It is like opening your eyes and hearing her…
and closing your eyes and seeing her…
It is the pain felt after feeling all the joy you have ever felt
when giving her a surprise…
Remembering her smile as in the morning 
as in the day you dive…
running for the door with a piece of toast in your hand…
rushing for the bus…
then watching her stand…
It is remembering the trust in you she always had..
when others against your interest had quietly band…
Its the pride she felt when seeing you succeed…
in those little moments that on the next task you would proceed…
It is the pain felt not seeing her grow old…
knowing she had heaps of life to live with all that life holds…
It is like being cheated in life…
Like someone had kidnapped her in the darkness of the night…
It is pain that you learn to hold…
and adjusting to the memories you in your mind you allow to unfold…
Then seeing your children grow
and there you would see…
her eyes.. her smile…and her glance
looking back at you…

As in your loving memory of her!


~Debbie Papadakis(C)Splash Penningitout. ~ 11th August 2016….17 years on …as if it was yesterday.

Είναι σαν να ανοίγεις τα μάτια σου και να τη ακούτοους ...
και κλείνωντας τα μάτια σας και την βλέπεις ...
Είναι ο πόνος που αισθάνεσαι.
αφού εχεις αισθανθεί όλη τη χαρά που έιχες αισθανθεί ποτέ
Οταν της εδίνα καθε φορα που της εκανα έκπληξης στα γεννεθλια της....
θυμόμαμε το χαμόγελό της καθε φορα 
όπως το πρωί της ημέρας πεταγμουν να φυρω ...
τρέχοντας για την πόρτα με ένα κομμάτι τοστ στο χέρι μου ...
βιάζοντας για το λεωφορείο ...
Τότε  με παρατθρουσες δεακρητικα...
'Θυμάσαι την εμπιστοσύνη σε σένα που ειχες πάντα.
Οταν άλλοι ενάντιον προς το σθνφέρον μου είχαν ήσυχειε πάντα ...
Η υπερηφάνειά σου για μενα το ένιωυα όταν το κατάφερνα ...
Σε αυτές τις μικρές στιγμές που στο επόμενο έργο θα προχωρούσα ....
Ο πόνος του ένιωσα οταν καταλαβα οτι δεν θα σε εβλεπα να γερνάς ...
γνωρίζοντας ότι είχες τωση ζωή που θα μπορουσες να ζήσεις σε όλη αυτή τη ζωή ...
Είναι σαν να σε ειχαν απαγαγει απο αυτην την ζωή ...
Όπως κάποιος την έχει απαγάσει... το σκοτάδι της νύχτας ....
Είναι η στηγμη τον πόνος  μαθαίνεις να κρατάς ....
και προσαρμογή στις αναμνήσεις που κρατατας ...
Στη συνέχεια βλέποντας τα παιδιά να μεγαλώνουν
και εκεί δειαρκρηνεις και βλεπεις να δείτες ..
τα μάτια της .. το χαμόγελό της ... και η ματιά της
κοιτάζοντας πίσω σε σενα...και διακρινεις οτι ειναι εκει!

Monday 6th August 2018 was a day I spent with ‘the living’ for a change.

On the 6th August, I was with my first cousin. It was on Monday I was fortunate enough to see her for the first time in 30 years last year. I did not tell her that is was the anniversary of my mother’s passing. Since Sunday the earthquake in Indonesia and the intensity of contacting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Greece and The Greek Embassy in Indonesia as well as contacting Australian Diplomatic services of the Tragedy of the seismic activity in East Asia trying to help save a friend from the runs was a propriety. I had chosen to be with the living rather than the deceased.

Mum was an extraordinary woman. She had lived a life that was far different from mine. She had experienced trauma at a young age. Growing up in the Second World War here in Greece was not easy. Malnutrition and life-threatening situations determined the values she had and the selfless sacrifice she endured to support those she loved, admired and respected. When it comes to looking back at how the generation of people grew in the 1920’s and 1930’s does determine how they think. Hardship sharpens the character and determines the values people have. On the other hand, it can make people callus have been told by my mum. One thing she loathed was how extreme people became under difficult situations. Would they have been better people if they had lived under more favorable conditions?

I think people are born with as human beings that determine their character by the personality they have and of course their life experiences. My cousins probably do not know why we weren’t close even though we tried to maintain a relationship of mutual respect amongst our families. Yes, our parents had differences, particularly when they first got married. These differences were based on their mindset at the time and the values they had, probably the difference in character and even the life experiences. That set them apart. I hope that could be understood. This is their story.

What happened in the 1930’s and 40’s?

To understand the way of thinking it is important that I mention both sides of my family. My father’s family were in Cairo Egypt. Grandfather had gone there in the early 1900’s and worked as a waiter. He was from Crete. His first wife was from Samos. Unfortunately, she had complications with the birth of her second child and died. She left two children behind. Before she died she wanted her carer to marry her husband because she knew she would die. It was a difficult life emotion were secondary to logical solutions. She thought of her husband marrying in order for her children to grow with a mother since she would not be around. The early 1920’s were comfortable. The new family flourished with the eldest daughter and a baby from a first marriage and a daughter by 1922. The years that follow met with illness to the two children of the first marriage. First, the baby child died while another two were born in 1925 and 1928  and then a girl in 1932. I m not sure of the dates but I know that the eldest daughter from the first marriage cared for them before she died of typhoid. The fear if disease paid a nasty toll on the young and old. Only the strong survived. Soon after two more girls were born in 1936 and 1938. The 1930’s were very difficult years. The Wall Street had affected companies throughout the world of trade and shipping. It meant that in a crisis the youth need to build themselves either in hard-work or hard-study for a position in society. A waiter’s job for grandfather was not an easy one. The economic crisis had the family evicted from the houses they rented. It also had the eldest children to bond and stand by each other. The eldest son worked at a young age to help provide. The youngest would always come to him and ask for a couple of shillings. He always gave it to them. At one point, he became sick with typhoid. He almost died. “Your son does not have long to live,” he told the mother. Our grandmother was a strong woman. and her son became stong too. ” Don’t worry mother, I will survive and live.” the boy said, after having overheard the Doctor in the corridor of the hospital. He lived. He worked and helped to pay for the education of his siblings. The second son studied hard. He studied languages and accounting and worked at a shipping company. While the third child studied languages and secretarial work. The first daughter became a dressmaker and the youngest worked as shop attendants because they too had schooling. They didn’t see the oldest son grow up because he volunteered for the Airforce by 1939. Many of his friends joined the Navy and the Airforce. The earnings of a volunteer went to the family that he sponsored. His salary went to his family to support his 5 siblings and hardworking parents, whom he loved. The Greeks were drawn into the war well before it started. The Greek Monarchy at the time remained neutral in the war but the Greek population was ready as they were always.

The Second World War changed lives forever.

In Greece, hardship was a common thing in life. Agricultural work was extremely difficult, a challenge due to the landform and the islands. In 1930 there was an arranged marriage between my Grandmother and my Grandfather. My Grandfather lived on his own. Both of his parents abandoned him and he lived in his property working as a stone merchant, coal maker and lime wash maker. In other words, he was a builder and agricultural farmer. The small community of his village looked after him, however, it was hard growing up on your own. His older brother was a merchant and they were close. In 1931 my mother’s sister was born. Mum was born in 1934 on an island. The hardship existed but it was made worse with the onset of the World War. The Invasion of Greece by the Italians and Germans had Metaxas saying:”No!” to the German mandatory question Will Greece wecolme the Nazi Forces and Italian Fascists? Even though we had a Monarch with lineage to German Aristocracy the Greek people had a different opinion. My Grandfather was very sociable and loved by people and much f a dancer, however being abandoned by his mother and father made him feel insecure in a relationship. This meant that My Grandmother lived a hard life with him and resorted to the church where she found strength. During the war my mother’s sister contacted Meningitis, without proper treatment, this disease affects the neurological system. the victim over time the ability to hear walk and even think. I dd not know much about my aunt only that she was institutionalized because she could not live with care at home. It was difficult for my Grandmother and difficult for my mother. She had to work from a young age to help her family who lived isolated on an island. No real medical care existed there. If you were poor then things were worse. At the age of 15-18, my mother left home as she was encouraged to seek an apprenticeship as a dressmaker, where she trained by the side of a dressmaker and doing household chores. By the age of 20, she left Samos and lived in Athens with her cousins where she worked at a Tsitsopoulos Department Store as a seamstress and curtain maker. Being in Athens helped her find a Doctor to see her sister. The medication cost money but she tried supporting her sister and family the best way she could. It was then the Doctor told her that her sister would get worse because she was not treated effectively when she was young and had first caught Meningitis. Dad at the time was in Athens. The end of the war landed him in at a time where he wanted to come and help build a broken Nation that had swung into a Civil War. He wanted to bring his family from Egypt to Greece but it seemed impossible. He held a good job himself. Having served in the war he worked in an English firm commissioned to rebuild the burnt villages, roads, and bridges which was part of the ‘Marshall Plan.’

Greece and the Marshall Plan

Mum’s agreement to get engaged to Dad to legally reunite him with his family in Australia.

It was a tough decision. Not easy to go to another country. Mum had work but was reliant on her cousins to be morally supported. Whenever relatives came from the regional areas such as Crete or Samos mum would help them to go to Doctors and if they were hospitalized she cared for them, washing their clothes and encouraging them. Generally, Mum and Dad were loved by people because they went out of their way to help people. They had seen a lot of devastation and always sought to help. I have heard stories of Dad traveling out to the regional areas and protecting his truck with a leaver. The had worked for an English Company and his salary was collected by his cousins who stayed in Athens. I have also heard of him using his truck to take the whole neighborhood to the seaside. Dad rented a room that he had made into a room when it was a chicken coop. He tiled the foundations and built a room with a window and a door. In that small room, he would provide accommodation for whoever came. If they were a relative or a friend, he would always provide a warm corner for them.

Now that the Civil War was over he hoped to bring his family to Greece from Egypt. His younger sisters had other plans though. The mentality at the time was that Greece was seen as a ‘Psorokostena’ by Greek Egyptians. Even though his family was originally poor, education had helped them to work.  My father’s brother learned 5 languages and became an accountant working for a shipping company, the second oldest sister studied secretarial and office management and worked at a Department Store in the center of Cairo. The eldest worked as a dressmaker but mostly stayed at home. The other two got married. One married our Grandmother’s God Son, whose family had a Bakery and the other married a divorced man who enjoyed punting. In 1954 the Nassar uprising in Egypt. This caused distress and our Grandfather died of a Heart attack. That was when half the family left for Australia. Our Grandmother and Uncle came to Athens to see my father. Dad at the time was in a relationship with Vallentine. A heated discussion over the future had taken place. Mum was asked to come to Australia with my uncle and Grandmother but the decision was not easy. She had heard from her Grand Uncle that Australia was a place were lived and cut sugar cane as an agricultural worker in Queensland in the 1900’s. Life then was not easy. It was explained to her that they wanted her to get engaged to my father so that he would be able to come to Australia. Single men were not allowed to enter with being in a family unit. “If I accept I would need to be supported morally. I would be away from my parents and relatives and I would need to be ethically supported.” Mum said. My uncle and Grandmother assured her that she would be supported. So, in 1954 mum left for Australia with Dad’s family and Dad was to follow, if he intended to do so.

‘A new start to a different life’ she thought.

When she went to Australia she had left Tsostopoulos Department Store on a Wednesday and by Friday she was working at Cyclops in Sydney and living with Dad’s family and relatives at Abbotsford. In 1956 Dad went to Australia. His third sister and her husband were guarantors. They had put up 3000 Aust Pounds to guarantee that the engaged couple would get married. They signed the Marriage Certificate as witnesses to the marriage and were able to retrieve their money. How many people would enter a ‘white wedding’  situation? Mum hoped that she would be helped to settle down with someone else once her first marriage was over. It was a selfless act that had no attachment, just a gentleman’s agreement. This moved my father. He began to see mum in a different light, he saw her as a person that would consider other people’s interest. He felt sorry for her but at the same time, he admired the strength to live in a foreign place which was something she had never dreamed of doing.

Dad worked at TAA and the Glass Factory. His brother worked at Morris. His youngest sister worked at AWA an electronics company that built radios and TVs eventually they bought a home at 35 Day Street Drummoyne. This caused some disagreements with the family and naturally, mum was accused of ‘swindling’ Dad. So, in 1956 Mum and Dad left Abbotsford with the youngest sister and her husband and decided to sublet in Lakemba. In 1960 my parents took out two loans to buy their first home in both their names at 24 Heartley Street Rozelle. They both worked hard. Dad worked at the Opera House in a crane company called ‘Men From Mars’. By then Grandmother and my father’s only brother came to live with us. In 1961 my brother was born and in 1962 I was born at Rozelle. When we went to school mum worked at the woodworks not as a carpenter but as a woman doing a man’s job at a woman’s rates.  In 1963 my cousin was born and in 1965 the youngest cousin was born.

Life determined the lifestyle and materialized dreams.

Dad had encouraged his brother to leave Morris and to study accountancy to so that his Diploma would be accepted in Australia. That he did while he was staying with us. When Dad’s brother got a job as an accountant for a shipping firm that is when he set eyes on buying a house. In 1966 My father took his bother to an auction site and he bought a corner block and built a house at 29 Heath Street Five Dock. I remember when they moved in with Grandmother the brother and the second sister. For years I visited them at their house. The second sister worked at Public Transportation. She was shy and was close to the family. She bought furniture and hoped to build her own house. Over the years she bought 7 blocks of land at the Blue Mountains in Katoomba. She drove a 1962 Humber. By 1969 Dad sold the house in Rozelle for $18 000 and bought a service station 337-339 Clovelly Garage with loans again to cover $36 000, where he worked as an Authorised inspector, Mechanic, and panel beater. Mum worked with him. She served customers and kept the office and cash. I remember the cash register it was over 100 years old as old as the service station. The sound it would make was extraordinary and a joy to look at. I always loved polishing it. In 1972 we bought a Milk Bar on Clovelly Road for $36 000. Going to the beach and having our Grandmother visit and cousins visit was wonderful. That was when I used to organize birthday parties and would invite all of my father’s siblings over. They would bring things and I would try to make things and I would always try to show my love by celebrating mum’s birthday. This is why it hurts me whenever it is the 6th of August. For years I would arrange surprises for my mother and she gave me a surprise when she died on her Birthday in 1999.

Mum felt different being from Greece and having a different mentality, however she adjusted well in Australia. She learned the language like they all did. They all attended English Classes after work and tried their best to assimilate. Life was good in Sydney. Mum had cousins from Samos that had come from the island of Samos. They lived in Maitland. Apparently, her cousin had come with his wife and child and had been housed in Gretta Agricultural residents for new immigrants in 1955. They worked on farms before they bought their own country house with a good plot of land and had more children. The eldest son now rears Horses. Racehorses. These cousins spoke with a strong Samian Dialect. They lived in the country and we loved visiting them. They were hospitable and very open down to earth people that always smiled. The 1970’s,  saw us camping and traveling to different parts of NSW. Mum loved Australia and didn’t want to leave. In 1977 Dad decided to take us around the world on a voyager ship. It was the last Trans-Atlantic cruise to be done by the Company Lloyd Tresstino’s Galileo Galilae. That is another story.

In 1979 we bought a house in Forestville after selling the Milk Bar at $50 000 and lived there for many years. In 1988 we sold everything and moved to Greece. Mum did not want to move to Greece, however, it was Dad’s wish and dream. So we did.

 

 

You Might Also Like

The Earth can cater for every one’s needs.. not Greed

The moving sculpture in Nature’s Gallery

Humanity based on creed in Athens, Greece.

Leave a Reply