Alvarez was born in Los Angeles on January 5, 1918. His father immigrated from Mexico to San Diego in 1928. In this interview he discusses his parents' background, as well as his own education and experiences growing up in Logan Heights. He recalls the racial segregation in schools as a child, as well as living through periods of historical interest such as Prohibition and the Great Depression. Alvarez also discusses World War II, recruitment of Mexican laborers during that time, and comparing the crime rate of the 1970s versus that of the 1930s and 1940s. This oral history was done for the Community History Project for the San Diego History Research Center and Richard Griswold del Castillo's Chicago history class.