Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Interview with Oldest Greek in 1939 Pensacola, Florida - Christ Tabaras



Interview with Oldest Greek in 1939 Pensacola, Florida 

Christ Tabaras

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W.P.A. Federal Writer’s Project

Greek-American Life Histories, Manuscripts from the U.S. Federal Writer’s Project, 1936-1940

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(These life histories were compiled and transcribed by the staff of the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers' Project for the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA) from 1936-1940. The Library of Congress collection includes 2,900 documents representing the work of over 300 writers from 24 states. Typically 2,000-15,000 words in length, the documents consist of drafts and revisions, varying in form from narrative to dialogue to report to case history.)

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Spelling has been left as in original documents.

W.P.A. Federal Writers' Project [Greek Study?]
Interview With Oldest Greek [In Pensacola?]
[Modesta Hargis?] Writer
Approx. 375 words [Modesta Hargis?] 
[Pensacola?], Fla. 
[August [?], 1939?
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Christ Tabaras was sitting on an old empty orange crate in front of one of the largest [resturants?] eating grapes and enjoying the morning breeze, when the writer approached him and said she would like to have a little talk with him.
He had a good memory, when I informed him who I was his dim old eyes brightened and he said," yes I remember you and you have four sisters," I told him he was correct. He remembered when I was quite a youngster -much to my surprise- for it has been thirty years since he had talked to the interviewer. He says he arrived in New York in [I883] coming over in an "American Steamship". His trip over was very pleasant and uneventful. He did not tarry long in the [Metropolis?] leaving almost immediatly for the city he had heard so much about, [Pensacola?].
His native city is [Selanico?], and has a population of three [hundred?] and fifty thousand, it is the largest seaport in Greece. When he spoke of the old country his eyes glistened, and he said "it is indeed very beautiful." He informed the writer that the Greeks live a life of the average American. Some are farmers and many own their own farms, others are merchants, the majority make a living with boats- which they own- fishing and in the coast-wise trade.
He is eighty years of age the oldest Greek in [Pensacola?] and been living here for fifty six years. There were only four Greeks in the city when he arrived. The streets were of deep sand, sidewalks made of planks and a few brick buildings. He recalled the old street cars pulled by two mules or horses up and down [palafox?] street and chuckled over this remembrance. His first business venture was a retail fruit store later combined with a resturant in a few years branched out in the grocery business. He was a tireless worker and won the respect of the people of this city. He has great admiration for his adopted home, received his citizen-ship papers many years ago and lived a useful and happy life. He has retired from business, age and ill health prevented him from continuing. He says" money is not everything, what is the use of piling up millions? you can't take it with you. I would rather have my health than all the riches in the world."
His skin is withered and wrinkled and he looks very feeble, but says he will soon be well and will continue to enjoy the remainder of his life with his friends under Florida sunshine.
End
ADDITIONAL NOTES:
W.P.A. Federal Writers' Project
-Greek Study- Pensacola Florida- [Modesta Hargis?] 
Writer 
Approx.[I00?] words 
[Modesta Hargis?] 
Pensacola, Florida 
August [8, I939?]
In old St. Michaels cemetery there are a number of Greeks buried. In checking over the graves one finds a tombstone here and there with inscriptions in [Greek?]. The grave of a native of [Skopoles?] was found and a copy of inscription is enclosed.
The graves of Constantine and Nick [Apostol?] are also in St. Michael's, the lettering in Greek was badly worn and could not be copied, however, the name, date of birth and death was plain.
" C. Apostol Born 1845- Died 1909
N. Apostol Born 1863- Died 1913."
These two brothers were written up in the sketch of early Greek community. They were the first Greeks to arrive in Pensacola.


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