Greek Men in a Coffee House in Denver: Five Life Histories

by G. James Patterson

Published in the Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora, Summer 1976 

From the article:
In 1968 and 1969 I did anthropological field work among unassimilated Greeks in Denver, Colorado, which resulted in a Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Colorado (1969). Since then there has been a resurgence of interest in "white ethnics" in the United States, and publication of these stories, which are taken from my thesis, seems timely. All but one of the men who tell their stories here are old men who came from Greece to the United States in the first decades of this century. They all worked hard to achieve the American Dream, and most failed in their quest. Few were economically successful, few learned to speak good English, few have been active in church affairs in later years and few belong to the larger Greek community in Denver, which centers around the middle class church and community center which is miles away from the area in which they reside. 

Since the time of the study, the last remaining Greek coffee house, which is the one in which these interviews were conducted, has been razed, as have all the other Greek or Greek-owned establishments in the area: the grocery store, barber shop and chile house. In their place, as part of a federally-funded model cities program, are new high-rise office buildings or parking lots. Some of the men have since died. The kafeneion, the center of their daily lives, is gone. The others are dispersed to the peripheries of the area, which was the original Greek Town in Denver, or have gone elsewhere. Their stories, using pseudonyms for the names of people, follow. 

PDF pages 29 - 39

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE - Click on 03_2_1976.pdf