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Interview with George Regas





World Region



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A. KUZAS: We are in the home of George Regas and Emily Regas, and we’re going to interview Mr. George Regas. The interviewers are [F Gerald] George and [Attie Kuzas].
A. KUZAS: Hello, Mr. Regas. How are you?
G. REGAS: Fine, thank you, and you?
A. KUZAS: Fine, thank you.
G. REGAS: Nice to have you here.
A. KUZAS: Oh, it’s going to be fun and especially since you are also a brother, a [Hapin]. Y’all have something about the [Hapins] in this too.
G. REGAS: Yeah, that’s fine.
A. KUZAS: Your full name is George Regas.
G. REGAS: George Regas, correct.
A. KUZAS: Okay. Where were you born and when you were born?
G. REGAS: I was born in Alepohori in Sparta, Greece, on the 5th day of February, 1902.
A. KUZAS: And you are presently married, correct?
G. REGAS: Right.
A. KUZAS: Okay. And what was your father’s name, his date of birth if you can remember it, and the year that he died?
G. REGAS: My father’s name was Demetrius Regas, but I don’t remember his birthday, to be honest with you.
A. KUZAS: All right. Do you remember…?
G. REGAS: He died I think 1942.
A. KUZAS: Okay. And where was he born?
G. REGAS: I presume it was the same place where I was. I’m not sure if he was born any other because I don’t know.
A. KUZAS: All right. What kind of work did your father do?
G. REGAS: My father was a -- he did all kinds of thing. He was a farmer original, he was a musician, and he was a [milonas] we call it. I don’t know how you call it. He had a mill of grind wheat.
A. KUZAS: A miller?
G. REGAS: Miller?
A. KUZAS: Miller.
G. REGAS: Mill, yeah.
A. KUZAS: He would grind wheat, okay.
G. REGAS: Grind wheat. That was -- and he had all kinds of thing. My father was really unusual character.
A. KUZAS: He did a lot of things.
G. REGAS: He was job in anything. Business, he was doing business, import and export, olive oil and things like that, products from Greece. He was a good businessman, I can say that.
A. KUZAS: Well, that’s interesting.
G. REGAS: Now, did your father have a nickname?
A. KUZAS: [Ameltoyes] was the name. Everybody knows [Ameltoye] was a violin player and he was known to the surroundings as [Ameltoyes]. They didn’t know -- they didn’t know -- [Ameltoye] they call him, and everybody call him [Ameltoyes]. [Ameltoye], are you Ameltoye’s son? You know, if somebody ask, “Are you [Ameltoyes’] son?” Told him Regas they know very much. [Ameltoyes], he was known as [Ameltoyes].
A. KUZAS: Does [Almatoyes] mean something?
G. REGAS: No, not exactly. I don’t know. It’s a nickname. I don’t know exactly what it means.
A. KUZAS: Okay. Can you give us your mother’s first name and her name before she got married, and if you happen to remember when she was born and when she died?
G. REGAS: My mother’s name was [Despina] Regas, like my daughter.
A. KUZAS: Do you remember what her name was before she got married?
G. REGAS: Before she got married was [Despina]… I’m not very, very definite [unintelligible - 00:03:32]. No, to be honest, I can’t remember the name before because my grandfather was dead already and my grandmother was living but I didn’t know it honestly. I was young when I left. Last name I didn’t know for the…
A. KUZAS: Do you remember when she was born and when she died?
G. REGAS: My mother not when she was born, but when she died I remember, 1950.
A. KUZAS: 1950. And I presume she was born in the same [unintelligible - 00:04:06]?
G. REGAS: In the same home, yeah, in the same home, yeah, where I was born.
A. KUZAS: And your parents are both buried in Alepohori?
G. REGAS: Right in the same village, yeah.
A. KUZAS: In the same village in the same cemetery. Now, how many brothers do you have or did you have?
G. REGAS: Well, I had six -- we were six brothers and three sisters that I remember. It was two sisters before me which they passed a while ago, but we’re alive when I was home. We’re nine children alive, six brothers and three sisters.
A. KUZAS: Can you remember your brother’s names and their wives and your sister’s names and their husbands by any chance?
G. REGAS: Yeah, I do.
A. KUZAS: All right. Could you start with the oldest one?
G. REGAS: Well, we’ll start with Tom.
A. KUZAS: All right.
G. REGAS: My first brother, oldest one, was Tom that you know. I think you remember him too.
A. KUZAS: Yeah.
G. REGAS: This is Regas’ wife and husband.
A. KUZAS: [Jamie’s] husband.
G. REGAS: [Unintelligible - 00:04:54].
A. KUZAS: Yes, [Evinia’s] husband.
G. REGAS: [Evinia’s] husband was, his name was [Tom Atanasius].
A. KUZAS: [Atanasius]. [00:05:00] And his wife was [Evinia]?
G. REGAS: [Evinia].
A. KUZAS: Okay.
G. REGAS: The next brother was John Regas and his wife name was Georgia [Stelis]. He passed away too. I had another brother [Anastasius] Regas. [Anstasius] Regas and his wife’s name was [Asimula], [Asimo] Regas. Next was Nick and his wife was [unintelligible - 00:05:30]. And [Yukuros] and his name is [Katherinas]. They just came today. They come today.
A. KUZAS: He just came to America today.
G. REGAS: He’s my last brother.
A. KUZAS: Wonderful.
G. REGAS: So, I said six. George [unintelligible - 00:05:44], John, I told you John?
A. KUZAS: Yes.
G. REGAS: John Regas, Georgia, yeah I told you, Anastasius, Asimula, Nick, [Unintelligible - 00:05:51], six brothers.
A. KUZAS: Now your sisters.
G. REGAS: Sister was [Antonieri Rosaquis], [Yanula Kachabis], and [Costadina [Unintelligible - 00:06:13]. She’s still living. She’s in [unintelligible -00:06:16] now. [Costadina] -- what’s his name again? Anyway, I can’t remember right now the last name.
A. KUZAS: That’s all right.
G. REGAS: I know it, but I forgot. It slipped out of my mind right now.
A. KUZAS: That’s all right. Do you remember anything about your grandparents, the Regas grandparents?
G. REGAS: I remember my grandparent, Tom Regas. His name was [Atanasius] and he was known in the village as a good hand man. He was originally discover the mill for the wheat. He was a mechanic, I can say. He was mechanical mind he had. Uneducated he was but he had a mechanical mind really. He create -- he get the river, he catch the river like Minnesota Power. He can even create the Minnesota Power now. He does that. He catch the water from the river and he separate it in a separate and he bring the water where he wanted and build the mill and the mill start running. He fix the whole thing himself, my grandfather. He was genius man really, to be honest. Today, I need [unintelligible - 00:07:28] out of him because they were smart men. He was instrument making violins and make the hand bowl. Anything he could see he stared at thing and smile at it and he started making it. Such a man he was really. My grandfather was famous. They call him “golden hand man” in the village because anything they want they come to him. He was a big man, great big man. So, I remember that part of him too.
F. GEORGE Oh, and you should be in wonder.
A. KUZAS: That’s interesting, my goodness.
G. REGAS: Yeah, he was a really good man.
A. KUZAS: Now we know where you get your musical talent and where all your children get the…
G. REGAS: Well, I’m not really musical. To be -- I miss music, miss, miss. My musical talent is not very good. I like music but I something I miss music. When I came to Father Carlos here and teach us music like it was when [unintelligible - 00:08:18] like you do now, and then he says to the crowd at the church, he says, “We got a tenor here too,” my voice, but I have [unintelligible - 00:08:28] and I knew that, you know. I get a way of the tune of my voice quick without I know it. I can’t keep note. You know what I mean? Just little bit, a tenth of a note, a fifth of a note away [unintelligible - 00:08:42] and the music gave good expression, but he finally allowed [unintelligible - 00:08:47]. He told me that you and I knew it that’s why the progress in music. Something missing. You’ve got to have perfect everything in account to get music. You’ve got to have a catch and keep up with him. You don’t change your voice. I can’t hear from ear [unintelligible -00:09:03]. I move my -- I can’t keep, that’s why I don’t participate. I like music and I don’t participate because I will spoil the choir. No, with the choir I can sing good with the rest, but if I’m alone I just move away. My voice, [palapanos], I don’t know how you call it in English. [Palapanos] means you’re missing. You miss notes where it is. You’re not perfect on the notes basically.
A. KUZAS: Not having a perfect pitch.
G. REGAS: That’s what I don’t know what you call in English, but that’s what I -- and I know that, that’s why I stay away [unintelligible - 00:09:38].
A. KUZAS: Now, did this grandfather teach you how to play the violin? How did you learn to play the violin?
G. REGAS: No, practice. My father was a good violin player and very good too and still I remember. He was beautiful – song, time, rhythm, he had everything. And I -- my brother learn violin play after him, so did I, but I wasn’t as good as my father. No, I couldn’t be in account of that.
A. KUZAS: [00:10:02] If somebody gave you a violin now, could you play it?
G. REGAS: I play violin.
A. KUZAS: Oh you still…
G. REGAS: I play the violin now. I play violin. I study music in five years at school here. I studied music, but I lack of this. I told you that’s why I didn’t succeed. You know you’ve got to have everything perfect in account to succeed. You’ve got to have it. If you haven’t got it, you might like it but you can’t go. When I -- I like to say that. I don’t want to hide, you know.
A. KUZAS: Just think this talent we’ve got here in Duluth.
F. GEORGE Wonderful, yeah.
A. KUZAS: We’ll have to get you in the choir, Mr. Regas.
G. REGAS: No, I know. I would have come a long time ago, but that’s the reason I told you I don’t want to go. And I can sing in the church, I can sing better [unintelligible - 00:10:46] and everything else, but I’m not a singer. I’m not perfect, you know what I mean. When not perfect, stay away. I don’t want.
A. KUZAS: Do you happen to remember who your nouno and nouna were, by any chance?
G. REGAS: Pardon me?
A. KUZAS: Do you remember who your nouno and nouna were?
G. REGAS: Well, I remember my nouna. My nuono was dead, and that’s what I -- he was a partner with my father in music. He was playing the banjo -- not banjo, it’s another instrument. Laouto they call it. He was good too. He was -- it was a good pair with my father, but my father lost him and my -- I was a young kid when he died, and my godmother put his name George. His name was George. George [Kuvelius] was partner with my father in music and they were perfect both of them and they were musical family too. Their children was very musical too. My godmother’s children, two or three boys, and they play with my brother again, and they were musical, they had a talent. They were right there, better than us, better than the Regas. They were musical. They pick up quick music and they play too. That’s the kind of background and history.
A. KUZAS: What was that instrument you were telling us about? What kind of instrument?
G. REGAS: The others -- you have seen some time my brother play here, you know, the [unintelligible - 00:12:15]. He play a couple of times here. It’s a big instrument, round. It sounds like a…
F. GEORGE Like a bouzouki?
A. KUZAS: Does it look like a bouzouki?
G. REGAS: Like a bouzouki but bigger. It’s a shape of bouzouki, you know, but more like a banjo. It goes with this and it sounds like heavy, heavy voice come out, you know, sound.
A. KUZAS: Now, when did you get married?
G. REGAS: Well, I got married in 1947, 4th day of May. I didn’t look aside at her.
A. KUZAS: You got it all. Now, was your marriage arranged? Did you get married by proxenia?
A. KUZAS: No, you didn’t get married by proxenia.
G. REGAS: No, I didn’t. I met my wife, we met each other then we got married. My wife came right straight to my house. It’s a little love story that I don’t want to put in a paper like that.
A. KUZAS: Sure, I’d like to hear it.
F. GEORGE Go ahead.
G. REGAS: You’d like to hear it?
A. KUZAS: Before you start, tell us your wife’s name before she was married – your first and last name?
G. REGAS: Emily [Vafias].
A. KUZAS: And where is she from? What part of Greece did she come from?
G. REGAS: She came from -- she was born in [Yuda]. She was….
A. KUZAS: Here in America?
G. REGAS: [Yuda] in America. And her parents -- her mother died and her father took them to the Catholic institution for children, and they didn’t treat them very well, that’s what they thought. So their father decided to take them both, him and his brothers, Paul he was. He died here in Duluth.
A. KUZAS: I remember him.
G. REGAS: You remember Paul?
A. KUZAS: Yeah.
G. REGAS: Both together. He took them to the grandparents in [Avia]. [Avia] is an island side of [unintelligible - 00:14:01] they call the Marathon where the marathon took place. It’s a long island they call [Avia]. That’s where she reside there and she went to school there. And then she came over by the invitation of the uncle. Her uncle used to work in a Hotel Duluth. Her father died here though; he’s back and forgotten. Her uncle used to work in a hotel in Duluth as a waiter, you know, service, serve food in the rooms.
A. KUZAS: Room service.
G. REGAS: Room service. He was expert for that. When Hotel Duluth [unintelligible - 00:14:37] was being done, he came, the Hotel Duluth came from Milwaukee. It was a company in Milwaukee and Hotel Duluth and they come here and build up Hotel Duluth and he came with them. The company bring him up because he was so good. So, her brother was here and I knew him. We were friends -- I mean, her uncle. A number of years, 1946, somehow I sold my business and I was going to move to Chicago. [00:15:09] No, went to the old country, went to the old country to visit then I met Tony on the street and he told me that he’s planning to bring his children, his nephews, Emily and Paul, to the old country from grandma. Grandma took care of them after their high school. They went through high school already, you know, and he wanted to bring them.
Now, he wanted me to sign so he can bring them over. This is a good story. Because he had somebody to sponsor, you know, to bring them. So he was the uncle. So, he says, “George, if you do – do you want to do me a favor?” I said, “Anything I can.” Tony was a friend of mine. “Anything, I’d be glad.” He says, “I want you to sign some papers that I got,” I said okay, “to bring my nephews.” After next -- a week later I met him on the street again before I leave to Chicago. No, I left. No, he says I don’t need to sign. I went to Chicago. He says, “You don’t need to sign because my brother is going to take charge of them now in Milwaukee.” He had a brother in Milwaukee. “He’s going to bring the children over so you don’t have to bother.” Okay, I was fine. So, I went to Chicago. I wasn’t supposed to go to the old country, but I went to as far as New York and things were better, but then 1940, ’39, the German come down.
A. KUZAS: That’s right.
G. REGAS: That’s my history. Then my brothers write from there, “Don’t come, take a trip now because things are pretty bad over there,” and we -- and when I get that, I came back from New York back to Duluth. So, I came back to Duluth after two, three months. Then I met Tony again on the street. Now, those things, I told him what happened when I went to Chicago and New York and then come back. Then he says, “You know, my nephews came from Greece.” The one he told me previous was going to bring them. So, they were here. I said, “That’s nice.” I didn’t know how old they were. I didn’t know. I never talked much about them. So, while talk conversation, I say, “Where are the boys now? Where are the nephews now?” He says, “The boy is with my -- no, the girl is with my uncle or the boy is with my uncle, my brother in Milwaukee, and the daughter is with me, the girl, the girl is with me in [Kokay].” He was living in [Kokay], Tony. You know Tony [unintelligible - 00:17:35]? I said, “The girl is with you and the boy is in Milwaukee separated?” Before we close the conversation and I say, “How old is the girl anyway?” you know. I was a single man. I was 40 years old, but I was single, then just for curiosity, you know. Well, he says, “Well, 26 years old or something like that.” And then I say that’s a different story. I was, you know, kidding around. Well, anyhow I say, “You better -- is the girl home out there?” because his wife, a Swedish woman, she didn’t know how to speak [unintelligible - 00:18:10] well. She’s a religious woman and we had a lot of fun with her when she come down to the store and I knew his wife very well. And I say the children, I know the children, they didn’t talk Greek at all. So, my wife came from Greece; she didn’t know English at all. She forgot. She was four years when she went over. She didn’t know English. So, I said, “Bring her down to introduce to Miss Regas,” but that time Miss Regas wasn’t in the store at that time, you know, my sister-in-law. She wasn’t at the store because she worked with us. But I says, you know, “Now but bring her some other time, I mean, bring her any time to Ms. Regas so she go to the church with the rest of the people to get acquainted, you know.” Really I felt nothing about marriage because I told you; since I was 40 years old, I never dream anything like that. So, I told, “bring the girl down,” I was a goodhearted man, “to associate with the good people, you know.” That’s what I meant. Sure enough, after some time, about a month later here she comes, popped in here with his aunt, you know, Tony’s wife and Emily, little short woman came here, short girl, came into the restaurant and I said, “This is the daughter…?” I knew her. I knew who she was because they came together. So, I sit down, we talk and asking news about the old country. She didn’t know me, I didn’t know her, first-time visit, but she talked Greek and I talked Greek so we sit down and we both had coffee, and then from one to another come to the Greece how things are over in Greece and everything. She was kind of suspicious to talk. She didn’t want to talk freely, you know. In her culture was afraid. She thought I was a kind of suspicious man to her. She thought, because in Greece they couldn’t talk freely what is going on over there; she was afraid yet in America. She didn’t talk very much the way she talks. She says here and there, but anyhow the thing is conversation there. [00:20:04] I say, “I’m sorry, Miss Regas not here to introduce, but you come some other time.” And so she came next time with this and get acquainted with Ms. Regas, and I left them alone, you know, women. And then Ms. Regas find out she was a dressmaker so she told her to come home where I was living too. I lived with Miss Regas. So, a couple of weeks later, she came home to fix a dress for Miss Regas’ and… women, you know. She came, I tried to treat her like a friend, like I treat now your daughter when they comes because in account of you and George, I treat Evelyn -- I mean Mina, nice, you know. That’s all. That’s all I was up to at that point. So, she take a couple of weeks, she fix some dress and everything, went to church and everything. A friend’s girl… that’s to me really to be honest, I don’t -- I never dream of anything to marry Emily or anything like that, no, but I treat her as a friend’s good daughter. So, after a week or so, two weeks she stay, I tell you the whole story it was, she decided to go. Okay, during that time Ms. Regas sometime told me to get the girl home, I mean, to the show or something. I say, “Well, you know, [unintelligible - 00:21:27],” so, I went to bring her to the show. So, I remember I did took her show or not, I don’t know, but anyway I took her to the show I think. After that, that’s all. I mean to entertain, you know, begin getting out, stay out of the house a little bit, then I done that for Miss Regas because she asked me. So, the time came to leave, now I bring her down to the bus station, goodbye, goodbye. I gave her a book, a Greek book, The Gospel in a Modern Language was the title of the book, The Gospel in a Modern Language, the Greek language. I gave the book and I say study that [unintelligible - 00:22:07] advice about life, about life in America. And I gave the book because she like it. She read it, I guess, [unintelligible -00:22:14]. But during that week… now, I tell you the whole story. You never hear this before?
F. GEORGE: No. This is interesting.
G. REGAS: So, during that week she was up there. I came from church, you know. I live with Tom and Emily and [unintelligible - 00:22:27] and I was a bachelor. After church, come for dinner. Tom was a -- Tom didn’t come to church; he usually stay in a chair like that with his cane and smoking cigarette. So, I came from the church, I sit down on the bench and Miss Regas tried to prepare dinner from the church [unintelligible - 00:22:47]. Before the dinner, he was over there. He talked to me sometimes, he talked to me sometimes, not very much, you know. Brothers sometimes not serious, this time he was kind of [uptight] with me. He says, “This is going on,” and the story go there.” Oh my.
A. KUZAS: Wonderful. That’s great. That’s why we want to hear the whole story.
G. REGAS: Like to hear the story.
A. KUZAS: Wonderful.
G. REGAS: He says, “George, how about time to get married? Are you going to get married?” He talk like that all of a sudden. I say, “Why do you ask me a question like that I get married? So, I haven’t got a girl to get married in the first place. I haven’t got any, you know, any -- I’m not dating a girl or anything like that or anything. I can marry sometime if I get the right girl,” I said. He says, “How about the girl that lives here?” He ask me a question like that and I begin to see that the girl is young, and I don’t know whether she interested in me at all, you know. I told him like that. He said, “Never mind.” Never mind? What do you mean never mind? Probably they talked to her already, Ms. Regas, I don’t know what. No. I said, “Never mind, stop right there, you know.” I say, “I don’t know if the girl is interested in me or…” So, he says, “Why don’t you – we should get both of them to come up, why don’t you call her?” “Call her for what?” you know. They kind of they push me anything like that. No, I say no. So, a week went by or so then I think to myself, I make up my mind to call her, and I called her to say, “Hi, Emily. How are you doing?” I said, “Did you read the book,” and thing like that, you know, “that I gave you?” She said, “Would you like to come downtown or something like that?” I say, “If I can I’d like to come down, but I can’t come.” “I can pick you up,” I said, “if you want.” And I didn’t have no car. And I went to my -- I had in my mind to ask my friend, please I drive the car, but I didn’t have a car at the time. He [unintelligible - 00:24:47] just to give me the car, so I get up one day, I said make an appointment with him to go and pick it up Thursday. So, this is the story but I don’t know if it goes in or not.
A. KUZAS: Wonderful, yeah.
G. REGAS: So, Thursday we make an appointment to pick it up from him. [00:25:06] I went down to the store to have a cup of coffee, the restaurant, and happened, happened a couple of salesmen came here selling cars and he came to have a cup of coffee that I knew. So, they were -- I had my coffee about five stools away from one another. He says, “George, good morning, George, good morning. He says, “You need to send a car.” I said, “You got a car for sale?” He says, “I got it outside.” It was the salesman now, the salesman now. “You want to ride, say try?” I work, I use my mind and say now I’ve got a chance to go to [Kokay] to pick up Emily. He says, “You want to go? Start right now.” I finish my coffee, he say, “Come on let’s go [unintelligible - 00:25:57].” Put me in a car and try to go to [unintelligible - 00:26:00]. I say, “No. Listen I want to try a car I want to go on a hill, see how it works, what kind of power it’s got.” So, he said, “Drive it any place you want, drive it up to the hill.” Went up the hill, I say, “Why don’t we go to [Kokay] to see a friend of mine I got over there.” And sure enough he bring me to the house where Emily was and then we park outside. And Emily, she was waiting for me but didn’t know how -- I get there he was kind of smiling a bit. She makes coffee for us and ready, and then I ask Emily, you know, pretend I know nothing, I said, “Do you want to go downtown or anything like that? We’re going downtown.” She says, “Sure, I can go downtown. I’d like to go,” and that was the end of it. She came to my brother’s house again and a week later we announced the engagement, and that’s it. And in May we got married, 1966.
A. KUZAS: 1946.
G. REGAS: ’46. So, that’s the story of Emily and I.
A. KUZAS: Okay. Well, that’s beautiful story.
G. REGAS: Emily [Vafias] became Regas.
F. GEORGE Now, who was your koumbaro?
G. REGAS: Koumbaro was John [unintelligible - 00:27:09].
F. GEORGE He was your koumbaro?
G. REGAS: Teddy [Komothos] I mean.
F. GEORGE Teddy [Komothos]. I was going to say I was at your wedding so…
G. REGAS: No, Teddy [Komothos] was my koumbaros, yeah. I’m sorry. Teddy [Komothos] was the best man. You remember Teddy [Komothos] in Chicago. He was supposed to visit us this year but he is not here yet.
A. KUZAS: Now, do you remember your father-in-law’s name?
G. REGAS: No. I know his name but I -- I remember his name, yeah. His father was Demosthenes Vafias. That’s why [unintelligible - 00:27:45] got the name Demosthenes, you know. Grandfathers, you know, Greeks got from father’s name from the grooms and from the brides both names, the father and mother. The first, you get the father’s mother’s name and the second [unintelligible - 00:28:04] he came so I got [Despina].
A. KUZAS: Oh yes.
G. REGAS: My mother’s name Demetrius. It was a girl so we put [Despina] Regas, my mother’s name. So, then came second and we gave the second to the Emily’s mother, her father’s name.
A. KUZAS: Her father, Emily’s father. All right now, I need, and I don’t suppose you remember your mother-in-law’s name.
G. REGAS: Yes. [Pause for 14 seconds.]. I know I did.
A. KUZAS: Well, that’s all right. We’ll go on and give us the names of your children starting with the oldest one.
G. REGAS: [Despina].
A. KUZAS: Okay. Do you remember when she was born?
G. REGAS: 1949.
A. KUZAS: Okay. And then?
G. REGAS: And [Dimo] was born 1948.
A. KUZAS: And…
G. REGAS: A year later. And then John, ’44 I think. No, no, ’54, ’54.
A. KUZAS: And [unintelligible - 00:29:29]?
G. REGAS: I say Despina ’39, Dimo was ’40 then.
A. KUZAS: When was Despina born?
G. REGAS: ’49.
A. KUZAS: And Dimo?
G. REGAS: Or ’48. I’m not sure.
A. KUZAS: Okay.
G. REGAS: ’49 Despina because is 49 now. She’s forty…
A. KUZAS: She’s 38.
G. REGAS: She’s 49 now, 48, a year apart.
A. KUZAS: Okay, 49 for Despina, 50 for Dimo.
A. KUZAS: And 54 for Johnny and two years later ’56 I think if not mistaken. [00:30:05] I don’t remember the exact birthdays now, anyway two years apart. Johnny was four years.
F. GEORGE Four. Then [Penelopi].
G. REGAS: Well, Penelopi was for…
F. GEORGE ’56.
G. REGAS: So, they are not too close together. It’s four years for Dimo. John and Dimo was ’46 I think; ’46 makes -- how old is [Poppy] now? I mean 49 now, 29.
A. KUZAS: She’s 28. She’s 28.
G. REGAS: Yeah, something like that.
A. KUZAS: All right. Now, when did you come to America?
G. REGAS: I came to America on the middle of March 1921.
A. KUZAS: 1921. Is that when…?
G. REGAS: Mm-hmm.
A. KUZAS: Okay. Can you tell us the name of the ship and what port you arrived in?
G. REGAS: The name of the ship was Chicago. It was a French liner. It arrived in New York, Ellis Island.
A. KUZAS: Now, you said that you got the ship in France. Did you leave Greece and go to France?
G. REGAS: I went to France, yes.
A. KUZAS: What reason was that for?
G. REGAS: To get a ship from there. I went… from Greece, I went to Alexandria and then from Egypt I went to France, and from France I took the ship for America.
A. KUZAS: All right. Who did you travel with?
G. REGAS: By myself.
A. KUZAS: You traveled by yourself.
G. REGAS: And friends that I met in the ship. I made a lot of friends.
A. KUZAS: Why did you decide to come to America?
G. REGAS: Because America is the Promised Land, that’s why. America is a land of fortune.
A. KUZAS: Did somebody ask you to come over or did you just decide to come over on yourself?
G. REGAS: No, I decided by myself. In fact my father didn’t want to send me -- I mean, my family didn’t want to send, but I wanted to come to America because my brother was here and I heard so much about America. And I wanted to come to America and I really argue my father very, very bad about it. So, I convince him to give me some money to buy the tickets and come to America, and he did, and I did accomplish that. And it’s a dream on me. I was dreaming to come to America. I was praying to come to America and I accomplished that dream.
A. KUZAS: What education did you have in Greece or…?
G. REGAS: Not very much, fourth grade. There was a school we had in the village at that time. I wanted to go more school but I had to go to another village further, and it’s kind of expensive for a big family to travel. So, I regret to say but that’s the school I had not very much school.
A. KUZAS: Besides schooling, did you learn any [techness] or any…?
G. REGAS: No, no.
A. KUZAS: Nothing.
G. REGAS: The only technic I get while here was playing, but that was just for amusement, not…
A. KUZAS: Did you do any work in Greece? Did you work at all in Greece?
G. REGAS: I work as laborer and farming. We had farming, you know, farming, small farming here, in olive factories where they make olive oil and things like that I work. I work in Greece. I was 18 years old when I left, 19 I was going to 19, but I work there for my father, but I was home all the time, you know.
A. KUZAS: I know you like music, but do you have any other hobbies or interests or things you enjoy?
G. REGAS: No, not exactly. Religious business, I study religion very much. I study the bible very much and I like to talk about nature, about things like that. I love that.
A. KUZAS: Now, when you came to New York, where did you settle first?
G. REGAS: When I came to New York, I reside with my cousin Tom Regas in New York for two weeks, and I didn’t even let my brother know that I was in New York already. My brother was waiting here, Tom Regas. Another Tom Regas, a cousin, was in New York. So, I stayed there for two weeks and two weeks later I take my cousin, put him on a train and came to Duluth direct to be with my brother. And my brother was working with your father George [unintelligible - 00:34:48] together partnership in Palas Café we used to call it, Palas Café, P-A-L-A-S, not Palace, Palas. Palas [unintelligible - 00:35:00] was the name of the café. [00:35:03] It was next to the Olympia Candy Kitchen right on the corner for [unintelligible - 00:35:07]; for now, it’s nothing now.
A. KUZAS: It used to be the [Savaloni] Jewelry Store?
G. REGAS: No, across from [Savaloni]. There used to be the Olympia Candy Kitchen where [unintelligible - 00:35:19] people had that fest and [unintelligible -00:35:22] come from [unintelligible - 00:35:25] together. And my brother and George Morris and Steve and the rest were next door, and next to the restaurant was the [Getley’s clothing store. My brother took me as soon as I came, took me next door and dressed me up after I had that [unintelligible - 00:35:41], dressed me up and presented me to the Greek club as a high school student. They thought I was, to them. When I went up to the school, the Greeks didn’t get it [unintelligible - 00:35:52] and things like that, you know.
A. KUZAS: Now, did you go to school here in America at all?
G. REGAS: I went to night school, attend night school, the men’s school, Central High School for [unintelligible - 00:36:02] and that’s where I learn all my English.
A. KUZAS: Now, what kind of business did you get into when you…?
G. REGAS: I work with my brother named Steve. Steve was the only one [unintelligible - 00:36:11]. He taught me how to fry a hamburger there. He was frying hamburgers then he had the pork chops right on the grill and I was helping him, you know. I was waiter and help and I wanted to know if the chops were done. I ask your father, “Is the chops done? Should I turn it around?” He says, “Okay, now go ahead.” So, your father was my teacher to know how to cook, and I worked with them for three, four or five years, and then I went on my own. So, I open up a little restaurant. It was open. I bought an old restaurant on First Street and I stayed for a year, year and a half, then Depression came and things didn’t go so good and I credited my customers. Give them credit [unintelligible - 00:37:03]. They lost their jobs and didn’t have money from lumber place. So, I’m forced to leave that place. And then from there, I find another old fellow with $500, older fellow, and he ask me to go into business together. So, we moved First Street and stayed there for six months, open up another place. The business was fine, pretty good. We rent from [unintelligible - 00:37:24] company. Business was fine, everything was fine; then all of a sudden a fire start and destroyed my place across from State Hotel, this side, the second store there. And after that I lost everything. We both [unintelligible - 00:37:42] lost and we come out because the fire came and we -- Depression was on, the business was going down. All the business went out of business, all the businesses in Duluth. Chicago business [unintelligible - 00:37:53] crew member a restaurant and they leave, they close the place, and they come up for jobs. So, the [unintelligible - 00:38:03] Depression was very bad. Then I start from the beginning and I went to Lake Avenue. I work for my brother named George Steve again for a year or so. I got the money then again I went in my own business. I opened up a new shop in the [Faber] House and that was a success for me, my [unintelligible -00:38:22]. That was a success for me. I make money there. Then I was drafted to the service. I went to the Great Lakes and then I didn’t stay very much. The two weeks and then they toured me back. I didn’t serve at all. And I went there and he gave me $30 check and I come back to my town. And when I came back, I buy the building and I buy the building where the Hacienda is now.
A. KUZAS: Hacienda Del Sol. Yeah, I remember that.
G. REGAS: Open up – no, I had in my restaurant -- my brother’s restaurant after him. When I came from Greece, I worked with my brother before I go to this. I work with my brother for about a year or two, then my brother was [unintelligible - 00:39:05] he wanted to sell the place and I buy his place. The North Shore Café he used to call it, next to the Coney Island.
A. KUZAS: Yeah, I know that.
G. REGAS: And I had a place at the same time I buy the building. At the same time I met Emily, as I told you before, and got married and that was my success.
A. KUZAS: What was life like in Duluth in the Greek community when you came to America?
G. REGAS: Greek community was no community here. There were no church and bunch of Greeks was a Greek club here. And they already had decided when I came they had money collected already, make a drive for build up a church, and I joined at that time too. And before church open up was at both the Coney Island, Deluxe Coney Island, both upstairs, there was a Greek coffee shop, club up there. And that’s where we had the first church, first sermon liturgy up there with an old little short man like Father [unintelligible - 00:40:09], but he was not even a priest. [00:40:12] He was a monk in the monastery and he came in and performed the liturgy. And a few years for that and then another priest came and then many drives were made to collect money and we buy a church, a Jewish synagogue. The church we got now was a synagogue and we [unintelligible - 00:40:34] a few years later. And then we had the church there for a number of years, [unintelligible - 00:40:40], you know. That’s where the community started, but there was no church at all when I came. There was three families here. There was Mr. [unintelligible - 00:40:48] the old man apostle, [unintelligible - 00:40:52]. You know [Maga] apostle? Your father and mother were the only family here, another Greek family and Jewish family. And I don’t remember who was [Papilas] family here. I don’t think he was here yet. [Papilas] came from [Regina] I think later. And little by little we formed a community here and here we are now.
A. KUZAS: How many families were here then when they bought that Jewish synagogue? Did they have quite a few families there at that time?
G. REGAS: It was about five, six families I guess. I remember four or five name. There was [Andreas] from Westend, [Andreas]. [Apostolatos] family, and I don’t remember if it was [Papila] family or [Prachos]. They came after. Probably they were here at that time, I don’t know. [Cruzos] was here but wasn’t married, [Cruzos] wasn’t married yet, you know.
F. GEORGE My father-in-law?
G. REGAS: Your father-in-law wasn’t married. He and Miss [Cruzos] came from the old country that time a few years after me and he married here in the town late. I don’t remember the years now exactly, but during those days [unintelligible - 00:42:04] was his first secretary town. I mean Derrick was the first secretary of the community I think. He was a very smart man, an intelligent man, and then the other Greeks, you know. And he was doing a lot of work on the laws, bylaws. The bylaws were -- we didn’t have the Episcopalian making laws. We had our laws governed by ourselves, constitution of the church, and we made it, the Greeks here. Our church was independent for a number of years then joined the archdiocese.
A. KUZAS: Archdiocese, yeah.
G. REGAS: So, that’s how it started and that’s where we are now. You know the rest.
A. KUZAS: That’s wonderful then.
G. REGAS: Yeah.
A. KUZAS: When did most of the people, the Greek people come to Duluth then? What year was that?
G. REGAS: When I came in 1921, there was about 60 to 80 bachelors in America, in Duluth here. Where they come, I don’t know. They were different parts of the country. Some they work in lumber, some they work in railroads, and they gathered together a Greek club and that was the big business for the big [unintelligible - 00:43:21] players at that time. Harry [unintelligible - 00:43:24] had the café up there and everybody would gather there. And then discussing by church or by this then they make it that was our gathering. Descender was the club. Then we -- after years we established the [Akepa], organized the [Akepa]. That’s another creation here in my days too. So, I’m a charter member of the church and I’m a charter member of the [unintelligible - 00:43:52]. So, I’m one of the old-timers too.
A. KUZAS: You have a good history.
G. REGAS: Good history, yeah. Thank God everything is going all right so far. We got a good community, we leave everything okay, and I hope it keep on going the way it is now. We’ve got good organization right now. Sam is the senator; [Cuzos] was the operator of the institution, you know. The young generation to cover now I wish them good luck, and they’re doing all right I think so far. Now, you got the youngsters, you know.
A. KUZAS: But you did a good job of getting it started.
G. REGAS: Well, we try our best, we try our best to do and we still follow, you know, we follow now this. And that’s the end of the Greek community for me in Duluth.
A. KUZAS: Well, can you tell us anything more about [Evania], your brother Tom’s wife?
G. REGAS: [Evania]. It’s a good story. It’s a story -- does this go on into that?
A. KUZAS: Sure.
G. REGAS: You have to put that all in the…?
A. KUZAS: [00:45:00] I would like to have it on there, if you want me to cut it off. I’d like to hear it.
G. REGAS: Well, [Evania] came here because 1928 I was working in the restaurant with my brother. I convinced my brother to go to the old country to get married. He was a single, a bachelor. Him, I convinced him, but a bunch of them together; [Alexorbas], George [Vishas], a bunch of them, they get together and they went to the old country. And each one come back with a wife when they come back. That’s why the families multiply in Duluth. Now, I remember very well. This were the -- four or five women came and then [Vishas] came after and all they get married, see, and create a big family and we had big community. Now, that’s why. A bunch of them, four or five, six went together and they all come back with wives, see. That’s where they started. It’s pretty hard to remember, but I remember all now when you [unintelligible - 00:46:01].
A. KUZAS: Yeah. She was such a wonderful lady. I just wondered how she came over. Most of them went over and got wives from there.
G. REGAS: Yeah, the old-timers they got married over there and come back.
A. KUZAS: Then they came back here.
G. REGAS: And then after all the people getting married and coming here and all that.

G. REGAS I went to the convention myself too. At the convention there, the meetings -- the ceremony there we took place like usual. It was Father Carlos, Nicolas Carlos I read about. He was a young kid and he was a deacon at that time and he was a servant to the Bishop Calistus at that time. And I listened to his music quite a lot and I fall in love with him, you know, I like to have men like that in community here. So I talked to him a bit, not very much, and asked him his name and I talked to him in the hotel. I see he was a young man but I loved his music. He was a musician; he was a music teacher. So I spotted him right there. And when I came back in Duluth when Father Aziz was – that Father Aziz, if you remember…
A. KUZAS: Yes, I remember.
G. REGAS And he was kind of in trouble with community with praises and all that troubled and the community was unsatisfied so they want to change. So, at that time I think [Aguaras] knew what was going down here, you know, the archbishop. So we’re saying Father [unintelligible - 00:01:19] is here. [Unintelligible - 00:01:21] was assistant to Aguaras which became a bishop leader, but at that time it was assisting to Aguaras and he send him up to check up the community to my understanding. He pretended that he came here to – as the head [unintelligible - 00:01:40] he was [unintelligible - 00:01:41] but he pretended. He told us he’s a head person he came to my place and I met [unintelligible - 00:01:48] when he was assisting to Aguaras and the first convention in St. Paul. I don’t remember what year was that; that was 46, I think.
The convention, St. Paul convention, I think Aguaras, I think Aguaras was there, the patriarch Aguaras with [unintelligible - 00:02:05] and [unintelligible - 00:02:06] was a young man then like Carlos was in St. [unintelligible - 00:02:11] smart man, I mean, quick in acts, too. So he came to our restaurant a few years later, ’46 or ’47, and he wanted to know – to be as [unintelligible - 00:02:28] that’s what he told us. So he came to my restaurant with my brother. Fortunately he came to Hotel Duluth and he went to Hotel Duluth to get a room and there were no vacancy. So the hotel was obligated to find him a room because he was a bishop or something like that. So finding a private room in a – he was staying at some place, a private house, and then he walked down, he walked to my place, to our place my brother and I were. So [unintelligible - 00:02:55] was way down in [unintelligible - 00:02:56] when [unintelligible - 00:03:03] you remember him?
A. KUZAS: I am trying to picture him but I can’t.
G. REGAS [Unintelligible - 00:03:06] was a very good looking man and very intelligent. So he stayed for a month then – then he came to our place then, but I didn’t know, I thought he was a Jewish man when I see him walk in the restaurant, sit down there, I went to get an order and I said, “Yes, what do you like to have?” And he looked at me and I had [unintelligible - 00:03:28] and so forth. So he looked up, said give me [unintelligible - 00:03:33] like that, lake [unintelligible - 00:03:36] very well.
So we went back and forth. I said [unintelligible - 00:03:43] at the same time we interacted he says, “What is your name?” I said, ‘Why does he want to know my name?’ I didn’t give my name but I said George. I didn’t say Regas because Regas, you know, I am Greek. You know very well, I didn’t want to give that away. So I said George. George, he wasn’t satisfied, you know, so back and forth again, he asked me again, “Are you Greek?” You know, I couldn’t help it; I couldn’t wait. I said yes, and “what is your name?” [Unintelligible - 00:04:11] how do you say the -- the magazine, like the Observer; Observer was a magazine and he was the one that he put in magazine.
He said, “Are you familiar with” looked to me and said that to me, until I said yes. I shook hand with him and I knew [unintelligible - 00:04:32] because I met him before in St. Paul a few years back but I didn’t remember but this time when told me his name, I knew who he was. So he came again, and pretty soon I introduced to my brother. My brother was back in the kitchen [unintelligible - 00:04:46] but he come out in the booth. He said now – they discuss things together they talk together, and before they talk together, before they finish the conversation, my brother ask him to visit us at the house. [00:05:00] [Unintelligible - 00:05:07] and I, my brother were living in the house, no children. He says -- [unintelligible - 00:05:13] says you come up at tomorrow, I ask my wife, so I ask your wife, she said anytime.
He says Thursday night. He says, “If you ever got another place.” He didn’t promise another place to the guy. I said, “No, it’s his first time.” I said this first [unintelligible - 00:05:27] I didn’t see anybody yet, it was the first place he came. So he says he come to our house for dinner. Sure enough, Thursday night we had a dinner, a dinner with my Eugene had come prepare a dinner and invite your friends and, [unintelligible - 00:05:45] and a few other, big party because distinguished men – dignitary. So all get together dinner. So the dinner we discuss the community affairs, what is going on as well and I would listen. I was younger but I listened and I know what is going on because I know in the community I was from the beginning and I know what to I know the priest and everything. I knew everything what is going on and I knew.
So I did listen after all discussion, talking about what place, what is place this and that. I said listen Father [unintelligible - 00:06:17] – I told him you did sit well, our community needs a man like [unintelligible - 00:06:23] and I met him [unintelligible - 00:06:25] Minnesota at the United States insisting to be a bishop council. He said Father Nicolai he said like he knew him, but I didn’t know he they were together, you see. Father Nicolai was according Nicolai Nic, Nicolai – Father Nicolai at the center was his name but there is something like that. I see our community needs a man, a new man from the – actually from the school.
So we get aware of what is the callers were happy with the old priest or wanted to know if he’s got into this and that and so on. So we need a new man, a new… sure enough, he [unintelligible -00:07:00] but I told them that like that that’s all, they feel there is a conversation there and party was over, and after a while he left [unintelligible - 00:07:14] vacation I know he left anyhow. We went and fall was coming another month or so, September, we got a letter from the bishop. He says Father Aziz is transferred to so and so and replaced by Father Nicolas Carlos but I didn’t remember his name yet – I didn’t know.
So in a week Nicolas Carlos was here and [Alexander] who was my friend went by my place and says, “Let’s go and see, meet your friend new priest.” Alec was interested in -- Alec was politician [unintelligible - 00:07:45] he was in politics all the time, you know. So he went to my place. I said, “Yeah, let’s go ahead together.” So we went up to the church and the basement where the priest was, and he and I said to Father, I mention Father Nicolai, but because there was rest everything was fine, good lecture, we gathered together the church couple of three meetings, we sing some beautiful hymns and everybody [unintelligible - 00:08:14] and I fall first through because I love music and I – when somebody is good I –
And I come to a point to say and I regret to say that – to the meeting I was happy to be – I happened to be on the board of directors, that year too. When Father came, I was young but ended elect me and they voted for me so I – board of directors and I went far to tell them that “Gentlemen,” I said, “I promise you from now on we’re not going to have any trouble with the priest. I went far to say that and I regret to say that because few weeks later at the meetings, he changed, all the colors changed. He wasn’t the man that I thought he was. Everything I promised to them that it was – the way I believe it was couple of weeks he promised to us he said to us if you want the priest you’re going to find in the office, in the church or in the white safe where he lives in the room, that’s where you find the priest – that’s the priest’s jobs.
And now they’re [digital], they pretend to be [unintelligible - 00:09:20] and actually they are I thought it was reality when he talks truth. But there is at the meetings when it comes to business, he came and he says – everywhere you want to make a fund drive and they call it for the church to make it collect money, we come to real business now, that’s where the business come. So very good, everybody clap. He says, “Listen there is nothing – it’s a – we mean business. The church is going to cost $70,000 of [unintelligible - 00:09:58] or something large, it’s not a $2,000 and $5,000 money so we got to pay they say we got this and that.” [00:10:00]
We wanted to have a choice, everybody was hot, including the church, and we like him so much we don’t have a choice. Everybody the same meeting, the same meeting we had -- we collect $80,000 drive with pledge, pledge and donate, right away. So the first meeting, I want to encourage your priest because he wanted to promise so many things, he wanted to have music school it’s for this, classes and this or that everything was fine. And we call everybody and we pushed and it was okay.
So in the county [unintelligible – 00:10:41] that time too, all the people say $200 I give tonight, others promised to pay $500 for some two years’ drive, that was to contribute program for two years’ drive. Everything was okay, and I come out I say what about you George because, you know [unintelligible – 00:10:57] you know I already bought it for the month. And I was enthusiastic so much, and I liked the program and I was willing to help, and I said put a $1000 and I pay tonight.
But I know after I said, “Not tonight, because I haven’t got it with me, but tomorrow I give you a check.” So I gave $1000 too. Two or three people put $1000 too, not only me. Other people pledge, they gave. So I said, “Perfectly right okay,” and we make pledges now. We make pledges and they give -- you make a pledge, they send you a copy and sign that you made a pledge. So a couple of days later, the pledge came to me. I pledged or not.
No, the next day I get up, I write the check, that I return tomorrow and did get paid tomorrow, tomorrow Father came down to the store I had ordered dinner which I didn’t want T-bone steak to include as my bill [unintelligible – 00:11:58] then I went down there with the check, I gave the check $1000. Next day I received the pledge. Everybody said to everybody. I said, but I didn’t send it in, because I didn’t send the pledge, I paid the money I don’t need to send my pledge. But I didn’t send the pledge but I had the pledge in my pocket, and I didn’t send it in.
The next day again, they were in a hurry to get the pledge, sign it. I don’t know what they had done with it. So the next day, Jim [unintelligible – 00:12:29] is one of the committee. Jim [unintelligible – 00:12:31] is dead now. He was my neighbor next door, so he came to me next door, he says, “George, you didn’t send that pledge? Again you didn’t send that pledge.” I said I forgot, but I’ll send it. So the next night when was it, it was a Wednesday -- Thursday night the meeting, and I had the pledge in my pocket but I didn’t give, I said it was already foolish to give the pledge.
So I went to the meeting, board of directors, send it please, very pleased to see a couple of things like they put now in media, a couple of tables, I never received that I went out of that sit there that sat down with me [unintelligible – 00:13:10] overtime, he was sitting in and never talked much. I was sitting on the side, and he really was thinking like, saying I understood you didn’t send a pledge again. He’d move with a pledge, and I said no, I forgot. It was on my pocket but I didn’t. I said what – this – I tried to see what is going on, why he want the pledge.
No, he says we’ve got to have it because we got it in the record. “All right, I could send it to you” but I didn’t send. I [unintelligible – 00:13:40] to him but I told him I’ll send it. Suddenly I cannot begin to think what they – I hold it [unintelligible – 00:13:48] I gave the check already. They got the check what they want the money – the check they put it in the bank, they got the money already. That makes me kind of think, the way they act.
So the next night – the next day, no – but a lot of things took place though, at the meetings, the general meetings. And he come out, now with his pledges we may [unintelligible – 00:14:12] is a long story, he say it’s pretty hard but he says it’s a story I want to tell to the police. The meetings come out, then I say to myself, I say to them, you know, all the colors don’t understand some of them, some old timers, the [unintelligible - 00:14:28] the priest [unintelligible – 00:14:28] says it’s okay with him but I was different.
The priest is all right, listen to him but they say we are meant to – we’re going to collect 75,000 from the people money. We got to guard that money -- we got to guard that money it’s not just today. [Unintelligible – 00:14:42] was the committee to get the money. I said what if [unintelligible – 00:14:46] has got the money and so on, where to put the money and how we’re going to put it or how we’re going to operate the money, where to put it down. No practical, practical, you know what I mean? [00:15:00] What do you call it, no minutes, to tell the truth what are we doing, what are we doing. We’re dealing with $70,000 money.
I said not because I paid $1000, but it’s the way to do business. What are we doing we got to saying to the people where to put the money. They wanted to have the money, somebody put their money whatever they [unintelligible – 00:15:13] the other price, they are going to take it out like. I said it’s got to be different. Now I went to my attorney. The only one that was with me was [unintelligible – 00:15:22] and the meetings, that was the meetings. And I bring objections over there, “you got to do this.”
He said, “What do you want to do?” I said, “What I got to do.” We got to have minutes and to know what we do for instance, we collect the money, $70000 in six months, why should we wait for two years? One point, or in two years we did collect all the money we need. What are we going to do? What is next? Put them all down so we know where we’re going. You know open [unintelligible – 00:15:52] to go by, to program in other words, that’s from my mind. So I couldn’t fix them very well, I’m not so good, so I went to my attorney. Then I bring up everything, I had an attorney, and I told everything the truth, what took place the first night, what people get money, and all of that. And the way priest -- I bring a lot of things, and priest object.
Things that should be I know, by the right things to be done, and the priest can object, and I said that’s – I don’t see him – that’s what my attorney – I went to my attorney, and told him too. The attorney advise me; I said we got to make – now they appoint me to make the resolution, how we were going to work on. So I came back myself, so I went to the attorney and I told him well this and that, the way, and I asked, this is not my job that one, it is not my business, I told the attorney. That’s why you have come here. This is for the community, got to safeguard the money for the community. When we’re going to do the money, how we’re going to draw, who is going to vote to draw the money to make the [choice] because I know the Greek say two, three they go and get the money build up thing like that, it had a scaling budget, they do that. So I didn’t want things like – legal stuff you know, it was worth legal in every minute. And I told them, went through all these resolutions, we pull out resolutions saying even in paper, the attorney’s approval. I said this is all right – it’s all right. I said don’t put me I cannot do, this is not for me; it’s for the community. [Unintelligible – 00:17:25] and we both agreed the community and I, so I bring up, I was in appointment and the committee to make those things, with me and another father. So everything all ready, the meeting came we went to the meeting. Went to the meeting, I present the resolution, what we want to be done, how to work, how to work this project. The priest, they’re not first; everything was in English printed. In English, the attorney fix it, everything, no mistake, no, to the terms everything was okay so we got no trouble, everything all right because he did not want to put me on the spot. It was okay with me.
I went to [unintelligible – 00:18:12] and priest. So the priest got up, he says, “Mr. Regas, this is supposed to be in Greek not in English.” I don’t know what’s your [unintelligible – 00:18:27] we’re living in the state of Minnesota what has Greek got to do with it, it’s a corporation you know. You check that and the others with him, everybody was… then I see these and they follow him instead the truth, instead the reality, the lawyer’s instruction. We can go to – it took inside to the resolution, how we’re going to decide, when decide, how many is going to vote when we decide and everybody is going to be reported to do it – to move that money from the treasury.
Nobody is going to remove it unless it’s by the board, but through vote. It depends [unintelligible – 00:19:09] not anybody. If you like to get the money in time like they do – they done before – they done it.
Anyway the objections, objections nobody wanted to do anything. Then the meeting left and I went to the car with Chris Anders [unintelligible – 00:19:30] he was the president. And he had his act, you know, we had – he was headed here I know [unintelligible – 00:19:39] he has his eye [unintelligible – 00:19:40] you cannot turn his head, say that and this so that with me. And he says clear. So priest and I they took me to my – I live with, I live on First Avenue [unintelligible – 00:19:51] where they used to live.
A. KUZAS: Yeah.
G. REGAS [00:20:00] And before we get there, I told Jeremy, Father is to Chris father it’s to Chris, I don’t think the church going to be build up in two years here the way I heard they come. The conversation in English and all that didn’t seem to be right, you see. And sure enough, eight years gone by and the church wasn’t been done. And thank God that Father Nicodemo. He was another … what do you call it? And that is --
A. KUZAS: Aggressive person.
G. REGAS Aggressive. And he decided by self, that’s what they do. He decided by self, got the church done, he put the money and fix church.
A. KUZAS: He did. He came and he started and – and you were there?
G. REGAS Were you there? And thank God he done that because that money wasn’t going to build a church, they’re going to spend here and there. And thank God that he done that. That was a good thing he done. He done lot of things but that was a good thing he done. So, you see what took place? And I was witness on all these things and I fought for it. I fought for the truth, for the [unintelligible – 0:20:57] and two years later, not only church wasn’t made, but Father Carlos wasn’t here.
A. KUZAS: No, he left also.
G. REGAS He left away. That’s the kind of people you deal with. You got to be honest today. That’s all. If you are not honest, you can’t go very far. And I happened to be honest. I know God gave me that title hold. My mother gave me, not God but my mother, like I said; I get to be honest man. You got to be honest to live in this world today. And I said that [unintelligible – 0:21:25] father and I was the first one that I started with Father Carlos to -- he’s now got discovered after, through the business. But before you couldn’t do, he tell you this he tell you that, he say, “Beautiful, that part is all right,” but when you come to business, you find out what kind of business when is he want to run. He want to run community by himself and he was naturally prepared for the bishop. The bishops teach him that way, you know, the priests.
A. KUZAS: Yes.
G. REGAS They teach a way to do their work and that’s all, they don’t care, but that will kill the community; to capture the community, to run the community, no. I believe in self-control. You know what I mean? Run yourself, not to be run by the priest. Community is supposed to be run by the community. Priest is a servant to the community. That’s all. So, that’s it.
A. KUZAS: Okay, you really read through a lot of history.
G. REGAS A lot of people don’t know about that. A lot of people don’t care for it because I speak the truth, you know, and they -- but that’s the truth, you can’t get away from the truth. Seek the truth and -- when you say seek the truth and you be free -- make you free, seek the truth, the truth make you free this - it will make you free. It’s kind of where I am, and I be that way, I am going to be that way to die. Whether is my brother or my sister or my communities -- communities, one body, we got to work for one body all together. But to me, they looks no work one body together, just selfishness, selfish people around and do what the way they want do things. But that’s why I don’t pay much attention now; I don’t participate very much because I still have wrong things sometimes and I get nervous. I don’t want to [unintelligible – 0:23:16]. So, I say many people will do what I can help but that’s all. Community is a very delicate thing to be. If you create a lot of friends you -- enemies to if you’re not right. And if you’re right, create enemies, yes. You don’t see it, you see. So, that’s the interview, ladies.
A. KUZAS: Okay.
G. REGAS So, I can’t give you anything better than what I gave you.
A. KUZAS: This was great, this was…
G. REGAS So, you ask me anything else, you ask me, I be glad to.
A. KUZAS: This ends the interview at George Regas’ household on August 4, 1988./AT/ek/ee