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Interview with Sophia Ellis

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S. ELLIS: The part of which he was [unintelligible - 00:00:07].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay, what did your father do for a living?
S. ELLIS: He had the – he had a store.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay.
S. ELLIS: No grocery store, no, they just sell everything.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Everything, okay.
S. ELLIS: Yeah, [unintelligible - 00:00:22].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: [Unintelligible - 00:00:23] did he have a nickname?
S. ELLIS: My father?
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Yeah.
[FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
S. ELLIS: My father’s name was name was [Markopolos] but during the years with the Turks, we were one of the best families.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay.
S. ELLIS: We had a beautiful home.
[FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
A. SPELIOPOULOS: The farm mayor?
S. ELLIS: It was a lengthy [unintelligible - 00:01:00] only the media and [unintelligible - 00:01:04] president [unintelligible - 00:01:05].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay, I get it from here.
S. ELLIS: After some.
[FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay, how about your mother’s first name and maiden name?
S. ELLIS: [Krisela] [unintelligible - 00:01:31].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay, when did you last –?
[FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay was she from the same [unintelligible - 00:01:43] as your father?
S. ELLIS: I just didn’t know.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay, what was the name of your village?
S. ELLIS: Annapolis I would say.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay do you have brothers and sisters?
S. ELLIS: They’re all home or they want their name?
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Yeah their names, yeah.
S. ELLIS: Okay, [unintelligible - 00:02:03] I’m not going to tell you the one who died [unintelligible - 00:02:11] my sister was [unintelligible - 00:02:15].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Alright.
S. ELLIS: And then was me and then my brother Andreas which he died he was five years old and then George, Olga and Elaine, oh and Michel.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay.
S. ELLIS: We were seven.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Seven oh that’s beautiful, how about grandparents, do you recall their names?
S. ELLIS: Grandparents, oh yes.
[FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay how about -- do you remember your Nonno’s and Nonna’s names?
S. ELLIS: Yes.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Tell me about them.
S. ELLIS: Papa Yohane and he was a mayor from [unintelligible - 00:03:13]
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay, give your place and married date of your marriage.
S. ELLIS: Date of the marriage, I got married 18, May 18th, 1924.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay, was your marriage arranged by somebody and was there a Prika?
S. ELLIS: My – there was no Prika. My mother-in-law, she knew me, I used to go to there because of my grandmother. And I used to go there and she will always select me and my husband was here in the United States. He went back to see his mother and he said I’d like to have a nice girl from nice home and I want her to be good looking. His mother, she says, well you have one her name is Sophia has Marco Polo, so he was away he went for Christmas in Greece and they were waiting for me to go down, my sister got married and I was too busy at the store to go and I didn’t go. So my husband, he waited and waited and finally we were going to him, no, he was going to come for me and then he went there in the morning to his mother, no, his sister’s home in Torres brother in-law. He said Bill that’s where you and I go, can you see that girl? Mother thinks she’s the best for you. He says “How can I go? All the horses are working.” And this is how we are going to go and there were five hours
[00:05:00] you know with the… they were going to walk this is not we are going to walk. He says you are going to walk five hours George look who came for me in the United States he says yes I’m going to walk and I paid the ride most of them. He says they might not given it to me or I may not like her and he didn’t want anybody to know so he’s just going to do it himself. He didn’t tell his mother he was going to come or his sisters he just took his brother in-law and they came. They came, he knocked our door, the bell did not go round and my – I will give you the picture of my house later you see it was.
[FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
S. ELLIS: They gone – my husband he went and he was staying by the [unintelligible - 00:05:49] and he came and knocked the door and I saw him, I was so happy. And I said come on in he says “I’m not alone I got my brother-in-law with me,” oh, is it [unintelligible - 00:05:59] oh no he says he’s another one from the United States. Well I thought you United States I mean [unintelligible - 00:06:06] and sorry, but I want to see your brother I said “Is this your brother? Meet my father.” I said is my brother okay because my brother Michel was going to school, the high school and he says he’s fine and then they went to his uncle. They give my [unintelligible - 00:06:29]. He came, he opened the door, I opened the door, he talked to my father he says we came to get Sophia so my dad he didn’t know what to say – he told them about this I don’t know the girl is still young and we don’t know the boy or anything. He says you’re going to see him and he explained why he was waiting from Christmas till May to go down to his hometown in [unintelligible - 00:07:06] so finally he went to his uncle but his uncle had got girls there and that is when they know she took all of the [unintelligible - 00:07:22] the uncle was sick. [Unintelligible - 00:07:27] how that can’t be you came to [unintelligible - 00:07:27] size we came because we are looking for [unintelligible - 00:07:34] you know the sparks and little pasture.
[FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
S. ELLIS: But then they start to come over in our house, she took a lot of pictures when she came to Greece. She had not known how to write when they came abroad and my mother took the canal to cross over, they’d cross get fresh water, you know.
[FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
S. ELLIS: Yeah, so anyway, they came Monday we went to party can you imagine that? Well first of all he asked me he said [unintelligible - 00:08:30] I want you to know I came since Christmas and they told me for you and I was waiting and it happened and you didn’t come. And finally now we are in New Orleans, because I have to go back they opened up their place in there. I didn’t know what to say [unintelligible - 00:08:55] and he says I came because my mother and my brothers, they are so fond of you and he said there if something tells me I will agree with them. So we went back home and he told me that he ask what I was going to say and I says whatever I may hear his parents say, then his parents would say and he said oh no he said he and I are going to live our lives together. He says the parents would love them but the main thing is for he and I to get married. So I said yes we turn around we went to the living room and then my mother and father, they both heard us and they cried and I was crying.
[00:10:00] My sister [unintelligible - 00:10:01] she was 10 years old she was in my lap and that was it we went to Patras. We went to Patras and we ordered the wedding dress, wedding gown another second, you know. And we went back, we went back about Wednesday we went back Friday [unintelligible - 00:10:30] and the next Saturday I got married. It wasn’t only that I got too thick and [unintelligible - 00:10:43]. Then they came to pick me up at the wedding was George and I were we got the white horses then there were 75 people, they all came with horses and they all stayed one night they had dinner in our hometown and the next day, Sunday morning we went to their hometown we got dinner and we got photo shots Sunday and Monday so it was three days. Can you imagine that? Then from there we were going to come to the United States and they didn’t let me come. George was an American citizen but they didn’t let me come. I was supposed to go in by the land, whatever they called it, and then I got pregnant, then I got pregnant they told George if the baby born in Greece I could not bring it here, I have to stay there. So anyway George went through an awful lot with that. Finally, they made the papers from here [unintelligible - 00:12:00] and I don’t know anybody else made papers they send it then we came to [unintelligible - 00:12:07] and they want to send me back and then George come over. And then I was sick all the way because I was pregnant and then George was away. How could he come here or how are we going to go back, you know? So anyway he was going back and forth and he said what should I do and this man says I send mine, he said do what you want so that I could come. But then we got, boat had a terrible storm. The boat took me back and they had found they had everything that was people were screaming, was really terrible things. And then we came, changed the given day, I believe that to begin a year jump up at [unintelligible - 00:13:03] place, and then [unintelligible - 00:13:05] we open up the boys at that place they had a small place, George had jammed together his brothers. We opened up the place that year then we would do the same small place and next year we did the lower cabin, and then I worked there and my husband, we build the place in 1927, the lower cabin. And George passed away 1950 but before I would say first when we build the place it was very nice, business was fine we were holding mass pay, of course $35,000 and they had $1,000 to start with that George and John together. But anyway, then, then the Depression came. In New York most of us lost the place night of my husband the ones that were there every day. I would say George why don’t you, you and John and I let people go. We can afford it this is so big let them stay we’ve [unintelligible - 00:14:31] he said they don’t have job we cannot make it then we beat that. So anyway, that was very beautiful and then 1940, of course there was the war and it took him to the war and at night and they came to pick George some way. And then they took Gus and Chris to service
[00:15:00] and I was all alone in the [unintelligible - 00:15:03] you know how that work. Then I couldn’t have it, take it, I had to come back to hard time. We told the boys to save mother because she was close to a nervous breakdown. They found this is it, send her to Greece. And I went to Greece. I went to Greece, I stayed there I came back then I came back I almost went crazy. One day I let them here. Honest to God, I don’t know how from here they had to walk to the other town. But we give to that still he give to us I don’t know if I walked I don’t know took the bus I got the [unintelligible - 00:15:50] was the man which no man and he right on top of the escalator and caught me like that until I fall on him and I cried this is, this is I know that she’s really sick and I couldn’t deal with it, terrible. This is how you came to see you with us this is brought to the ninth floor. I went in ninth floor then my knees would drop. Then I said I don’t want no money, what I want was a job he said can you [unintelligible - 00:16:36] your boy was search a good looking boy so I came back, he came back says I got job for you [unintelligible - 00:16:47] he says we’re supposed to be getting 50 bucks and then he says I’m catch you on my horse so now it’s great as it is [unintelligible - 00:16:54]. Though they said it didn’t work out he says you’ll do it I say no he says will you put me in the base [unintelligible - 00:17:01] and I used to be in the basement. What he meant I he said I was too weak he said no could make it stop anyway – the French and I worked even when the boys got sick with this ulcer and I quit. Then afterwards I work at a bakery for a while and then I work at the factory and that’s it.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay you forgot to tell me now were you about [unintelligible - 00:17:39].
S. ELLIS: Yeah.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: The three sons. You didn’t mention the three boys name and when they were born.
S. ELLIS: Whose boys?
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Your boys.
S. ELLIS: Oh Simeon, Chris and Gus.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay and the two boys were twins?
S. ELLIS: They’re twins.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay.
S. ELLIS: Two years old.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay. We’re going to read trackers. Our space is ready to go back and Mrs. Sophia is going to tell about her courting days. Anything to tell them?
S. ELLIS: [Unintelligible - 00:18:19].
A. SPELIOPOULOS: When they came to your house.
S. ELLIS: Well, then the two gentlemen came into my house and I went and served them, he looked at me and he thought that I was too young. Then my mother and dad told me not to worry if I don’t want him because I thought I was too young and I thought I wasn’t quite ready or but then he come in, my mother and dad just see him and they both liked him very much. But my father say, “Sophie, you don’t have to say yes if you don’t want it.” My mother said “Sophie, please marry this man. Jesus Christ send him to you and don’t let him go.” So my husband to be, he said “Miss, can we go to balcony? Just you and I.” and we went out and he said with a smile and he said “Don’t blame me because I came late,” he says “I was waiting for you since Christmas.”
[00:20:00] And every holiday was, and every dance was he was there looking for me and they were waiting for me but then I didn’t go and then they decided to come and took his brother-in-law and they walked for five hours to come to our hometown which was up in the village. Oh yeah, then he came, we had a store and our pets outside wasn’t [unintelligible - 00:20:46] and my husband to be, he was sitting there drinking water until his brother-in-law come in then dad for me, then I asked that we I left in March, then he said he waited for me he says it wasn’t his fault that he was so sorry because that happened. And then I sympathized him so much and I thought like my mother said Jesus sent him to me. And then I set for the wedding this time so he didn’t have enough.
[CROSSTALK]
S. ELLIS: Yeah, and then we got married we were happy as long as we lived.
A. SPELIOPOULOS: Okay, tell me about the house that – what you told me about the house.
S. ELLIS: We worked for the house and we build the house then my husband decide to build the house or should we take [unintelligible - 00:21:56] upstairs and base. Then we build the lower cabin we stay upstairs but that was supposed to be temporary but we stayed there for 24 years, we’ve had our children and I was working downstairs the same then or taking care of our children. And my brother-in-law stayed with us and then my husband decide to build the house we were heading this [unintelligible - 00:22:29] now you want just a nice home. But he wanted the farm and after he build it he fell by the game because he knew I didn’t want him to come, then one morning when he get up to go to work and I was still in bed and I said “Oh George, you know how I feel?” and this is how or something I said “Just like a queen.” and he came and hugged me so tight and said “Sophie, you know how long I was waiting for this?” Then we live in our comfort five years, and then he passed on.