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Interview with Eugenia Theros




World Region



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E. THEROS: Well, I had seven sisters and three brothers. I start with the first one?
E. THEROS: Andrew.
E. THEROS: Panayoti, Kosta and the sisters, is my half sister Maria, and me, Martha, Cirla, Dinah [unintelligible - 00:00:31], Kiki, [unintelligible - 00:00:35], Anna [unintelligible - 00:00:41].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Now grandparents. If you could name your godparents? Did they live in Sparta, too?
E. THEROS: Godparents?
E. THEROS: I don’t remember it would get the –
A. SPELIOPOULOS: [Unintelligible - 00:00:52] Okay. All right do you remember who your Nonno and Nonna was?
E. THEROS: My Nonno was my uncle.
E. THEROS: My father’s brother, he was a doctor.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay how about that place and date for marriage? Were you married here in Minneapolis? Do you remember the date?
E. THEROS: Excuse me, I didn’t marry in Minneapolis.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Oh okay, do you remember the date? Okay do you remember the date you got married?
E. THEROS: In June.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay, all right, your husband’s name and place of birth?
E. THEROS: [Unintelligible - 00:01:25], in Greece.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay and what is his name?
E. THEROS: His name? [Unintelligible - 00:01:33].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Does he have a nickname?
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay did you have Koumbaro at your wedding?
E. THEROS: Yes, it is relative of his.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay, do you remember his name?
E. THEROS: Speedos [Unintelligible - 00:01:49].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: I’m assuming your father-in-law is in the same village as where your husband was from?
E. THEROS: I don’t know much about that side.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay. Now do you have any children and place of birth; if you could tell me how many children you have and their birthdays?
E. THEROS: Mike.
E. THEROS: Mike [unintelligible - 00:02:04].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: I know that but the tape doesn’t know that.
E. THEROS: Oh excuse me.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Well, it’s Joy, Jen and –?
E. THEROS: And Barbara.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Is his name Peter?
E. THEROS: Peter Brothers.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Do you know who – what is Georges’ granddad, what is the name?
E. THEROS: It is the same guy that was at [unintelligible - 00:02:26].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: You [unintelligible - 00:02:27].
E. THEROS: [Unintelligible - 00:02:27].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: And how about Bobby?
E. THEROS: Bobby’s was at [unintelligible - 00:02:31].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: And do you remember when they were baptized? Where they baptized early after they were born or did you –?
E. THEROS: No I don’t know.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay, all right. Do you remember the name of the ship that you came over when you came over in the United States?
E. THEROS: Yes, it’s a big ship.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: [Unintelligible - 00:03:03].
SPEAKER 3: My – it was Irene?
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Katherine wasn’t it? Katherine?
SPEAKER 3: Katherine, all right.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: And what was her maiden name?
E. THEROS: Maiden name?
SPEAKER 3: [Unintelligible - 00:03:22].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: And where were you from?
SPEAKER 3: From [unintelligible - 00:03:27] Greece.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay, good okay. Yeah.
SPEAKER 3: Well, I come over 1914. [Unintelligible - 00:03:39] I was enlisted in 1914 [unintelligible - 00:03:45]. There was somebody here that I know that helped me a lot. I went to school for a while but I had to stop because I had to take care of myself and also my folks’ home.
E. THEROS: We were [unintelligible - 00:04:05].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay, so then you started, so how did you get started in the business world?
SPEAKER 3: Well I worked here and there, then I was in Saint Paul. And I started working, come to Minneapolis, looking for business or something and I stopped at the university and I see a sign outside the university sweet shop, I went in applied for work. And then the man was very nice he told me that he had lots of relatives and he wants to sell his business and somehow I got some money together and I went in and
[00:05:00] and that’s how I got started.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: What was it called? What was the place of business called?
SPEAKER 3: University Sweet Shop and then we changed it as we moved along, when we started this good life today.
E. THEROS: Tell him what it was called after you changed the name.
SPEAKER 3: Oh [unintelligible - 00:05:27], for 25 years.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: And then did you sell that and move out and you bought Lilac Land is that what –?
SPEAKER 3: Yeah.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay, and you had business with Lilac Land for how long?
SPEAKER 3: From – we built that late in 1940.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay. Best thing that happened to you?
SPEAKER 3: [Unintelligible - 00:06:07].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: And what your partner – your partner, your pet name for her? What is it? It’s okay, what’s it called?
SPEAKER 3: I call her Duchess [unintelligible - 00:06:15].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: The Duchess is slightly bigger.
E. THEROS: As I told you, I came with a cousin of mine. She wasn’t going to come. She was engaged to a cousin of my mother and she was born in this country and she down there visiting staying, with us because she didn’t want to come back unless I come with her. So I came with her. We came to New York and I stayed with my – I had a cousin. I stayed there for a month. And then she got married in New York the cousin of my mother’s. We all came together at the city of Iowa. And I stayed with them -- until my sister – half sister in Minneapolis sent for me to come over because I had to be in Mrs. [unintelligible - 00:07:15] wedding as a bridesmaid.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: [Unintelligible - 00:07:19]?
E. THEROS: [Unintelligible - 00:07:20].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay. Just [unintelligible - 00:07:22] on her, okay.
E. THEROS: So I came here a day before the wedding and then I stayed here. And I stayed about two years before I got married. In the meantime, I met my husband and got married. The language wasn’t in me, maybe because I started going some school and had friends and I was having a good time in other words, not [unintelligible - 00:07:56] about it. It’s always [unintelligible - 00:08:00] to say.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay but you went to school though, you did go to school?
E. THEROS: Not much, but yeah, I did go to school.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: And how about in the business when your husband started the business?
E. THEROS: Well when he started I did – I just didn’t.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: So it was started when you married him?
E. THEROS: Yeah. I – he had his business just started and I married him.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay and did you work full time for him?
E. THEROS: Not at – the first five years, I didn’t have a child so I helped him and that’s how I learned better to talk because then you have to make some living. So I had to work [unintelligible - 00:08:36]. And so after that little by little we worked together and make a goal, nothing else. I had a very good time, you know. When he didn’t [unintelligible - 00:08:53] English, too.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Any specific stories that you would like to share, that your mother told you that you would like to [unintelligible - 00:08:59] grandchildren?
E. THEROS: No. My mother want me to – I was taking up [unintelligible - 00:09:07] I could have played very good and she wanted to play me since she never did it in a small, I mean small, not big in [unintelligible - 00:09:14] big things, its small things. And I liked to play over there, and when I came here I listened to the music all around, it was so much better than mine so I dropped it, but every time they had a play at the church I was in it. [Unintelligible - 00:09:32] I was the first one and all these things I was a pretty happy girl. [Unintelligible - 00:09:40] marriage that’s when the trouble begins.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: When you got married?
E. THEROS: No before I got married.
E. THEROS: Okay so you know I was just about ready to go back to Greece before I got married.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay was your marriage fixed up or was
[00:10:00] or was it because you –?
E. THEROS: No, no, no.
E. THEROS: No we [unintelligible - 00:10:03] you know down the years back, we took about 60 so many years, and a girl comes from [unintelligible - 00:10:11]
A. SPELIOPOULOS: [Unintelligible - 00:10:15]?
E. THEROS: Yeah, and my father was going to university. He went there three years and he met the girl that he fell in love with. So his father find out and he won’t send more money so he had to quit the university and [unintelligible - 00:10:34], he married the girl. And her father [unintelligible - 00:10:38] so he married a girl, then he stopped, then he got a job with, what they call [unintelligible - 00:10:48] in English, what they call it here?
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Well, that’s good, he understands Greek that’s why he’s doing this so you can talk Greek to him.
E. THEROS: Yeah.
E. THEROS: Yeah.
E. THEROS: So, they [unintelligible - 00:11:05] in four years he was married in [unintelligible - 00:11:10] and then he stayed for another year and then he met my mother, my mother was ready to do the time, but she was more in the upper bracket than he was you know what I mean? [Unintelligible - 00:11:28] classes. With her money, maybe that’s why she had many kids. She would never work in [unintelligible - 00:11:41].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Did you ever come over here the United States?
E. THEROS: My brother come over, my father came of course after. [Unintelligible - 00:11:51] since she retired from the office 62 [unintelligible - 00:11:56] my mother just died three years ago.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: And she’s quite a bit younger than [unintelligible - 00:12:05] isn’t she?
E. THEROS: My mother? No, she was 95 when she died.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: No but I mean she was quite a bit younger than your father.
E. THEROS: At that time?
E. THEROS: Yeah, she was younger.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay. Have you gone back to Greece?
E. THEROS: Oh I have been too many trips looking for her and I’ve [unintelligible - 00:12:19] they all die. All my brothers my sisters, I’m only one left and [unintelligible - 00:12:25].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Do you have any property over there [unintelligible - 00:12:27]?
E. THEROS: [Unintelligible - 00:12:27] so that’s amiss.
E. THEROS: [Unintelligible - 00:12:36] well she was – see my family is more military people. They are all in the army and my sister made it in the army [unintelligible - 00:12:53] every time I would [unintelligible - 00:12:54] down there was [unintelligible - 00:12:57] and my husband had lived there and my [unintelligible - 00:13:02] that’s fine she said [unintelligible - 00:13:09] you know because you know they all talk same things. And you know the group [unintelligible - 00:13:16], its two colors of language, when you grew up with American education, you can speak better [unintelligible - 00:13:25] they are all the same, [unintelligible - 00:13:28] they can do it. It’s, you know, [unintelligible - 00:13:35] you haven’t been there? Have you noticed the -- I don’t know but you didn’t do it, did you go to the [unintelligible - 00:13:43] on the little town or something?
A. SPELIOPOULOS: I stayed in the Athens.
E. THEROS: The Athens, oh, you mixed with the nice people didn’t you? So some of – the real thing is they have a beautiful [unintelligible - 00:13:55] in the language, you can tell their voice is so [unintelligible - 00:14:00] and then at the [unintelligible - 00:14:04] they’re just too bad, you know the idea is everything, everything is –
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Totally different.
E. THEROS: Super [unintelligible - 00:14:12] you know.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay but who brother we were talking about him.
E. THEROS: My brother Tom was.
E. THEROS: My brother was – he has travel with the government of the United States, it’s – they send him – he’s a gunner, they send him to Japan for five years you know and [unintelligible - 00:14:32] strategical. And they could send him to Bulgaria, to Romania, all over you know, he was really one [unintelligible - 00:14:40] and he was real [unintelligible - 00:14:43] to us [unintelligible - 00:14:45] you can always [unintelligible - 00:14:46] the military suit you know [unintelligible - 00:14:49]. Well we had a [unintelligible - 00:14:56] the last time he was here, I thought he was going to [unintelligible - 00:15:00] you know, when the south growers [unintelligible - 00:15:03] was going with -- went into [unintelligible - 00:15:05] to the wedding, he got so [unintelligible - 00:15:08] but he died. His wife is alright, and well not this young boy is in [unintelligible - 00:15:19] studying you know. One has become a doctor now and the other is still in school, he’s engineer [unintelligible - 00:15:29]. Then my cousins they all have position in the government, most of my cousins. I don’t know of any cousin that is [unintelligible - 00:15:43] it’s civil engineer, attorneys, you know things that [unintelligible - 00:15:47] you know and [unintelligible - 00:15:50].
E. THEROS: So my [unintelligible - 00:15:52] the doctor. That time his father was the – two doctors, [unintelligible - 00:15:56] and somebody else, and my father was – my grandfather he had profit, quite a lot of profit. [Unintelligible - 00:16:08] the poor town, to the poor town, that’s why his kids were [unintelligible - 00:16:16] to school. My mother was a [unintelligible - 00:16:21] something he was – father wouldn’t [unintelligible - 00:16:25] were in school. So as –
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Are you glad that you came [unintelligible - 00:16:33]?
E. THEROS: Well, see, my mother was a nice woman but she never allowed us to go out because we worked. So many girls, she was afraid that people start talking and we wouldn’t get married. So until we get old enough, we can’t go out. We go out with somebody [unintelligible - 00:16:57] some place to see my aunt, my sister has to come along, you know. And so the school in the house or the house in schooling, I don’t know. And every summer, we had a summer home in a little town from outside from [unintelligible - 00:17:15] that we used to go there [unintelligible - 00:17:17] and we stay there you know, the house was a big, big, not garden but an [unintelligible - 00:17:29] with these olive, I mean orange trees and not like we play down there and, you know, embroidered. She sent me for a while, she sent me a school to learn how to embroidery [unintelligible - 00:17:47] and all that stuff. I know [unintelligible - 00:17:50] that’s how we learn. The main thing is, the girls in Sparta to teach them how to become good wives. And she did a [unintelligible - 00:18:02] a lot but I didn’t stay long enough. Look, but also I am [unintelligible - 00:18:10] they’re all there.
E. THEROS: So, I mean, if it wasn’t for my cousin I wouldn’t come here. I would stay there.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Yeah. Are there any, any stories you want to tell us or anything you want to remember with – that you would like to share in stories of your growing up or anything?
E. THEROS: I really – I’ve got a [unintelligible - 00:18:35] you know I mean four years going around with [unintelligible - 00:18:41] and I’m like, up to other girls at that time there wasn’t very many girls, there were only 15 girls in the whole town.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: At Minneapolis?
E. THEROS: Minneapolis, yeah, and ready little [unintelligible - 00:18:50] organized would make a place for the tourists and we’d divide between ourselves, then [unintelligible - 00:19:02] I was just with [unintelligible - 00:19:06] you know.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Was there a church in Minneapolis when you came?
E. THEROS: Yeah there was one in Lake Street.
E. THEROS: [Unintelligible - 00:19:13]
A. SPELIOPOULOS: There was service that you were interested in?
E. THEROS: Yeah, that’s the one [unintelligible - 00:19:16].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Was the community good about supporting the church?
E. THEROS: Well according to me they said they were invited, but when I was here, there wasn’t invited, they were just getting together [unintelligible - 00:19:29]. There were few families for one region than the other, for the other reason, there were political troubles. You know, when your [unintelligible - 00:19:40]. So from then no [unintelligible - 00:19:47] because [unintelligible - 00:19:50]. Okay [unintelligible - 00:19:57] me from there, we went to
[00:20:00] Iowa, we went to Des Moines and after Des Moines, after that we come up, and no one had a Greek wedding, got the American way you know. And I decide to have a Greek wedding June, that’s why I said June is important. And I said, you know, [unintelligible - 00:20:21] some friends of mine families, you know. And nobody came to the wedding, and they won’t let their daughters come, you know, [unintelligible - 00:20:32] was my closest friend, and her father won’t let her come. So I said never again, not to deal with the Greeks, I stay away from the Greeks for years after that, that’s my story.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: [Unintelligible - 00:20:44] I think I would have done it.
E. THEROS: That’s all.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: But I think, I think you though that you had become the pillars of the church though because you have supported them, and you have been very good at that, well through the years. [Unintelligible - 00:20:59] your two cents so that I live it in [unintelligible - 00:21:01].
E. THEROS: No, no.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: You have two darling boys?
E. THEROS: Yeah.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: They were in the [unintelligible - 00:21:07] with you together.
E. THEROS: Sure. Nice boys.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Well, and how many grandchildren do you have?
E. THEROS: Five.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Five, okay.
E. THEROS: [Unintelligible - 00:21:19] again. More [unintelligible - 00:21:24].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Where is she working, Julie your granddaughter?
E. THEROS: Well she was in [unintelligible - 00:21:28] in Thailand, but now they send her to Metro, Metro play, was it Metro play?
A. SPELIOPOULOS: [Unintelligible - 00:21:39]
E. THEROS: Metro [unintelligible - 00:21:41] I don’t know.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: I don’t know.
E. THEROS: And they raised the [unintelligible - 00:21:45] from the last [unintelligible - 00:21:46].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: That’s great.
E. THEROS: So she’s so glad you know she was [unintelligible - 00:21:51] and then she – the big boss came from Dallas and she took it out from [unintelligible - 00:21:59] never need to get [unintelligible - 00:22:00] her job. She proved that [unintelligible - 00:22:03] good, [unintelligible - 00:22:07]. Then the others went to school, they’re doing good, they’re good [unintelligible - 00:22:12].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: That’s good.
E. THEROS: You know [unintelligible - 00:22:15] maybe I’m [unintelligible - 00:22:17] but that’s not very [unintelligible - 00:22:20] I think…
A. SPELIOPOULOS: It’s enough?
E. THEROS: Yeah.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: [Unintelligible - 00:22:23].
E. THEROS: [Unintelligible - 00:22:24]?
E. THEROS: [Unintelligible - 00:22:26] no, no, no.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay that’s beautiful, say it again, say again what you just said then.
E. THEROS: Even my daughter [unintelligible - 00:22:35] once you open the letters it’s just [unintelligible - 00:22:39] there is. And the same love we give to our children, [unintelligible - 00:22:48] you know. No matter what happen, just stick to the [unintelligible - 00:22:53] and be a good citizen. Good citizen and good kids too, and I never had trouble with [unintelligible - 00:23:02] never. I’ve never done anything to be ashamed or anything [unintelligible - 00:23:07]. And I’ve got two good daughters now, they believe the same thing so we [unintelligible - 00:23:17] they do that, I think so. And then the other people don’t believe it, but I believe it [unintelligible - 00:23:25].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: That’s what’s important.
E. THEROS: Yeah.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: [Unintelligible - 00:23:31].
E. THEROS: You get -- get up and sit for four hours you know, I didn’t like study [unintelligible - 00:23:37]? Like [unintelligible - 00:23:39] we must stay home, the kids then are working. And then I get five o’clock in the morning and go [unintelligible - 00:23:45] business, so [unintelligible - 00:23:47] and then we close it at nine. And then we go home in the afternoon and take a nap, around 12. In the [unintelligible - 00:23:57] everyone – [unintelligible - 00:23:59] some things; so business you change, you can’t stay on the same [unintelligible - 00:24:05]. I remember the one thing I learned was a very [unintelligible - 00:24:12] and when Mr. [unintelligible - 00:24:16] I was sitting there and I was cold and the [unintelligible - 00:24:21] and I didn’t know how cold it [unintelligible - 00:24:28] everybody said, you’re not supposed to [unintelligible - 00:24:31], that was something good.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Well that was [unintelligible - 00:24:43].
E. THEROS: Yeah, now there’s no cold. I don’t [unintelligible - 00:24:45] so much. They say when you’re young you don’t feel cold, you don’t feel, you’re strong enough, when your old, it’s different, you know.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: [Unintelligible - 00:24:58] Perez [00:25:00] and her husband on the first marriage eloped in a small town in Iowa and she feels that a lot of Greek people were mad at her because they did that and this was not the right thing to do.