I remember that. [KO] January was a fantastic person. [AP] How interesting. [NF] So, he, did Art stop talking classes at this point? Did he… [AP] He had stopped. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 48 [NF] He had stopped. Maybe he took one or two semesters? One or two terms, but then he had stopped. [KO] Yeah. [NF] So he had, did he talk about why he stopped taking classes? Or did he just… [KO] He was just disgusted at the way everything was. [NF] It just wasn't what he was expecting? [KO] Yeah. He couldn't tolerate it. [NF] And the, just so that we we're clear. So, he worked there to maintain the grounds, and he was a student there for some time but then he did have a separate job? [KO] Oh yeah. [NF] He had a separate full time job? [KO] Oh yeah, sure. Oh yeah. [NF] And that was as a teacher? Or… [KO] I think by that time he was working RHO, I think there had been the people that were in charge of CET, Center for Employment Training, in Tigard it had gone belly up, there was, it just didn't work it was another one of this things were they were going around with a bus trying to pick people up and bring them in for training. It's just really hard when you're not geared toward, you know, going every day at the same time for… [AP] There's a lot of controversy here. [KO] Yes, oh yes. Well I think your dad was happy. No, I mean I don't know. [AP] Well I mean that's one thing that I've learned too is that a lot of, I mean, sorry I think that's my phone. A mentor of mine, I have a lot of mentors. He's a doctor, doctor of psychology and all that and he's written extensively about all the fighting that went on at universities he had worked for so I mean I don't know if I should say this at a university, but I mean I've just, what I've come to understand is that it's common to have a lot of fighting [laughs]. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 49 [KO] That's why daddy left Stanford University, because the doctors were so mean to each other. He said one would get the grant and then they would all borrow from him and then somebody would get a grant and pay him back and they'd borrow. There was an old doctor that everybody was mean to and daddy got mad and quit, you know…when he'd had enough, he'd had enough. [NF] Right. So, then he got the letter from Irma and it looks like he tried to fight it but then you said nothing came of it. Oh, you fought it. [KO] I went, I went. Arthur, he was, he was a very complex person. He had a hard time confronting about some things, when our first grandchild was born and we had ordered the dressing table and it didn't come in he came all the way home from San Jose to get me to go all the way back so that I could confront the person who was in charge of getting us a dressing table and I… [AP] Sorry, go ahead, sorry. [KO] I said, "Well Arthur it was a block away why didn't you go?" and he… [AP] This is, I'm, tell me if I'm interrupting or if what I'm saying is… [KO] You're interrupting. No, I'm just kidding! I'm just kidding. [AP] I'm talking to her not you. [KO] Oh, okay. Sorry. [AP] Okay, well what you said is interesting to me because on one hand I do remember that about that he ran within the family he seemed almost a dictator at least for me, but then I would sometime see the way he would interact with other people and as an adult, I, you know. He was born in a migrant camp and I think he was aware that some people saw him as a second class citizen to a certain extent. I think that that maybe played into it because he wasn't second class within the family of course. [KO] No, not at all. [AP] But it's something I understand, it's one of those things that you understand later, I suppose. Because it's almost impossible for me to comprehend, but I think that that's my own interpretation that he, you know, as I mentioned, he never spoke English well, he spoke broken English. That I mean I just remember, it's so hard for me to understand OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 50 that, but I think that he did feel second class to…not that he himself felt that way, but I think, not that he believed he was, but I think he knew he would encounter bigotry from other people. That's at least my interpretation. [01:30:09] [KO] Oh, I remember Mima saying well Art said, and it was almost as if God had spoken himself, you know, Art was the oldest son in the family and everybody, if you know at all about our culture, you know, you mind the oldest brother [laughs]. Yeah, you do. And they were. [AP] That was a part of his personality that I could never really understand and I just [KO] But he was afraid of Mima too, she stood about 5 ft tall and he told me, "I really stood up to her the other day." [AP] I've had to explain to my mother, well that's his mother. I don't care, she said, my mother said, "Oh, you stood up to an old…" Well it doesn't matter how old she was, she was still his mother. [KO] [laughs] but he was…stood up to Mima. You know, you kind of have to understand the culture you're living in, yes. [AP] Kind of. [KO] Kind of, yeah. [AP] [laughs] [KO] Yeah, kind of understand it. It helps if you do. Yeah. But I didn't know, I mean I knew that Olga and I could understand each other and obey the rules that were set down. [AP] Can I, do you mind if I talk? [NF] Oh, sure. [AP] This is, I didn't know it was right here. I think that as they called, the student…what was his name? [KO} His name was Leonard. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 51 [AP] I think, is that Leonard? [KO] Yes that's Leonard. [AP] Okay that's Leonard. [NF] So, on the Colegio César Chávez Catalog this is from 1978? Right? [KO] Yeah. [AP] I think so. I think it is. {NF] So what page is it that you're pointing too and who is that? [AP] 29, Leonard, I don't know his last name. [KO] I don't know what his last name was. [AP] But the last, the last I knew about him he was a tutor, a math tutor at Chemeketa Community College, so. [KO] and we had a good visit the last time I saw him. [AP] but all these pictures in this were taken before we were there, but. And I've thought for years that that was Sonny Montes, but that's not Sunny Montes is it? [KO] I don't think so [AP] is it? [NF] No. [AP] But that way yeah. I remember that. That, the mural that we were taking about, Che Guevara? [KO] Mhhm [AP] Is that…is that Sonny Montes? Who is that? He looks so familiar. [KO] I don't know who that is. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 52 [AP] Okay, anyway. Okay. I just really like that. [KO] Yeah, I wished we had more things. I didn't realize the significance. I knew that it was important because I thought, you know, they would help people be able to have a better way of life. But, you know, there's so much more to it than just going to college, you know. It's really hard to come out of a different world. [AP] Well, I think the thing too that's interesting to me, you know, is when you talk about the history of Colegio there's all this talk about all the squabbling and all the fighting, but it's interesting that years down the line, it kind of doesn't matter because the point is that it was the first and that it was accredited, the first Chicano. And it was also in Oregon. I mean that's what I, I mean it's still interesting to people whether there was all this…I mean name me a college or any situation with human beings where there isn't fighting, you know? [KO] [laughs] Yeah. [AP] There's no situation I can think of, so. [KO] Yeah well that's…right now out at WOU, where I volunteer at the Jensen Artic Museum, Dr. Manahan had come down a few years ago, I think he say he two years ago, or was it a year ago June? And he said there wasn't any money for the museum anymore and it was going to close up. And when you see something you think is valuable, it just, you know you feel really bad to see things close up. To lose the Colegio, when I meet people, I wish that we could find Roy, Roy Guajardo graduated from Colegio and [AP] He's my sister's brother-in-law. I don't know if that makes him anything. [KO] Well that makes him Reuben's brother [laughs] Well Sonny said, "I knew Reuben", you know. [AP] O yeah, one of my brother-in-laws went to Colegio, so. [KO] Graduated. [AP] No, Ruben went too he didn't graduate OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 53 [KO] Oh yeah, Ruben went too, yeah. I think they all went. I think they gathered up all the young people and said "Come on! Go to college!" and I think it's hard to go to college, you know [laughs]. [AP] You see I think, I think the thing that, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Did you have like a more structured question, I'm sorry? Kind of going off on a tangent. [NF] Well, no I just. I'm interested now in, so after you left it was, did you leave the area? Where did you move to? Did you stay in the Mount Angel Area? [1:35:07] [KO] We moved to Woodburn. [NF] To Woodburn, okay. [AP] Was dad still working at CET? I don't know. You see I don't even remember. [KO] He was. [AP] Oh! He had gone to the welding place or whatever, RHO [KO] Yeah, he was at RHO and he and Leroy had both left by that time. And… {NF] Well and then according to his resume that's in the collection, in 1982 he began attending Chemeketa Community College. So, he was still really interested in pursuing, continuing to pursue his education. [KO] He was always, yes. [NF] Just not at Colegio. Colegio just wasn't right for him. [KO] He loved classes. He loved learning. He loved going to school [laughs]. Yeah. [AP] That's what's so, I'm sorry I keep interrupting. It's just, one thing that's so interesting is that it's almost like all the fighting that took place at Colegio and all that, it doesn't change the fact that its historically important, just the fact that it existed at all. And of course that's not something you know at the time, so I mean its I guess sometimes I feel like when people ask me about Colegio, that I feel like I should say, "Oh we all knew it was so interesting and so historically important and…" I had no idea. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 54 [KO] I don't think that when you're living through something you even realize, like you came to me and said, "Well you were right in the middle of the Chicano Revolution." And I said, "No I wasn't! I was cooking dinner." Daddy was, daddy was the one. When I said to him, "Arthur this feels like a Revolution." We were at a dinner and there were all these big handsome men walking around with fierce looks in their eyes and then in came the Priest and I said, "Oh. This feels like a Revolution." And Arthur said, "It is a revolution." [AP] That was in San Jose right? [KO] That was in San Jose. But what I didn't realize is… [AP] Was César Chávez at that one? [KO] I don't believe he was there that night, but it was a revolution. They were working with César Chávez, with his money. There was a Priest there. I don't think it was Father Soto because he left the church and became a civilian, or whatever they do. But there were these men who were darn well not going to be subjugated into the fields. They were going to come and be leaders and they were going to…do you know my husband's cousin said to me he hadn't heard the word, what word had I used to David? [AP] Gabacho. [KO] Gabacho. He said I haven't heard that word in years. [AP] But did we lose the question, I'm sorry, did we lose the question? I think she had a very specific question [KO] Okay [NF] Well it was just sort of what happened after you left? And I think, I'm interested, it sounds like, if I'm correctly interpreting this, that perhaps that you weren't aware of it at the time, but it sounds very much at the time, but it sounds like Arthur was aware of sort of the grander significance. [KO] He was aware of the….yes, he was. And I, when I was talking to my oldest girl about this she said, "Well mommy you might not have been active out in the field, but you supported every step that he made." And I did. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 55 [AP] Can I, can I, I suppose maybe your question is that…it appears almost like it was kinda like accidental that my mom got involved, but that from my father's perspective it wasn't accidental, was that kind of the gist? And that he didn't just stumble…I mean to be honest mom you kind of did stumble into this correct? You didn't set out to be an activist, correct? You didn't set out to be part of something that was considered revolutionary correct? [KO] Well I wasn't even aware that there was any situation that needed. [AP] Exactly. In contrast to my father who was. [KO] In contrast to your Daddy. [AP] You are the one who asked this looks like a revolution and he said it was. So he was aware. {KO] He was aware. [AP] You, not so much. [KO} he was aware when they were making the nails to throw to pop the police car tires, yeah, yeah he was aware. [AP] Yeah that's a story that my mom tells sometimes. Something in San Jose and I always clarify César Chávez wasn't there. [KO] No, he wasn't there, but he might have been doing it himself. [AP] because that's something too that I've had to learn…I've had to learn myself is that because I was there for some of this history I've had to learn that the way I phrase things can, that it carries kind of like a responsibility to a certain extent, so I have to be careful how I phrase things, so I've had to learn like when I repeat that story that that was a group that César Chávez probably didn't endorse. He probably would have preferred that that not happen. Correct? [NF] Mhhm. Since he was pacifist. [AP] and he wasn't there. [KO] Yeah, he was. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 56 [AP] Because I actually I did actually mention that at one point just some student who were involved in MEChA and then I had to clarify really quick. [KO] Yeah, it's probably just as well because, you know, violence doesn't serve any purpose at the moment anymore, but they were violent with the people in the fields. I remember watching for three days while they held up help from coming to help three men who had been hurt and they stood off the ambulance and everybody else, and those men lay there and nobody could get to them, you know. It was horrible things. [01:40:16] [AP] Well, this might be way too personal, but I think you're allowing us to talk about….very free flowing. One thing I've come to realize about my father, Arthur Olivo, since his death and of course it wasn't something I could talk to about him…talk to him about during his life because he wouldn't allow mention of my biological father; I don't even know if this pertains, but a running theme here has been the theme of his desire to help people. I think to a certain extent he, how do I put it? Umm, I think my mother maybe didn't realize the revolution or the significance of what was going on because I think she herself didn't realize how tough her life was at that point. I think you didn't. And I think that just as my father wanted to help other people who were marginalized maybe my mother didn't realize that she as a single mother, a single woman raising children was herself marginalized. {KO] mmm [AP] and that might be…I mean because from a sociological perspective you have marriage between a feminist and a Chicano Activist. That's how I view my two…my parents and so I think [KO] Mima was a feminist. [AP] You have…you have two people that are marginalized by larger society [KO] Mhhm [AP] That I think that that's…so my mother wasn't aware of how to categorize that in that way, but she participated in that. She was a part of that kind of forward thinking. She had an activist component to her, even though she didn't label it that way. [NF] Well, and this is my own interpretation, but going back to the story where they were going to deny Arthur his diploma and you were the one that stood up and said OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 57 "No, you need to fight for this" I mean perhaps he was drawn, that was one of the characteristics that perhaps drew him to you, that. I mean if though you wouldn't label yourself as an activist, that kind of act and that kind of courage to stand up for someone who's… [KO] For what's right. [NF] For what's right. [AP] and that, I think that maybe the issue with my mother, not issue, not bad, the circumstance. I don't mean is that she doesn't always categorize things that, that idea standing up for or saying he needs to have his diploma can also be traced back to the story she likes to tell about her own childhood, which is that apparently there is a situation where white men were making fun of the indigenous and you were just a child and said, "they're different from you but they're not less." Or something like that; so my mother wouldn't label herself an activist at all, but I think she's always had that kind of inclination. That kind of behavior. And so… [KO] I remember being 10 years old and being so incensed that white people had come and taken the totems away from the Tlinget people and it was so wrong. You, you can't go and take peoples things away from then and the Tlinget were not going to fight back, you know. They didn't know how to fight back, now, I grew up with people who had to, a lot of people did, Carmen de la Rosa we used to drink beer together and then she's tell me this story about going into town and them saying, "you guys can eat in the kitchen. Or you can get hamburgers to go." [AP] That was in Texas right, with Carmen? [KO] That was in Texas and Carmen is 90, my comadre. [The term "co-madre" literally translates into "co-mother." It is a term used in Mexican culture to describe a close friendship between two women who are mothers and have a relationship akin to a sisterhood.] And she said…so I said, "well we gettum to go." And when they brought them to me and we were drinking beer, you know women…I said to them, "Now you can take them hamburgers" should have said it still that Texas accent, "and you can shove'um up your ass!" and my friends were so scared they said, "Carmen, Carmen we're gunna go to jail." "I don't care! They're not gunna..." and she didn't care and you know she's got kids…well I guess Adrian has done real good. He drives a bus. But Fran is an activist; her oldest daughter is an activist. And you know she just…I, I knew these stories. I knew about people, Carmen said how she cried when she went to 1st grade and she, "¿Qué dice? ¿Qué dice?" You know "¿Qué dice? por favor." And I knew kids, I grew up with kids in Alaska that were treated like…or what Andrew or saying about the men OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 58 who were catching the spawning salmon and the contractors making fun of them and I said, it's their way and it's not yours, but its…you know and they went to my father and said if that was our daughter we'd spank her. And my father said, "just remember she's mine." So, I was never, you know, scolded. And when I found this professor at De Anza Community College, who with his friends had bought some of the land, at the Kalahari Desert, to deed back to the people who lived there. I knew that was right, you know, it just. There are things that are wrong and there are things that are right, and it's wrong to make people pick your fields for cheap, it's wrong for people to not be allowed to go to school, it's wrong…like I said in the office one day at the canner, "What do you mean they can't speak Spanish in here, of course they can." Watch what you're saying. I, I did, I went to the head of the cannery and I said "I will sue all of you." You have to do that, one of the little girls I worked with said, "I told my husband about you." [01:45:49] [AP] A Mexican woman right. [KO] Yeah [AP] Well you have to say that for the recording [KO] Oh, excuse me, excuse me [NF] when was… [KO] Excuse me! [laughs] [NF] for the cannery. When was this? What was this? [KO] this was over here in Woodburn. When I was working in the cannery. And she said, "I told my husband about you" I said "You're just a regular American lady and you treat us just like we're just as good as you are." And I said, "What?!" [laughs] "What do you mean!?" You are. You know this little woman, I used to cover for her so she could sneak out to nurse her baby, her boyfriend would bring the baby, and I would do her job while she was nursing. You just do things like that to help people. I didn't know it was called, what did you say, we're part of the revolution. I didn't know that, you know, I didn't know that Sonny was part of a revolution. I knew that he did good things. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 59 [NF] Mmhm, and then I know that you mentioned that you didn't ask him very many questions but what do you know of Arthur's childhood experiences as a migrant worker and how perhaps that influenced him? Did he talk about that? Or any, you know, his experiences growing up? [KO] You know, he didn't say a lot about being not treated well. But every once in awhile you could see the anger and I knew what it was. When he called me and said, "Go to the bank and get me sixty dollars." I didn't question him, I went to the bank and got sixty dollars and took it to him and I found out later I didn't question him. He was buying a bus ticket to put a kid on a bus to get him outta here because the kid was being accused of doing something and he said, "They'll make an example out of him." So there was a lot of anger that was controlled. [NF] Was this in California? [KO] This was in Tigard [NF] This was in Tigard? Wow. [KO] Yeah, this was here. I know that where I was working in this office, Arthur…Arthur said I couldn't work and then when we came up here Arthur was in charge and then he called me and said, "Do you wanna go to work tomorrow?" and I said, "Sure. Where do you want me to go to work?" and he said, "Well, the man next at Homelight Chainsaw wants someone to come in to shipping and receiving and they've come over and asked for a couple girls to come over and the girls have told Leroy that they're afraid to go because this man molests them when they go over there" and he said, "I don't want to make a fight with the guy, I don't want to deny sending somebody, but I want to send you." So, he sent me, and then they saw that I had office skills and of course the guy didn't molest me, ya. And I wasn't cute and young anyway. And I…went into the office and I was doing work in there and umm there were some boys that were arrested from the training center and somebody pointed out, "Well look what going on out there. Your husband's out there with those kids." And I put my coat on and I walked out of the office and I went out and stood in the rain with Arthur and the kids and the police…and I said to Arthur, "Maybe next time when your students want to get arrested you could do it on your side of the building" [laughs]. And he said, "it's just like anybody's kids, it's no different. It's just like anybody's kids." And I said, "Arthur, it's not. Not to them." You know. The people I was working with; they were horribly mean. They were mean about me. One of the women said, ‘Hey, I had a really good time over the weekend I was washing clothes at the laundry mat, boy there was a lot of Mexicans in there, you would've really liked it." And I was like "Wow!" I'm not gunna tell you I learned to fight back, but I did, you know, I learned to say things that OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 60 would shut them up, yeah. But he had a lot of anger about the way people were treated, but he was very controlled and umm, he'd say things like, "You have no idea what it's like to look down a long row of beans." And that's one of the reasons he was really passionate about getting people to learn another way. He'd call me up and he'd say, "Well, we just placed this guy, he's got four kids and his mother-in-law and you know and he got a kid job" and then…then it came the time when there weren't a lot of jobs, you know. I guess the beginning of…when was it…the year 2000. And they couldn't find jobs that were permanent that had benefits, you know. Well, he was really, especially when he could place a young girl in a job who had children to raise because between us we had six daughters. And umm…I guess he was, he was just kind, he was very kind. And there was a little girl who came and spoke at his memorial who said, "I came on Monday to see Art so I could tell him they made me a floor leader and they told me he was gone." And I said, "Well when's he gunna be back." And they said, "No, he's gone. He's…he died." But I wanted to tell you all [what he did for my mother and me and my kids]. [01:51:18] [AP] [laughs] That's a great question…I had that question too [laughs] "When's he gunna be back?" [KO] When's he gunna be back?! I know we keep waiting. She said, "I, I stayed so I could tell you all my mother and I were living in my car with my three kids when Art found us. And he put us in a motel!" I said to the kids, "Oh well there's where some of our money goes [laughs] you know. And then he brought me in and he got me training; and of course they were funded, they could get there, what is it, their Pell Grant. There was money, they could get money for these kids and he…she said, "and I learned a job and now I am the floor leader and I can take care of my mom and my three kids." [NF] So was the work that he was doing part of his job? Or this was separate, this was just something that he did, that because he wanted to help people. [KO] That was something he did. He was always gathering up people and doing things. But his job was teaching people. And at…well there was another component to his being back in San Jose because he was back in San Jose by this time. [NF] Okay, so, so let's go back a little bit just timeline wise. So you left Colegio 1982 and then you went to Woodburn [KO] Yeah OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 61 {NF] and did you stay there for a time and then it sounds like he went back to San Jose. So where did you go, what was the timeline? [KO] Yeah, we stayed in San Jose…in Woodburn for a little while. Andrew went to Japan. And… [AP] for a month to visit my sister who was living there, but that doesn't really pertain in any way [laughs] [KO] but anyway, he was going to Sacred Heart [AP] I know it sounds like, I'm like, I know it sounds like I'm like cutting down my mom sometimes, I'm really not I'm just trying to help organize things a little bit because my loves to tell stories but sometimes their kind of hard to follow. [laughs] So, sorry sometimes I have to ask my mom, "Okay, so can you clarify that?" [laughs] [KO] In the olden days when I all we had was oral history, I was a valuable person. Leave me alone. Anyway… [NF] So, the 1980s were you in Woodburn for that…for that decade or did you end up leaving. [KO] No [AP] Can, can I talk, I mean do you mind? [KO] Sure you talk. [AP} Basically we lived in Woodburn for about what? Two years? Correct? [KO] Oh no about a year. [AP] I thought, is that all? And then we moved to Gervais. And then I remember I was, I think I was 8 years old, my mother called me into the room, or someone and I stood there and I was told that my father was offered a job back in San Jose. And that point began what my interpretation is a very, well, it's not like anything that preceded this was conventional… [KO] [laughs] Excuse me. Yeah. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 62 [AP] But from that point on we were a very unconventional, I don't know. The term "bi-statetal" life, I don't know. My father moved back to San Jose, but visited frequently and continued to be financially supportive. And one thing that meant a lot to me, the last few years I've taken numerous Chicano history classes and Latino history classes, one professor talked about the custom of a man from Mexico moving to the United States and getting a job and sending income back to his family in Mexico. And basically that help me understand, you know, because I feel like as I grew there came to be like a, I think it's a very common phenomenon actually, seemed like communication between my father and me became more and more difficult as I grew because I've come to realize as an adult that he came from a world that I didn't know at all. I mean I can't fathom what he, being born in a migrant camp, that whole thing, he was very much of the culture. Whereas by the time I got to my teen years I wasn't so much a part of the culture anymore and he remained a very much a part of the culture so I think that dynamic was a part of him. This idea of living in one place and sending income back because that's not, in my interpretation at least, a part of main stream middle America Anglo-Saxon culture, it doesn't happen so often, but I don't know. Do you agree? Or do you agree? I don't. [01:55:19] [KO] Well it happens in military families. [AP] That's, I am. All I'm trying to do is sort out my own life so… [KO] The thing was… [AP] It became… [KO] There was another, two other components. [AP] Well because the thing that I was told was that basically by this point he was facing racism himself. [KO] Oh, yeah. [AP] After he left Colegio what happened was that Center for Employment Training opened a branch here in Oregon and then it closed. And then he got other jobs outside, and Center for Employment Training was aligned with the Chicano movement. And then he got jobs in other places where he faced discrimination because he was Mexican. Then they offered him a job. OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 63 [KO] and gifted, and educated, don't ever so that you know [sarcasm] [AP] and then he was offered a job back at Center for Employment and Training in San Jose and then wanted to move us and my mom didn't want to move back apparently. [KO] Well, exactly. I wasn't going to move back to the Bay Area. In the first place houses were going for $600,000. I knew I would never have a house over there. I knew that my mother-in-law, while I had a great deal of respect for her, I knew what she was up against. She was a bright woman, she was… [AP] and my father said he would be back in a year anyway, correct? {KO] Well Mima had already destroyed two marriages for him and I had understood mine was next. And I loved her, but "uh-uh" [NF] And she was in San Jose. [KO] Oh yeah! She was in Sunnyvale with a maiden sister and his daughter from his first marriage. And he felt so guilty at not being there to support them, to take care of them. They were alone. Tata had died, his father, Epifaño Olivo had died and they were alone and he could go back there and they would call him "jefe" at the job. He would have respect. And he said, "What should I do?" Now, we did talk about that, he said "what should I do?" and I said, "You know, you gotta do what you gotta do Arthur. And whatever you want to do, that's okay, I'm not going because I'm…" [AP] He did preface it with saying he'd be back in a year correct? [KO] he said he would be back in the Spring, yeah! [laughs] He thought he might be, you know. He wanted in his heart. I think like the men that live up here, but send their money home to Mexico. I think in their hearts they live in Mexico. [AP] And for about, for about, for about the first 3 months we were going back and forth every week. [KO] Oh just about yeah. We were always over there with him. But I wasn't gunna give up my house. I had a little 4 bedroom house and an acre of land and a small boy I was raising that I didn't want to sacrifice to living in the Bay Area. I saw what was going on there and I couldn't do it. [AP] What you mean by "going on"? Saw the drug use, drug abuse, right? Is that what you mean? OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 64 [KO] Well, yeah, look at your cousins. It was a very bad way to live. [NF] So then he was working; so how long did he end up staying in San Jose? [KO] Seventeen years, until he died. [AP] The rest if his life. [NF] Really? And you stayed in Oregon? [KO] I stayed in Oregon [NF] but you continued the relationship? [KO] Oh, I still do. [NF] Okay. [KO] Remember the knowledge that came on me that said I would be married to him all my life? [NF] Okay. [KO] and that's it. Arthur Olivo is a very hard act to follow; there isn't anybody else out there. You know? And I was lucky. Sometimes I tell him, "Thank you for loving us." My granddaughter, Angela, named her first son Adam Omar, his middle name is Omar, named it for papa. And Anita had "papa" tattooed on her back. And she herself has married a man from Mexico, whose here without papers. [AP] Is that Jesús? [KO] Yes [laughs] she wrote on her Facebook, "I am so happy since I found Jesus" and one of her friends wrote [AP] It didn't have the accent though? [KO] No, no. [AP] So it just read, "I've been so happy ever since I found Jesus." OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 65 [KO] Yes, and somebody wrote and said, "I didn't know you were born again" [laughs] and she, of course now we are involved in this struggle. This is our new struggle and it's a little, this one I can recognize as a struggle. I know this. And my little great grandson, named David, is you know, part of the struggle. It's very interesting and very different. She has "papa" tattooed on her back. You see, he embraced my whole family. He said to Susan, my oldest girl, "When you come to Sunnyvale, you have to call me and tell me because when I married your mother I married all you kids." And that's the way I feel about his two children. [02:00:00] [AP] Something I've come to learn over the last few years that I, again as a child I didn't know he wasn't my biological father, so I had no concept of this. Over the last few years you mentioned to me that basically Mima wouldn't have felt anyone was good enough for her son, but it didn't help that you weren't Mexican. Correct? [KO] Yeah, that's true because his cousin David said… [AP] Because you made reference to, Mima didn't like the marriage, she didn't like the marriage. That was one of the reasons… [KO] No of course not, no of course not. She, I don't think she ever recognized our marriage. When he died, he was in Sunnyvale and she didn't call me for how many hours? [AP] I don't know. [KO] But my daughter-in-law, she called and she was so upset I couldn't understand what she was saying, but I knew what she was saying. Then I said "Put Debbie on the phone" - that was my step-daughter, and she told me he had died. And it was, and I've read books about this happening, that they took all his things. And, I read books about this happening, that they took all his things. You know, like they didn't, at least not in a custom I was aware of, didn't recognize I was his wife. And we'd been married, what? 27 years! Or something when he died; 20 years? How many years? And totally, you know, we were married. He may have lived over there and I, here but I knew what his griefs were. I knew that he had to be there. And maybe when we got older I would go where he was, or he thought he would come home. [AP] He was going to retire and then he was finally going to move back, right? [KO] Yeah, yeah. He told everybody… OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 66 [AP] Wasn't he about to retire within a month or something? [KO] Yes, I lived in Oregon [NF] Oh, wow. [KO] I lived in Oregon and he worked the very last day of his life. Put his paycheck in the bank and went home and died. [NF] Oh my gosh. [KO] and that was Arthur Olivo's life. Well, I said Arthur was always aware of loneliness. If he we had one bunny in a cage, he'd say, "Get it another bunny." If there was one bird it was, "Get it another bird, its lonesome" you know. And so I said, well Arthur is lonely. And I thought, out of respect to my mother-in-law, who is very Catholic, I would let her have her son and they, you know, we would follow what she wanted. Then I said, "No, no." He's going home. So, he's at home. He's at my house. And Andrew takes his picture when they have Día de los Muertos. [AP] [laughs] It was only one time. Cause… [KO] It's on the computer. [AP] I went to a thing by MEChA at the university and they said bring picture of your relatives and I turned out to be the only person who brought a picture, so [KO] I think you should honor the culture [AP] but they do promotional videos like because they want to market Western Oregon University as culturally diverse. So they brought in a camera to make an advertisement celebrating diversity and it turned out that mine was the only picture on the altar so they took a picture of that and put it in the video, so. I think he would have been happy about that I guess. I don't think he celebrated Día de los Muertos though. I don't think, he was very Catholic, so he didn't have much to do with that kind of, I don't think he, I don't think he did, do you? [KO] I think he would have liked to. I think that… [AP] He would have like to know that he was on that, in that display OH 18 ~ Andrew Parodi and Karen Olivo, July 23, 2012 Page 67 [KO] Yeah, that he, yeah. [AP] but I don't think that he himself ever celebrated Día de los Muertos. [KO] Might be part of helping the culture and helping other people accept the culture and support it, because, you know Mima had been taught to be ashamed about speaking Spanish. She didn't ever speak Spanish, didn't speak English either, I don't know what she spoke, but…and I think that caused a lot of problems in the family. My mother, ‘til the day Arthur died, my mother never understood a thing that Art said [laughs] but she liked him. There was never any, you know, like she said, "I don't know what they think Mexicans are, they're white!" "Well mama, I think they kinda Indian…I don't know." But [AP] Well there was a, I learned in some of my Latino history classes, there was a movement by, at one point, by Mexican people to be classified as white. Not that it's an issue to me one way or another [laughs]. I'm just saying. I don't think white is better, or non-white, whatever but that, what I'm saying is that it wasn't just your mother who said that. There were other people who said that. [KO] Yeah. Well remember there was a big discussion about Italian's not being white. [AP] Well yeah, well the reason why I have to clarify this so much is because my history, my background with this puts me in such an unusual position because on one hand, I have to deal with sometimes people being envious that I got to experience some of this history, on the other hand, I have to deal with people saying, "but you're white. You shouldn't have even…" you know "What were you even doing there? [KO] Sorry [laughs]. [AP] So, I have to deal with like bigotry on both levels sometimes, so I have to be like extra cautious a lot of the time when I talk about it. And so that's why I clarify myself a lot [laughs]. [02:05:00] [NF] Well, I'm interested in, I mean, so you're taking classes. What was, when did you really start getting interested in the history? And when did you start, when did you decide that you wanted to look back and learn more about the
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