• Trinidad and Jenny Juarez -- Eddie's Parents -- with unknown person (Courtesy of Eddie Juarez)

  • Tijuana with friends and family (Courtesy of Eddie Juarez)

  • Tijuana Zebra Photo Eddie Juarez(Courtesy of Eddie Juarez)

  • Siblings with Triniada and Jenny (Courtesy of Eddie Juarez)

  • (Courtesy of Eddie Juarez)

Eddie Juarez

Eddie (Edward) Juarez (b. 1941, National City) was raised at 1720 Harding Street where he lived until he was married. His father, Trinidad Juarez, was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and came to the United States at the age of 17. His mother, Jenny Bastilles Juarez was born in Arizona and first came to live in the Otay Valley. Together they had 10 children: Robert, Gilbert, Carlos, Raymond, Trinidad, David, Delia, Beatrice and Eddie (who was the youngest).

Both Trinidad and Jenny worked at the Westgate Cannery on Crosby Street in San Diego. They spoke fluent Spanish and the older children spoke almost exclusively Spanish in the home. As the younger children grew up, they spoke more English with Jenny. However, Trinidad never learned much English. Part of the reason was that most people hired at the cannery were Spanish-speaking, so there was no opportunity to learn. Trinidad worked in the part of the cannery where they made fishmeal. He did that work for between 20 to 30 years. According to Eddie, at one time or another, the whole family worked there. He also had two brothers who worked for the slaughterhouses.

Eddie went to Kimball Elementary School, National City Junior High and Sweetwater High School until the 10th grade (in 1957). However, he didn’t believe in allowances, he believed in hard work. So he didn’t finish school because he wanted to earn his own money. When he was a kid, Eddie recalls, after the cattle was slaughtered, the slaughterhouse employees would put salt on the hides to cure them. Thereafter, Eddie would fold the hides and put them on boxcars for a penny per hide. His brother Raymond also worked for National Steel in San Diego all his life (now NASCO).

Eddie married Ester Prado when he was 21 and she was 18. She came from Ontario in Orange County and both her parents were from Mexico. Together they had two boys and two girls. For the next 15 years, Eddie worked for Omar Rendering in the Otay Valley on Main Street. Omar would get the bones from the butcher shops and cook it. They would then make chicken feed out of it. While still making money in the mornings or evenings before work picking up the hides at the slaughterhouses, his friend asked if he wanted to work at Omar’s. His boss, Eddie remembers, was Billy O’Donnell and he started at $65 per week. Thereafter, Eddie worked as a truck driver and was an artist as well. He did illustration work for different companies and did portraits.

(Interview: July 10, 2016)