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GUS DEMUS: And, got along alright, but during the Depression, he went down toLewiston and started ashoeshine parlor, he was in apartnership with another fellow at that time. And when they startler Depreesion he stayed down there, anyway, he didn't come back. He was making pretty good money, you know, in the shine at that time and after that time you see, during the war, he had two, three girls working there for him, shining shoes.
SAM SCHRAGER: Do you think he could make as good money down there as you couldmake working in the mill?
GD: Oh, yah, and he had agood job here in the mill, he was grading lumber you know. He was grading different species. But he didn't come back. And Mike, he is, well, he's asmall man, you know, he can't handle lumber too well. He not too strong, you know what I mean. That's why he stay down there. And Igot acousin in Spokane, the Davenport Hotel, he shine shoes, that's what he's doing. And he family. Family of four boys and a girl.
SS: From his shoeshining?Yes. He had agood job- he was head sawyer in the sawmill here, but he went over there and he got married. He work for the government during the war.
Where? In Greece?No, no. Spokane, huh? In Spokane. And he met agirl there, he's much older than her, but they get along alright. And he raise afamily, now, they all gone. except one. He was making more money in the shoeshine in the mill. It must have been pretty good monev: the shoeshine thought the mill was pretty good pay.
Yes, but in Davenport Hotel it was better because he kept busy. Well,he had apartner, too, Imean, he hired men and "his boys got a little older they took the job,and while they were going to school, you know, they were shining shoes, and he did pretty good. Did he leave here when the Depression hit, too? Your amsin? No. He was in Spokane. But he did live here before.
SS: In Potlatch?Yes, for long time.. Three brothers, you know. One of them died here, not very long ago and the other one went to Greece and got married and he didn't come back, and he died. He was about my age 84. He died a couple of years ago.
The cousin of yours that left- what Iwas thinking was that a lot ofpeople seemed to leave when the Depression hit here. They left, a lot of 'em left, yes. Is that what happened to most of the Greeks?
GD: Yes.That were here? They left when the Depression hit. The Depression spread 'em out. They had nothing here; no work of any kind. And they neverAgive the Greeks ajob, because they work in the mill, you see and the mill went down. And they were giving the job to some family men, maybe two, three days aweek; maybe one day aweek to work in the planer, you see. They were running the planer part of the time, because they were shipping lumber, you know, but they never run the mill £or two years because we got Depression. And Ileft here too. I went down to Lewiston. Oh, yeah? What did you do down there? Oh, Ihad afriend there and he ran agarden truck. He was raising vegetables. And no money from the vegetables either, you know, but they making poor living. Oh, yeah, Iwent down there soon as they started here, I came back. Did you live with this guy? This friend of yours? Did you share a place with him in Lewiston?
GD: Oh, yeah, down there, yeah. Sure. I live him, because he had awell,he wasn had a hired woman and she was doing the cooking and everything and workout in the field for practically nothing, just for board and room. It was pretty tough. Well, did he own his own business there or was it just or was he just laboring for other people?
GD: The fella that I stay with?
SS: Yeah.Oh, he was down there all the time. That was his business raising gar den truck, he was raising that. And carrots and everything else and selling 'em. So, he owned the food himself, that he raised? No, he didn't own the place, he rented. But he's dead now. So you just helped him.
Oh, yeah, well, I went down there, I didn't have nothing to do hereand I had to go down there and pass the time. Couldn't get nothing no Place. No job. You can't find ajob. And then after the election they did some- Roosevelt got elected he brought alot boys from the East down here for the CCC boys, you know. You don't remember that.
No, I heard about it though.
SS: So what about that?Well, they brought alot of boys in. He opened- he tried to give job, give a job to everybody. Now I work acouple of days aweek my self doing work on ahighway. There was nothing else, you see. And we were doing hand work in order to prolong the work. There was nothing hurry - the reason theythtt is to give them ajob; something to do. Give them something to eat, because people were starving at the time, it was bad.
Did you know people that didn't have enough to eat?Well, not enough, you know, he had to leave. It wasn't enough to give each one. See, everything was cheap then, but there was no money. Ten cents for a dozen eggs; but where do you get the ten cents? Were there days when you didn't have supper?
Once or twice, Ithink. Well, we had little bit, but not much. Yeah,it was pretty bad. That depression!!! never come back; will never come again unless this country go you see, now the government take care of- we're getting social security. The "men get unemploy ment and the others get these food stamps and so on, you know. Every body- And they do that little bit too much. You see some of them fellas on the food stamps, they cheat, you know. Some of 'em are not en titled to and they go and get 'em just the same.
I'm really curious about what it was like in the Depression. Itmust have felt pretty awful to wonder where your next meal was gonna come from. It was bad. And for family people, too, it was terrible. Now here, the company- those that were married and have families they have to give them something- they give 'em acredit i„ store. They have to give them something for the families to live, you know. And that's why they kept them and give 'em ajob maybe once aweek or one day aweek or two, three days aweek. To raise their kids and send 'em to school, too. That depression was terrible.
Did you think about going someplace else?At that time? Yeah.
Well, Idid went to Lewiston, there was nothing here, and then prettysoon, as soon as they started the mills, you see, they gave 'em so much lumber to cut year. You see, when Roosevelt got in, he star ted and give 'em so much. Iwent Spokane and worked for Mc Goldrick Lumber Company there at nights because they had aquota to cut so much lumber, you see and if they didn't cut it during the day they had to hire night shift to do it and then they could get the men any time over there, men were plentiful in Spokane and everyplace else. How long did you stay up there? Very long? Oh, not very long because they cut their quotas, Idon't know how many- oh, about amonth, anyway, and then they shut down. And if they wanted more later on, two, three months, why, they started the mill again. You see. They had so much to cut, see. It was set by the government. Did you have to eat only the cheapest food that you could find? Well, not all the time. Down at Lewiston there we fife pretty good. The) boys were shining shoes and they were making alittle money, and of course they loaned it. When Istarted to work here again after depression, I owe one fella 400.
How much?400. 400 was lot of money that time; you see for food. Was he a shoeshiner?
No. He was here but he was working and Istayed with him, you see.Cause I had no money was spending a fast, as I was getting it, you see. What did you spend it on?
Everything. Everything for nothing, anyway, buthe died here fell off the pickup truck. This is the guy that lent you the 400?
Ya. And he left me 2,000 when he died. But he had alot of money. Hehad 50,000. He made some investments that paid and he made some pret ty good money. He made investments on that Sunshine Mining Company, you know and they were paying pretty good dividends at that time. Now they're not paying nothing because they're not working. They been on a strike here for a long time.
So he had some money during the Depression?Oh, yeah. Yeah, he had a lot a money.
Could you do anything for him in return for the money that he gave you?Igive him his money back, 400, after I started, you know. And he even have to give up his job because he was doing the same thing down in the mill as Iwas doing, and go to work on the section to give me a chance to go to work here, you see., They won't hire single men. He was wor king the planer at that time, and that's why they kept him here, but they didn't give him maybe one day aweek or maybe one day amonth, some times, because they knew he had the money, see. You said he quit his job? No, he quit the mill they started. When they started the mill they shut the planer down and brought them fellas over in the mill, you know for while. And that didn't last very long. And of course, he didn't take the job in the mill but he went to work on the section in order to give me a chance to get the job, you see.
SS: You mean you took his job?
GD: Yes. He was pretty nice fella. Isorry when he died because even the2,000 he left me, it didn't mean nothing to me because Ihad money then. You see, it was after the Depression, it was in 1950. 1950 he died. He was a good friend.
SS: When he went to work on the section, was that the railroad work aroundhere?
GD: Yes. There was alittle workn the section and the section foremanwas good friend of his, and he get him the job. Did they pay less than what he had been making in the mill? Oh, ya, he was making less, ya. The railroad never paid enough. They don't pay the same way asill. They do now, because things changed you know. So the reason he did that was for you; he left the mill?
GD: Yeah.He must have liked you. Well, he was a good friend. Did he come from near where you did in Greece? Pretty close, but not from same town. He was oh- Ididn't know him before he came here. He came first; Icame later and Imet him here. There was a lot of Greeks here, you know them days. Did you pal around with him when you first got here? Oh, no. No, because he was with other bunch, you see, but then gradual ly the bunch spread out and when the Depression came everybody had to leave boys, you know. Some went to the old country and t married. Some went different places, where ever they could get a job. There was nothing here for them anyway.
What about the Americans who were single? Did they have to leave, too?Yes. But some of 'em, you know, they had places around here;mp Inches you know around here and they made money with that. They work on them. Not very much. Nobody made money at that time. Iwas going to ask you, Gus, if you think it was harder for people like Greeks and Italians to get ahead in the mill than it was for the Amer- leans who had been around the country. Well, yes, it was hard, but during the war alot of young fellas went to the war, you know, and the Greeks got chance to advance a little bit During the First World War?
First and Second World War, too. The Second World War, too. The Second World War there wasn't very many here, but very few. So the wars were really agood opportunity to get ahead for Greeks?
GD: Well, ya,for us that were here, there were not very many.So, if there was ajob open in the mill or achance to get ahead, it might be easier for the local Americans to get it? Yes, naturally, they have preference.
SS: lTm not sure that's natural, but—
GD: Oh, well it not natural, but they make it. They had preference, youknow, before us. But I had my own job and I didn't cause that was as high as Icould go. I couldn't go any higher.
This is the job as edger?No, I was trimming lumber. Trimming? How come that was as high? Well, Istarted there and Iquit- Ididn't quit, Ididn't try to get any other job. It was good job and wasn't very hard. Pulling levers. You know what that is? Trimming lumber? Yeah. Pulling levers on the trimmer. But you didn't want to try to do something else, like grading and that sort of thing?
No. Well, one fella, head grader, asked me, says, "I want you to workfor me." Isays, "No." because they didn't pay as much for the graders as they pay for the other, the trimmermen. So there was no difference in pay. "Now," I says, "it's too late for me." If you could have got anything else in the mill, was there anything you wanted to do besides trimming? That would have been abetter paying job? Ya, there was, but Ididn't started there, you see. And, Idon't know, maybe Iwas aman that never progressed, you see. Iwas satisfied with what I had down there.
That's probably better than wanting something that you can't get.Well ya, and if afella's used to one kind of work, he does it easier and he's more efficient, more better. Mike told me there was aforeman that he liked alot. Ican't remem ber the guy's name, but he had a big Greek crew.
GD: Oh, Meyers.
SS: What was his first name?
SS: Yeah, that's right. Do you remember him?
GD: Oh, ya, sure. Iworked for him for years. Iworked for him from 1914until he left in- Idon't know when he left- '21- no, '24, '25. And there was no, them days, there was no social security. You got out of the sawmill, you dead.
Why did he leave? Do you know?Ah, there was afella that -. mc and got his job from Elk River. They shut that mill down, you know, and then they run him down here. He was younger man and he was crooked, too, you know, and he bumped him out. Old John was getting pretty old, you know. And they didn't retire them them dayys. as they could work, there was no retirement.
Did he stick around the mill, or did he just leave?No, he left. He went to work up in Canada for awhile and then he came back to Spokane, and he stayed in Spokane. Ithink he bought a house in Spokane and he stay in Spokane. He had alittle money. What was his job? Was he the foreman of the whole mill? Ya. He was foreman for the sawmill. Then another foreman in planer, you know, and in the shipping department. They ot of foremens. They did have then, but Idon't know now. What was Meyers like to the men? What was he like to work for? What did you think of him as a foreman?
SS: Yeah.He was agood man. He was very good man. He was honest. He was truth. He tried to do the best. If you are good man, you are doing your work and the chance come up for you to advance, he'd give it to you, whether you were Greek or Italian or any nationality. He was honest man. You mean he didn't give preference to the local boys? No. Not if they didn't have it. But you were saying before that the local boys did get, Yes, there was some, but not all. They probably had it comin'. Oh, because they'd been around longer. Ya.,Now in other departments, what they're doing, I don't know. There was fella by name, oh Charlie- he was superintendent- Charlie somebody Ican't remember name last name. What's this Charlie guy? He wasn't so good?
GD: Huh?This Charlie, was he crooked? Well, he run the whole business, he was an old country Swede. Charlie- It doesn't matter, the last name. Ijust wondered why you mentioned him. Oh, well, he was the superintendent of the planer and. Yeah, Italked to Mike and he told me that most of the Greeks worked in the sawmill.
One by one they got ajob over there and they didn't know anything elseto do, if they went out IvtWf it was semiskilled work, you see, and they couldn't do it. So in the mill there was lot common labor work. And very few, not very many, maybe two, three fellas that work outside. But most of 'em work in mill. And most of them started as common labor in the mill?
GD: Well, yes.
SS: Imean they didn't start like asawyer or as edgermanNo, sawyer and edger, they got to that later but it's askill job, you see, and they expect you to do the work, and if you don't know it, you don't undertake to be asawyer because it's aresponsibility fh.re. What were the types of jobs that the guys started at in the mill? That the Greeks started at?
Lot akinds of jobs at that time. But now them jobs are all gone.Machinery took the place of their jobs. But in them days, what were the jobs?
Well, Ican't explain it to you because it's so many; so many jobs.They had ajob tailsawyer, they call him tailsawyer, he was behind the saw pulling the boards when they come from the- when the sawyer cut them. You see, so they wouldn't do "away' that. They had asetters, they was setting the carriage. Now they don't have any- nobody on the carriage. Only one, the sawyer, he saw on the car riage and cuts the lumber. It's one man where there was three. It's a quite a difference; lots of difference. There was lots of men working- (Whistle blows- )
It's twelve o'clock. the mill, cleaning up. Maybe two, three men, four, five men there in the mill that they clean up. And if somebody wanted to go out for, you know, to take a leak, or to go to toilet or something like that they had aman, extra they only got one. And he is busy, too, don't fool around
SS: What was the first job that you took in the mill?
GD: On the slasher. You see, Iwas- and I didn't even know what that washetell me, "You go to slasher." Old John. He point, you know. Well I figure out you know, and one Greek was working there and he motioned me. All we were doing there was straighten the slabs from the logs. Dropping on the floor, you know, we had a long chain and carried 'em to the saws and then they were cut to four feet for lath, for making lath, them days. You know what a lath is?
GD: Now they dfCway with that for Idon't know how many years. And that'smy first job. I had to pull it straight with the saw, you see to trim it on one end, and the cut four foot piece for the lath stock.
SS: But that wasn't too skilled to start.Oh, not skilled job, no, but Igot paid low wages, that was 2.00 aday for ten hours.
One thing that Mike said to me was that mostly the Greeks were in thesawmill and most of the Italians were working on the greenchain and the yards. And Iwondered why it worked that way, that the Greeks were inside and the Italians outside. The Greeks maybe were smarter, they got in there first probably and they stay there, you see. And the Italians, why they work on the greenchain, I think they were paying little bit more, too. Now out in the yard they were contracting. They were-
SS: Gyppo.They were gyppoing. They were making little more money. Not only Ita lians, but Swedes. All the Swedes were yardmen, you see. They gyppoed, most of them. And there were other jobs he Stackers all over the place. But, the Greeks, most of 'em was in sawmill. Had any of the Greeks that you knew, had any of them worked in the saw mill back in Greece?
GD: No sawmills.No sawmills there at all? Huh-uh. Not I came from. Maybe very few in extreme north. Up in Macedonia where they had little timber, but not very much. There's no sawmills. Most of the timber over there is from Austria- Austria was the most, Austria was closer to Greece, you see. Did you think it was better to be in the sawmill -working in the saw mill than the other places in the operation? It was better because you were indoors, you see and no rain, no snow, no nothing. You could work year 'round without getting wet. And in the greenchains, it was pretty cold them days. had to wear Coats in the summer, sometimes, when it was cold. And that why the Greeks stay there, because they didn't want to get out in the cold weather, even if they made little less money.
Sounds like maybe there was alittle better chance to advance inside themill, too. I mean there was all these jobs. Oh, it was- they advance, there wasn't very many. Edgerman and sawyer that's all. They had four edgermen and four sawyers. And the of course, they was getting more money because they were allowed to saw you see, gradually. And if the sawyers quit, why, they had one of the setters take his place. There was only four of them. So most of the jobs inside the sawmill were unskilled. They weren't highly skilled?
No, they were semiskilled, they call 'em. Some. You have to know little bit about it. And after the union come in here, they classified them as skilled or semiskilled or when they become amember or something like that, you know.
Do you remember when the AFL started in here? When they started a union'joined the AF of L, and Istayed as long as they were here, but they had trouble, trouble them days. And I guess the CIO- I mean-
GD: They went- they had a-
SS: The CIO did?Uh-huh. But didn't last very long. What kind of trouble?- You say trouble, what kind of trouble did it have in those days?
GD: Well, they- the trouble was that some of the CIOs wanted to joinunionso they could get all together and go to strike, but it didn't work. But the CIO won the election, and theygenc5t you know, -
SS: The local?Yeah, they had election. They went on a strike over here, too. Yeah, they had the agency there they could do anything they want. Al though they couldn't force you to join the union, at that time. Do you think the CIO got more for the men than the AF of L? Well, now, they are both— I mean, those days. Well, yeah, the CIO Mr- radial. You know, they was a little bit- they were asking too much. But now they are same, both. Same thing. Well, this Meyers: Mike was telling me some about him. Some stories about him.
But they reprimand him and sometimes they lay him off, two, three daysor week. Punish him that way, you know. He was alright. Did the men spend any time with him outside of work? Off of work? No. No, he was divorced. He had no wife. He divorce his wife, back East before he come out this way. And he was living alone. He and another fella lived together for a while, and then the other fella quit, Kand he live alone. He was boarding 6c»n- worn)over there, German.
SS: Did he spend most of his time with management? Meyers?
GD: Oh, he spent his time at home. And when the mill was runnif nights,he had something to do with that, too, you see. He had to see that the night shift was running, too. Another thing that Mike told me was that once some of the guys tried to kick some of the Greeks out of the sawmill and get the jobs. I think this was maybe in some hard times, and he said that Laird defen ded the Greeks and said they'd been there for a longer time, they got the jobs and they earned them and they're gonna keep 'em. Oh, yeah, they were honest. As long as you do the work, why, they kept he run manager, the whole works, you know. Below the company. It isn't like now. Well, you figure that once the Greeks started getting in the sawmill then they just kept on getting in, after they got a start in there, and that's how they got so many in the sawmill?
SS: Say, instead of working outside on the greenchain.
GD: Yeah, that's right. They just happened to get in there, I don't knowhow from the beginning, I guess they started in the mill and then one by one. And theresome that work outside, but not very many. Not very many. You know in comparison in group. Very few. I heard that— You had a brother here?
SS: What happened to him?He died. Mike tell you? Mike said something that he went haywire. Something happened to him, but he didn't tell me what. Oh, he was sick. He was in Medical Lake. He died. He went out his beam, out his head. He what they call that? Kind of a mental di sease. Oh it been long time; he's been dead for long time. Paranoia. Paranoia. You know what that is? Yes. You get fearful of everything around you. Yes, fearful and you know, you hear noises, you see and that is danger ous. I took him all over. I took him to Portland- I went to Portland one time and one doctor there told me if he was my twin-brother, he says, I turn him in. Put him in the asylum. And I didn't do it then, but then later he got worse, you know, and he was dangerous, you know. Because he was under the influence of them noisesand he was liable to kill somebody. So I turn him in.
SS: Did he trust you? Your brother?Oh, yeah, well he,- he has to go before this judge, you know. I took him over in Spokane, he was in Spokane and he lived in Spokane for year. He's got to live for one year in order to go e- pofesylum. In other words, Idon't know what happen. We took him to fjudge and judge ask him only one question. He says, "You hear voices?" He says, "Yes." "Who is talking to you?" He says, "The degenerates." And that's all.
SS: The degenerates?Degenerates. You know, people that- He was seeing things, you know, that were not real. Ya, it is disease, ame as anything else. Yeah. Did you have any idea how he got it? How it started?
GD: It started gradually, appently, Idon't know. Idon't know how it started. But then he got to be worse, and worse and worse until- I was going to send himo the old country but they have no facilities over there. One doctorin Portland, he told me, "There is no other place like United States, except in Germany, that have a few places like that where they keep 'em. But in the other places, other countries- Do you think he was getting so he was dangerous to other people? Yes, those noises, you know, that he was hearing. Dc-h ,it might tell him to go and kill so-and-so fella. Kill me. He did that one time. He got a knife but he didn't use it. Got a butcher knife and I was staying with him.
SS: To take care of him?Oh, no, he take care of himself. But he was getting wild some time. So, he threatened you with the knife? Once, yeah. And, as I say, the situation was I better take him in be cause he might kill somebody else or he might kill himself. And over there he's safer, anyway. In Medical Lake; he died there. Did he live for long after he went in? He lived for quite awhile. Iwent a couple times to see him, but I couldn't get nothing out of him. And he didn't want me to- "You let alone." He says. That was sad, but it could happen to anybody. Yeah, they say that ten percent of the people in the country have men tal illness. Ten percent, that's a lot of people. Did he keep working in the mill as this went on? As he got worse? No, he stay in Spokane. And I had to send him money, you know sometime, to live on.
That's while he was waiting to get in there? Or this was before?Well, I couldn't, you know, it cost money to stay in Spokane he was hanging around there, he was fighting with everybody in the Greek place there, you know. The restaurant where he was eating. And he was from my own hometown, one them fellas that own the place. And he wrote me and told me, "You better come over and take care of him, because he's fighting with everybody." And he couldn't kick him out.
SS: He couldn't kick him out because he didn't want to?Well, he didn't want to, no. He didn't want do that, because he knew me, you see. He came from same,village. We were raised together. And that fella dead now.
Was this while- was this during the time that he was waiting before hecould get into Medical Lake, or was this before you decided to put him away?
Well, I decided because he wrote and told me that he's fighting witheverybody that was there, see. And he says, "You must do something." So, I study the situation and it was expensive - it was good place for him anyway. There is no other place- and the Medical Lake, they have pretty good place. They good care of him.
SS: So that's when you took him to the judge?
GD: Yes. Well, before you take him to the asylum, the judge has to examinehim. He has to send him. He has to order him. The judge has to order +4hvm in the jail and from there they take him in.
SS: And he had to live there for a year, in Washington, first? Before he
GD: Yes Before he come in, Washington, yeah. you had to go toIdaho. But there's better place, over there. Oh, he lived three years there, not very many.
SS: Was he older than you or younger?
GD: Older. Older, and he had a stiff leg, you know. When he was young hehad what you call osteomyelitis. The one leg was shorter than the other. And he had a pain when he was young fella. He suffered terribly. It was mistake anyway. The old man shouldn't brought him over in first place. But he's gone now. Poor guy.
SS: He shouldn't have brought him over because he would have a harder timein this country.
GD: Yeah, well, he wasn't strong enough to work on any job, you see. Somejob that you can't do it. He did work down here alright, he work as edgerman, but he couldn't get along with his helpers, and he finally quit.
You know, Mike said that he and you loth were easier about money,spending money, you know, enjoying it, having a good time than a lot of guys were. That some guys would try to hold on to every cent they made, but you and him both were guys that lived pretty good when you could. Oh, not much difference, some didn't spend no money, they save money and go back to Greece. But some did and some didn't. It's a matter of- Oh, I saved little money and I went to Greece and spend it. And I came back. I'm not sorry now Idid. Iwent to see how the country was after so many years. Fifty years. I went over there and saw the people that I left when they were six, seven years old and they were old- old men now, I was. My sister, left there, she was going to school. he didm'4 Terrible. Terrible living over there. So I stay five months. I says, "Goodbye." I think you mentioned to me that your relatives wanted the money- some money that you had, too. Oh, they wanted; they got some, but not all of it. They were in bad shape, you had to help 'em. My sister over there, she was a widow with two kids and her husband was no good, when he was living. He spend money, and they went broke. And everything was on thewhat you call- they was going sell of
SS: Bankrupt. Yeah.
GD: Almost. You had to help 'em. I couldn't. You know.Did they figure that you were rich because you were American? Oh, they know that I wasn't too rich. They knew that I had a little money. I didn't tell them. But people around there, they talk. When you were back there, Gus, in Greece, did you get a chance to see any of the old kind of customs, like the celebrations that they used to have? Do they still have that, like Easter and holiday—?
Oh, yes, I happen to be thereEaster, yeah. But they don't have thatlike they used to have, not as elaborate, you know. They kind of get ting away. I heard that they were very colorful in the old days. Yeah, they was, they were colorful. They had and everything else. They do now, but they don't have as much. You see. They celebrate. I don't know, they, got a little money. They seem to travel a lot. You see, build highways over there, you know, and they got good transportation. They travel from one place to the other. And before, they didn't have that. Now they go to near. every week. Soon as they earn anything they some travel with the boat, some with the bus. They got two ways. And if you go with a boat then you get seasick, why, you're out of luck. (Chuckles)
My niece, you know, a girl, she got sick, sick as a dogshe's vomiting. I told her I would take her down. They got a place down belowtheybunks, you know, beds that pull down to sleep. But you have to pay.
SS: What made you decide to come back to America instead of staying overthere?
SS: What made you decide to come back here instead of staying over inGreece?
GD: What made me?
GD: (Chuckles) I didn't want to stay, I didn't go there to stay in thefirst place. I went over there to visit. I didn't want to stay there. I didn't have nothing there. And here, I didn't have nothing either but it's better country to live. What the heck, what was I doing over there? If I was thereprobably been dead today. Pretty near been dead here! (Chuckles)
SS: Well, you know, Gus, with so many people- so many of the people goingback to Europe from this country in those days, so many of them. It seems like so many went back; what was your thinking about that? I'm just talking about say in the '20's and '30's. You never did go back, you wanted to stay here, didn't you?
GD: Oh, ya, sure. back Mostly joined MasonicLodge here, long time ago, thirty years ago. And I was representative for and I thought I'd take a trip and see my sister and the other relatives.a Lot of cousinsback, fellas that work here, you know went back there and married. And I enjoyed the trip but I spent a lot of money because my nearest folks, my sister, was in bad shape and Ihad to help her. Icouldn't get away. That's the reason Ispend money. Jhey sold everything from there, Ihave to give them a power of attorney to sell 'em and I didn't ask for money or anything. They won't send anything anyway. And they moved about ten miles from over across the sea, they and my niece, she got married there to aboy. I don't write to them now, and they don't write to me because Iblind and I can't write anyway.
Well, back in the '20's when so many of the people came over here forawhile and made some money and then went back to the old country, did you think about going back to the old country, or did you really always want to stay here? I never had no ambition to go back and stay, because this the best one I went over there to see and I saw. m the world to live in And I knew it before I went, but I didn't know exactly. All these other guys, why did they go back? Your cousins that worked here.
Two of 'em got married, you see. And they bought piece of land, andthey get married there, supposed to have something, you know.
SS: What? The dowry?
GD: Yah They g0t adowr And they thought that they could be- make living with that. But Inever thought of that, Inever expected that or never thought anything of that kind. Ithought this was good country to live in, and Iwas going to stay with it, Greece is poor country. Those that have money they live a very good life in the big cities, where they have in the rural districts, like my home town, they don't have nothing there. They have no electricity; they don't have a darn thing. They cook in a fireplace there, and that's where they do all their cooking and everything else. And the fire place does the heating and cooking. When it's summertime they let the fire go out, but they have to build afire, you know, olook. They don't have no stoves or anything. Some have, that have money, but if they don t have no money, is nothing.In the wintertime it's cold over there, too, sometime. I had get up four o'clock in the morning to take the bus. I told my sister, "I'm going to Athens." I rent a house over there in Athens, anyway, and I just went to visit. It cost me lot of money.
You decided to- at four o'clock in the morning you decided to leave?Yes, pretty cold. There's no fire. Little fire there, didn't give no heat in the fireplace. And I said, "Goodbye, I'm going to Athens." Athens, they have everything there but cost money, you see, costs just as much- it cost two dollars a day for coal oil for to burn in the stove Cost money, you see, cost two dollars a day for coal oil for to burn in the stove.
SS: Oh, that's too much.
GD: It's pretty high; pretty high, the oil and coal oil and gas- gas isterribly high. Idon't know what gas was but it was up to a dollar, dollar and ahalf agallon then. Now, it's two, three dollars, Idon't know, maybe they don't have any. They use coal oil, they have engines in the automobiles to burn coal oil instead of gas. And all them taxi drivers and things, you know, they are set so for different kind of oil; coal oil.
Well how were your cousins doing that had worked here and gone back?How were they?
They doing dead. They are dead now. One of 'em did pretty good. Heowned lot of landand he was pretty good. But the others, not get along, not very much. But now they both dead. They dfkd about two years ago. So, there no living over there- and for men of age, you know, seventy years old when I went over there, I didn't think it was a place for me to stay. And if I want to get married, I could get married here any time, at that time. Now, I can't get married, io I'm blind and I'm handicapped and I'm sick.
You know, one other thing that I was going to ask you, us, was aboutthis business of being a bachelor, say back in the '20's, you know, the teens and the '20's and the '30's? Was there much chance for all these bachelors like yourself and other guys to get married?
GD: To get married?
SS: Yes.Oh, ya, there was. Some of 'em got married, but not all. It wasn't much chance as it isnowt because we're living together and we never mixed with the people of the townfor the girls or the boys. And, we couldn t speakEnglish language. That's another thing, you see, that kept us from getting married. And now that we learn, we got too old. But there was no- say like- there weren't any Greek girls around, were there?
No Greek girls, no. Ihad one, but she came when she was ten years oldand she's married to some young fella, some young fella here. Her father was businessman in Chicago and she came to San Francisco and she met this, the war and she met this boy from here, fella by the name of Larson, and she's been here for ten years now, or more. More than ten years.t she's not here in Potlatch. They started here and they didn't like it. And they saw wasn't much chance for advance and they went down to Quincy, Washington. That's where they're at and they own a farm- two, three farms over there. They got a lot of money. And she got two, three kids. One Carried and is twenty years old and the other one, I don't know, he's younger These guys that went back to Greece to get married; did many of them bring their wives back over here?
GD: Not very many.
I wonder why they didn't come back with their wives.Well, as Isaid before, they got the dowry, you see, piece of land there and they start to work over there to raise something to eat and live there. That's why. And they didn't speak very good English. They says, "To heck with going back."
It does seem to me a little too bad that there wasn't more chance forthe bachelors to meet the American girls around here.
Well, there was achance; some chance, but they didn't trust 'em. Theydidn't trust the American girls, those boys that had alittle money, you know. They say,I marry her and she'll take my money- spend my money and then kick me out. That's another thing. Although Inever thought that way because Ididn't have no money in the first place and when Idid have money, why, it was too late. Iwas too old. Itried to marry one one time, but she didn't site, my next door neighbor now and she's awidow.
SS: This girl- she wasn't Greek though?
GD: Oh, no, fror here.
SS: She was from Potlatch?
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Segment Synopsis: Mike Stefanos left Potlatch mill to run shoeshine parlor in Lewiston. His cousin runs shoeshine concession in Davenport Hotel in Spokane. Many: Greeks left when the depression hit. He went to Lewiston and stayed with a friend who did truck gardening. Government work under Roosevelt. Bad poverty in depression. He worked night shift for McGoldrick in Spokane briefly. He borrowed $400 for food from a friend, who also gave up his job so Gus could take it, he left Gus $2,000 in his will.
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Segment Synopsis: When Americans went to fight during wars, Greeks got a chance to advance. Americans got preference over Greeks for jobs. He went as high as he could at the type of job he was doing; he didn't want to change jobs unless he could get more money. He was satisfied with the kind of work he knew. John Meyers, a good mill foreman, was kicked out; he was honest and showed no favoritism.
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Segment Synopsis: His brother's severe paranoia: he heard voices and became dangerous. The judge's question before committing him to Medical Lake. He got into fights in the Greek restaurant in Spokane. He had osteomyelitis in one leg, which was shorter than the other; he wasn't strong enough to work well, and shouldn't have come to America.
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Segment Synopsis: Change in Greek life. He went to Greece to visit, not to stay; living is better in America. What happened to his sister. He never wanted to return to Greece to stay, as cousins who went back to marry. He left his sister's because he was very cold; expense of fuel. How cousins fared who returned.