Irene Miranda

Irene Maxine Miranda Michael was born in San Diego, California in 1942. She went home to live at 115 West Olive Street in San Ysidro.

Irene’s mother was Ruth Tobar (b. 1919 in Los Angeles). Ruth’s parents were originally from Mexico and they came to the U.S. when she was a young child. Ruth spoke both English and Spanish, but mostly Spanish with Irene.

Irene’s father was the famous jockey, Ralph Felix Miranda Jr (b. 1918 in Los Angeles). His parents were Aurelia Amador (b. 1903) and Rafael Miranda (b. 1890). According to Irene, they also both came from Mexico.

Ralph Miranda married Ruth Tobar in 1937.

Irene had five siblings and according to her, Ruth and Ralph used to plant flowers in San Ysidro next to the border. They also picked tomatoes. They lived in a one room house where beds were in different corners. Irene remembers running around in the fields and that money was tight until Ralph got his big break as a jockey.

As a jockey in the 1930s Ralph was able to buy the family a house on Olive street. It was still small — a two bedroom home with a tiny kitchen. Irene remembers going to the racetrack with her mother who would throw a blanket down on the grass and they would watch the races at Agua Caliente.

In August 1950, however, Ralph fell from his mount in the fourth race at Agua Caliente and had a brain hemorrhage. He suffered a fractured skull. Within a month, he was released form the hospital, but the accident was career ending. He was 32 years old.

Irene Miranda grew up in San Ysidro with her siblings and married in 1972. She moved to Brown Field where she and her husband bought property. This was when Brown Field was nothing but farmland. They had four children.She lived by Brown Field for 33 years and currently still lives in Bonita.

(Interview: November 8, 2016)