MM: Can you tell me about where you grew up?
DM: Okay, well I was born in Tampa, in an area called Ybor City. And Ybor City has a very interesting history; it was an area where Spanish and Italian immigrants moved to in the early part of the 20th century. So the whole community where my grandmother’s house was, the businesses, the banks, … it was so, what I think of as European, with little neighborhoods, with corner stores! Where people actually went and did their grocery shopping, with a butcher, a special cheese counter, and just the basics, fruits and vegetables. I only lived in Ybor City for the first 5 years of my life, but those five years were obviously really important in my life because I spent most of that time with my grandmother. And my grandmother was from Spain, from Northern Spain, from the region of Asturias. And the whole neighborhood where she lived was Spanish people that had immigrated to Ybor City. And what was so cool was that all the houses had these big porches and every evening, the women would sit out—mainly women, there were a few men in the neighborhood, but mainly women, maybe all the husbands had died? My grandfather died when I was 10; he was 20 years older than my grandmother. But people would visit each other. They’d go from porch to porch and stroll on the sidewalk, and I think that’s very European. I don’t think that’s an American thing. Also, there were a lot of Cubans that had come to Tampa and they had started cigar factories there. And the cigar factories were also in Ybor City and very near my grandmother’s house. Every morning, there would be all these people walking to work to the cigar factory, and the women would all be in their shortwaist dresses with pocketbooks and the men had their guayabera, a style of shirt worn a lot in Cuba, their cigars in their pocket, and you could just see them going to work and coming home in the evening and everyone would just be “Hello” and very sociable. There was a park, two blocks from where my grandmother lived, where they played baseball in the evening, and a pool. It was just a great neighborhood to grow up in, well I wish….I always used to wish I had spent more time there. I used to go back and spend my summers there.
MM: But you didn’t leave Florida, right?
DM: No, I did not.
MM: So you grew up all in Florida?
DM: From Tampa, I moved to Orlando, from 1st to 5th, then we moved to Merritt Island, and I went through high school there, and then I was married. I never left Florida until 197… oh, probably 72, when my husband got a job in Washington, D.C. We moved there with the three kids and we lived in Maryland and Virginia and then went overseas to Iran and we were there in 1975, 76, 77, moved back to Florida, and then we went to Holland for a year, and then when we came back from Holland, we got divorced…. (laughing). I was married—how many times—two times. My first husband was from Ecuador. He was an exchange student that I met when I was in highschool. And then my second husband was from Cuba.
MM: So when did you move to Bozeman?
DM: Oh my gosh, Bozeman, I didn’t move to Bozeman until 1991. After I got divorced, for those ten years I was single and in Florida.
MM: Why did you move to Bozeman? Continue reading