Albert Lozano and Catalina Lozano

Recorded June 20, 2010 Archived June 20, 2010 01:16:24
0:00 / 0:00
Id: SFB000862


Albert H. Lozano, 84, talks with his daughter Catalina Lozano, 58, about growing up in Mexico, his immigration to the US, his family and his varied careers.

Subject Log / Time Code

A born in Ciiudad Juarez, Mexico, the oldest surviving child, two younger sisters and one younger brother.
A immigrates to the US where he has relatives that help him to get established.
A opens a tortilla factory and three restaurants in Vallejo, CA.
A begins a teaching career after graduating from San Francisco State University.
A considers himself the most successful member of his family.


  • Albert Lozano
  • Catalina Lozano

Recording Location

San Francisco StoryBooth


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00:13 My name is Catalina Lozano. I'm 58 years old and today is June 20th 2010. It's Father's Day and we are in San Francisco and I am interviewing my father Albert Lozano.

00:28 My name is Alberto. Duran Los Santos Eliza that's in Spanish and English Albert H Lozano age Sadie for today is a 20th of a June 2010 in San Francisco, and I am talking with my daughter.

00:50 So Dad, let's start with when you were born. Where were you born? And what is your date of birth cert? 1926 and

01:06 Who are your parents and my mother was Kathleen assyriska? And you know, how old they were when you were born with a young they were fairly young but I don't I never knew their their ages clearly. And so you the oldest first born I will actually I was a second born the firstborn. What's up a little girl by the name of Arcadia who died at Birth before I was born. You know, how many years were you born after her death within one year? I was born. I've heard a few my goodness. How long did she live? I don't know not even a year. Did your parents talk to you about her know they never did. We just knew that she had been born and died in that was it? That's so sad. So you were the second born and then did you have any siblings were born after you

02:06 Sister Norma my other sister Leticia and my youngest brother Arturo. Did you all four of you siblings live together with your mother and your father and see you then? What is no not necessarily because when I was about six years old, my my parents decided to send me from Ojinaga to Chihuahua to live with my mother's sister who was in ciudad Juarez Chihuahua and I went over to live with them. So I lived away from the rest of the family almost since I was six years old. Do you know why your parents decided to send you over there? They figured I had a better chance to get a better education and the better future.

02:58 So your mom and dad and your siblings were living in Ojinaga, and then you were six years old and they sent you to see that whatever. She went to live with Guadalupe sirasa. Did she have children too? I think it was five. Yeah. It was 5 and did you get to see your family any time while you were living over there? I remember we used to spend summer vacation from school my two favorite cousins George and Oscar and myself used to go back to him and spend the summer there in after the summer would come back how far is Ojinaga from see that way? I don't know about a day's Drive.

03:58 And did you miss your mom and miss your family to a degree, but I was growing up very involving School in the family in my my family and my friends and how long did you stay living with with weather Lupe Tortilla weather Lupe in that family Senor Sol something like that. So you only went back to live with your mom and your dad and your siblings know that my father got a transfer. He used to be an immigration officer for The Mexican government and he got transferred to Cheryl Wallace and when he did that then I went to live with my family. I went to live with my mom my mother and father Mary hold, you know, I don't remember I don't I don't keep those. Yeah. So where you living with your family when your dad was killed

04:58 My dad died on his automobile accident. I was there any member that I don't feel like sitting him dying. Well, I remember him dead and me participating in the funeral. Do you know how I know? I don't I don't remember.

05:16 And did you still stay then to live with your family after your dad's death? Did you get a load your mom and your siblings and that was what happened after that in terms of the living arrangements. Well, my mother decided to move to Mexico City and with a both Leticia Norma and that she left me to continue my studies in Cuates and I used to go and visit her now and then during vacations and I never lived. Oh, yes. I did live with her just before she died in Mexico City, right? I remember we used to live in the street called Annapolis Annapolis what you're facing. Carter says something like that. That was the last day that the last year that she lived.

06:12 So you lived with Lupe and her hand and that whole family and then your dad got transferred to see that water isn't and then your dad died. And then your mom moved to Mexico City and that's when you went back to live with Lupe. And then what about I thought you said that that your mom took Leticia normal to Mexico. But what about after she died then both of the three of them in Mexico City Arturo Leticia and Norma came to live with my aunt Guadalupe.

06:58 And I just came by this time. I had graduated already. I had a degree in accountancy and I was working and I was helping to support them when your mom died in Mexico City where you living there with her. You said a minute ago that you had been there for you were there when she died and what did she die of and it was it a long illness yesterday was quite low and she suffered a lot then. Yes. She did and that was in Mexico City and Norman took care of her and how old was Norma? I don't remember. I dates aren't that many food to me anymore. We're young teenager years. I think yes.

07:43 Yeah, and then when your mom died it went in Mexico City, what's the story you told me about the gentleman who was so nice to Norma and put through Private Eyes Lewes de Velasco a couple of years or something like that. And then when she died he took care of the girls. Yes. He sent them to a boarding school or while. They were married both Leticia Norma went to a very famous in the good school called me Reposado in Mexico City.

08:23 So it was just after oh than living with with your mom and and then your mom died and then what happened to mr. The Belasco old are you he came over to visit me Sharon San Rafael quite a few years ago, but he he lived a long life of he died in his late 80s or something like that. He was a decent man is a good man. So how is it that you ended up coming to the United States? And how old were you and what were the circumstances I I decided that I I was working in Cuates and I decided that I wanted to come to the United States how you was not happy with her my prospects Mexico. I figured my prospects for the future were better here in the United States and

09:19 We received a visit from my Uncle Manuel and my uncle Mike living here in the United States and I asked him that if I ever wanted to emigrate hear a father and would take me in and they said yes and when I was ready, I called my Uncle Michael and he said y'all come on over and die. Like I did all the necessary requirements and all the little papers and so forth in thy immigrated to the United States. I think this was about nineteen 4444 you came over and so did you fly did you go on a train or bus to Braintree?

10:02 About 24 hours or 36 something was he married your Uncle Mike train station. It was his second wife of what actually wasn't married at the time.

10:20 It was in between wife's that I showed up. And what did you do for him to get you a job or did you work for him or what? Yes, I work for him Tortilleria in the Mexican food factory and the also he had a radio program and then he gave me a chance to become a radio announcer in the program as well, which I did for seven and a half years or so.

10:48 Mission San Bernardino, California, did you come to Uncle Mike live in Los Angeles or San Bernardino Michael lived in San Bernardino Manuel lived in Los Angeles, and I have spent one year with my Uncle Manuel before 1938-39 something like that. And what did you do over there with manual of work school? Took my first the first time that I became an in touch with her with a language.

11:22 All this was before you and my greatest way before and then who did you when you came when you emigrated then when you were finished with your accountant degree in Mexico, and you came over. Did you come to Los Angeles and work for a manual that was way before? Okay. I came directly to Michael to San Bernardino for him and the radio station 12th and is my the one who made the tortilla machine. No, no. No that was Manuel Manuel was the one who invented the tortilla machine. No, not that one but later on I built my own he doesn't tortilla making machine. Yes my own with my own hands and did you learn that from you?

12:21 Fan in Los Angeles. Is that the one I remember that missing I remember that machine I can see it right now how you would put the Masa design it and then had somebody called my Uncle manuals part of it the main cutting part of them. Will you put the muscle on it? That was something that was purchased by a fellow by the name of Ford who designed it and made it and then one that was only the beginning then my uncle did all the rest of the

12:59 Part of the machine for cooking and so forth. And then he made was he one of the first people to Manufactured tortillas so they can be at the Whittier Boulevard in Los Angeles. What's the name of that area? I forgot it's it's a very famous area lost. I forgot the name of it.

13:25 Whittier Boulevard in Los Angeles, I believe at the time it was maybe the only tortilla making outfit in machine in business in Los Angeles and allowed him to package tortillas or know that package unit for PS3 and start until after I was with my uncle Michael in the beginning of the 40s and we all the package to a fellow that used to have a supermarket one of the first supermarkets in the state of California and I forgot his name now, but it wasn't his idea to start package. And then after that then we started. Talk to you started being packed before that. There were sold directly to the public some manuals idea was to make the tortilla machine simply to be more efficient instead of somebody padding out your hand and this is what he pushed him into developing a machine.

14:25 So that he would be able to have a big big production. He made a lot of money man. You made a lot of money.

14:32 And what I remember about ours are coated p.m. Machine. This is so funny. I remember very clearly the cellophane squares and then the the tortillas would come off the machine hot and then we would we had a an iron that was a piece of metal like 6 in like a ruler and it was a hot iron. I remember packaging the tortillas where we would put the label down then the tortillas and then the cellophane and who taught you that her. How come I learn to how come you taught me that how degrees how come we did that with the third thing is

15:07 What was the name of this fellow Willy?

15:11 This is it all started when the owner of this cute supermarket in San Bernardino and decided that he was going to start packaging at himself and his Delicatessen Department was the first one to start putting them in cellophane. And from there then he told Mike why don't you do it so that I would have to spend the time over here. And that was the beginning of the package of add tortillas and developing that sing about using a hot iron end up putting a selfie Mike had a business in San Bernardino La Tolteca number cuz I was in LA I was a manager I was riding with you. And so what were what were your duties running everything from hiring people paying them keeping the books?

16:11 Well, my God is working also physically in the production of figuring out the distribution. I did everything is it located in San Bernardino Avenue? 479 North Mount Vernon Avenue. Was it a new saying that this Tortilleria or had it been in existence many years before you came along believe all on Mount Vernon Avenue location by moving the original one in San Bernardino, and then my uncle loved a move that one to another building and then eventually he built the one where I said tell me about the remember the first time I came into the store know I don't but they used to

17:11 Used to call her.

17:13 Donut she came over and she offered me doughnuts. She had bought donuts somewhere and she offered me a donut and I'll never forget some of the people who are working for me at the time started calling her Donuts.

17:29 Did you call her Donuts know? What did she look like she was so normal to me bus at the time. Yes.

17:44 I have your wedding picture. So I have evidence of bad how both of you are so attractive so.

17:53 Let me ask you then. How did how did we end up in Vallejo after I work for my uncle for so long? I figured that I was not the getting first enough money second in Africa ignition third enough appreciation. So all of this put together made me think that I wanted to be in my own business and I knew that up north they didn't have a tortilla making facilities and so forth. So I talked to my Uncle Manuel about making my own machines when I moved over to make my own machine and I gave notice to my Uncle Mike and I told him very frankly. This has a lot of potential to make money in to be a big business. You don't seem to be interested in that you're leaving everything to me. So well, I'm sorry. I don't want to work for you this way anymore. I'm going to try my own business up North and then I chose Vallejo. Don't ask me how or when but I did see you have never been there before.

18:53 And you just drove there and said this is it.

18:58 It takes a lot of nerve. How old were you? I don't know why I don't I don't keep record Marilyn my wife now. She's excellent about keeping record of Ages in years and so forth. I don't pay too much attention to that. So when you decided to move to Vallejo to make your break with the Southern, California Tortilla to bring it up to here and make a business up here. How old were we your kids? Were we were we were little huh? Yeah, and so how did you find a place to live in and set up your business? How did you decide I found an open space in the store? I I do everything on my own and I found a place to live in did anybody give you money to help you like Bank food and Uncle Manuel?

19:54 And I put the machine in the my panel truck at the time. I put the family in it together and we came we drove up.

20:05 It's I guess it takes guts to do that. But I had them you had the guts and then so did you decide to open a restaurant or just a 30 area or cuz I first opened up I talk to you you thinking that I was going to be able to reproduce what we have done in Southern California after a while. I was not making enough money. I was not doing it and then the idea of making a restaurant at the same time came into play and then I opened up a restaurant and still maintain that Sofia making and how did you spell that a c o t h e t o w n Taco the town and how did that go for you? Did you like that place? Well

21:04 Having the Talk of the Town. Yeah, we we were we were quite successful and they were hard-working you worked hard and then you opened up another place. I remember them. I remember we put one by the high school how many years did we have all three going? No more than a couple of years. It was hard to have. All three of them was a nightmare for a while. And then after the three restaurants I can I can remember getting dropped off the bus from school and going into the restaurant and doing my homework on butcher paper. You know what I remember about those years cleaning beans.

21:51 Bright yellow 50lb hundred pound bags of beans and then all the beans would come out. It was a metal table. And then I was told to sit there and pick out all the little Little Rock.

22:10 And how much did you pay me for that?

22:14 Well, that was part of making money. You were making your own money and I remember the tortilla making machine and I remembered you know, what? I remember the most about that place the music you remember the music. Yes. I made sure that we had music for the customers and I hired the best music available to people whose business it was something else was just coming in and they install the system for me and I just bought the records Center. I used to play the records for the customer member who you played.

22:52 What kind of music yes, I do. Tell me what's primarily Trio and I was just very very famous have the time and this is I don't know how long ago that was. I remember Tres diamantes. Oh, well, those are the original one, but that goes back into that Amanda Mendoza. Those are very old. That's what I remember from the restaurant. That's the music that I associate with that time. I used to but we are distracted kfxm. I used to play a lot of a native music up a lot of my action music and also a lot of others matter fact that I used to play Tito Puente when he first started his first recording and quite a few of those other people, but this was when when we used to have a

23:51 I don't know if I want to call the 78 before 44th and 33 send those other.

24:03 So tell me about being a disc jockey since you brought it up. When were you a disc jockey? And where was that late 50s or something like that idea. Where was this radio station was downtown San Rafael to San Bernardino. One of the one of the people working. There was Paul Lynde, you know that and I'd already told you I have an eye that mixing for me as an engineering in Ocala was talking about the microphone was Tennessee Ernie Ford and I got to know Ernie and later on. I were Jack Cassidy and somebody else that became famous as well accept me. So these are this was a radio station that these people worked at. What did Tennessee Ernie Ford do they're mixed for me and he had a program right after me. My program used to be from 6.

25:03 7 in the morning and right after the news with Frank Hemingway, by the way at 7. He used to have his phone program playing his country western. Music. How did he end up in San Bernardino? I never knew Tennessee. Ernie Ford was in San Bernardino from the south. He was looking for a place to move to in California and he ended up in kfxm working for the Lee Brothers Broadcasting Company. Those were the owners of the radio station the Lee Brothers and Halle Brothers hired Ernie for

25:46 Tu tu presencia program. What was Paul Lynde doing there? He was working in production and then managing. He was never at that time indirect radio. So did you do that disc jockey while you were running the 30th from 6 to 7 in the morning and after 7 in the morning, I used to drive to my regular job.

26:17 Did you like that the district attorney never went back to it after you came to Northern California? No accepted El Gomez who was the fellow that to open up La Fiesta Tortilleria in Sacramento. He had a TV program this when the TV started really coming in and he asked me to come in and I do that TV program for here for a look for once one of those one time shows something like that the TV program you do some people ask me questions and answering something like what we're doing right now.

27:01 So you've had very many different jobs. You've been a disc jockey you were in first. You got a degree in accountancy and I imagined was a bookkeeper in Mexico than you came here. You were discharged Aki and manage the store. Then you came to Northern California open your own restaurant. So your own businesses and then you're now a teacher. When did you decide to become a teacher? Well, actually I always I have always wanted to do to teach I used to be when I used to live with her in quite as I used to say that I was going to be a lawyer for not girl because I used to argue and always be involved with her knowledge and I had I have gone to

27:50 To Vallejo Junior College at the time and I was doing that I got the business there and then I had problems with your mother got divorced and I decided to continue my education in the United States. And by the way, when I first came to see to work for my Uncle Manuel I went for a while to study at the San Bernardino Valley College and I went for about a year or so to try to get accountancy Mighty green in Spanish into English, but I got more involved in making a living and in the radio station and running of the business and so forth. So, well, this is and after that I came to a to San Francisco. I finish my degree here first, and I started that

28:45 I started teaching here. This is a long time ago to surround 50 years ago. So did you go did we able to transfer as a junior to San Francisco State or did you go to San Francisco State and do for years there or be able to transfer whatever I think that I did graduate from yes from Tumblr junior college and then I transferred to San Francisco State. I originally wanted to be a a mass teacher and I went to Berkeley talkin to the people in the math department left me out the door. They said they were not really interested in people who wanted to become teachers. They wanted researchers in that mathematicians and pure mathematics. I said, I'm not really interesting restaurants. So they suggested they have to go to San Francisco State so I did and you got a degree in what?

29:42 In Spanish and Latin American culture in the language Spanish or Spanish history Spanish. That was a ba and then did you stay on and do more?

30:01 Spanish never have to be straight in Spanish. Are you able to get a job right away teaching Spanish for teachers. Remember your first job as a Spanish teacher at night.

30:22 While I was still doing oh, by the way, that's so sad at the same time. But this time I had to I had the just remarried and I don't know if you remember this or not, but I became manager of the Cliff House remember that I do remember that and I was the manager of the Cliff House and still studying and I was doing that and then I got a job my first job at South San Francisco taking at night in South San Francisco high school. So I was doing three things. That was the manager of the Cliff House. I will continue to do my studies and I'm still studying as you very well know even though I'm 84 years old, and I'm still studying.

31:06 I'm sorry, but I wanted to wrap up the Cliff House Years cuz I have a couple of things when asked about how many years were you managing the Cliff House?

31:15 Two two years for years. That is that one Playland at the beach was still there and laughing Sal and all that cuz I remember going there and I remember seeing the diving bell. So I'm laughing Sal and all that before we have to go because we got the signal light on a lot of time with me for the record. I would like you to tell two stories the Pancho Villa story. Let's hear about Pancho Villa and you're you're beautiful or pant Loop are the ones that I ended up living with his mother when she was young. She was very beautiful sister. She was blond and green eyes or blue eyes, whatever she was and this was doing the Pancho Villa. Thanks and her first husband was a colonel in the Mexican Army by the name of Manuel Orozco criminal Orozco and they had a child Monroe and Monroe Roscoe father.

32:14 Was fighting against Pancho Villa.

32:19 1920s late 20s in one of his posting things. He said Not only am I going to get you a gift. Colonel Roscoe? I'm going to get his wife that beautiful blonde woman.

32:37 And he almost did and in one of those fights that they had in the small town my and wasn't a special small town and a bunch of Ian knew that. She was there and up. They remember that he had said I'm going to get the rush cuz Michaels wife and they put her in the trunk electron cannot like what do you call those look like like like a car without another car on Horseback. What do you call those purse?

33:21 It was like like Wells Fargo. How do you call those Sky coach coach and she was put into the thing and they got her out of that that City and later on punch. Came over looking for her and he never found her. That's the story of my aunt and Pancho Villa true story. This is the woman who raised you who you live with on-and-off manual in LA with a Tortilleria is Roscoe State about a couple of years ago. That was a different man when he was yeah. There was one was Monroe's to disa Monroe the other one Manuel Orozco series

34:08 Orozco being the colonel. So I also before we get cut off this tape want you to talk about your famous bullfighter Uncle. Yeah, when he was very young who decided like most Spanish people from Spain and most Basques and you know the best half of them really love bullfighting and the others don't well, we belong to the ones that love bullfighting and decided to become a bullfighter and to become up. Both fire in to get your your degrees and so forth. Put in for 5 years and apprenticeship and he did he eventually got the equivalent to his Ph.D. And I will have my my cousin Chris cillizza remember and you must have a copy of a of our history and our story. He got his

35:08 Cool letters to his PhD in bullfighting and he got that here in northern Mexico and he was going to go to Spain his manager had already made arrangements, but something happened that stuff the whole thing here and he never went to Spain to get his computer material which means date in pretty much to learn from the from the bullfighting outfit in Spain that he fought in Mexico. How many years did he fight Bulls in Mexico? Michael Michael you came to San Bernardino with the radio station in the tortilla a long story and we don't have time for that but he eventually and gloves of bullfighting an expensive thing to embark on my gosh.

36:07 Marabu got a hold of them and that made a Christian out of him and he never stepped in a bull ring after that who was present. Did anybody see this occur to Mike to Uncle Mike? Not that I know nobody in the family. Nobody in the family. Like the only truly happened. We have the I have the pictures in the document service career of his bull fighting career has written up in the newspapers Young on his way to Spain and then and then a bull got a hold of them and almost killed them didn't so he must he became a Christmas I said, he must have seen something did he literally become a Christian? So in your opinion, so we only have probably three minutes left in all your family. So you have your brother out of Futo who's the Jesuit priests as we like to say to from the pope. No, he'll go to from the pope and he's now if I from the Pope

37:07 When he was in Rome right now from father General it was it was a pope then the the special Cardinal in charge of a different Affairs and then then then father General and then one man and then have total.

37:25 The actor was in charge of all of Spain Portugal and all of Latin America.

37:35 Yeah, he's he's quite a smart fellow he still alive.

37:44 So of all of your family, who do you think is the most successful?

37:49 I think I am in the reason is because I've lived this long and I've always believed in Sumter Jonas dictum. There's no cure for birth or death except to enjoy the interval and I've been trying my best to enjoy the interval.

38:06 I'm successful.

38:08 Thank you, Dad.