Project of the Skyline College/North San Mateo County Oral History Archives, Skyline College Library
Student project for LSCI 110 – Digital Oral Research Project, Skyline College

 Olivia Cruz
 “Life Story”, by Daisy Cruz

Click on the links below to hear audio segments from an April 2005 interview by Daisy Cruz
with Olivia Cruz, Who was born and raised in the outskirts of the small town of Mezcala, Jalisco.

Born 3/10/1947

Photo taken at Garcia Studio in Tepatitlan, Jalisco, February 19, 1973


Table of Contents:
1. Segment 1 - Introduction on Olivia

2. Segment 2 - Childhood
3. Segment 3 - A day In “ El Ranchito”

4. Segment 4 - School in the Ranchito

5. Segment 5 - Day’s without Dad

6. Segment 6 - 24 years old/ migrating to California

7. Segment 7 - Life in San Bruno

8. Segment 8 - Receiving legal status

9. Today’s Life


Click here to read the oral history essay, “Olivia Cruz, Homemaker”



Segment 1
Introduction on Olivia

Olivia (Picazo) Cruz was born march 10, 1947. She lived in a ranch most of her life. She lived there with her mother Ma. De Jesus, her father Bernardino , her one sister Celia and her three brothers, Elias, Abel and Cornelio. She didn’t come from a wealthy family, but they weren’t poor either. They had enough money to buy food and decent clothes.


The Picazo Family

This picture was taken in California while her parents were visiting




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Segment 2

When Olivia was growing up she remembers helping her mother do chores around the ranch. Also she referred that Life in Mexico is very different than what it is in the United States. In Mexico a girl of the age of 7 knows how to do things that a girl from California wouldn’t know how to do at the age of 12.



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Segment 3
A day in El Ranchito
A typical day in the ranch consisted of doing chores, going to the well to get clean drinking water and caring for her younger siblings.



Olivia‘s parents and her three brothers

Her Father’s birthday (photo taken in Mexico)




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Segment 4
School days in El Ranchito

School part 2


Olivia went to school only up to the 6th grade. She learned how to read, write and do simple math. At her school in the ranch, there was only one classroom, one teacher for 60 students of different ages and grades. At her school they were not given lunch, therefore Olivia and her siblings ate breakfast and wouldn’t eat again until they got home from school.

Olivia and Celia

At a party




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Segment 5
Days without dad

Olivia and her family sometimes spent up two years without their dad. She understood why her dad wasn’t around and waited anxiously when her father came to visit. After her dad spent two yrs in California he would return to Mexico for 6 months to spend time with his family. Bernardino, her father, would come to California to work and make money for his family back home in Mexico. After Bernardino’s eldest sons were old enough to be in California he got them legal status, so they could work. Since his sons were in California he returned for good to Mexico.

This picture was taken when Olivia was only a child, with her mother, 2 brothers and sister.
The picture to the left is her father




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Segment 6
24 years old and migrating to California

When Crossing the Border

Some time after Olivia got married to Pedro Cruz, they decided it was time to begin their journey to California. Olivia explained that their journey was long and rough but fortunately they made it safely.


Pedro and Olivia

This picture was taken in the late 80’s in front of their new home



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Segment 7
Living in San Bruno

When Olivia first arrived to San Bruno she first lived in an apartment for a couple of years. In 1983 Pedro and Olivia bought a home. Later in 1997 they sold the first house and bought a bigger home. Olivia still lives in San Bruno.

Olivia’s family in her first apartment


 Top row left to right: Celia, Olivia, Bernardino, Ma. De Jesus

Middle row: Maribel (her niece), Arnold (son)

Bottom: Giselle (daughter)




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Segment 8
receiving legal status

Continuation of legal status

 When Olivia first came to California she didn’t have any legal papers. Soon after she applied for her social security card and it was given to her. Also when she applied for her residence, it was also granted to her. In 1997 she became a legal citizen of the United States.


The picture used for her residence card



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 Today’s Life
Olivia still resides in San Bruno with her family and relatives. Olivia no longer works, she stays home to take care of her family and grandson. She likes to travel and go for long walks.


On vacation at Lake Tahoe

Pedro, Olivia and their grandson Marcos



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*These audio files may be played with Windows Media Player or Real Player.
To download a free copy of Windows Media Player, click here.
To download a free copy of Real Player, click here.

last revised: 5-25-05
by Eric Brenner, Skyline College, San Bruno, CA
These materials may be used for educational purposes if you inform and credit the author and cite the source as: North San Mateo County Oral History Archives, Skyline College Library. All commercial rights are reserved.
To contact the author, or send comments or suggestions, email: Eric Brenner at: