Jerry Gavaldon and Jody Snow

Recorded May 16, 2018 Archived May 16, 2018 38:05 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby017537


Jerry Gavoldon (63) tells his friend and colleague Jody Snow (50) about his Hispanic heritage, his family's experiences with racism in Fort Collins, and his connection to the Museo de Las Tres Colonias, for which both he and Snow are board members.

Subject Log / Time Code

JG on his ethnic background, family of 10 siblings, his mother, and the value of education in his upbringing.
JG on racial discrimination in Fort Collins during his mother's generation and his own; he discusses patriotism in his family as well.
JG on becoming involved in Museo de las Tres Colonias, his family legacy in Fort Collins and how it informs his work at the museum.
JG on the history of the Museo Building, its interpretive exhibits, and important Hispanic figures in the history of Fort Collins.
JG on his mother's impact, childhood memories of her, her appearance and music she liked.


  • Jerry Gavaldon
  • Jody Snow

Recording Location

New Belgium Brewing Company


StoryCorps uses Google Cloud Speech-to-Text and Natural Language API to provide machine-generated transcripts. Transcripts have not been checked for accuracy and may contain errors. Learn more about our FAQs through our Help Center or do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions.

00:03 Hello, my name is Jerry gavaldon. My age of 63 today's date is May 16th. 2018 location is Fort Collins, Colorado relationship to my chill partner. Is that worth College friends and board members?

00:22 I am Jody snow. I am 50 years old. Today's date is May 16th 2018. We are in Fort Collins Colorado and I am here with my friends my colleague and fellow board member of the Moose eau de las tres colonias.

00:43 So Siri, tell me a little bit about your ethnic background and

00:52 Get a background to talk to me a little bit about that. I'll give it a very short story of my ethnic background originally become from Spain from a province caucus deal. My family received the charter to come to the new world after Columbus from Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand through Mexico and in 19 in 1911. There was a family War Feud and Mexico my grandfather and my mom's side left Mexico and came to United States in 1911.

01:26 My mom dad so I came here about the same time. So my ethnic background is Mexican-American as that was shared as we were going up to use that term now are using Hispanic. However, I'm still considering if you look at it. I'm a Mexican American. So when did your family come to Colorado? We came to Colorado 1911 1912 OKC your family here going way back going way back. So you grew up in Fort Collins or is born and raised in Fort Collins. I was born on Pine Street, which is next to Northside. Aztlan Center. I was born at home.

02:11 Where we come from a family of 13 and we're trying to figure out who is born at home and then hospices hospital and I tried to get a passport to go overseas for Hewlett-Packard and nobody can find my birth certificate at the hospital mom's at all. You are born at home.

02:30 Well, I had to go back to Poudre School District get all my transcripts and all my records and submit it to the passport and immigration customs and they said oh you are an American citizen. Yeah, you were born at home and you are now you have a passport and I did not have a middle name back. Then was just Jerry Gabaldon, not Jerry Joseph that was on you. Learn a lot later on in remotes is over. You're the one born at home. The 13 brothers and sisters is 13 total total with Forbes step brothers and sisters or total 17.

03:11 So what was that like Mom races without a father after if they separated in 1959 we came up to Fort Collins from Denver and someone said how'd it is about raise 11 of your kids without a father by simple response was

03:29 Erase is like the 1st Marine Division that was discipline and attention to respect and honor and dignity. Mom is a homemaker, but she did jobs gross job. She work for Sears shoe. She work for Poudre School District. She work from call reminder counseling or later years at same time. She attended three universities.

03:56 3 which which university said she she attend in this region. When was that? There was 1972-73 through 1980. We were all worried while in our years. I was in college Saint by one brother or sister living at home at that time that she took care of her and her family to other to help other family. What she did to is in her upbringing education was most important and also mastering the English language or Spanish.

04:43 Her view was that if you're going to make it in United States, you better know that the language of the land and you still maintain your heritage by taking Spanish in school and Spain Spanish, which was hard to understand here in Colorado. So

05:02 And her value is education. We all have high school degrees half of us have college degrees at 30 of us are Masters are higher. So that's that's her Legacy 72-73 and we were going to be felt in North Fort Collins north of Fort Collins. We start at 5 in the morning and finish that one.

05:33 It was brutal.

05:35 Our hands are blistered and we were tired but we had to thin rows and rows of beets mom gave us after we got done mom gave us $20 each and she said you can do this or you can get an education and better yourself your choice.

05:56 Monday morning. I was at Poudre High School looking to where to sign up for CSU and that works on all of your sibling for every one of us by profession.

06:09 A specific field of interest and study and what we do for work.

06:15 None of us were ever on welfare and our post growing up days or any way to public assistance. We made it on our own contract to my neighbors and friends the different story. Tell me about that simple we grew up poor.

06:33 We know the value of a food. We know the value of things are not possessions.

06:41 I built model planes and ships do the money should have gone to the house hope but I always made my own money so I can afford my hobby.

06:50 So you can go buy a new aircraft carrier. You recycle the parts of an old ship to build a new ship simple and we took care of each other. We contribute to the Family household and we do we have public assistance, but did not last more than 5 years. We were offered and we made it on our own.

07:15 And we and has a contribution to what we were able to achieve we came back.

07:21 Mom is really big on giving back to the community. She believed in dignity. How did you guys get back?

07:31 WowWee volunteer mom used to interpret for a lot of people who could not speak English mama's so good interpreting. She was interviewing for the immigration service the US courts. You can't get a better person than that and ginger PetSmart brothers who are lawyers Akron family lawyers a very high-profile and highly esteemed lawyers one teaches public defender Law School in Macon, Georgia as an Adjunct professor.

08:03 So-so volunteering where were some of the places you guys volunteered to Jordan School District?

08:12 I served for me on the plane is running board for city of Fort Collins for nine years and Chariton vice-chair that my sister helped and I was just hopped in various other organizations coaching and teaching very Sports to other students. So we do a lot of stuff and mom is very visible in the public eye in the community Through eye causes for the Hispanic Community for the adults of the Hispanic Community. She even raise money to buy a church and turn into a Community Hall when they close to her and her friends. So the church took the money and gave it to CSU El Centro, Chicano establishing an Emergency Loan Fund for the Hispanic students.

08:59 Wow. Oh, yeah, and she was very big on it. That's how we were able to go to CSU because she was able to secure these programs for us. My sister and I are in Roatan another brother and sister we have full rights that's unheard of in Hispanic Community. Not sure unless you are best for scholarship. And you had 4.001 GPA. I remember that, what was your experience as a Mexican American?

09:40 Am I back up to Mom's stay growing up in 4445 will War?

09:47 Mama to Fort Collins High School. She didn't finish her High School degree, but she got a GED later when she would walk down the streets of Fort Collins going along Remington to Fort Collins CO Fort Collins If a white person came facing them. She had to get off the sidewalk and let them pass.

10:07 She told me that all over and over then you go to Silver grill and certain restaurants and bars. They have signs. No dogs or Mexicans allowed or why trade only signs that we have at Michelle. That's a duplicate of what really existed. Okay. So what's fast forward to 1964?

10:31 He had to school so Catholic School st. Joseph's and say on Holy Family Holy Family for Hispanic hits.

10:39 We cannot go to st-charles. We went to church at Holy Family not saying Jose, but yet were Roman Catholics. So made us think of it and behind City Hall over there on Maple and house at Park, Washington Park right not to us if we knew it as grease Park.

11:04 Why because we were told to go play there. We were told not to go to the pool because we were considered greasers and I or grease with going to the Wawa the water. Oh, yeah, and when I was out playing today, and these guys are saying we never had any problems or no diversity. I had to remind them of their history.

11:26 And you said he planned it goes that never happened I said, do you want to question my mother and me know don't go there so we know Grace Park is Chris park now, I remember.

11:39 Other things friends in 63-64. I'm very good on dates in November. We saw poppies for the veterans on Veterans Day.

11:52 And assigns Randy's restaurants

11:55 Either I was too stupid. I didn't know I cared then I care. I will walk into the restaurant and sell poppies to anybody sell poppies for the disabled veteran. Should you support our veterans and I couldn't do anything about it. They will buy it for me and I walked in the next race. Can you read and see the sign is it? Yeah, I can't hear the poppy for disabled veterans. Would you please support them?

12:23 See, my dad was World War 2 Philippines lady golfer. My uncle is my mom's brother was Guadalcanal will in the worst days of the battles of the early days of World War II and the Marine Corps. So we're very patriotic family and you cannot make fun of John Wayne or disgrace the flag. So we need support our troops. And so I thought you would do this and Sally poppies and then they will come back and say I'm but it may be need to redesign next. I'm going now I'm not going to read anything. I'm very different. I will go right in and that's how we grew up and then

13:00 We did the IQ test and all that info to school district and I said why you're not going to make it much further than being a worker or a janitor or whatever and I went no I decide what I want to do. I defy the odds Jody and went to college and have two degrees to minors and 15 hours off of of a doctorate. We're not stupid and my mom make sure that we had our dignity. We were respectful and we made a difference and we learn our way through we don't take handouts.

13:37 So what else can you tell me about that butt. In time where you weren't able to go into restaurants? When did that start to change search engine started in 50s with a veterans after World War II they made a big impact on that after the war.

13:57 I meant because many came back with long War 2 medals on you know, what they made their way to change we start seeing changing in 64 with the Civil Rights Act after Kennedy's assassination without Linden LBJ passing the Civil Rights Act of 64 race riots angels all the types of Vietnam. And that's where Mom and acquired the church and turn it to a halt we had organization like Loomis lulac and those groups use that hall and then in the state 70s and 80s that kind of petered out and things are more normal.

14:44 I mean more accepting you would say and then that's where they sold the churches. The loan programs for the CSU students have I'll send you a vignette project go coming out of that which allowed in 68 we went in to see if she was 73, but if we didn't have those programs, I don't think we could have gone to see if you were in school. I got accepted by Notre Dame University, Colorado University of Northern Colorado. Mom goes bang you are now a ram. Okay, I guess I'm going to see issue. So and I was working for CSU in the concession stand athletic so we had adversity but I never really experienced it because we were mom and other place the trail for us.

15:30 So we can make it through but now today there is hidden.

15:38 Discrimination

15:40 Tell me about that simple. I was on Planning and Zoning. I was considered a commissioner and I will have people talk down to me.

15:51 City staff members who say let me explain to you mister galvadon, so you can understand how he did that to me and two women. We had him removed from his position.

16:03 Because we can fight games. Now. Let's go back to my mom's sidewalk story. That's very important. I will be walking with a friend and people will come by and they won City attorney.

16:19 Deputy City attorney push me off the sidewalk

16:23 And I said you want and he goes you got the sidewalk when I walk past you when I'm not supposed to swear on this but I'm not sure I had my metaphors and I told her to put it and my friend was Jerry. Why didn't you leave the sidewalk? But yet you can find him a simple. Mom had to leave the sidewalk. I don't because

16:49 If I left the sidewalk, I'll be just wondering her. You absolutely.

17:02 To this day. I don't leave the sidewalk. And if I Endeavour they did the same thing to me downtown Denver and one motorcyclist, Hawaii Kai.

17:13 Hippo the same stop when I got done. He was in a flower bed because he slammed into my back and I are both him and he Corrine and went into the flower bed. And so, why'd you do that if I have to defend myself and it's not my problem. It's his problem. Now, you have to dig himself out of the fire bad emoji on to the bus. So we stand our ground but we're respectful when we don't make it totally visible because we are very humble.

17:48 Pictures of clarified Jerry how old you are when was episode 7?

17:52 56

17:56 When are those bicycle incidents happen and I was 57 when they turn to know what I was 58 when they turn you push me off the sidewalk and I was in 2004.

18:12 Barry is very real today. And then I'm fine is on and it did this to me and

18:19 In 2001

18:22 And I told Mom she goes discrimination. I said yeah, she was how you going to handle innocent. I have my ways and Mom had her ways to handling this and we didn't have a bandwagon sweet and do Fanfare nothing. We did it because quietly mom is so effective quietly and taking care of matters.

18:43 And I learned that from her but we do it with dignity and we don't know we don't lose our

18:52 Or honor

18:54 We do it carefully and you sitting restaurant. So here's a good one and 1995. I want to buy a new minivan from Fort Collins Chrysler. I had the Impala not this one had a white one.

19:09 Hi Gina t-shirt tonight want to buy new van and I went up to the gym and then sick sir. Can you please show me the new minivans? He said those are too expensive for you to use when you're over there. I swear. I had a metaphor. You want to beat that again MF. You just looked at me in total shock. I walked stop. I went to the minivans and look at it myself and it came over to me says are you going to trade the Impala and son? I said you can't afford the Impala boy.

19:43 Then we walked off I went to Greeley and pay cash $25,000 for the van then and the folks and greed are going why are you buying van here in Greeley? Not for calling. So now I have a story. Yeah, and I can share the story with them and they sent it to Chrysler Corporation.

20:01 Good, then I went to the same place 15 years later to buy new minivan. So I went for $19,000 and it was a year-and-a-half ago.

20:10 For 19 thousand cash and I can we look at this when you go to the office. He says, oh no, this man is wrong. It's going to cost you $31,000.

20:26 I said phase II 19 out there 31 on computer. So we went out there and look at it. And I said you had to sell it to me for a 19,000 call Payton switch federal law on reporting history of knowing my rights and he goes, oh, no, we can not go. No, you can't I had to salesman and a manager browbeating the heck out of me to make me by the van as there was their mistake and they don't have to sell it to me.

20:53 I got up and left.

20:56 I'm going over to Peterson about my my minivan.

21:01 A lot cheaper to a lot nicer people so discrimination and living in is a Hispanic still prevails today. You just have to

21:11 Deal with it and hold your ground.

21:14 And make sure people don't do that again because like I said earlier mom plays the trail while my turn is to play continue glazing that trail.

21:27 Are those under for those coming up?

21:30 Good for you. So tell me a little bit so we know each other because we're both board members, right. Elmo say oh, how did you get involved there? It was really interesting and 2004. Okay. Let's Packers. Go back to 2002 one Walmart was being built or being proposed and the city with Shish.

21:56 There was a group of people. I don't know you, I don't care. What party or what their affiliation was, but they don't want Walmart, and others want to Walmart.

22:07 And to this day suck my friends refuse to shop Walmart because they consider lowering your standards in mine. I'll give me a break. Anyway Walmart came through Mark Goldberg who proposed about March is pandan community.

22:23 He bought them Romero house and he donated it to the city and to the group Eddie Aragon Margaret Guzman and the others trucks Lionel who put the pre-sale together. I was on pansy at that time fans on him part.

22:42 And in this where fairness comes in even told

22:47 II

22:49 Molly mcbutter this way the city wanted them to go through

22:54 In such a hurry up abbreviated permitting process and I was bored and I said, wait a second.

23:05 This is a public entity. But yet you're making a short change the process so they can get it in.

23:11 What about normal person who do brings in a project cause developer?

23:16 Oh, no, we make them go to Food Processor. I said are we being fair and Equitable hear the founders Betty and her group or just shocked because they thought it was slammed on for me. I question the process and abbreviated accelerator steps.

23:32 The planter realize what I was doing and said we need to pull this and revisit this Jerry's right? We have to be fair and Equitable across the board. No matter who it is. So the founders were kind of shocked that would like me to go back and redo it.

23:48 Are the reason why you're not be happy with me, but I had to keep it fair because I was a commissioner driving zoning.

23:57 Person I had to make sure I was following the process fair for everybody. That's when Mom comes into play and it family your fare regardless who you are. So we proved it in the San Juan Islands Ferry way and then I followed it and then start and then family history for my mom's told me.

24:17 She still living at in the house right after she got married. My dad came back from the Philippines on World War II and my grandmother has the house up the street. So we have a huge Legacy.

24:30 That's all I got to know the board members. And so I got involved behind the scenes this opportunity to come aboard the Michelle after Betty left with my way of coming in and giving back and that's why I even I had a mission because I was watching its Mission and its direction go where should not go to look at the concept of how these organizations opposed to work.

24:57 And I wanted to make sure that his fair educational and it's open and it belongs to the community. Not anybody and it's supposed to stay right of the Immigrant population through the history of Hispanic and going back to the reason and the formation of herself for Hispanic History migraine immigration and sugar beet industry. Got to remember my grandfather farmed and farm Rigden Farm over there by Drake and Timberline and he farmed in this region. In fact, he was named top 10 sugar bee farmer in 1945.

25:41 With a lot of prominent farmers in this area and it was on the two Hispanic runs getting recognized like this. It's in a history archives in a family history. So we have a huge Legacy in this area and mom used to work in a sugar beet Fields during World War II German prisoner-of-war in Greeley. There was a couple poww camps and 1/4 Japanese to Japanese. But guess what they did in the Pacific they were heavily guarded the Germans.

26:16 We're not their friend and neighbor for they were working in the fields with my mother and her friends.

26:23 Side-by-side like ordinary people do at night. They went back to the prison camp and Mom were to the sugar beets in World War II. So we have a long history. I worked at Sugar Beach in the fields with Mom and seventies and I was at work to see issue with experimental sugar beet Farm over there off Prospect call the Bay Farm.

26:46 So it's hugely and you're better than our families. Hey, if I didn't knew that I didn't think I would be going to see issue because that was a really educational get education.

27:05 That's really really interesting. What else? Can you tell me about that the museum some of the history of fiber in history for really look at it on how the Romero family came about the history of the building and Howard the three the four rooms we have their they're all in different interpretive rooms the cold room talks about the construction and how people kept food cold because there's no ice boxes or no fancy refrigerator. Haha Temple how it if you can turn a room into a cold room.

27:47 And still store food and make it habitable and it's a construction of the Dobbie the mud the sand and then you get to help families lived in the next room with the how people are stuck in one room and the three baths and then you talk about the story machine and how people use it to make clothes. I know how to run that sewing machine because my mom told me she had one too. And if you look at the gunny sacks that the sugar beets came in they did double-duty the house sugar Peach. They also were closed.

28:30 If you see how they made people clothes for people we didn't have Walmart. We didn't have the stores and many of us couldn't go to Ben Franklin Five and Dime Store will words.

28:45 Speaking a little words. We're not allowed to sit at the counter the bar. We had to go sit in the corner.

28:51 Okay, I broke that room too. So interpretive and then you talk about the religion. The Roman Catholic is huge with all the statues the candles and you talked about how people were religious because this area if you know Hispanic types of the Roman Catholic church and the Crusades going to go deeper than that. However, then the room talked about how people lived they had the community room where you have

29:26 Notable people Demi Rose and people who made a difference Ray Martinez Bill Lopez truck salon on Lupe Salazar. Let about each one of them if you re Martinez was asleep when I went to school with he really just going to find job entertaining prominence in his leadership as a police officer. He's wrote a book.

29:57 And he's also for sure on the second third Hispanic mayor to term Mayor Bill Lopez Boy Scout leader. Troop 81 Detroit by Disturbed at 2. He was Spanish teacher Poudre High School and her very good work. He raised a wonderful family doctors who's my family doctor from Bill educator Bobby Lopez Rocky Mount High School principal, and he was a council member.

30:34 Mayor and county commissioner

30:39 He made his Mark very well truck Solano. Solano wrote books about sugar Beach, you know the rose and as a picture there's a boy in the figure be anyone into the US Army.

30:56 And how he served in the same prominent outfit that was once served by Audie Murphy a highly decorated soldier of World War II he should be and he was our hair barber or Barber and hair stylist and he just talks and lectures on sugar beets and how do you say tools? And how did Adam

31:21 Lupe Salazar Lupe has come a long way and she's started us issue head of El Centro, Chicano and I'll Central now which was part of our Legacy were the first members of it going forward. She's now attained of PhD doctor Guadalupe Salazar and she is running from the finest while organized and most dynamic organization ever.

31:47 And she's made a wonderful Mark and what she is turned off from the finest student 34 students graduated with masters from El Centro. Nice this year over 80 with bachelors.

32:06 That is that is very impressive impressive and they're going back and they're going to learn and I bet you'll be some phds a lot more of us just a Gloria my sister and I and Tony are the most notable ones and then I went on and picked up my MBA and if it's like I said, I have two minors and I have 15 hours Short of PhD we continue to grow and read I got to give credit to El Centro and the leaders before loopy and look at me now carrying a legacy over.

32:41 Can and just so El Centro started when you were in college in the 70s named program is opened up as project goal project Goldman's generating opportunities in 68. I was a member of it and 73 when I went to CSU after graduating from Poudre and 76 is switched over to the name, not the concept the name to El Centro, Chicano fine for the first members and then if it come out Central since then

33:22 So it's been a wonderful program for us.

33:26 Awesome. Anything else you want to know any other people you want to tell me about? Why don't like I mentioned my mother my brothers are lawyers and our family is very strong and working so very prominent and I'll go talk to my mother and her Legacy it but she agreed as one person. She's part behind naming Laughlin Community Center Northside. Okay. She's also is very connected to a senator's Governor's a lot of people and to this day. She try to remember and highly respected.

34:07 Like I taught people how she raised 11U without father easy 1st Marine Division, and she told an interview.

34:15 If the laws were here today back in the days when we were going up. I'll be serving 11 life Saturday a cup of culture is a couple of priests if you know how to add to it. You know, I wouldn't trade it anymore. I would not trade that for anything else.

34:35 Thank you. Thank you Jerry.

34:42 Maybe help paint a picture of your mother and words and we had a sense of the way that she ran the family but what other personal memories you have of her what she looks like etcetera her and I will watch her so many war movies together. I knew the ships and planes mama told me stories about Pearl Harbor how it affected them here. And I said, why don't you guys mad at the Germans like no different than the Japanese we had another term for them. They are called gaps and Mongoose the difference between us and the Japanese.

35:18 Was Pearl Harbor?

35:20 They feared the invasion of Japan into United States.

35:26 And needs and remember this area here. You have Troop Train. She had bombers flying from Cheyenne to Denver Vice Versa engine you got along with the Germans more than give it to Japanese. She goes really the big difference was Pearl Harbor when we found out about Auschwitz in the death camps and the Holocaust all of them we change and we worked over the tournament today. Okay. I asked for leave that one alone and Mama Tamil stories and I would teach her stuff about the fleet stepping stone. Ask USS, Colorado. How do you know if a profile mom is 6 inch 16 inch country was okay, I give up and she goes wrong plane showed up 6 months later, but will live with it as you sit there and talk about the history. And so I'm kind of keeping track of all our history and

36:25 What Matt that's why patriotic next get so strong and you do not disgrace the flag. You know, what just Grace MacArthur and you don't badmouth John Wayne. What's yours look like on Facebook because her birthday was last month last Thursday, and I'm posting pictures of her through every few days on Facebook on K7 Shih Tzus like five 8 and see what she has a strong woman and she was

37:08 She loved big bands and World War II music. I have all her records from Glenn Miller days and all that till I can swim in.

37:23 In the mood

37:26 And Moonlight Serenade

37:29 She like another magician Clarence Henry big Southern jazz band band leader band singer really good stuff, and I'll

37:43 We enjoy that and I still have a records. That's nice and it's almost 80 and I played on the Impala when I get into the mood. So that's that's you. That's a really powerful history. Thank you so much for sharing it with.

38:01 Thanks, you bet.