I first came to Mason City in October of 1958 and only knew how to read and write in English. Before leaving Greece, I had an intense year of classes, a couple hours a day, with a teacher in order to learn to read and write. Once I got here, I had an intensive year of trying to learn to speak English. I could hardly speak, and they way I first learned was by picking up the English words and putting them in a Greek sentence, but that didn’t come out right.

The community in Mason City was very close knit. And although not knowing the language was quite a big adjustment, I found the people to be very very helpful. Almost anybody and everybody tried to help you in those tears. Eventually you fall into it and you adjust physically and mentally. Next year I am going to be here sixty years. For me now, this is my country.

“Next year I am going to be here sixty years. For me now, this is my country.”

At the time, there were very few immigrants living in Mason City. Since I was one, they would ask me to go and speak to some groups. One time they sent me out to a farm to see how life was there and to tell them how life was on the farm back home. I was like a novelty since they were very interested in my heritage and being from Greece. There was a lot of love and inclusion.