Did you know that the stories you hear from us on NPR and our podcast are excerpts of interviews pulled from the StoryCorps Archive? Participants visit one of our recording locations with a friend or family member to record a 40-minute interview with the help of a trained StoryCorps Facilitator, or record a conversation using the StoryCorps App. We’re sharing this unedited interview from the StoryCorps Archive with you in its original form.
In November 2010, Jennifer Caldwell Brooks interviewed her husband, Jose Angel Quiñonez, about coming to the United States and his life here. They were recorded at our former StoryBooth at the San Francisco Public Library.
Jose describes coming across the border from Mexico with his five siblings when he was nine years old. Both of his parents had passed away and the children collectively decided that it was the best option for them. “There was going to be nothing for us in Mexico and there was nobody that wanted to take care of us,” he said.
About 22 minutes into the conversation, Jose tells Jennifer about the perceptions he had of her when they first met — she was white and came from an “upper middle class, educated, wholesome family.” It wasn’t until a Thanksgiving dinner at her dad’s house that he realized they had more in common than he first thought.
Jose and Jennifer look back on their childhoods and their parallel desires to just have a “normal” life. They talk about being parents to two young children together and discuss how their upbringings affect and inform the decisions they make.
Launched in 2009, StoryCorps Historias is an initiative to record the diverse stories and life experiences of Latinos in the United states. Sharing these stories ensures that the voices of Latinos will be preserved and remembered for generations to come. Historias recordings are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and in a special collection at the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin.
All material within the StoryCorps collection is copyrighted by StoryCorps. StoryCorps encourages use of material on this site by educators and students without prior permission, provided appropriate credit is given. This interview has not been fact-checked, and may contain sensitive personal information about living persons.