(Reprinted from The Basilian -- March 2013, Stockton, CA)"Family Memories & Histories, Let’s Not Forget Them!"
By Paula Xanthopoulou
|Steve & Faith|
While I live in Miami, Florida, I find that my heart is very often in Stockton – where I lived with my parents through graduation from UOP in 1967. Indeed, I have just been invited to my 50th Stagg High School reunion in September. Yikes!
Stockton is where my family memories are, especially as members of St. Basil’s Greek Orthodox Church – where my parents Angeline (Sarris) and Steve Xanttopoulos were married in 1942, where my brothers (George and Bill) and I were baptized, and where my parents’ funeral services were held in 2002 and 2007. More recently, I was moved during the special services for receiving the holy relic of St. Basil, truly someone to look up to.
Our lives growing up revolved around the church. I remember the Friday nights before Easter -- at the church on Stanislaus Street – when it was me and my Mom singing the hymns while she played the organ. I loved Greek School (despite getting carsick each time we drove across town), and my favorite Sunday School teachers were Zoi Arvanitis and Harriet Frances. My mother was a devoted, all-purpose volunteer/organizer, especially for the making of festival pastries. My father typically counted the years of his life according to the number of St. Basil’s priests he had worked with (Father Luke was #17) and the number of festivals he had worked on (47). They would have loved being at Festival #50 and at my nephew Alex’s recent wedding in Virginia.
|Church Ladies 1965|
I having been collecting documents, stories, information and photos of my family on both sides for some time because I feel a strong obligation to do what I can so that their stories and history not be forgotten – and also because it’s part of a bigger story of Greeks in Stockton and their own histories in the “The Old Country.” I sincerely hope that others have been doing the same.
Hronia polla, kai kala!