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Interview with James Sioris




World Region



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A. SPELIOPOULOS Study and James [unintelligible - 00:00:05] his home address is 5916 Fairfax [unintelligible - 00:00:11] Minnesota. This is Angie Rallis [unintelligible - 00:00:15]. We’re interviewing with Jim Leo [Sioris] and his wife is in attendance with me, Jim, where were you born and the date?
J. SIORIS In Washington DC, January 24th 1916.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay and you're married to?
J. SIORIS Daphne [unintelligible - 00:00:32].
A. SPELIOPOULOS Your father’s name, date of birth and year of death.
J. SIORIS Louis Suarez, I don’t know when he was born but he died in 1935.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay your father’s place of birth and the nation or village or town?
J. SIORIS Lasithi Greece.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay what was his occupation?
J. SIORIS He had a [unintelligible - 00:00:54] in the United States.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay, did he have a nickname?
J. SIORIS Sir [unintelligible - 00:01:00].
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay. Your mother’s first name and maiden name.
J. SIORIS Bethany [unintelligible - 00:01:05].
A. SPELIOPOULOS Date of birth if you can remember and year of death.
J. SIORIS [Unintelligible - 00:01:11] died August 1929 I remember [unintelligible - 00:01:16].
A. SPELIOPOULOS Do you know when and where she was born?
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay, all right and where are your parents buried?
J. SIORIS Lasithi Greece.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay, now how did he go back to Greece, just out of curiosity?
J. SIORIS Well my father came over here and he was in St. Paul Minnesota, and then he went to Greece to get married and then he found my wife there and then [unintelligible - 00:01:45] and then they married, in two months he was back in the states.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay, and then…
J. SIORIS Then we came back to St. Paul, and he had business, same kind of business here at St. Paul here in western DC 1912 in western DC and then you know when I was five years old I went back to Greece and took the whole family to get his mother. And of course my mother was to see her mother so both of them decided to go back. And then he left us there and came back to the states. And then a couple of years come back, came back to the states and he sold his business to his uncle brother [unintelligible - 00:02:42] there are three of them. And then he came back to Greece and he went back but he had the first papers and he didn’t have the second papers so he got stuck there and couldn’t come back.
J. SIORIS So when they send me back to the states to bring him over I was too young
A. SPELIOPOULOS How old were you then?
J. SIORIS I was 12 years old when he want me to get back here and we wrote our letters back to the states nobody was [responsible to take care of me]. And I couldn’t come back here. So, but still he wanted to go back when I came to the United States in 1935, I was going to get his papers ready but he never got it, he died.
A. SPELIOPOULOS And then your mother died then.
J. SIORIS Yeah before that in 1929 [unintelligible - 00:03:35].
A. SPELIOPOULOS And Jim why did he leave Washington to come here to Minneapolis?
J. SIORIS He was originally in St. Paul his brother was at St. Paul and the other brother who got killed in a fire so he's going near store together. But he thought he was gonna make more money to go to Washington DC.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay. And that’s why he, he went to Washington DC then?
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay. Did he make more money there?
J. SIORIS Oh yeah, he had two stores there.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Oh he did, okay. And then from there he went to Greece?
J. SIORIS And he lost the money there because he [unintelligible - 00:04:10] wholesale highway and stores and [unintelligible - 00:04:15] they never paid him back the money.
A. SPELIOPOULOS In Greece you mean?
J. SIORIS Yeah. And then he kept the money and he didn’t mess with them you know banks and you know that. So [all the money was gone].
A. SPELIOPOULOS That was about it. So how far are you from [unintelligible - 00:04:28] because I know we were like related to our [unintelligible - 00:04:31]?
J. SIORIS I don't know but by [car it's half an hour], by just walking there it takes about an hour and a half.
A. SPELIOPOULOS An hour and a half, okay. All right, that’s great. Now so you tell me your parents are buried over in Greece now name your brothers and sisters if you have any.
J. SIORIS Yeah my brother John Suarez he is here in Seattle.
A. SPELIOPOULOS And you sister?
J. SIORIS Stephanie Suarez.
A. SPELIOPOULOS And she lives? [00:05:00]
J. SIORIS She was born over in Greece.
J. SIORIS But my brother was born over here. And then I [unintelligible - 00:05:06] bring him over here. So yeah we tried to bring her over here since 1938, '39 you know the [unintelligible - 00:05:15] couldn’t do it, and then we tried again 1945 [unintelligible - 00:05:22] so we find out, I applied to bring her here as a visitor just to see her. I haven’t seen her since I was seven or eight years old. And then they told me that we can try [unintelligible - 00:05:40] to bring it over here so they thought there was something [unintelligible - 00:05:43] so they didn’t approve it.
So they were this was like World War 2 a lot of Americans [unintelligible - 00:05:51] so to find a guy here to bring her here as a visitor, if he wants to get married I can take care of that [unintelligible - 00:05:59] send her back. So he took a few years he brought her over here and nearly married her and then find another guy who agreed to marry her.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Oh good, okay so yeah.
J. SIORIS And then he stays here.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Yeah good. Now tell me, did she find it hard during the Second World War, wherever she was, or was it just a [unintelligible - 00:06:19]?
J. SIORIS Oh yeah, [unintelligible - 00:06:21] in World War 2 [unintelligible - 00:06:26] they want the same thing, because he wanted to [unintelligible - 00:06:30].
A. SPELIOPOULOS This it during [unintelligible - 00:06:34]. [Did the Germans bother them]?
J. SIORIS Yeah they had Germans in my home town and they didn’t bother them [unintelligible - 00:06:42] that had a mill... a flour mill, so they made bread for them and everything else so they get along pretty well with the Germans.
J. SIORIS Yeah they did the… but they didn’t get along with the communists.
J. SIORIS They had my uncle in jail and [unintelligible - 00:07:00] tried to kill him and they had a lot of things in the communist.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Was it the Greek communist then?
J. SIORIS Yeah. [The Greek], yeah it was two wars. They fill up my home, first time jail us, because neighbor says [unintelligible - 00:07:14].
A. SPELIOPOULOS Yeah, so here it’s just not built up again?
J. SIORIS Just got it [unintelligible - 00:07:34] and then, on this is a few [unintelligible - 00:07:37] the house. So that’s [a hard time]. My sister was here, but she didn’t like it here, she wanted to go back. I don't know if she had another boyfriend there but she wanted to go back she had a hard time.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Did she go back there?
J. SIORIS She wanted to stay here, she spent all her money. But now its [unintelligible - 00:07:57].
A. SPELIOPOULOS What does your brother do for a living?
J. SIORIS He was a butcher in Greece and he was a butcher in the United States where he was like.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Is it [unintelligible - 00:08:08]?
J. SIORIS [Unintelligible - 00:08:13]
J. SIORIS And he still does three hours at [unintelligible - 00:08:18] days like in March yeah he retired.
A. SPELIOPOULOS So he's retired?
A. SPELIOPOULOS Great okay now tell me Jim, let’s see you named your brothers and your sisters and their spouses, your brother’s wife’s name is?
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay and your sister’s husband’s name is?
J. SIORIS [Unintelligible - 00:08:39]
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay. And do you remember your grandparents that there are…?
J. SIORIS Yeah there was a [unintelligible - 00:08:47].
A. SPELIOPOULOS Your mothers..?
J. SIORIS My yeah, no my father’s side.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Oh your father’s side yeah [unintelligible - 00:08:54].
A. SPELIOPOULOS And then my mother’s side, it's Elias [unintelligible - 00:09:00] and Katarina [unintelligible - 00:09:03].
J. SIORIS Okay, and do you remember where they were born the same village?
A. SPELIOPOULOS Yes same village yes.
J. SIORIS Okay. Do you remember where they died per chance?
A. SPELIOPOULOS Yeah I don’t know
J. SIORIS Okay it’s on page four, from page four we've skipped around here...
SPEAKER 3: Yeah turn it over there, yeah we will come back to the, to the [unintelligible - 00:09:23] okay.
J. SIORIS I'm [unintelligible - 00:09:28].
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay. There you go, right here.
J. SIORIS Yeah [unintelligible - 00:09:36] died in 1929.
J. SIORIS Nicolette [unintelligible - 00:09:46] 1960.
J. SIORIS And Louis [unintelligible - 00:09:50] 1925 and [unintelligible - 00:09:54] 1915 when I was a little boy I think.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay now do you remember your nana or your nena?
J. SIORIS Yeah I was in Washington DC and I spent a couple of days to remember I haven't really some place I can find it but he lives in a [unintelligible - 00:10:12] the last name I don't remember his first.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay, all right.
J. SIORIS I guess and now too I have got a picture right here.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay great, and now give me your date and place of marriage?
J. SIORIS Minneapolis Minnesota, September 17th 1950.
A. SPELIOPOULOS All right, was it arranged?
J. SIORIS No it was [unintelligible - 00:10:34] me and then I went after her.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Great, so there was no dowry?
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay, now your wife's name, place of birth and date of birth.
J. SIORIS [Unintelligible - 00:10:47] July 16, 1932, certain there is a birth in there.
A. SPELIOPOULOS She was born in?
J. SIORIS In [unintelligible - 00:11:02].
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay and your wife did she have a nickname?
J. SIORIS Yeah her name was [Pariwaz]
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay, and do you remember who the [unintelligible - 00:11:13] was at the wedding?
J. SIORIS It was (purposed).
A. SPELIOPOULOS All right your father in law's name and age.
J. SIORIS [Unintelligible - 00:11:25] and he died in 1956.
A. SPELIOPOULOS And your mother in laws?
J. SIORIS [Unintelligible - 00:11:32] she died in 1962.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay and your children's name and place of birth.
J. SIORIS [Unintelligible - 00:11:40] in Minneapolis 12/23/52 [unintelligible - 00:11:46] May 29th 1955 he was born in Minneapolis.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay, and your children's godparents.
J. SIORIS Suarez [unintelligible - 00:11:57] his papa and Suarez Dapar my daughters.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay, now name the children that you baptized, do you remember that you baptized anybody?
J. SIORIS Yeah at Sandra (Christophe).
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay, the oldest one?
J. SIORIS Yeah, but I don't remember what year it was.
A. SPELIOPOULOS We're at page seven now. Tell me about your education.
J. SIORIS Well my education since the high school of Greece.
J. SIORIS Then I went to work in a drug store, a pharmacy. Then I went on a five year training to become assistant pharmacists there.
J. SIORIS Passed the test and I was assistant pharmacist there.
J. SIORIS And I can make the stage that we used to education in high school, I had to get my high school diploma over here, but I never got it and I went to the army And in the army again I was in the pharmacy school, four years of pharmacy there, and I came back and I worked in a pharmacy in a near hospital in Minnesota for (twelve) years, [unintelligible - 00:13:30].
J. SIORIS In Myanmar 1940, I couldn't afford to go, though I got all the papers to go up in [unintelligible - 00:14:06] to accept me well I sat down one day and then I said that's not what I'm gonna do. I can do my pharmaceutical but I don't know my English so much, so I didn't know.
A. SPELIOPOULOS So you worked for the [unintelligible - 00:14:21] for how long?
J. SIORIS 39 years.
A. SPELIOPOULOS 39 years as an assistant tender or…?
J. SIORIS No 12 years, I was an assistant in pharmacy and then twice they had no money so I had to go to Niger for a couple, twice then I had to go to Safari Jack the wise place I could go back to [unintelligible - 00:14:46] anyway I spent (three) years in the pharmacy in the last time and you know I went to a laboratory [unintelligible - 00:14:51] chemical dogs and you know supply all and I started supply.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay, tell me when did you [00:15:00] come back from [unintelligible - 00:15:02]?
J. SIORIS 1935 May.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Do you remember what boat was it you came at?
J. SIORIS [Unintelligible - 00:15:08] the last boat.
A. SPELIOPOULOS The last boat?
J. SIORIS Yeah the last day, got between they are stronger than ocean, I mean Atlantic Ocean and then inside in that [unintelligible - 00:15:28] and…
A. SPELIOPOULOS I mean how long did it take to take the boat over?
J. SIORIS It took 14 days definitely.
A. SPELIOPOULOS How about you?
SPEAKER 4: 12.
J. SIORIS 14 days.
J. SIORIS The first part I remember the boat... I was in the boat, he wasn't like taking next step then after that, all the Greeks went to their island except me, I said yeah I made a decision to go by myself, so that's in New York where I started looking around I knew [unintelligible - 00:15:59] and that was hard.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Now how old were you Jim?
J. SIORIS I was 19.
J. SIORIS Then I found a guy spectates here and you know he helped me, get to my cousins some help and he said restore that.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Isn't that something? That could be very frightening.
J. SIORIS [Unintelligible - 00:16:21] I stayed a couple of days and then I went to Washington D.C.
J. SIORIS [Unintelligible - 00:16:25] didn't want me to come here and there I was.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Why didn't they want you to come?
J. SIORIS It was past ago, I was too young 12, 14 years old, what you gonna do with that kid.
J. SIORIS [Unintelligible - 00:16:40]
A. SPELIOPOULOS Nobody told you.
J. SIORIS No, I didn't know I was too late, then come watching the city when they keep into that but Jim Karaos and Nyan Karaos, they didn't care about it. They didn't want me to come here either.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Are you related to all of them? [Unintelligible - 00:17:17]
J. SIORIS [Unintelligible - 00:17:20] When they found out I was here they asked me to come, so I came here.
J. SIORIS [Unintelligible - 00:17:30] 10, 000. In fact I was in Chicago and in the Minneapolis.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Okay but how are you related to them again?
J. SIORIS As for my father's side, my father's father Jim Karaos, John Karaos, Andrew Karaos, their mothers their sisters that tried to settle in.
A. SPELIOPOULOS All right take a look…
J. SIORIS First aunt.
J. SIORIS The first, but that cut them down, like Jim Stewart was a second cousin, yeah exactly.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Right, okay.
J. SIORIS Except the one brother, he died young, but all the sisters.
A. SPELIOPOULOS [Unintelligible - 00:18:19]
A. SPELIOPOULOS Good, do you think of anything that you would like to share about your parents or your brothers or anything that comes to mind?
J. SIORIS [Unintelligible - 00:19:03]
A. SPELIOPOULOS Yeah, when you had to bring somebody here besides getting people did you have to pay money to bring them?
J. SIORIS Yeah I crossed this for them, almost 10,000 we had to pay [unintelligible - 00:19:48] [00:20:00] and for everything work its paid.
A. SPELIOPOULOS What they do?
SPEAKER: 2: They cost money.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Yeah. So the government, the United States government doesn’t charge you, but the Greek government has to charge you, yeah.
J. SIORIS The Greek government yeah.
A. SPELIOPOULOS They figure if you want to bring... yeah I can see that.
J. SIORIS When I came back here it was 35 cents for my birth certificate. It’s $75 I don’t know nothing else to it.
J. SIORIS [Unintelligible - 00:20:27], but he was not an America citizen so I had to pay everything legally and I have approved from the government. And he has to pay the lawyer, to go to see them well they --you know, everything is paid. Too bad they never got the papers to show you.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Oh yes, that would be nice, yeah.
J. SIORIS Yeah you would be kind of interest to see what they want.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Yeah. But you still have the papers?
J. SIORIS Yeah my sister got it.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Oh your sister.
J. SIORIS I mailed it to her. See that kind of thing.
A. SPELIOPOULOS What we're gonna do is, when [unintelligible - 00:20:56] listens to these tapes, and if he feels that he wants to include those then he will write to you directly.
J. SIORIS Yeah my sister.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Yeah. And ask for a copy of that.
A. SPELIOPOULOS And that way…
J. SIORIS Yeah you are right there. That’s something to do with either that’ll -- I can show you what they want $2000 to -- go through the -- How they call it? To go through the…
A. SPELIOPOULOS Immigration?
J. SIORIS Immigration, over that kind of stuff the immigration. Yeah, immigration of course those are people that make these papers for you. How they call that?
A. SPELIOPOULOS The printer?
J. SIORIS No not really. Yeah the -- well…
A. SPELIOPOULOS [Unintelligible - 00:21:40].
J. SIORIS No, like you go through…
A. SPELIOPOULOS Travel agent.
A. SPELIOPOULOS We finally figured out the word, travel agent.
J. SIORIS Yeah travel agent yeah they tend to kind of you know that.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Yeah. What would you have done different?
J. SIORIS I had spent $1000.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Oh I don’t know.
J. SIORIS Just buy the ticket and go that money -- but we weren’t smart enough to go through the immigration that’s what you did wrong. They get papers from here do by themselves go direct through them, and they are better off.
A. SPELIOPOULOS You didn’t know any better?
J. SIORIS Well I didn’t know, and then….
A. SPELIOPOULOS No you didn’t know any better who was going to direct you?
J. SIORIS Remembering he’s like yeah you know, was the time so fast.
J. SIORIS Because, from the -- I have a extent it took half an hour.
J. SIORIS That year 1946 it was a law all GIs to bring [unintelligible - 00:22:38] from Europe that was December 31st 1946. It had [unintelligible - 00:22:45] in the -- in Minnesota.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Two country yeah, yeah.
J. SIORIS And we -- they extended to December 30. So this last time when we had to -- and my sister came here two weeks before the deadline.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Isn't that something…?
J. SIORIS Somebody pay him.
J. SIORIS You know, directly. Some days may have to [unintelligible - 00:23:10] kind of release the same; it was finally some of that.
J. SIORIS He was the one he pay; I don’t know how much he pays $500 around there. But cost money, everything we did.
J. SIORIS She came and paid.
A. SPELIOPOULOS And that’s simple. Yeah, would you have changed anything at all Jim if you had to do it all over again?
J. SIORIS To -- no I did it pretty good myself. I'm very proud of what I did.
A. SPELIOPOULOS You should be.
J. SIORIS Yeah, yeah.
A. SPELIOPOULOS I [unintelligible - 00:23:41].
SPEAKER: 1 I don’t know what's [unintelligible - 00:23:44] we needed the money. My uncle would give the money, to go through the [unintelligible - 00:23:50] school with investing. But my father said no you got to work. Best thing is the money.
J. SIORIS So everything I think. And now [unintelligible - 00:24:03]…
A. SPELIOPOULOS You don't wanna go back to Greece?
J. SIORIS A lot of people wanted, to me I wasn’t -- and I was repeat the story of when I had to.
SPEAKER: Okay [unintelligible - 00:24:12].
A. SPELIOPOULOS Oh you'd go back to visit.
J. SIORIS Visit yeah.
A. SPELIOPOULOS But you don't want to live there.
J. SIORIS Not work.
J. SIORIS All my work is hard.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Yeah. But did you tell what you did?
A. SPELIOPOULOS Or you don’t want to tell me?
J. SIORIS No I can tell you. I worked in the -- and they’re opening there selling you know, clothes. And now I had to work, thirty minutes from there. And back and forth every day, morning and night.
J. SIORIS [Unintelligible - 00:24:45]. I can go out there and at any place and maybe deciding work. So we’re back [00:25:00] and forth, back and forth and no one dared [unintelligible - 00:25:02] when his brother came to his -- he was a officer. And a -- in a [unintelligible - 00:25:11] and I used to live there. But we came over; you saw me and his wife there. [Unintelligible - 00:25:20]
J. SIORIS And I work for them for eight months, but he was a hard man. There were seven of us. Selling newspapers and sweepstakes now. One night, I was so tired I didn’t have enough money to ride with a street car, so I went out hanging myself on the back of the street car. So the wind blows all my sweepstakes. So when I got there I had to give a report on how much money I make and he said you make a lot of money. Yeah, so I told him the wind blown, he smacked my face a couple of times and I quit. So I told the guys and they all quit. So we went to a different job. My brother went to the grocery store and the other one went to the grocery store. The other one... some shoe shiner yeah, shoe shiner also there. I was the last one and I didn’t like that I think I was only 15, 16 years old. So I was looking for a job and then I see a -- you know the not in the pharmacy there. And when I go and [unintelligible - 00:27:16] to work in a drugstore.
J. SIORIS And then I went [unintelligible - 00:27:22] and so I went to see my uncle. He is a pharmacist; he had a drug store there. He said why don’t you work for me? And say oh I didn’t really like to work for him at the [unintelligible - 00:27:30]. But do you know he spend money he is mean, he’s good guy, he’s good pharmacist but he was mean guy. He wants you to do everything. Good guy, but he was mean for five years. He slapped me on my face, I quit, I went to my home town two months and I came back, I took the job again. He found where I was, he got me back and then the night at the time he got me again he hit me you know [unintelligible - 00:28:02].
A. SPELIOPOULOS Oh my goodness.
J. SIORIS Yeah. And I went back to ask him to work for two days. He wanted to keep me there.
J. SIORIS And then he says you were in school yeah? Yeah, I were in school. You see that’s when I knew I want to quit.
J. SIORIS See I want to get my private license and he wanted me too, because I work -- you know I worked for him there.
J. SIORIS And he got me back, so I stay there until I’m in United States 1935. I got my papers [unintelligible - 00:28:28] I got the papers here I'll show you. The pictures, everything else he was so happy because this is the pharmacy's relative.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Yeah, yeah oh.
J. SIORIS And but I never told him to come to United States. You know I talked, show him my passport. He didn’t like that.
J. SIORIS But anyway he paid half of my transportation coming.
A. SPELIOPOULOS What did that cost you?
J. SIORIS 75 bucks.
A. SPELIOPOULOS To come to the United States? That was it?
J. SIORIS That was it. And I had [unintelligible - 00:29:00].
SPEAKER [Unintelligible - 00:29:01]
J. SIORIS $75 and I get $10 for cash money the [unintelligible - 00:29:07] $10. So I went to Washington DC I had $10. So they gave me another five, my uncle there, I don’t know if [unintelligible - 00:29:16]. And then I went to Washington DC, so 15 bucks there.
J. SIORIS It's all the money I had.
J. SIORIS It's good experience.
A. SPELIOPOULOS [Unintelligible - 00:29:30]…
SPEAKER: Yeah well.
J. SIORIS Yeah I work for [unintelligible - 00:29:37] 1935 to 1942. I was so happy when they [unintelligible - 00:29:48].
J. SIORIS There were more guys there he was the only one that worked hard. There was no unions so everybody left. The Americans work fully, but the Greeks work [00:30:00] more extent.
A. SPELIOPOULOS But you were in the army?
J. SIORIS Yeah I was in the army yeah.
A. SPELIOPOULOS Were you -- did you have to go over?
J. SIORIS Yeah I spent -- yeah I went in the army I spend four years. I went to... from here to California, to New Jersey to [unintelligible - 00:30:20] to... for work California. And then I went to Africa for 20 months [unintelligible - 00:30:32] then I went to Italy for seven months. From Naples to Florence and then I went up to [unintelligible - 00:30:44]. since that time was the vacation that’s why I keep moving so I got [unintelligible - 00:30:57]…