Joan: Gus, is this the ranch that you lived on when you were
Gus: Yeah. Yes.
Joan: And it looked pretty much like this when you were eight
Gus: No. It changed quite a bit, you know. The house, everything
around here is changed, but mostly - mostly it's the same.
Gus: I guess this house was built by my great grandmother, 1911,
the year was on the house where it's made, on the wall.
Joan: The Amado family has been ranching in this area for...
Gus: Well, as far as I know since 1848.
Joan: Your cousins, Tony and Laura, they must have lived on the
Gus: Yeah at -across the river - at Rancho San Antonio.
Joan: But they were your closest neighbors then?
Gus: Yes, then - and some cousins over here - Amados, yeah.
GUS' CHILDHOOD AND HIS SISTERS
Joan: So, you were born
you were born in Tucson.
Gus: in Tucson.
Joan: You were born in Tucson.
Gus: Yeah, and then they brought me out here, yeah. At that family
in Tucson - it was the only one that was.
Joan: And then you went all school years, from all your elementary
Gus: To the sixth grade. And then the seventh grade I went to
Tucson, because my sisters had to go to Tucson, because there
was no more
Joan: That's right, because they were older.
Gus: That's right.
Joan: And your sisters' names are?
Gus: Natalia and Yolanda.
Joan: And Natalia was in fifth grade when you were in third grade.
Gus: Right. Yeah.
Joan: And Yolanda was in seventh grade.
Gus: Seventh grade.
GUS WENT TO SOPORI SCHOOL LOCATED IN PIMA COUNTY
Joan: How far was it from here - from the ranch - to school?
Gus: I'd say about ten, twelve miles.
Joan: That school was actually further away than Amado School.
Gus: Oh yeah. They'd go up the Aravaca road, about, I'd say ten-twelve
Joan: Yeah. But you couldn't go to Amado School because that was
in Santa Cruz county and this is Pima County.
Gus: Pima County, yeah, that's right...And most of 'em were ranch
you know. Their dads worked on the ranch, and what have you, so
to school at Sopori.
SPORTS AND GAMES
Beverly (Gus' wife) - she told me that you brought
things to play with at recess, that you'd bring in the bus.
Gus: We'd take our tires.
Joan: And what did you do with the tires?
Gus: Play with 'em.
Joan: Roll 'em?
Gus: Roll 'em. Yeah. 'Cause there was no - we didn't have no -
nothing to play with. There was no swings, no nothing. And so
we took our own tires, and maybe two or three of us would take
Joan: (laughs) You mean there was room in the bus for a couple
of tires, plus all the kids?
Gus: (laughs) He-he. Yeah.
Joan: Baseball. You guys played baseball, too, right?
Gus: Yeah, we didn't have a backstop, but we had a garage door.
That we had the schoolhouse, and then the garage door with a two-car
garage, out of wood. And the doors would open that way to put
your car in, and close it, all right. So those doors fell - or
they wore off - and we took 'em and used 'em as a
backstop. So with that ball, we'd hit that backstop, and all the
balls were egg-shaped, you know, after a while they just
Joan: And you had - so that was your equipment, an egg-shaped
ball and a bat, and a homemade backstop.
Gus: Yeah, and no coach, no nothing.
Joan: And all the kids played - the girls, too?
Gus: Oh, yeah, yeah, and it's a wonder we didn't kill ourselves.
And the teachers - they'd never come out. Mrs. Bourne - well very
seldom she'd come out.
Joan: She wasn't an umpire or anything like that?
Gus: No. no. no. She was pretty much of a cowgal.
THEIR TEACHER, EULALIA BOURNE
Joan: What do you remember about her?
Gus: Oh, she was, she was...uh
everybody liked her. And I
learned a lot from
her. She'd talk to you, and what have you. And she lived in Oracle.
On weekends she'd go home, I guess.
Joan: She had a homestead in Peppersauce Canyon.
Gus: Yeah. But during the week, she'd stay here and they had a
room there for the teachers - they stayed there. But I remember
on weekends she'd go home. And I remember I'd get a ride with
her, because she was coming this way. And sometimes I'd get an
early ride - maybe half an hour before the bus left - and I said
- and I asked, "Mrs. Bourne, will you give me a ride?"
Joan: What was she driving in those days?
Gus: She had a 19 - let's see - I think it was a 1944 coupe
and we went by here and, well, I didn't say, "I live here."
(laughs) We were down there by the rest stop, and I go, uh, I
said (laughs) I just kept looking at her (laughs) and she says,
"Oh! I forgot you!" So she made a turn. She kind of
left me off. She turned me off. Yeah, yeah.
Gus: But you know, when I went to school, I didn't know how to
English at all. Nothing. My sisters did, but uh...
Joan: So you spoke Spanish at home?
Joan: With your family?
Gus: Right. Yeah. But my mother did, my dad did, my grandfather
Joan: What'd you do when you started school, not speaking English?
Gus: Boy! I just
I just was lost, completely lost.
Joan: Did your sisters help you? Did the other kids help you?
Gus: Yeah, I don't know how I started. I don't know when I learned
Joan: There must have been other kids too, because
Gus: Oh yeah. All the Anglos didn't know how - they learned how
to speak Spanish, and all the Mexicans learned how to speak English
from the Anglos. Yeah, and it just
Joan: So you ended up all being bilingual.
Gus: Yeah, right, 'cause we played together. All the cuss words,
GAMES AT SCHOOL
Joan: And you brought the tires to play with, and did you also
that you played on the playground?
Gus: Slingshots. Yeah.
Joan: What did the girls play - slingshots too, or did they have?
Gus: No, they played their own...hopscotch or whatever, you know,
Joan: So the boys and the girls didn't necessarily play together?
Gus: No, not really. No. We'd get into fights and what have you.
Joan: They talked about playing roundup too - with ropes. Did
you do that?
Gus: Yeah, probably, yeah. Another time we used to - well, Eddie
started during World War Two - foxholes. Well, Eddie Hackett started
digging a foxhole - a trench you know
Joan: In the schoolyard?
Gus: Yeah. Right. And he kept all by himself. We'd be playing
other things -
you know cowboys and robbers, or what have you - and he'd have
been there for maybe a couple of days, and "Lets see what
Eddie's doing." (laughs) So, we went over there and his head
stuck out, all full of dirt, (laughs) and so we helped him. And
well, oh I guess, you know, about that deep, probably. (shows
Joan: You guys were about eight years old?
Gus: Yeah, yeah. Then we take shovels and hammers and anything
to scratch the ground, just throw the dirt out. And maybe that
trench was probably, you know - I want say from here to that tree,
but that's too much - about ten feet long and then four foot.
When we were that old, you walk in there, and you couldn't see
it. So, and then we put corrugated sheet on top. Where we got
don't know, maybe we took it to school. And we covered them up
Joan: On the bus with the tires?
Gus: Yeah. Right. And then we'd cover it up with dirt. And then
about five, six,
seven days later - maybe the next week - Mr. Mote - he was a school
teacher - he come out and he said, "What are you boys doing?"
because we were smoking - we were smoking that Careless Weed and
we'd break it and puff on it, and he saw the smoke. "What
are you guys doing?" - "Nothing." (laughs) And
so, then, they made us bury that foxhole.
Joan: Did Mrs. Bourne ever punish anybody?
Gus: Well, yeah, but it wasn't - She'd bawl you out, but physically
no, no, wouldn't spank you or nothing. But the Romos (two sisters
who were teachers at Sopori after Bourne) would, you know. And
ah, yeah, the Romos would. They had a rubber hose that they'd
spank you with. They tried 'em on me.
WORLD WAR II
Joan: You had Defense Stamps. Your sisters wrote in the paper
about how they were collecting - or saving - money to buy Defense
Gus: Oh yeah. Right.
Joan: And you had a Victory Garden in the schoolyard.
Gus: Victory Garden, yeah. We planted - Ms. Bourne, yeah, she
at that - we made her furrows out, and planted radishes, and turnips,
and, yeah, keep it clean, yeah. And then we'd march up and down
that Arivaca Road for the parade. Oh yeah.
Joan: Oh, because you went to the Armistice Day Parade that year.
Gus: That and the Rodeo Parade too, yeah.
Joan: That's right. What do you remember from those?
Gus: Well, we'd go to town - big deal, you know - oh yeah.
Joan: How would you get in to town - all the kids?
Gus: Well, lets see. I think my mother took some, and her (pointing
out his cousin, María Amado Byers) mother took some, and
the bus, I guess, took us too. I guess we all went together in
the bus, and then we come back with our mothers or what have you,
Joan: Did you just stay over night in Tucson then?
Gus: No I think we'd come home.
CHRISTMAS AT THE AMADO RANCH
Joan: You had like three weeks off at Christmas - two or three
weeks off - so what happened back at the ranch when school was
Gus: Well, a lot of times, at Christmas we'd go to Los Angeles,
to visit my grandmother and grandfather, and we'd stay there two
weeks probably, and then come back, and my dad would take a, we
had a 19 - I think - a 34-35 Chevrolet, and he'd pack all the
presents in the car, and - God we were naïve - we never saw
any of the gifts, you know. But we got a lot of gifts up there
with the aunts and grandma in L.A.
Joan: So all five of you would drive in that car all the way up
to Los Angeles?
Gus: Yes, and uh, probably, we'd - overnight we'd stay someplace.
I don't know where. But in the wintertime, you know - it's a long
haul. And then usually
when we'd go, we'd always take an aunt, to go see her sisters
in L.A. because
and when we'd come back, we'd bring another
sister back. Oh, God, like pack them in like sardines. (laughs)
Joan: And your sisters are - Natalia lives in Sierra Vista, right?
Gus: Sierra Vista, yes.
Joan: And Yolanda died?
Gus: Yes, she died about
God, I was going to say - she died
on my birthday, which is
Joan: Which is tomorrow.
Joan: The 21st.
maybe four years ago.
GUS MOVES TO TUCSON TO GO TO HIGH SCHOOL
I guess when I was twelve years old.
Joan: And you moved to Tucson at that time.
Gus: Moved to Tucson, 1941, (he must mean 1935) so I was 13 years
old - 41.
Joan: How was it to move to Tucson and go to big schools there,
Gus: How was it?
Gus: Terrib- I never knew they made schools that big. They had
a bell - when
it rang, and you went to a classroom. And then the bell would
ring again, and you'd go to another classroom and
Joan: A lot more kids than...
Gus: Oh yeah! In the hallway, you know. Yeah. The bell'd ring
- here they all come out! (laughs) Where do I go? you know...Oh
Joan: Did you have trouble academically after going to a
Gus: Yes, very much so - didn't know how to read. You know, I
had to take summer school with a teacher by the name of Mrs. Mote
- she taught here. And my mother got a letter from the schoolteacher:
"Your boy is - his reading ability is as good as a second
And I was in the seventh grade.
GUS' JOBS AND HIS DAUGHTERS
Gus: When I graduated they offered me a job, and uh, I was working
town and I'd live here, and I'd go back and forth every day for
I guess I was with the state for five years. And then - then I
had cattle here, and
then my grandfather died, and then the family offered me to run
the place - to run the Amado Ranch, so...
Joan: And it was much bigger than Rancho Nuevo?
Gus: Yes, oh yeah. So then I come down here and ran that for three
or four years, and then in the meantime
Joan: And that was a full time job?
Gus: Yes. And then after that, in the meantime, I was offered
a job there in Mexico, and I went down there to farm.
Joan: Where was that in Mexico?
Gus: Caborca. Where I - I'm still there. And I stayed there.
Gus: Diana lives in Green Valley, and Gail lives in Green Valley
the oldest, and then Diana follows and she's in Green Valley,
and Judy lives in Tucson.
Joan: Oh, that's another one that hasn't gotten very far away.
Gus: Right, yeah...and she comes here all the time, too, which
Joan: But none of them are ranchers?
Gus: No, no. They're smart. (laughs)
Joan: (laughs) What do you mean by that?
Gus: It's tough to be a rancher. Tough, tough.
And getting tougher everyday. Oh yeah.
Joan: What makes it tough?
everything costs so much, and cattle prices are
way down, and
land values are sky-high. And you can retire, and then you get
a lot of money.
Then what do you do? Where you going to spend it, if you got a
of it? Jesus, you go nuts.
RETURN TO THE TRANSCRIPTS HOMEPAGE