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SS: I wanted to ask you about where you grew up in Greece, what it was likewhere you grew up.
GD: Well, if I tell you the truth, it was conditions fifty years ago andnow, it's better, a little bit better. Where I grew up, it was a village oh, three hundred people, maybe more, I don't know. We didn't have nothing you know, convenience of any kind. There were no water in houses, you have to pull the water from the well, you know, to use it in houses. And I don't know, conditions were pretty bad then. But they lived through and they stayed bad. I was over there about ten, twelve years ago and they haven't changed much. The only thing they have now is trans portation. You see, the United States went overe there and built a lot of roads, and they have the transportation now. But they didn't have very much convenience now, electricity, but, as I say, there's no water in house, no electricity. They have to light themselves with the lamps. They have lamps now, at the time when I grew up they had oil, olive oil and they have pot in there where they put the oil and then they light the wick. They light the wick you see, and that's the way they, but now they have what they call the gas, you see, they pump it. They have them, gas lamps. Not everybody, but those that are in stores and things like that, but not in private houses.
SS: Was it farming there?
GD: Mcstly farming, yes. The terrain is bad, you know, they have a littlebit of a land in the flat, there is a flat, I don't know how many miles and that's where they raise their wheat and everything. They used to raise potatoes and they were the best because I guess they got the seed from Germany. They raise good potatoes, that's one good thing. But all the other things, they have probably some of those, but they didn't have much land, they had to dig in the sides of the mountain, you see, you know what I mean? The mountainside, we had to dig and find water, then kind of dam it there with the rocks. And they use the well for garden or any thing, but they didn't have no water. There wasn't much rain. But now they have different system, because they are well enough to buy gas to pump the water to irrigate the land.
SS: When you grew up there, was there much future for you?
GD: There wasn't any future of any kind. When I grew up— when I left theschool— oh, about a year after I left the school- I was getting differ ent jobs and my father sent me to an island, where he had a cousin, you know, and he had a bakery. He was baking bread and I worked for three years before I came to this country.
SS: How far was that from home?
GD: That was about Sixteen miles. You couldn't leave there, you had to havea boat or something to cross the water. And, of course, in other places where they sent me, I get homesick and I go home.
SS: What did you work for in the bakery? Did you make money; did they giveyou money?
GD: Well, the first few years, the first two years, I didn't get any money.Then he used to give flour But after that, I drew salary. He give me so much a month and I had to eat from that and do everything else, although I had free laundry and free clothing and shoes. But he did give me so much money.
SS: Did the flour go to the family?
GD: Yes. yeah.
SS: How old were you when you started working for him?
GD: How old?
GD: Let's see, I was about thirteen, fourteen years old. Because I workedin different places in town there and I get homesick and go home.
SS: When did you leave school?
GD: School, four years. I had four years of school. Six and four is tenyears. Ten years old when I left the school. And then I worked threefour years in different places, sometimes I didn t work, id stay home. And finally they sent me over to this island and I couldn't get away from there, see?
SS: You didn't like it too much?
GD: I didn't like it very well, but I got used— it wasn't very pleasant atfirst, but then I got used—I think I liked it, it was better. Then I was gone, you know, it was better than at home I had nothing to look tor, you see; nothing to eat,
SS: How many kids in the family with you?
GD: Seven. Five boys and two girls.What is it that was bringing people to America? Did they hear much about America over there?
Yes, sure. When I left there they had been hearing America, six,seven, years, eight. They all heard about America, but they couldn't get enough money to buy a ticket to leave. But they heard about America, yes. Sure they heard. And they thought that America was Well, Am erica was a good country, and it is still good country, But they come here with the intention to make money and go back and live there, and a lot of 'em did. But, I, myself, I never had the—After I lived out to here, I didn't want to go back. From here, my cousins, some of my cousins went back, got married. They raised a family- they had a few dollars from here, see. But that way some succeeded and some failed. Some bought land, you see, with the money they brought from here, and they were living pretty good. But others, others they didn't. It's the same as in America. Some succeed and others fail. Not every body get rich, you see.
SS: Was most of what people heard in Greece, that Anerica was a land ofopportunity?
GD: Yes. And they came with the purpose to get the money, but, of course,a lot of 'em didn't. A lot of 'em stayed here, see? There was many, many Greeks here, havere, they're in position to you know Pantages, who had the theaters? He was a Greek, Another feller here in business they made big money, they got rich. But Pantages, of course, he, I don't know what happened to him at the last. He lost everything.
SS: Did people know that there was going to be a lot of work available whenthey got here?
GD: Oh yes. Yes, a lot of 'em, a lot of fellows, the Greeks that were herebefore and they knew the language, they could speak the language, they took advantage of them , you see. They make 'em pay money for the jobs.
SS: Oh, you mean like the contractors would hire...?
GD: Yes, but they are not contractors. They were working for the railroad.There was one fella, he was a head there in the railroad and he had a contract with the company to supply him with so many men.
SS: He would get people to pay him money for the job, and he cheated 'em?
GD: What do you call that? Not cheat, that's not a very good word.
SS: He was the middleman, that's for sure,
GD: Yeah, he was a ...
SS: It sounds like he conned 'em, a little bit.
GD: Yeah. Anyway, that's what they was doing. Them fellas that were herebefore, you know and they understood some of the language, and they contracted. Of course, in the rest of the gangs where I worked here, they had a interpreter. They had a man next to the boss, he wasn't supposed to do common labor, he was supposed to explain to the men what the boss had told him, and so he'd have to make them understand themself what they did— he would tell them what to do. Because the fellas that work there, they just came from the Old Country, they couldn't speak the language.
SS: When you came over— Your father came over first?in the bakery and he finally sent me a ticket, you know, send me a tick-
GD: My father was here a couple of years before I was. I was over forkinget for me and my brother and we came here. We came here to Spokane in 1909.
SS: What did you think when you saw this country? What did you think of it?
GD: What I thought of it?
GD: I thought it was alright. The country itself was alright. But the workon the railroad was terrible, because we were working hard them days. here, you see my hands were all blistered. I thought then, I thought if I had the money, I would go right back. I didn't like the job, but then after that, after a while, I got used to that, and did pretty good.
SS: How did you get on— first you came over to Spokane— Did you get off inNew York?
GD: Yes. We had to get off in New York. I still, today, I don't rememberwhat deal it was. But they put usNfrom one boat to the other. We were run through the they called it. That used to be island in New York, where all the foreigners is coming— I think they sold that island. Well, anyway, we came through here in New York and they put us— not in boat for twenty-four hours we traveled by boat. And then when we got out there, there was a lot of niggers, lots of niggers. It must have been in the South, because there was a lot of niggers. And they had to switch the cars on the sidetrack and they had to wait there for quite a while before they took us— we went up to town and we found some of the Greek grocery stores, they had grocery stores there. And we bought some cheese and things from there to eat, because we were hungry. When we left New York, they give us, oh, bologna and bread and so on. So many things, you know over there. Some didn't eat that, but I did, I liked it, too. Pie, one pie you see, not piece, but whole pie. It was a box and we paid dollar for that box. It was lunch.A it was plenty of lunch for two, three days. And we got along pretty good.
SS: Then you came all the way— did you come by train?
GD: Yes, we came by trainthet. From there we came on the Northern PacificStation in Spokane Burlington. I don't know— Burlington but it wasn't Burlington ' from the East, and brought us over here to West, Montana and so on. And once in a while you see Indians, you know. They used to come on the train, we didn't know what they was, they look funny dressed in the Indian costumes. And we asked somebody and they say, "Indians." Erom St. Louis, Missouri, we met some other fellas were here before, two, three years, you know, and they could speak few words English, some like Greeks, and we got along fine. They came to Spokane, they were shaping from there to Spokane through the railroad they give 'em pass, you see, they didn't have to pay. They get pass and they were shipped from there to Spokane, and we got into Spokane just fine and dandy with them, you see, because if we wanted to eat they knew a few words and we didn't know any. So that was pretty nice.
SS: They got to ship free because they worked on the railroad?
GD: Because they come here to work. They wanted to send 'em to West, yousee, what they called the "Wild West" them days. (Chuckles) They didn't want to come to West, pu know. The people didn't want to come to West. They thought that the Eastern towns were better. It wasn't bad when we came here.
Was this where most of the work was? Out West at this time?
Yes. The Milwaukee was building a new roadto the West. It was handwork, there was no machinery, like there is today, it was all hand work and it required a lot of men, to work. Now it is different. We had to work with pick and shovel and whatever they had. And if they wantedagainst the mountain or something,they had to blastthe dynamite and then level it off with the pick and shovel.
Well, how did you get on to work? Did you go to the employment agency?
No. No. we had interpreter and he went and got the job from the employment agency, of course. It was — in Spokane, you know there was a lot— of employment agencies. And there was a lot of people working there, I don't know how many. Mostly foreigners. Greeks, Italians, Austrians, all them countries, you know from over the south of Europe. It wasn't only Greeks, more Italians than anything else. And Austrians. The Aust rians, they work mostly in the mines, but they did work on the railroads too.
Where did you pick up this interpreter? Was he with you— was he somebody you met in America?
Yeah, someone from the same country, you see, but he was here before usand he could speakEnglish.
Was he one of the guys you met in St. Louis?
No, no, he was West. When we came here, there was two, three of thosefellows, you know, that acting as interpreters. And a lot of 'em would take a bunch and go out the same, you see. They were looking for a better job, you see. If we went some place and didn't like it, why, we quit and go someplace else. But we very seldom did that, because My first job was in Walla Walla. We were build ing a spur track to go into a cannery, where they were canning fruit. To go into the cannery and build a track to go into the cannery. Can nery was new, you know. And, of course, they were building tracks not canneries, but—
SS: How was the work organized? Did you have a little stretch that you didall by yourself, or how did they do it?
GD: No, no, they all together. The railroad you neverAby yourself.You— leveling the ground, and of course, we had to shovel the dirtthe surplus dirt, you know that was there and haul it away on push cars. Had a car run on the railroad which they hauled the push car and they loading,—-No, you never worked along with the railroad. When you lay the ties down, then you lay the steel on the top of them, then, of course you got to learn to spike them and everything, so the boxcars and so on they could go on, you see. It was altogether work, that is, they didn't do it alone, by themselves.
SS: What did you make? What was the wages?
GD: Oh, the wages— the wages was a dollar and thirty cents a day.
SS: How many hours was that for?
GD: Ten hours. Some were a dollar and a half; some a dollar thirty-five.And, of course, there was jobs in different places where they was getting more, probably two dollars a day. But they were contracts, you see, and over there you have to— they already had taken the job.
SS: Taken? The other fellows. There was other people.The le-rprie and
GD: so on and so forth.
SS: Was it hard work?
GD: Hard work, sure, I'll say it was hard work. It was labor by hand—ways is hard work. Then the train would come 'round, and work there and hook around and fill all the gravel', fill the inside of the—be- cause there were dump earss you see. Some of the cars they were dumping right in the middle of the track. Well, you had to shovel by hand off the track, where it was not needed, you see. It was alright if you have to raise the tracks high enough to put it under there, but where it was not needed, why, snovel it off—.'cause it wasn't level, it just was up and down.
SS: Where did you sleep?
GD: Oh, yeah, we had a— boxcars. Well, not exactly boxcars, they were boxcars, but they were made for people to live in. And they had windows and so on. And that's where we slept. We had to build our own beds and everything. In some they were already built. Let s see, two, tour, four is eight— sixteen people in one boxcar. See they had bunks, of four- One up and one down, you see. They had two layers. That way while we worked. If we had to move four, five miles,ten miles or a hundred miles the box cars with us. One time, I was the baker, and I had fcwad 4WWtnd we du8 the coals in the ground for oven. Burn it with the ties, old ties, you know, and I had just finished the bread and put it in the oven. It was about half done, and then they come around - the train come around and he says you move to a certain place. We had to move to another place, you see, from there, So we had to diet the bread half done. 'Cause sometimes, you know, we get our order to move. Sometimes even at nights, they come round and move you away from— 'course they don't move you away, they move the cars. You are in the sleeping cars.
SS: I'm interested in that. And because I know a lot of men worked on thatand then worked—
GD: The chief industry then was the railroad, see. 'Cause they're all newthe railroads, see. They're not all the Chicago-Milwaukee, they had a new— they West at that time, 1907, it's about a couple of years before I come, but they was still working up there in Montana. That pretty rough country over there, see. They had to go through rough country— pretty expensive business. But they had the money and they built 'em. Then, of course, they wasn't paying very much, but dollar and a half and two dollars a day. Two dollars a day when I came in the spring in Potlatch, 1914.
SS: Was everybody working there Greek? Was it all from the same place, working on the railroad?
GD: Well, yes. There were bunches, see. Now one there would have probablythirty men, or forty. One interpreter would have thirty men or forty. Another interpreter, he probably would have forty Italians or forty different nationalities. But they were separate. Sometimes they were together; worked together. But most of the times, they separate.
SS: Were most of the men that you worked with, men that you'd come over withfrom Greece?
GD: Yes. Yes, men that I knew. I either come over with them or they werehere before me. Most of 'em.
SS: Were many from your own hometown?
GD: Yes, from my hometown.
SS: You started out together then. You came at the same time?
GD: Well, not the same time. Some were here. Some fellas were here, youknow before. They were here maybe two, three years. Two years anyway. But when we went out to work, they were already working sometime And we didn't have buy a ticket because you get a pass, you see and they send you in to the job.
SS: So you met up with some of these guys when you were working?
GD: Yeah. And I knew some of 'em, I know most all of 'em, because they werefrom the same town.
SS: Did the crew work as one group? You said that if you didn't like it,you could quit and go someplace else. Would that be the whole crew that would decide that they didn't want it?
SS: Did that happen to you?
GD: Yes, once or twice. Ue went to a job out of Coeur d'Alene, I think itwas, and they didn't have nothing there, you see. No facilities of any kind, and they had tents to live in. So the whole crew went back and we found different jobs. There were.inan employment office, you see, job sometime, you don't get another job right away, you probably have to wait two, three days or a week, and then something will turn up.
SS: But you never walked off the job when you were working?
GD: No. Now, we didn't do that. We just went to one place that I rememberand they didn't have nothing there, you see, so we had to quit. It was a railroad, it was a contract, you see. And they were making the grade for railroad, but it was away from the railroad and we didn't have no, and they drop us over there and then they left. So we had to hire some farmers and their wagons to haul our belongings and we walked. I think it was about ten miles, ua walked that time from the work, I know the name of the now, I can't think of it.
SS: It was a town, into the town.
GD: It was close in Spokane. Not Mica, it's another little town there. Itwas the electric car that took us to Spokane.
SS: Someone that I talked to who also worked on the section told me that, itwas slavery. That's what he called it. He said it was really tough and really bad.
GD: Well, it was hard work. You have to work, ten hours, you know. And itwas hard work, but you get used to it. You couldn't call it slavery because you could quit qnytime you wanted to. But slavery is something that you can't avoid.
SS: Could you save money from that?
GD: Not very much. Things were awful cheap in those days, living, it wascheap, we had some older fellas you know, that they knew how to save money and we save that way, a few dollars, but not very much money. We lived on ten or fifteen dollars a month, and we were getting about forty or thirty five. Thirty five, dollar and a half, dollar thirty five cents at one time. And that wasn't very much, they raise that to a dollar and a half. And we were making about thirty dollars, thirty five dollars a month or forty, and we saved a bit, but not very much. So the old fellows that were here before, why, they knew how to manage. Section is different now. In section you, I worked for section, too, but in the section you don't have too much to do in wintertime, because the track is already serviced during the summer and in wintertime, we didn't have too much to do. But in the summer, yoou worked, they have to erase raw spots and so on.
SS: That's more maintenance thai, construction.
GD: Well yes, maintenance. It was maintenance crew. That's what the sectionis maintenance crew. But they have to work, they're always finding work to do.
SS: Did you meet up with your father when you were working on the railroad?
GD: Oh yes.
SS: He was working with you?
GD: Yes. Not all the time. One time I left and went with my cousin, wentdown to Oregon to work in the dam. They were building dam, you know, and more wages, of course. noisy— White Salmon—
GD: It's in Washington. Oregon is on the other side. 'Course they werebuilding a pipeline, you know , they were , big pipe for the water to go through, for the powerhouse. They were making the dam. I don't remember now what it looked like. But we were working on the cement you damming see, where they were the water. Well, of course, they dam one side of the river and then other side- And they were pay ing more money. It was hard work. My father couldn't work there, he was too old. So I didn't have to stay with him all the time.
SS: Did many of your guys who worked there, on the railroad, did they go into town and blow-in like the lumberjacks did?
GD: Not so much. Some of 'em, yeah. But they don't- they didn't have muchto blown. And they had to work all the time. the lumberjacks, of course, they were laid off. They didn't work in the camps during the months winter. They work in summer and they make pretty good money, doing gyppo. And they are making pretty good money, but they had to spend it during the winter months. It was different in tomb and different in the railroad, because you could work on the railroad during the winter months in some places.
SS: Did you work all year-round?
SS: When you guys weren't working, would you go back to Spokane?
GD: When we were not working?
GD: Well, yeah. We went to Spokane for another job, if we didn't haveone. But we usually stay on the job. The first year I worked in the railroad, they lay off the gang. They kept four men in two sections. You see, there was two sections. There was oublesection in Ephrata and the other one was going east from Ephrata. And they kept us all winter. We didn't do nothing. We had to watch, Watch the—if there was some thing to do, why, you do it. And we wasn't doing anything then, because there was nothing to do in wintertime. And that track was all fixed dur ing the summer months.
SS: Did you have heat in the cars? In the boxcars? Was there heat in thewinter?
GD: Oh, yes.
SS: You had woodstoves?
GD: Yes. And in the section, of course, they had a section house.And we too. They furnished the coal. We burn coal in places. And the company furnish the coal. Sometimes if there is a car with coal we go up there and throw some of it off anyhow, whether we wanted it or not.
SS: Did you work for a contractor or the railroad directly?
GD: The railroad, directly. This interpreter—contractor, was just workingfor wages. They were probably paying them a little more, because they knew the language. But they had no contract. They were no contractors they were just interpreters, just drawing wages.
SS: You had no boss then among yourselves, except for the interpreter?
GD: No, no. We had the boss; American man. Sure. Oh, yes. Sometimes twobosses in big train. One head foreman, and one assistant foreman. Oh, yes.
SS: Did they treat you well? The bosses, or did they look down on you 'causeyou couldn't speak English?
GD: Well, they looked downdn you, and you were forced to work, that's allthere is to it. And, of course, I was a young man , I could do work. They never bothered me.
GD: Yeah, you had to have a strong back them days. Now, I don't think Ican do anything. Now we talk enough about the
SS: About the section? About the railroad, I mean.
GD: The railroad. Yeah. Let's talk about Potlatch.
SS: Okay, let's talk about Potlatch.
SS: When did you come, now?
GD: In 1914.
SS: How did you happen to come to Potlatch?
GD: You know where I came from? You know where Heppner Junction is? InOregon?
GD: I was working in the railroad at Heppner and they lay us off. I andmy brother. And we had two cousins here and we used to communicate with them. And they wrote us to come over. They were here before. They were here, maybe two,three years before we came here. Yeah, they were here three years. They came here in 1912.n In the mill. So we come here and I got a job in slasher. The foreman he asked me if I ever work in 4h sawmill, and I told him, "Yes." I lied. (Chuckles) And I never did work in sawmill, but I told him, "Yes." So he told me to go ahead and work in a certain job. AndKthat job where he told me, well he was a Greek working there, and he motioned to me to come over. So I found the places I didn't know what slasher meant, what he called his place, see. And I got in there and the fellow that worked thererhe was off, he had quit. I guess he quit, because he didn't come back. Anyway, I got a job there. And I'm still here.
SS: Now, did that fellow teach you how to do the job?
GD: That Greek fellow? Well, it wasn't much to that job. It was settingslack, you see. It wasn't skill work, anybody could do it. It was setting slack to cut in four feet, but if you don't cut 'em, it was all right too. To cut them for. They were making. It was lath in them days. Now they don't make lath. They use other materials. At that time they were making lath. And there were a lot of men working in the lath mill. I don't know how many, but there were quite a few.
SS: what did you think of this? Of working in Potlatch, compared to workingon the railroad?
GD: I thought it was alright. That's why I stayed. I liked it. I like ithere because, for one thing, you don't the train to come over there and pick up the cars and move you probably a hundred miles or two hundred miles, or fifty miles. And you don't haue the slides. Sometimes they had a slide in the, Wenatchee and up there some places. They had a slide up there and we had to go in the mud, that thick. And they took us from the section, they pick us up, they didn't tell us where we were going and what it was going to be. Tell you,"Come on". And we went over there, and we were over there all night and all day the next day, and we never did finish the job. The railroad was pretty rough.
SS: That was waist deep mud you were working in")
GD: In the railroad, yeah, when I was working in the railroad.
SS: What were you supposed to be doing? Shoveling out the mud?
GD: Yeah. Shoveling everything. You see, you had a scraper, but in some placeswe couldn't us it, then you had to shovel mud wi.th a shove. And that's why I liked the Potlatch. The sawmill was alright, because we had the houses here, you know. Not here, but down below we had different housee they were temporary houses, they called 'em. They build them temporary for the people that came here, and then they found that they could rent 'em to us and Italians and they kept 'em. During World War II they sold 'em, that was late then, that's when they sold all businesses in town.
SS: But you came here by yourself, or did you come with a bunch of guys?
GD: All by myself and my brother. Ply brother didn't get on here, so he wentto work on section. He managed section here. I think they still got a section overe here.
SS: But there was already lots of Greek people here at the time you came?
GD: Oh yeah, sure.
SS: About how many?
GD: There was about thirty people from my home town, alone.
GD: Yeah, they run two shifts, you see. They run two shifts. Oh, there waslots of work, them days. They all work in the mill. The sawmill. All the Greeks work in the sawmill.
SS: What was your hometown again? I didn't ask you that. What was the nameof the town?
GD: Dedemah. That is the way they spell it, but it is not the right name.In Greek.
SS: How comes so many people just from your own hometown came here?
GD: Well, there was so many out here in the west. They all came out here,west. There was very few left in the east. You see, if one came, then the other come, 'hey had a correspondence, see? And they say "You come over here, and you get a job." And thats the way I came here. See, I had cousins here, I had two cousins here. In fact, there was three cousins. One is still living, too of 'em died. And I come over here and got a job. was living down below. See, I told you about it.
SS: How was it set up?
GD: That place there was set up, it was a long building and was divided intotwo rooms. Two bedrooms and a kitchen and dining room togethere. There were four of us living in that place. And a lot of places they were living, probably more than four, because they doubled up, slept together you see.
SS: Was it a long building like a dormitory?
GD: It was a long building, but was divided into small aprartments. Yes.Then the water, there was no water in it. The water was on the outsidg and you have to get it from the pipe. There was a pipe there alright. And the toilets, were the same way, thoy were separate.
SS: Were the toilets like the ones up here?
GD: Yes, like the ones up here, but over there, they were separate. Thehouse, the place was long and then they had separate buildings for each place for a toilet. You see, they had small toilet for each one of us, those place. And of course, here, here in town, up in Nob Hill, they had modern houses. But down town here, they never had box. You go in there and you do your stuff and then once seek, or twice week, no, onc3 wee or once month, they had a man, he come and empty them in a wagon and houl 'em away. They were hauling them to the Japanese farmer up here and he was raising the best stuff.(Chuckles)
SS: He used the manure for his vegetables?
GD: Yes, vegetables. He didn't own the place, everything was company's here.You couldn't own nothing.
SS: But when you lived there, about how many all told, would you say wereGreeks there in those buildings?
GD: Oh, about thrity, twenty five or thirty. And there were Greeks and Italiansthe building was pretty long, you know. It wasn 't one, it was two buildings. But that long one, the one that was the longest, it start fire, you know, I told you how it start fire-and burned down.
SS: Well, tell me that again. How did that happen?
GD: It got fire. One of the fellows there, he was a Greek too, he was fromthe Old country, he didn't know anything about fire, and he took the ashes from the stove and he put 'em in the box, he put them in a box and left 'em there, you see. And pretty soon, about four o'clock in the morning, them ashes caught fire, you know. The floor and the whole business was on fire and they had enough time to throw their stuffs out, you know their belongings and nobody was hurt. And it burned down the whole business because there was no water, no hydrant there. They didn't have no hydrant '; the building, you see for the foreigners. And that burnt clear down to the ground. And what was left, they put it out anyway. And brought us up here in town, a different house.
SS: How did it happen they had housing available up here?
GD: They did have. They happened to have empty houses, I don't know why.Because the foreman down there, mill foreman, say we can go down to work or they shut the mill down there. And he says, "There's lots of houses, lots of empty houses up town." And they brought us down to this-r§£u£C they were temporary houses, too. But they used them because they found that they could rent 'em to the foreigners. And those houses down there they're not like this here, they were temporary buildings, you know, not durable buildings.
SS: Did you say they had to shut the mill down because you guys couldn't goto work?
GD: Yeah, couldn't go to work. They had to haul it down for a while in themorning, 'cause we didn't go down there. And then, of course, when they told 'em they could get the houses up there, they went to work in the evening. They were working ten hours then. You see in the evening they up and got the houses.
SS: Were the people just waiting to find out what they were going to do?They didn't have any place to—
GD: Naturally, yes. They didn't know what was going to do. And the bosstold 'em that there were houses up there for yau, and you could move up there.
SS: Were there about as many Italians as Greeks there then?
GD: More Italians, and Swedes. But the Swedes work in the yard piling lumber.And the Italians, too. The Italians work on the greenchain. Flore Italians, there were thirty two Italians work in the greenchain, alone. Others works, you know, other places, here and there, you know, probably fifty Italians maybe more.
SS: Well, how does it work out that the Greeks worked in the sawmill andthe Italians worked on the greenchanin?
GD: That's where they started. They started there, and one by one, that'swhy. That's where they started. And one by one, you see. All the common labor and the semi-skilled labor, that was done by Greeks in the mill. And it was a lath mill there too, you know. There was a lot of 'em worked in the lath mill.
SS: Most of the people though, they'rf Jtever had a sawmill back in Greece,had they?
GD: I never saw one. But they learn, you know, it's a matter of time.
SS: What's the difference between semi-skilled and skilled work, in thesawmill?
GD: Well, there's a difference. Now it is nothing, it's all skilled, orsemi-skilled. But them days, the difference is that they had trimmer, that's not skilled work, that's common labor. And the setters, that set the, that's a skill. Y0u got to know how to do it, you can't get up there and do that work. And my mob was semiskilled. You couldn't put anybody up there, in the cage and tell him to pull saws, he don't know what to pull and what to leave. That was semi-skilled. And the fella that was throwing the lumber on the top of the trimmer, it was common labor.
SS: So what did you do when you got into the mill? Mostly?
GD: Saws on the trimmer— I was lumber, in other words. And wasit to know what to trim, what to cut out and what to let go. You see, you got to get out of a piece of lumber, the best part. And if it's to be cut in two, you do that. But you have to understand. You almost have to be a grader to do that, you see.
SS: That sounds pretty skilled to me.
GD: Yes. It is, if you do it right. Ask me questions, because I can go ahead andtell you.
SS: Okay. One thing I wonder is how close did you stick with the people thatyou knew from your own town?
GD: How close I stick?
SS: Yeah, did you stick with them?
GD: Oh, all the time, while they were here. I had one that was left here,same as I and left here in 1945, I think— 1948, I think he left here. And I was with him because we always spoke in our own language, unless someone would come here other than Greek,; speak English. And it's a wonder sometime how I learned to speak ..English language as well, because down in sawmill, you can't talk you have to use signs. You talk the sign language in sawmill, because too noisy there, you can't talk. And over here, when I came home I spoke Greek. And sometimes I am wondering how did I learn to speak English so well. I don't know whether I do speak well now, I don't,because too old, and my mind is not steady.
SS: You speak good. Do you have any idea how you learned to speak?
GD: Wanting to Something that you really want to do, becausein order to stay in America you had to be able to speak English. I was trying to learn as much as I could. And we went to night school in 1915- 1916. But that didn't last very long here. World War I started, and I moved to the, over the coast. I work for the shipyards for eighteen months, I think. Then I came back here.
SS: Did you leave because the pay would be better over there?
GD: I thought, yes. It was, but it was more expensive to live there anyway. Soyou didn't gain very much.
SS: Did you like it better here than on the coast, as a place to live?
GD: Yes. And of course, my cousins were here then, too. That made difference.In fact, one my cousins who was down to Portland, and when I was layed off the yards, when World War stop, I came here with him. And of course, there were a lot of other Greeks here too.
SS: Did you get much opportunity when you were here to speak English? Didyou spend most all your time with your friends, and did they all speak Greek.?
GD: Yeah. Well, I didn't get no opportunity, but in 1945 I joined the MasonicLodge. And I have to learn some othere there, but at that time, there wasn't any Greeks, there was only one or two here, and they left shortly after that. And that induced me to learn to speak because I had to. I took interest in work, in Masonic work, I mean. And I liked it. So I studied.
SS: Does that mean in the early years, like from when you first came andinto the »20's that you didn't speak much English, and your other friends didn't either?
GD: Well in 20's I think I spoke pretty fairly, pretty good. In '14, '15'16,'17,'18 probably not. But from the beginning I had been willing to learn as much as I could from the languages. And I tried to master the English language, but found it impossible. Because now, they tell me it's a expression, it's all Greek to meI Well, the Greek language, it may be hard, but the English is harder, because you have so many words that are homonyms, you call them. They are about the same but they are spelled different. The spelling in the English language is the hardest thing of all. I can't spell now oven. And you have words, letters that are silent. You have many, many, many letter that are silent, you see, and you have to learn to speak them without hesitating at all. In the Greek language, you don't have no silent letters, you sound every one of 'em. The only difference is, that in the Greek language, when«ise two letters together, you call them
GD: Diphthong, yeah, that's right.
SS: Did you— when you first came, were you planning on going back?
SS: Did you ever plan on going back after ? You said in the very beginning, you did— you wanted to. Yeah, in very beginning, because , I came from Abakery with soft— hands, you see.(Chuckles) The ' you see, then. I wasn t used to it, I was too soft for pick and shovel. And that's why I didn't like it then. But after I got used to that, why, it wasn't hard, it was alright. I went back in 1961, and I was there five months. But I didn t like it because of the conditions. I didn't go with the intention to stay anyway. I went for other reasons.
What about the other people who were here then? Did any of them wantto go back?
Them other people, they scattered all over, and those that are left, youknow, them, living, those that are living probably went back to the Old Country, they had some money. And during the Depression, that's when the Greeks were all together, and there were only one, two, three, four left. Three of 'em are dead now, because he went to California and i don't know whether he is still living or not, but I don't think he is now, because if he's living he'd be ninety years old.
SS: Why did they leave at the beginning of the Depression?4§aJ
GD: There was nothing here. They shut the mill down. The mill was downfortwo years during the Depression, and I left here, too, I went down to Lewiston.
SS: They couldn't get any way to support themselves?
SS: I thought the company tried to get work for people.
GD: Oh, to get work for people " families. They had to take of them whetherthey wanted to or not. There were a lot of people here that were caught here, that stayed here, they give 'em probably one week a month. Work one week and one week to lay off. You see, there are a lot of 'em,got in the hole here, and the company had to give the money, they were in hole in store, and rent. 'Course, the rent, they didn't care, you see, but the store, different. Didn't pay the rent at all, they didn't have no money, during the Depression. Of course, they let us off, there was only one Greek that was working down here at the planer, and because he was an oldtimer, they didn't lay him off, but they cut him down. They let him work one day week, sometime. Some time, less. One day month. And he was kicking, but others didn't have any job at all.
SS: Well, you had worked for twenty years by then.
GD: Yes, yes, I had worked for twenty years and I went down and saw Mr.O'Connor, and O'Connor was the general manager here at that time. You didn't know him, I don't think. And he told me, "Yes, we want you," he says,"we want you to go to work, because we know that some of the fellows that have families are no good, and they can't do the job that you do. But still, we have— we are looking at the human side." You see it was humanity that they hired them because of their children. If it wasn't for their children, they would be out. And, of course, that happened, as I told you, that fella there that was working in the planer. He went to work on the section and let me have the job here in the sawmill. And that's how I got on. And one fella from Hc- UT Two single men were working and all the others were married men with families.
SS: So you— was this when the Depression was ending or still going?
GD: It was ending.
SS: It was ending, and then you came back and took his job?
GD: Well, I— he gave it to me.
SS: Yeah. But by then most of the Greeks were gone and didn't come back?
GD: They didn't come back, no. There was nothing for them to come back.
SS: When the mill started up again, they didn't hire back too many people.
GD: Not very many. No.i When the mill started here, they run probably six,seven months a year then they shut down in the wintertime for two, three years up to 1940. Then they started up, and then, of course, the World War II come up, then they run pretty steady.
SS: Would you tell me again about your meetings with Mr. Laird?
GD: Oh, (Chuckles) There is nothing I can tell you. Mr. Laird was a—
SS: Are you thinking of an aristocrat?
GD: Aristocrat, that's right. Yeah, he was a aristocrat. There was oneold fella down there and his brother-in-law was killed in the woods, in the fire— forest fire. And this fella had a little money tied up in the handkerchief, and the old man wanted to get that money to go back the Old Country himself, because he was too old to work here. So, he asked me to go down with him and talk to Mr. Laird. And his office then was down at the plant. They didn't have this office here, they didn't have this building here. SO, I says, "I go down with you", I says, "but I don't know whether I can make him understand." So, I went down there, and he took the money in the handkerchief and showed it to me, and he says, "That will go to his widow, because she's entitled to it." I don't know whether I says anything else, because, I told him that this man is his brother-in-law and he wants to find out what hap pened to the little money that he had, because he knew that he had some money. And that's why he took it out of his drawer there and show it. It belonged to the widow. And he says, things are straighten out here," he says, "I'll send it to the widow, and he can't get anything." So, I left. I didn't even know what . the widow was then, you see. So, I left, and, of course, the old man he sent and got a fella from Spok ane, he was married to his sister— this fella that died was married to his sister— and had. the - his- sister to give him the power of attorney, and that way he got the money and whatever else was awarded him for the death— the widow for his death.
SS: So it didn't go to the guy's widow?
GD: No, because she gave him power of attorney, this old fella— this washis brother, see? And, of course, he told her that was the best way and the easiest way to get the money is to give him power of attorney and to go ahead and settle the case. And he did. Another time, that I talked to him , I talk a little more English then, but it was up here. And I had to go over there and ask his secretary, secretary was downstairs, and she had a window, and I says, "Miss Kelly, can I see Mr. Laird?" You had toJask the secretary for permission to go and see, and Miss Kelly she call him on telephone— She says, "Greek fella," she told him, 'course she knew I was a Greek. "Yes," he said, "send him up." So- there was two of us, myself and the fella who had broke his leg. And I told him, "Mr. Laird,"I says, "this man had accident here in the mill and broke his leg. And he has been laid off now for quite a while, and he like to ne want to know if he can get some money to send to his family." And he told me then that— he says, "you tell him that we have nothing to do with that now. The State is taking care of that, and he'll be compen sated from the State when the time is ripe. He has to go through the State to get his money. But", he says, "if he has family and his family need money, why, he has some friends here, hasn't he? He can borrow from his friends and send to his family, and that's the only thing we can do for him." I think he did, I don't remember now, got some money, I don't know how much.
What was Mr. Laird like to talk to?
GD: He was gentleman. He spoke to me pretty nice, cause I could talk a littleEnglish then. Some people probably had different impression. I think he was nice fella, to talk to.
SS: Do you think he cared a lot about the town and the people? That he tooka lot of care about them?
GD: I think he did, yes. I think he did. I think he was a humanitarian.He was not, you know, rough customer and didn't care for people.
SS: Were people afraid of him, do you think? Especially the people who were—didn't know the town, too good?
GD: They were not afraid of him, I don't think. I don't think they wereafraid of him. There was one occasion here when the bank was owned by the company and the banker embezzled two hundred and fifty thousand dol lars from the bank. And all the Greeks, you know, they got scared and they rush over there to the bank to take their money, and Laird went over there himself, or he sent somebody else to tell the people that they're not going to lose their money. The company's gonna pay them every cents. I think he sent a fella by the name of — he himself went down there and told them, "Boys, you can draw your money if you want to, but don't be afraid, because you're not going to lose your money. The company's gonna pay." And it did. Paid everything. And, of course, they put that fella in jail. That's when the examiner came over here and he stay here, he stay here for quite a while.
SS: When you were— back in the early days when all the Greeks were living together, pretty much. What was the social life like? What kinds of things did you guys do?
GD: Well, Our social life here was among us. We gambled sometime, but notvery much, here in Potlatch. The social life between us and the other people— we live apart, you know. We didn't have too much to do— be cause during the War — some young fellas went down there— well, I was young, too, then, but I didn't go. Went down to to the gymnasium, they had a gymnasium here, and went down there to join, but you have to pay so much, you know, a small fee anyway, to be a member, and they wouldn't let 'em. But as far as our social life here, we had it among ourselves here. You know how it is. Sometimes we had somebody from the town come here, but not very often. And we didn't have not much social life— we played cards very much, pastime.
SS: Was that ? Oh, pinochle.Did guys drink very much?
GD: Some. Some did. Italians did, very much. They had—Over there I wasnever to them. I was living right next door and the other houses, you know, they were all Italians. And they had wooden balls they were playing with, it's something like bowling, but it was in the and they had a little ball. They played that in the Old Country, you know. In my country, too. But here they was speaking Italian, and I couldn t understand 'em. And pretty soon I to understand some words. But that's the social life everytime they— Sundays, and everytime they didn't — in the evenings in summertime, when the days are long, they were playing them balls, all the time. It was kind of funny to watch them. And sometimes we played, too, but not very often, because owned them balls, see, bought them I guess, or brought themfrom the Old Country, I don't where. And they drank, too.
SS: I heard a lot of wine came in.
GD: Oh, yeah. These fellas there they played for the drinks, you see.And there was a fella that was bootlegging, you know. And the company didn't allow anything like that at all. But it was private, you know, they didn't bother us anyway. And they drank quite a bit. He was quite one of 'em, he was drunk pretty near all the time.
SS: The Italians, did they have one man who was— who rep resented them—their interests to the company?
GD: No. No. They had one man that was foreman, the boss down to the greenchain. And he about thirty, thirty-five men, I think, but he didn't represent them. He thought he did, himself, but he didn't Actually hie was trying to make himself known to the authorities. But I don't think he respresented them.
SS: He was just brownnosing.
GD: Yeah. And another thing he ordered them to strike one time. And he call,the strike, see. And the company give 'em— they settle up anyway. Be cause they on strike without notifying the company and the mill stopped. What happened really, the greenchain was on a strike was married man, and he had two daughters, one of 'em still living down Lewiston. But he was nice fella, he was drink ing too much.
SS: You say, he kept working when the men went on strike?
GD: No, no. He was the cause of the strike. He was the one that toldi, Ithink— I'm not so sure now, but I think that's what it was.
SS: Were many people sending part of their earnings back to the Old Country?
GD: Some. Some were. Some did if they had families, and of course they hadto send 'em to support their families.
GD: Did I tell you about the sales they had here in the store?
SS: I've heard them mentioned. They were pretty big, huh?
GD: Well, this here was the biggest store around the Inland Empire, outsideof Spokane. Because they were supporting all the— it was the outlet for the camps, you know. And there was a lot of people here, there was probably a thousand people working here then. And they had sales— free coffee and there was fellas— there was no automobiles them days, it was wagons. They from Palouse, oh, from all over from around the small towns, they come here to the sale. Oh, it was a big doings. And they were successful making money. But this store was the— pretty well supplied. You see they had every— even from from distance. The wagons and the buggies, whatever you call them, from all over. I think they were once a year, the sales. During the fall.
SS: The man that was the store manager, I forget his name—
GD: It was Mc Donald.
SS: He was a real wheeler-dealer, wasn't he?
GD: Yes. McDonald, he knew how to— he was a business man, and after he leftwhy then, everything went haywire— oh, not haywire, but they didn't have them sales. But them sales, oh, they were— big. Big doings. Give free coffee. But people come from all over.
SS: Do you think back then that you spoke more if you were the guy thatwent with some of your friends
GD: That's why they asked me to represent 'em, because I could speak verymuch English. At that time, 1914, I couldn't speak very good, and that's why I couldn't understand Mr. Laird, what he said. Now at the office down there this other deal here, it was later, much later, because they had built a new office here. And he was up in the upstairs, you see, and he wasn't taking everybody— you had to ' permission from the secretary. Down there, was— I couldn't speak very good then, but I can speak a little more than the old man could, you see. And he asked me to, I didn't tell him that I could talk good English. But I told him that I'd do the best I can to help you, but if I can't— and I went down there, and we didn't accomplish anything because the old man wanted to get ahold of the money. And, of course, he got power of attorney and he got it anyway.
SS: Did you and your friends, did you take it seriously to look out for eachother? Would you do a lot for your friends in those days? Or was it more every man for himself?
GD: Oh, well, yes, you do for friends. It was more then than it is now.You know, if you see a friend that you know and he's out of job, and wants help, why, you help him. Now, it's different, because— now, you see, you have all the Social Security and the Welfare and everything, and you tell him, "If you can't take care of yourself, go to the Welfare." But then you— well, you didn't have to, but it was more of the thing to do, than now, you see. Because you had no other way of getting money probably to go and look for a job— when he's out of a job or something like that. You do more for them then.
SS: Was it tough for the people to advance in the mill? To get ahead? Toget better positions?
GD: It was because, I tell you, the reason was— the people that had a goodjob, they won't leave it. They stick to it. And they work them days as long as they could. As long as they could do the work they let 'em work. There was no sixty-five retirement. Which I think is alright. But them days they worked up to seventy, eighty 'til they died. One old sawyer here, he was the head sawyer, and he worked in the— sawing up 'til he was probably seventy years old. Then he got so old, you know, and he couldn't cut enough lumber and they laid him off from that job and they gave him cleaning up the— around the planer. And that's what they did them days. They got them old fellas— the only job was open was to clean up, and it wasn't anything that had to be done, it was just to give him something to do. And the wages, of course
SS: Do you think that there was any job discrimination against people whowere foreigners?
GD: Some. Some. If they had a good job, peopledidn't like it, but thenthey no power to fire em.
SS: Do you think it would be harder for a guy who was a foreigner and didn'tspeak much English to get ahead as far as getting a higher paying posi tion in the mill?
GD: No. I don't think he can because of the language. You see, he got tobe able to speak and understand the language. And without that, he's not apt to get a good job. 'Course today, it's different.
SS: I've heard people say, for instance, that if a foreman was a Swede youcould expect he would favor Swedish people that came looking for a job over anybody else, maybe. That you could figure that would happen.
SS: That could make it harder for people who— let's say, if they didn'thave a foreman of their own nationality to go to.
GD: That's right. That has some bearing, because he will favor his owntil nationality. But if he don't have them, hehire someone else. doing the job, too. Because, he is apt to lose his own job if he gets people of his own nationality who don't understand or don't do the job. One fella told me one time that— I was grading lumber there, you know, for changing themsaw. And he says, "If you were a Swede, you could have this job. Grading." You know, grading lumbers, because the head grader he was a Swede, you see, and he says, "If you was a Swede, you can have this job." I says, "I'm not."
SS: I've been reading about— that there was a lot of feeling around thattime, 1910-1920, in there, there was a lot of — they call it nativism. I don!t know if you ever heard them use that word. They say that there was a feeling a lot of people had— some people had— that was really anti-immigrant. They didn't want new people, foreigners coming into the country at that time, some of these people. And it's funny, because they'd come in themselves back earlier, but now they were saying, "Well, if we have foreign people coming in, it's going to change the country in a bad way." And so, there was a lot of people that were opposed to immigration. And I think probably, from what I read, they say there was prejudice against these new people coming in, because they were changing their attitude about immigrants.
GD: There wasn't much— there wasn't very many immigrants coming in from 1920—1910. 1910, yes, lot of 'em, but not in '20's. From 1910 to 1915 and probably— well, in 1920, some, but not too many. Not too many immigrants. They pttt that quota, and they can only come so many from each
SS: Yeah, I think the quota was a part of that deal. Because they were tryingto stop people from coming in.
GD: Yeah, they did. They did stop 'em. There was only a hundred people comefrom Greece. And that quota was full all the time.
SS: A hundred people a year?
SS: Do you think that— do you remember there being prejudice against thepeople when they first came over here? I don't mean just Potlatch, but out West?
GD: No, because they needed them then. They needed them to build the country. And without them it wouldn't a been built. But later, there might have been prejudice. Well, like now, everything is built. And you get a bunch of foreigners— for instance like these refugees
SS: From Vietnam?
GD: Yes. I think now, I don't know. Becauseyou had to give 'em something to do. You got to give 'em a job to sup port themselves and families, if they have them. They have families, too, don't they?
SS: But like, you say for instance here, they didn't want— they couldn'tbe in the gym at first. I heard that the Italians weren't made to feel welcome at the Catholic Church, at first. When they first tried to go there, so they didn't go for a while.
GD: Yeah. Well, I tell you, the Catholic Church— the Italians that werehere were very few that went to church. Not because they didn't want , because they didn't want to go themselves. And the church, the Catholic Church, I don't know what they believe in, but at one time that fella there, that Noio , that I was telling you about being the foreman on the greenchain and being the drinker, he never did go to church. And when he died, they never took him to church. And these Italians that were here, you know, they were mad about it, but I don't think they could do anything. And I actually, I'm not Italian, but I knew this fella here, and I know the Greek Orthodox Church is the same, too, but they never do that, they take 'em in church anyway.
SS: You mean that the town didn't do it? The church didn't do it?
GD: No , it was the Catholic priest. I ask him and says, "Why didn't you?"He says, I haty. orders from the Bishop . Boise. Whether that was right or not, I don't know. The Bishop didn't know anything about this man.. He was a young fella.
SS: Did you—Was there a practice of the Greek Orthodox here? Did the menhave any services here?
GD: No. No, it's the church in Spokane, but not here. Not here or nowhereelse around here.
SS: But you didn't get together among yourselves to have any kind of worship?
GD: No. There was a priest come here one time and he stayed here for sometime, for two, three days, I think. And he had services here. But that's a long time ago, and he never did come back.
SS: Was there flny way then that the men could worship? Did they do it ontheir own or just have to forget about it?
GD: Well, they do it on their own, if they want. It's up to individual.The church is alright, if you want to go to church it's okay, and if you don't— you don't have to go to church to be a good Christian. I go to church here. I used to. I don't go any more because I got too old, but I can't go to church in the Greek church, I go to the Presby terian here.
SS: In the early days did the other Greeks go to the churches in town here?Or did they just not?
GD: No. Other Greeks, no. After the Greeks left, you see, it's since theDepression that the Greeks left here. And the last two or three, they go to church if they want— once in a while. I used to go quite often.
SS: Do you think that most of the— Well, how do you think that most of theGreeks felt about being here? Do you think that most of them liked the work and were satisfied with it or wanted something better?
GD: Oh, yeah, they were satisfied. That's why they stayed here, thatwere here. Oh, well, they like something better, but, you know what I mean, they were in no position to get anything better. And, some, not very many, had left here; went into business for themselves or did some thing else.
SS: Do you think many people believed in the idea of getting— about beingable to get real rich here?
GD: There wasn't much change. You can't get rich by working. Now, if thiswas open town from the beginning there would be lot of Greeks in busin ess here. Not lot of 'em, but there bej some, like in Elk River, there was one. And Elk River small place, it was. But here it s a bigger place, and there'd been some, intoxicating liquor. They couldn't go into business, you see. Had bus iness here, the confectionery was run by Americans, and they made money, some of 'em. But it was a business, you know. They didn't sell no beer, because it was permitted by the company.
SS: Do you think there was any difference of how well people could do in acompany town as compared to a town— here as compared to Elk River? Was this a better place or a worse place?
GD: This was a good place, if it was open but it wasn't. Andthat made difference.
SS: I don't mean just for business, I'm thinking of working in the mill.
GD: Working is about the same, there isn't much difference. Working in millyou have the same thing here as you have in Elk River, when the mill was running over there. You see in the sawmill,Nit's the job you got, you have to handle it yourself, because the machinery force you to do it. If you don't take the lumber and put it on the trimmer and it don't go out, it's gonna pile up, and you have to stop. And if the edgerman or the sawyer gets plugged up and he don't keep it going, why, it's gonna pile up and they have to stop the rig; the saw, stop sawing. So, it's each one has to do his work in that mill. Now it's moreso. Because there's not very many, you see. It's the sawyer, one edgerman and thaYs about all, and the trimmerman, of course.
SS: Did you work at that all the time you were in the mill? Trimming?
GD: Yeah. I started, of course, on the spotter. Spotting lumber.
SS: On the what?
GD: Spotting lumber. Spotting the lumber to trim it. You have to spot it—Have you been in a mill?
GD: Well, you've seen them fellas throwing the lumber on there? Well, theyare spotters, you see. They're supposed to spot it, if theyspot it, you stop and make 'em pull it or push it one way or the other to get the most of it, see? Near right. And the fella upstairs up in the cage, is the saw puller— that's what they call them. Saw puller and spotters. Of course, the saw puller gets a little more money.
SS: You worked as a saw puller until you retired.
GD: Uh-huh. Oh, saw puller and spotter, because they changed this businessthere, you know. They're trying to get the work done with two men and it impossible.I don't know how it sounds, but anyhow they pushed us.
1:00 - Poor conditions growing up in Greece; the industry there; irrigation problems; worked at a bakery
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22:00 - After landing in New York, his group was sent south; in St. Louis met up with Greeks who were also shipping to Spokane; railroad was all manual labor
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Segment Synopsis: After landing in New York, his group was sent south on another boat. In St. Louis they met up with Greeks who knew some English and were also shipping to Spokane, like them, by train. People didn't want to go to the "wild west". Railroad work was all manual labor. The interpreter got the group the job from the employment agency. There were many other groups from southern Europe. They quit if they didn't like the jobs.
31:00 - First job was building tracks into Walla Walla cannery; living sixteen to a boxcar; railroads were chief industry then; tough to save money
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Segment Synopsis: His first job was building tracks into a Walla Walla cannery. Loading dirt and shovelling gravel. Wages: $1.30 for a ten hour day. Living sixteen to a boxcar. Having to move in the middle of baking bread. Railroads were the chief industry then. His crew was composed of men from his home town, some here before he was. Refusing a job that looked like a bad situation It was very tough to save money, but some of the old fellows could. Section work was easier in winter.
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68:00 - Housing for Greeks at Potlatch; building burnt down by Greeks unaware about hot ashes; new housing
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80:00 - He lived with Greek friends; learning to speak English; left Potlatch during WWI to work in shipyard on the coast
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Segment Synopsis: He lived with his Greek friends. Learning to speak English despite obstacles and little opportunity to use language. He left Potlatch for a while during first world war to work in shipyard on the coast. He joined Masonic lodge in 1945 when only a few Greeks remained in Potlatch, and learned more English. English language is harder than Greek, especially spelling.
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91:00 - Most Greeks had to leave Potlatch during depression; company support men with families who were in debt for humanitarian reasons
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98:00 - Dealings with William Laird on behalf of Greeks who knew less English; Laird cared for people
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110:00 - Social life of Greeks was separate from rest of town; Greeks refused membership at gym during WWI
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113:00 - Italian social life was bowling-type game; Italian drinking; foreman started strike to push his own interests
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120:00 - Representing his friends because he knew some English. Friends took care of each other more then.
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124:00 - People held on to mill jobs so it was hard to advance; working past retirement; people disliked foreigners taking jobs
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136:00 - Italians didn't want to go to Catholic church in Potlatch; priest refused to take foreman for his funeral; no Greek Orthodox services in Potlatch
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142:00 - Greeks fairly satisfied at Potlatch; town was not open to competetive business; no beer could be sold
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