NJ Hispanic Research & Information Center Newark Public Library

IRMA RUÍZ GÓMEZ
COMMUNITY ACTIVIST, MERCER STREET FRIENDS FOUNDING MEMBER OF MERCER COUNTY HISPANIC ASSOCIATION (MECHA)

Irma Ruiz Gomez

Irma Ruíz Gómez was born in 1940 in Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba. As a result of her husband being named delegate for the Methodist Church, Mrs. Ruíz Gómez and their two children traveled to Miami, Florida on a tourist visa. However, upon trying to return home, they were denied re–entry to Cuba. Needing to build a new life in the United States, Mrs. Ruíz Gómez's husband answered the call to minister to a Spanish language congregation in Trenton, New Jersey. The family relocated and has resided there since 1963. Through her involvement in the church, Mrs. Ruíz Gómez became a devoted community volunteer. As a result of her volunteering efforts, Mrs. Ruíz Gómez was offered a paid position at Mercer Street Friends. She retired from Mercer Street Friends after 24 years of service. Even after her retirement, she never stopped volunteering in the community. Mrs. Ruíz Gómez was a founding member of both the Mercer County Hispanic Association (MECHA) and the Trenton Community Music School. When she is not volunteering her time with an organization or the congregation, she is spending time with her grandchildren.
Prepared by Yesenia López, Archivist.

 

Hear Irma Ruíz Gómez discuss how she learned English via bilingual education and American television:



Text of Audio Quote:
[Text edited for clarity. For a full verbatim transcript of the quote, please see p. 12–13 of the complete interview transcript.]

"¡Qué interesante! Pues yo fui a... el colegio metodista de Santa Cruz del Norte. Era un colegio completamente bilingüe. Allí cuando traían los—en los tiempos antes de Castro, por supuesto—siempre teníamos misioneros que venían y ayudaban en el colegio. Y [en] todas las clases siempre teníamos una sesión por la mañana en inglés y por la tarde [en] español y viceversa. Así que tuve ese privilegio de poder aprender el inglés, pero por supuesto... Cuando ya uno llega aquí, siempre [hay que] adaptar el oído al inglés, que no es lo mismo cuando uno lo escribe y lo lee que eso—para eso siempre me llevó un tiempito. Pero... lo que yo hacía era, cuando llegamos [a casa] yo ponía la televisión casi todo el día—y mientras hacía los haceres de la casa y demás, pues yo lo que oía—y sobre todo le prestaba mucha atención—a los anuncios, a los comerciales porque esos se repetían. El idioma lo repetían. Y entonces siempre trataba de captar... las canciones, que eran los [anuncios cantado] en el—repetirlos. Y entonces también al oírlo por varias veces, cada vez que lo oía pues ya siempre cogía un poquito más; siempre se me pegaba un poco más de el inglés. Y las novelas, la novelas pues uno más o menos podía seguir una drama y demás..."

For an extensive and specific list of peoples, places, organizations and topics discussed in this oral history, please see the Interview Transcript Index.

Access to full verbatim interview transcripts and audio recordings are available by appointment only. Contact an NJHRIC archivist at njhric@npl.org, (973) 733–4791, or via mail, NJHRIC at The Newark Public Library, 5 Washington Street, Newark, NJ 07102 with your request.

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