Interviewed by Mari Martinez
Interview Date: April 24, 2014
MARI MARTINEZ: Hello, my name is Mari Martinez and I am the Spanish Services Associate at the St. Helena Public Library. Today is April 24, and I am pleased to welcome Hope Lugo. I will be interviewing her on behalf of the St. Helena Historical Society Oral History Program. So, thank you for being with us Hope.
HOPE LUGO: You’re welcome. My pleasure.
MARI MARTINEZ: OK. So, you were going to tell us a little bit of the story of when you came into Napa Valley for the first time.
HOPE LUGO: Ok. Ok. A little history on myself and my family. I am the daughter of farm workers. I married a farm worker, and I’ve worked as a farm worker myself. So, that’s kind of the culture and the beginnings of my story. Anyhow, my father came from Chihuahua, Mexico. They brought him, he would probably be one of the “Dreamers” today, because I believe he was about seven or nine years old when they brought him into the United States. His family ended up settling in southern California, up in the San Bernardino, Santa Ana area. My mom was born near the Fresno area, so she was born here in California, and she was very proud of that. She thought that was the best, especially sometimes she and my dad would argue or get into some arguments, and she would bring this up to him, that she was an American. She was very proud of it. She met my father in Indio. My grandfather, my mom’s father, was leasing some property in Indio, and they grew onions and some other agricultural stuff. So, when my dad and his family came up in that direction, he worked for my grandpa, and that’s how he met my mom. They got married and I was born. Of twelve children my mom had, I am the oldest.
MARI MARTINEZ: Was he a Latino too? (The grandfather?)
HOPE LUGO: Yes. Consequently, at that time, when, what I could remember from my father… You know, not that I want to get away from this, but one of the reasons that I think this, what you’re doing, is so great, the oral histories, because if we don’t tell our own stories, somebody else is going to tell our stories and not be the way that we want it to be. So, I’ve always said how important those stories are. I’m just really sorry that can never now… I have so many questions now that I could have asked my parents, but I never did. And it’s too late because they’re both gone. But there are so many questions I wanted to ask them about how it was when they grew up. What was their stories? They didn’t talk about it. They hardly ever talked about it. When I would ask my aunts, ‘cause I grew up with a big extended family, “¿Para qué saber?” “Why do you want to know that for? It’s not important. Forget about it.” They would never… It was like pulling teeth, trying to get them to share their stories. The only thing I can think of, Mari, is that when you come into a different culture, especially at that time from Mexico in the ‘30s. Well, in the ‘20s, ‘cause my parents were born in the early 1900s. The discrimination at the time was worse than it is today. Today at least it’s covert, I mean it’s kind of underneath, you know, and you get it every once in a while, but it’s still there. And the only thing I can think of is that they didn’t want to share that. Is what they must have gone through themselves. They were so ashamed of it. They were ashamed of being Mexican.
You know I grew up with that when I was going to school, when I was young, in the first and second grade, and it stays with you. The idea of them not letting you speak your language. We couldn’t share our tacos, because that’s … As the farm worker family, you didn’t earn a lot of money; you were quite poor. So, your mom, they would do their best to feed and clothe us, and send us to school, as long as they could in large families. I think the reason that I think that Mom and my Dad and their families, they didn’t want to talk about that experience. Every once in a while, I’d hear my aunts laughing among themselves, in terms of not speaking English, and going into the stores and trying to buy, explain what they wanted, and they couldn’t do it. Of course, they were laughed at, you know. It was very embarrassing.
For me personally, going to school, I didn’t speak any English. Mom spoke English because she… My father didn’t attend, I think maybe second or third grade, he didn’t go to school hardly. Mom was very proud because she went to… she got eight years of education, over her mother’s insistence that she go to school. So, she was very proud of that. She spoke English, but my dad only spoke Spanish. And my aunts, my extended family at that time, were all from Mexico. They spoke only Spanish. So, I, as the oldest, the first child of Mom and Dad, I didn’t speak any English. I grew up speaking Spanish because that’s how I communicated with my tias and my tios. And being laughed at. Being called a “beaner”, a “greaser”, “tacos”. I mean all kinds of stuff, you know, that we were called at the time. What happens, as a child, when you feel that, almost making fun of you, it hurts your soul, and you never forget it. Look at me; I’m already (crying). It’s something you don’t forget.
As a child you were loved at home. You shared your tacos and your music and everything with your family and the extended family, but you went to school and you were treated very differently by the teachers and by the other Anglo children. So, a lot of us, the Mexican kids, we’d all get together and we’d eat our tacos over there under the trees. We could speak to each other in Spanish until a teacher would come and pull our braids, or our hair or our ears, “Stop it! You can’t speak Spanish! You can’t speak Spanish!” It was like they were trying to beat it out of you. They wanted to make an American out of you, I guess. This was the way they knew how to do it. But what happens, like I said, is a child… it hits your soul and it’s something that you never forget. Growing up, I can still hear it, as old as I am, and I’m gonna be 80 years old, and I can still hear the taunting. Greaser. Beaners. We were poor, so we were all farm worker families. But anyhow, that’s kind of a little how, the background that I have come from.
Then we moved from southern California. We migrated to around the Modesto area. I learned to pick the tomatoes and peaches and dates and all the kinds of crops that my dad was picking, and found work at. We’d all, as kids, would pitch in. And at that time, children were allowed to work. They got you out of school so that you could help your family work. It’s not like today. The Cesar Chavez movie talked a little about that, about kids, and I was one of those. So, I learned how to do all these things to help my dad and my family, ‘cause the family kept growing and growing.
Anyhow, I ended up married, and my husband was a farm worker, also very poor. He had just gotten out of the army, Second World War. He had just gotten out of the army and we met and got married and I ended up having seven children. We lived in the San Joaquin Valley, in a little town called Woodlake, which was over by Fresno, about 50 miles from Fresno. That’s where we lived, and I went to school there. And we would come, with some other families from the Barrio; we would come to pick prunes, in the San Martín, Gilroy, San Jose area. Then we would move into Napa, which was a big prune territory at the time.
MARI MARTINEZ: Do you remember the time, I know it’s really hard, but do you maybe remember the time, the years you moved to Napa?
HOPE LUGO: We moved. We came… The first time we came to Napa to pick prunes was in 1953, I think. The second time we came, we settled, and we settled here in Napa, I would say it’s about 1955, when we settled in Napa.
MARI MARTINEZ: Do you remember what part of the valley did you settle in?
HOPE LUGO: Nos veniamos… we came to… I guess the first place we stayed at, that we found housing, again, was here in Oakville. There was some little shacks, and at that time, I mean, that was what was available for farm worker families who were coming in to pick the prunes, you could find. Because we couldn’t pay the rent and we couldn’t find housing, you know. There wasn’t any at the time. So, a lot of our families lived in little barns, or whatever the grower would have at the time. And like I said, most of the time, for us, it was picking prunes. It was the big prune ranches, and there was a big Sunkist business in Napa where they dried the prunes and stuff. We ended up living in a ranch in Napa, after a couple of little ranches that we lived in, and then we ended up living at the ranch, the main ranch in Napa. Then we lived there, sheesh, I had my two children that were born here in St. Helena. At that time, we called it the St. Helena Sanitarium and the rest of the kids were born in Napa. We lived in this barn in Napa, in the prune ranch, and that where a lot of the families would go from ranch to ranch.
There wasn’t the huge Hispanic population that there is now, but what happened was that as we decided to settle in Napa, we couldn’t afford to pay the rent, our family was growing. We didn’t have to pay rent at the ranch. He let us live there on the ranch, rent free, provided the electricity and water and stuff like that for us. At that time, we still had out-toilets until they put in an indoor bathroom for us. So, it was a struggle to….it was a struggle being poor anyhow. I mean, I can go into that, but what we wanted to do was find a better life. And what happened was, as our families were growing and I was talking to other Latino families in the area, is that people wouldn’t rent to us. Whether, they said at the time, whether, you know, what the reason was they gave was because we had large families. They didn’t want that many kids in the apartments. So, we couldn’t rent. They wouldn’t rent to us. And we couldn’t afford the rents because in the farm work, you only worked like what, nine, ten months out of the year. Because at that time, we didn’t have the drought like we’re having now, so it rained a lot. So, all that time, you don’t work, you know, out in the fields. There’s no work. So, you only worked, like I said, part of the year. Then you try to save enough to feed and clothe your family for the rest of the year, and send your kids to school and all.
In one of those times we went to visit my family because Mom and Dad were still living in Woodlake. And we went to visit, and I think it was my dad, or my sister-in-law, or somebody, during the conversation we were having, said, “By the way, you know they have this program they have started here in Woodlake. It’s called self-help program, and low-income families can build their house.” You know, people get together and you get a loan, and it’s a mutual self-help. Everyone helps out building the family. So, when we got here to Napa, (later on maybe I can talk about the War on Poverty years), I met with a director of, at that time, was called the Napa County Council for Economic Opportunity. I was a Head Start parent at that time and when we got back, it was Steve Graham who was the Executive Director. So, I said, “Steve, we just got back from Woodlake, and they have this program, you know. I wonder if it’s something… if we could do something like that here in Napa. And he said, “Let’s look into it.” So, they looked into it and, you know, did some research and stuff, and thought that one of the main offices was in Sacramento, you know. And what it needed was a piece of property, of course, getting families together, cause it had to be a farm worker family… agriculture, cause the loans that we were getting came from the Department of Agriculture. So, you had to meet their guidelines, the criteria and stuff.
It’s a long story, but at the end of that story, which took us about… all I remember is a meeting after meeting after meeting. The first meeting that I remember we were wanting to get families together to talk about the program and participate. We must have had a little over 80 families that showed up.
MARI MARTINEZ: And hope this family spoke English?
HOPE LUGO: English?
MARI MARTINEZ: Or were you translating everything?
HOPE LUGO: No, it was in English. That was a great part of it. When we first started, it was English, and Anglo families, and I think we had a couple of… no, I think it was just English and Spanish families, Mexican families that came into the meeting. It was a big crowd. Everybody had the same problem. We can’t rent; they won’t rent to us. Housing, still an issue, was a big issue at the time for us. We couldn’t move out of the ranch because my husband, he had to support us. He had to work at the ranch and we lived at the ranch, so he had to work at the ranch. And he couldn’t get another job anywhere else. People who lived on ranches couldn’t get jobs out of the ranch because they depended on that housing. And so, it was kind of like a catch-22.
So anyhow, we met with these 80 families. Steve and my husband and I talked about the program that we had seen. People were interested, “Yeah, we want in”. Everybody was just excited about it.
MARI MARTINEZ: And everything was bilingual, I bet.
HOPE LUGO: Of course. Yeah.
MARI MARTINEZ: Wow.
HOPE LUGO: There was this excitement about getting involved, and getting housing. From that first meeting, to three years later, we were still meeting. Nothing was happening because of the land. We couldn’t find the land to do it in. Slowly, over the years, people started dropping from those initial 80 families that were interested. Three years, I think it was three years later that my husband and I and a few core families, my parents, a few core families, stayed together, and said, “We got nothing to lose. Where we gonna go? We have to stay.” And a lot of the families moved away, I guess, and a lot of families got jobs, and they just dropped out of the group, except, like I said, maybe there was five core families that stuck to it three years later.
Finally, they found this piece of property here in St. Helena, and that wasn’t easy. I don’t remember the whole story because there was a lot of opposition to it. Low-income Mexican families coming in, because the core families that were left were Hispanic families. So, it was supposed to be this Mexican…and there was a lot of opposition to it. I’m sure there are still stories in the Star, because it was a big hassle to get it. Finally, the city had to be threatened with suing them, because at that time we got a reprieve because of the housing anti-discrimination laws that were passed.
MARI MARTINEZ: And the families were protected by that law? And how did you find out about that law?
HOPE LUGO: Through Steve Graham, through the office that was still calling our meetings together, like I said, NCCEO: Napa County Council for Economic Opportunity. He had assigned staff to work with the families and they stuck with it. It’s gonna happen! It’s gonna happen! And like I said, the core families that stuck together were still meeting and stuff. Anyhow, to make a long story short, by the time we got the property, it was cleared, we were to proceed forward, all we needed was 18 families.
MARI MARTINEZ: Where was this property found?
HOPE LUGO: Here in St. Helena, off of El Bonita. You know where the El Bonita Hotel is? You take El Bonita Hotel, and it’s in the back.
MARI MARTINEZ: So, after all this struggle, after all these years, all this information back and forth, finally St. Helena was the place that said yes.
HOPE LUGO: That said yes. Yeah, yeah. So, we started going back. We had the list of the names of the families. We would go back and, “ ¡ ’stan locos! Are you guys still going through this? You started this three years ago! We don’t believe you!” They didn’t believe us that we actually were ready to go. All we needed was families to come together and apply for the loan. A lot of people… Some of them had gone away; they had forgotten about it. They said, “Nah, it’s too late. We don’t want to do it.” We finally got the 18 families, well more than 18 families because everybody had to apply, and 18 families got approved.
MARI MARTINEZ: How long did it pass when you got the approval, in order to find the 18 families? Did you remember how long it took? Because you already had three years.
HOPE LUGO: Maybe another six months, before 18 families got their loan. The had to get the loan, the self-help loan. And 18 families qualified; they passed. It was really neat. Then we got the plot. The 18 families, we would get together and we’d hold our meetings, ‘cause one of the things they trained us to do was we had our own checking accounts, ‘cause we had to have a checking account because the loan was going to come through that checking account.
MARI MARTINEZ: How much was it? Do you remember?
HOPE LUGO: I’ll tell you; I think our loan was like for $11,000. The highest loan was maybe $12,000 for the loan. And all that time, again, we had to be meeting, to keep informed, to get training. How the hell were we going to build a house, you know? They were farm workers, you know. They knew how to build and do all kinds of stuff, but again, the agency NCCEO, through that, they had formed, it was called Napa County Better Housing. They had to form a non-profit housing corporation and that group was the one responsible to the government, and getting all the families together, getting the property together and everything. It was called Napa County Better Housing. My husband, at the time, was president of that group. I think my mother was the secretary or something. And we called ourselves the “Happy Homesteaders”. (Laughter)
MARI MARTINEZ: Wow, Hope!
HOPE LUGO: So, we had to learn. Every week, without fail, the families would meet. We’d either meet at the library; we’d meet at the church in Yountville, at the church here in St. Helena.
MARI MARTINEZ: Was the library already here in the lane or was it the old building?
HOPE LUGO: No, no. It was the old building. We were taught in terms of using the hammers, ‘cause you had to nail. We were taught, first of all, the checking account. Nobody had checking accounts.
MARI MARTINEZ: Who taught you that, though?
HOPE LUGO: It was called this: California Rural Assistance Corporation. I think that was a group in Sacramento. That was the builders. In other words, the developers, I guess, that would come in and they would set up a big trailer at Lugo Park. And they hired VISTA volunteers that came to help out.
MARI MARTINEZ: And that was all through the loan.
HOPE LUGO: Yeah. The VISTA volunteers came through NCCEO. Once we started building, Mari, the students from Berkeley, students from Napa High, young people that would come, family members that would come on weekends once we started building, that would come and help out. But it was the parents themselves that we had to go through all this training and stuff. Make sure that when we bought all our lumber, we had to write out the checks on our own checking accounts and stuff.
MARI MARTINEZ: Every family individually?
HOPE LUGO: Individually. Each family. 18 families. Each family had their own loan, and when it came to pay the construction… lumber and all of that stuff, each family had to write a check for the amount that each one of us… It was a mutual-help; it was a self-help. Families would come in and bring tacos. We had picnics as the building went on. It took us maybe almost a year before we finished the project. The first family moved in, which was the Gastelum-Ortiz family, they moved in in December. We had paid the rent for the month, as the month went up, then you could start moving into your new home until we were all in.
MARI MARTINEZ: And this was… Do you remember the year, approximately?
HOPE LUGO: We moved in, I believe, in 1970. It was either 1970 or 1971. I’d have to look it up. And we had a big to-do. It was truly a community coming together. It was very much like the community that built Clinic Olé, to support Clinic Olé. The same kind of feeling that we got; the community came together to build Lugo Park.
MARI MARTINEZ: And this happened before Clinic Olé.
HOPE LUGO: Oh yeah.
MARI MARTINEZ: So, we could say this was an initiative of what Clinic Olé had occurred later?
HOPE LUGO: That’s the other story regarding Napa County Council for Economic Opportunity, which is the anti-poverty war program that Lyndon Johnson started in 1964. Head Start was one of the first programs. I became Executive Director of that thing, too. But anyhow, in terms of Lugo Park, I think that the proudest thing for me is that my family was kind of the glue that kept us all together, the 18 families. We knew some of like the core families. We knew them; we got really close to them. But a lot of the other families that had gotten the loans were new to us. We hadn’t gotten to know them. But we all got to know each other as we were building our homes. When it was time to name the subdivision, the housing, the committee had met and they said, we want to call it Lugo Park. We said, “What?” “Yeah, we want to call it Lugo Park!” Well I thought they were going to call it Kennedy or something because it was during the time of Kennedy. Everybody had a picture of Kennedy on their wall, President Kennedy. And I thought they were going to… it was a beautiful site. The families said, “No, queremos que se llama El Lugo Park.” “Okay…” Anyhow so that’s how it got its name.
What came out of that for us is that we were able at some level… Because I was working, my husband was working, we had to move out of the ranch, of course, because he wasn’t working there anymore. He was hired by the corporation, the development corporation to help the families, ‘cause he was bilingual. He was kind of supervising. Then he had the VISTA volunteers, and like I said, students from Berkeley would come over.
I think that what evolved out of that whole thing, Mari, is that once we, at least for me, once we realized that “sí, se puede”, we could do it, we did it. We had our own home. Nobody could tell us, you gotta move, you gotta do this, you gotta do that, you got too many kids. We had our own places. I think, for all of the families, it gave us a sense of hope. It gave us a sense of “we can do something better”. Out of the families that were there, we got Ceja, Armando and his family, the Ceja family; they now have vineyards, they built a house in St. Helena. Oscar deHaro, who is the dean over at Napa College, the deHaro family came out of there.
MARI MARTINEZ: The deHaro family, big family.
HOPE LUGO: Rosaura Segura, of Encanto Wineries, came out of there, her family came out of Lugo Park. Martín… I keep trying to remember. He works at Napa Valley College too. I became Executive Director of NCCEO. Gonzalez, across the street, worked for the City of St. Helena. So, you could see, you know, the opportunities.
MARI MARTINEZ: All these community, may I say, leaders came up from the Lugo Park, and that effort. Wow!
HOPE LUGO: And like I said, when I was… short story… When I came to see the movie Cesar Chavez here at the St. Helena theater, I said, “Oh my God. We have come full circle.” Who’s pouring wine? Who sponsored this event? The Mexican-American Winemakers Association. As you saw, the theater was full. I was so emotional about it, to see Señor Hurtado there, because the Hurtados built in St. Helena, Seguras built in St. Helena, Cejas. The families that, like you said, the leadership that came out of that, were all there. So, it was very emotional. I’ve seen it three times, so every time I see it, it’s very emotional for me personally because I can remember growing up with it. But how we had come around, from marching through town, being spit at, being thrown rotten tomatoes, being called communist, “get out of here. Go back to Mexico” and stuff that we were called, as we were marching with Cesar up to Christian Brothers or Charles Krug. To have the St. Helena theater have a marquee that says, “Cesar Chavez”. Can you imagine?
MARI MARTINEZ: I was there.
HOPE LUGO: I know, I know.
MARI MARTINEZ: It was great. So, tell us, after the Lugo Park happened, what have been the changes you have seen in St. Helena or Napa Valley if we can go a little bit further away from our city? What changes have you seen, positive in the community, with projects like the Lugo Park?
HOPE LUGO: I think in St. Helena, there’s more housing available, you have another self-help project here. You have the ones over by the Stonebridge Apartments, through the efforts of community again, in many parts, NCCEO and the offspring of some of the agencies that came out of that. Of course, it’s still not enough because we still have the issue of housing. This was 40-50 years ago and it’s like it’s made another generation. The housing is still a big issue. There isn’t enough housing.
But what came out of that was more acceptance for these kind of projects that could happen. More acceptance in the community. Of course, part of that had to do with anti-discrimination laws. Affirmative action was a big part, in terms of hiring. You go into every bank,
MARI MARTINEZ: Look at the break… at the Spanish.
HOPE LUGO: You know, all of that came after that. Again, through the efforts of community leaders, the community people, who said, “You need to hire teachers, you need to hire counselors. When I first came to Napa and we were working with the college to try to get them to hire bilingual people, there was one professor there, Josue Hoyos. I remember his name because his story was, he passed as Portuguese to get that job, because he couldn’t put down “Mexican” or Latino or Chicano. He passed as Portuguese. That’s how people were getting in. Anything but being a Chicano at the time. And now to see Oscar there, Hurtado there, Brambilla there at the college. To me, it’s… The population has grown, of course, much, much more than it was at that time, but the doors that have been opened, through affirmative action, anti-discrimination. It doesn’t come because people want to do it; it had to come because they were, many times, forced to do it. Laws that were passed in this country to stop that discrimination.
MARI MARTINEZ: And I would like to know, you mentioned, for example, “Chicano”. Maybe somebody that would be listening to this recording doesn’t know what Chicano means. Or, I’ve heard so many meanings about what Chicano means, can you tell us a little bit about that?
HOPE LUGO: To me, and to a lot of my friends that called ourselves Chicano, was a statement, a statement in that, for many years we were not accepted as Americans. We were not accepted as Mexicans either. It was like we were in this country, in this invisibility that had no name for us. Didn’t like the Mexicans… to this day, I’m told, “but you speak English so well!” My family has been over 100 years here! Why shouldn’t I, you know? Everybody thinks that we’re all immigrant. My father was an immigrant, but my mother wasn’t. I’m not an immigrant, my grandkids, my great-grandkids, we’re 5th generation now. A lot of our Latino families are three and four and five generations now, six generations. And Chicano, to me was a movement, “we are here and we are proud”. Unfortunately, Chicano, during the 70’s, just as there was Brown Power, Black Power, the African-Americans were developing their own strength, their own groups, the Women’s Movement, the Chicano Movement, all of these movements that brought us together for better rights that we wanted. And then what happened, I would say, that during the Nixon administration in Washington, no longer were we Chicanos. The word “Hispanic” came about, that identified us as Hispanic, ‘cause I don’t think we were ever identified as Hispanic before. Chicano, to me, was that. It was a movement and it was a belief in myself, a belief in the Mexican-American, in our beautiful brown color that for so many years we were told was not a good color to have.
MARI MARTINEZ: Thank you for explaining that. We keep hearing it and especially in this type of interview, it’s important to know what it actually means, ‘cause I see it, I read about it, but I didn’t know exactly what it meant and I thought it was important for the future generations that will be listening to these interviews to understand and know what it really was and what it meant for St. Helena, for valley and all its struggles and accomplishments of the Latino community, and what it has become for our city.
HOPE LUGO: Interesting that even in our community, the Mexican-American, the Latino community, nobody liked to use the word Chicano. It was those of us who were more involved in the community, who were looking for change, who were risking for change, identified ourselves as Chicanos. We were in the Chicano Movement. Just as the Blacks were in their movement. Like I said, for me it was: This is who I am. I’m an activist. I believe in our community and accept it. We were here. We ain’t going anywhere. Anyhow, that’s what it means to me.
But anyhow, that’s a little bit of Lugo Park. Like I said, many of our families are no longer there. My parents have passed away. They built next to us. My parents built there. The Mirandas built there.
MARI MARTINEZ: So, they moved from Modesto?
HOPE LUGO: No, my mom and my dad passed away.
MARI MARTINEZ: But they were not living in Napa before you had the Lugo Park.
HOPE LUGO: We were living in Napa.
MARI MARTINEZ: But your parents…
HOPE LUGO: They had moved.
MARI MARTINEZ: When you did the Lugo Park! Amazing!
HOPE LUGO: My father and my mom decided, when I moved over here, they followed, maybe two years later, and they moved to Napa. And then when that program started, they became involved in it. Some of the families, like I said, are gone. The Gastelums, both of them are dead. My parents both are dead. The Seguras, their husbands have passed away.
MARI MARTINEZ: Hope, I have a question about, because you lived in so many different places in California, what was the difference between the places you were living in, and for example, Napa, especially St. Helena, in that period of time.
HOPE LUGO: For me, I think because I was young, at first, of course, with my family, with my mom and dad, as part of that family, I had no control over where we were going to live. There for a while we were migrant workers ‘cause my dad followed the crop, like I said. We’d come to Modesto and Tracy, and there’s another story about how we ended up in Woodlake. But we were young. I had no control over that, where we lived and stuff, with my mom and my dad.
And then I married at 16. I was very young when I married. I followed my husband and his family. So, like I said, the difference was that we really didn’t have… Until we built our home and we stayed in Napa, that we stayed in Napa, Napa became our home. And then I had my children here. Two were born in Woodlake but the rest of the kids were all born here. So, this became home. There was no place to call home. It was my mother’s home, my husband’s home, and stuff, environmental. I think that was the difference. You didn’t have a place that you could call your own.
MARI MARTINEZ: It might interest me to know… My question comes from, because when I was seeing the film and I was reading about the movement and Cesar Chavez and the farmworkers, somebody mentioned in the Q and A after the film, that Napa, in comparison with other places that were farms, it had a better… like they paid better to the farmworkers and they took better care of their farmworkers, in difference to other places like Delano, for example. Could you talk a little bit about that?
HOPE LUGO: I think that’s true, the wages. The building of the wineries helped a lot. And so, the people who were working in the wineries, a lot of Latinos were working in the wineries. When we came to Napa, there were some families here in St. Helena, Hispanic families, that were working in wineries already. The vineyards were mostly up valley, what we call up valley, St. Helena. That other way was mostly prunes and pears, a different agriculture. So, there was already families here in St. Helena, Latino families who had been here… I’ll tell you in a little while. Anyhow, they did start paying better. I don’t know whether it was because they were hearing already what was happening.
MARI MARTINEZ: They were taking precautions.
HOPE LUGO: Umhm. There was an effort here by some of the wine growers to start their own union. It didn’t go very far, but they had an office. They were offering a lot of things that the union was offering, paid holidays, some time off, toilets and water, all the stuff that the union was pushing for, but separate. I don’t remember the name of it now, but it started here in St. Helena. It was started by some of the growers to compete with the United Farmworkers. I think it worked for several years and then it just never went any further. But they were paying better wages, that’s true. And Cesar always said, I remember him saying sometime, since that was one of the battles they were having, for better wages, and Napa was already meeting some of that criteria, sometimes they didn’t think they needed to spend as much time here as they did in the San Joaquin valley and those areas where they were still not doing so well. So, the more wineries started coming in, and less agriculture, and more people got winery jobs. Their wages, of course, started getting better, and the union had a lot to do with that. They did pay a little better.
MARI MARTINEZ: I was real interested in how Napa…I was hearing so many positive things about that period of time in difference of Napa and other places in southern California and I thought it was going to be really interesting to have and record to let people know what was going on.
Hope, do you want to schedule another appointment so we could talk a little bit more about Clinic Olé and how it started ‘cause I’ve heard it started here in St. Helena, if I’m correct.
HOPE LUGO: The first clinic was in Rutherford.
MARI MARTINEZ: OK, OK. But then it came into St. Helena. We could talk a little bit more about that.
HOPE LUGO: OK. I’ll look it up too, in some of my history.
MARI MARTINEZ: So, we’ll have you back again. Thank you so much. I’ll repeat the date, I don’t know if I said the year. It’s April 24, 2014. Wow, already! I don’t know if I said the date at the beginning, so this is Mari Martinez: and I had the pleasure to speak with Hope Lugo a little bit about their history, the families in Napa and especially St. Helena and the accomplishments for the community, especially the Latino community in our valley. So, thank you very much. We’ll have you soon!
HOPE LUGO: Thank you. Thank you very much.