Blanca Martinez

Blanca Beatrice Casarubias Martinez was born 1941 in Tijuana. Her father was Enrique Casarubias who died when he was twenty nine and Blanca was three. Enrique introduced movie stars to industry connections in Mexico. He married Beatrice Gonzalez and they lived for a time in Tijuana. Blanca was born in Tijuana, but after her father’s death, her mother returned to her parents’ home in San Ysidro and became a manager of a store.

Blanca attended Mount Carmel in San Ysidro when Father McKinley was a priest there. She explains that many wealthy students from Tijuana attended Mount Carmel. She remembers the nuns being very strict; in particular, none of the children were allowed to speak Spanish.

Blanca married Antonio Martinez who was born in Tijuana in 1937. Together they had three children. She became a school teacher at Beyer Elementary, Sunset Elementary and Tiffany Elementary in Chula Vista. Blanca is the grandmother of Antonio Martinez, born 1957, who attended the University of Pennsylvania and returned to San Ysidro, entering political life by becoming the president of the San Ysidro School Board.

The First Resident of San Ysidro (then known as Tia Juana City)

Blanca’s grandafther was Gaudalupe Gonzalez. He was born 1884 in Baja California. He was 9 years old when his family immigrated to the United States. At the age of 25 (in 1909) he moved to San Ysidro, then known as Tia Juana City. Guadalupe always told his family that he was one of four families who first moved into the area. He was also the first Mexican American in the town.

His wife, Theresa, was born in 1890. Her mother was Irish and her father was German. According to Guadalupe, Theresa’s parents kept hiding her from him because he was Mexican. Nevertheless, Theresa married Guadalupe and they settled on 146 Olive Street.

Apparently, Guadalupe’s mother owned significant amounts of property in Tijuana. Guadalupe received some of this money, so the couple could afford to buy several lots and build three homes on Olive Street. Guadalupe and Teresa had seven children: Ninfa, Guadalupe, Theresa Zoldy, Hermina Saliseo, Rudy, Eduardo and Beatrice. Guadalupe also was proud of the fact that he fought in the 1911 Insurrection, possibly as a mail runner. All the children stayed in San Ysidro, except Eduardo who served in WWII and upon his return moved to Chula Vista.

Guadalupe worked at many different jobs. He spoke only Spanish most of his life. Guadalupe worked with the railroad for a time. He also worked at Montecarlo racetrack owned by Carl Withington. He remembers prohibition times saying it was no big deal to bring two bottles of liquor back over the border. People also made liquor in their own homes. During the depression, Guadalupe continued to work in Tijuana, making $14 per week at the Montecarlo. He retired from that job in 1961.

Guadalupe lived to be almost 100 years old and Theresa passed away at 84.

(Interview: March 12, 2016)