Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mom and Pop go to Greece on their "Honeymoon"

My father went to the States in 1912 or so. My grandfather, in Asia Minor, would send his sons out of the country when they became draft age. The Greeks there were drafted into the Turkish work battalions, basically a death sentence.

Pop’s brother was sent to England, and was forever known as “O Englesos,” the Englishman.

Pop went to America and became a candy-maker; he was in the States when the catastrophe happened in 1922.

Mom and her family went to France and eventually settled in Paris where she was a seamstress.

In 1928, Pop went to Paris and married Mom, I wrote a blog about that, April 7th, a very funny situation, the Francophile Greeks were shocked by Pop and his American ways and especially by his American suits,
“O Americanos” was what they called him until the 50‘s.

It is also, what they call me in Porto Heli.

After the wedding, in Paris, they went to Greece to visit family, my Father’s family were living in Edipso, on the island of Evia, and in Nea Michaniona, near Salonica.

The photo above is in Edipso, with my uncles and Aunts and various kids, who I assume are my cousins.

Family that is really unknown, this vague connection through old photos. This is just one of the results of the kind of emigration that was forced on people and spread them throughout the world. You will find Asia Minor Greeks all over the world, from Argentina to the States, France as well as Canada and Australia, and we know our relatives through photos like this, just sort of know them, not really well.

I have been to Edipso and met some of the people in the photo, 36 years later.

Mom told me that Pop was not happy about the visit; he does not look very relaxed in the photo.

It seems he had been living in the States about 10+ years, and seemed to have trouble adapting to seeing his family in Greece.

He had been sending money very regularly, and everybody seemed to think making money in America was easy.

The fishing boats, that he paid for, were on the beach and not being used, Mom told me Pop spent a day pouring water on them since they were dry and rotting. Meanwhile some of his relatives were in the Cafenion, complaining about the lack of plentiful fish.

Pop decided that their stay had to be cut short, he did not want to stay and be more disappointed by his relatives.

He felt that they believed he had it easy, “it was not difficult to make money in the new world.”

He worked 7 days a week and all sort of hours. He did that all his life, and I remember his hours at the store.

It was a naïve way to view life in America, lots of work, lots of money, easy life.

My mother took on the role of sending money to his relatives, Pop never did it personally, ever again.

It is a shame that his trip to Greece ended so sadly, he never talked about it, but Mom told us with tears in her eyes.

I wonder what he would have thought of today’s Greece?


  1. This is a vignette in time that was obviously very sad and upsetting for your father. I can feel the pathos that your father must have felt in his heart. Your mother was obviously very empathetic to your father's feelings to have conveyed them to you so completely.

    You have written the story so well that I feel your father's pain. You have told, through your mother's stories to you, a beautiful and touching tale. I loved it.

    Masterfully done, Greg.

  2. My family travel to Argentina many years ago, but I decided to go to the US.