In Reno, Nevada a group of women went out for dinner in April, after Neena Laxalt sent an email to 35 of her contacts. All of them showed up. They talked, enjoyed the food and the drinks, and had a great time. The next meeting was organized by Florence Larraneta Frye, on September 21. It was, again, a great success: “Everybody showed up, we almost had more people than room,” she told EuskalKultura.com. The next meeting will be on the 13th of December, at the Louis Basque Corner restaurant, in Reno, when she expects 75 people. “This is growing because it’s important for them.”
Reno, USA. Frye remembers that, in 2010, one of the “Basque ladies” went to Jaialdi in Boise, Idaho and “felt like a fish out of water, like she didn’t belong.” She believes that this is something many Basque-American women feel they lack. “Sometimes we focus on politicians or writers, important people, and we forget about the little people, and they are the Basque diaspora too and they love talking about it.”
The organizer points out that “in the meetings, these women are in their element. No one is shy, we have name tags with American and Basque names, and everything explodes.” She also speaks about “strengthening the community” because, when she left home to go to college, her Basque world kind of vanished: “You lose contact, you don’t hear the language, but you still feel Basque. Most of us have a little sheep in our blood. That is our history.”
She wants to clarify that these meetings are not invitational, “if you love Basque things, you should come.” And, then, quotes a friend of hers: “If you feel Basque, if you want to be Basque, you are Basque.”
Women of all ages are showing interest in this group. In fact, some days ago Frye jotted down the information of five women in their eighties that would like to join them, even though they live in Boise. There are other people that have travelled from Arizona too and most of the attendees are now from out of town. “Women from California, Idaho, Nevada, the western states, we should get together,” she claims. But she is also aware that for this to survive it will have to keep simple: “I know it’s going to get bigger, as long as it’s not too complicated.”
For the last meeting, Ontario native Lisa Corcostegui talked about The Basque Branch, a website she created to help people do their family trees. And for the following one, two CBS students will introduce the Olentzero, the Basque Santa, to the group. She is also thinking of giving a name to the group, “something in Basque, that sounds better than ‘Basque ladies,’” she says cracking a smile. The meeting will be on December 13, at the Louis Basque Corner, in Reno. Around 50 women have already confirmed their assistance, but there is still room for 25 more that, predictably, will be reserved soon.
If you want to attend or have further questions contact Florence Larraneta Frye at firstname.lastname@example.org.