An interview with Marguerite Zumbado


Material Information

An interview with Marguerite Zumbado
Physical Description:
7 minutes
Marguerite Zumbado
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Panama Canal


General Note:
Interviewed by Candice Ellis

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
PCM 033 Marguerite Zumbado 7-8-2011
PCM 033
System ID:

Full Text
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The Foundation for The Gator Nation An Equal Opportunity Institution Samuel Proctor Oral History Program College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Program Director : Dr. Paul Ortiz Office Manager : Tamarra Jenkins Technology Coordinator : Deborah Hendrix 241 Pugh Hall PO Box 115215 Gainesville, FL 32611 352 392 7168 Phone 352 846 1983 Fax The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) was founded by Dr. Samuel Proctor at the University of Florida in 1967. Its original projects were collections centered around Florida history with the purpose of preserving eyewitness accounts of economic, social, political, religious and intellectual life in Florida and the South In the 45 years since its inception, SPOHP has collected over 5,000 interviews in its archives. Transcribed interviews are available through SPOHP for use by research scholars, students, journalists, and other interested groups. Material is frequently used for theses, dissertations, articles, books, documentaries, museum displays, and a variety of other public uses. As standard oral history practice dictates, SPOHP recommends that researchers refer to both the transcript and audio of an interview when c onducting their work. A selection of interviews are available online here through the UF Digital Collections and the UF Smathers Library system. Oral history interview transcripts available on the UF Digital Collections may be in draft or final format. SP OHP transcribers create interview transcripts by listen ing to the original oral history interview recording and typing a verbatim document of it. The transcript is written with careful attention to reflect original grammar and word choice of each interview ee; subjective or editorial changes are not made to their speech. The draft trans cript can also later undergo a later final edit to ensure accuracy in spelling and format I nterviewees can also provide their own spelling corrections SPOHP transcribers ref er to the Merriam program specific transcribing style guide, accessible For more information about SPOHP, visit or call the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program office at 352 392 7168. October 2013


PCM 033 Interviewee: Marguerite Zumbado Interviewer: Candice Ellis Date: July 8, 2011 E: This is Candice Ellis with Marguerite Zumbado on July 8 Z: Zumbado. E: Zumbado. On July 8, 2011 at the Panama Canal Reunion in Orlando, talking about life in the Zone. Z: Right. E: We begin at the very beginning with how you came to be at the Zone or how your family did. Z: Right. My grandparents both arrived, I think 1920, on both sides of my family, maternal and paternal. My maternal grandfather was at sea. He was the chief engine er on one of the s it was just out in the American jurisdiction to try him, which was Panama. When they got to Panama, for some reason now why he just decided to go to work for the tugs d ivision right there in the canal. He became the chief engineer for the tugs at that time. That was in 1920. Then a few months later, he brings his family down to join him, and at that time they had only f our children. The last two were born there in the Canal Zone. When they first got there, they lived in, I think it was, Pedro Miguel, and then they moved to Gamboa. In Gamboa, a train would come


PCM 033; Zumbado; Page 3 in once a week with groceries, and my grandmother would go do wn to the train and then, right? E: Oh, yeah, if you need to pause. Z: Anyway, then they finall y moved in over to Cristbal, to New Crist where they lived. They lived in the same house as far as I can remember. When my parents were divorced, I went to liv e with t hem for like four years in that house. With my other grandfather, he came down. H e was working in Costa maybe he can get a job in Ecuador. He heard of some openings in Ecuador. S o talking to the gentlemen below who are putting the ship through, and they say hey imagine the man able to get that job. T hen h e remained there. Both of my grandparents worked there anywhere from twenty five to thirty years. Now, my maternal grandfather, he had five children, and only his last one was born in the Canal Zone. All the others were born in the States, my father i ncluded. My mother also, on my m was born in the United States in Maine. All of them were born in Maine in both sides. My maternal grandparents, when they came


PCM 033; Zumbado; Page 3 down, they stayed for three years and then they went back for their v acation. They spent a couple of months in the States, which everybody usually got Every couple of years, y went back there, and when they returned my grandparents never ever left the Canal Zo ne until he retired. When he retired, he retired to the state of Washington, all the way across the country. E: Totally different environment, too. Z: Right. Nobody in the family knows why he decided to do that. As far as we know, everybody got along. Whe n I was living with my grandparents, the housing there one of the questions is about the housing. Most of the homes that I lived in in the beginning were the old French style homes that were built up on stilts. They had large overhangs from the roof and ju st screened windows. They all ha d transoms on all the outside, a bove the windows and below the windows. T hey had an opening with a screen also, so that the air would circulate. Even ventilation, so you the French really had a good plan there. E: Z: No, it was very comfortable bec ause the air circulated so well. It made it comfortable. When I first got there, we all had iceboxes, and the ice truck would


PCM 033; Zumbado; Page 4 come around. They would deliver the ice, and all the kids would run out in the pieces. We enjo yed that. Underneath the houses, they always had an area that those houses that were built high on stilts always had like a concrete base, and and a bathroom, and laundry tubs for doing the laundry. In those days, most I know my grandmother eventually, before I left there, she got herself one of these washing machines. You wash in it and then you use the U nderneath those houses, there was always lots of room for playing, like when it was raining or for hanging clothes or for giving parties. When I was young, we used to give a lot of rec neighbors, friends who would feel obligated to come and buy them. [Laughter] Since I lived there from when I was p robably four until I was seven and the Atlantic side my gr andmother and I, every time we went to the grocery store we would walk through Col n, which really was a nice walk, go to the grocery store, pick up the Carametta which is a horse drawn buggy, to come home. Transcribed by: Jessica Taylor November 15, 2013 Audit Edited by: Jessica Taylor January 6, 2014