Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Going to Thessaloniki, Greece still in economic limbo...

Heading north to Thessaloniki where I have not been since 1983...and I have serendipitously caught a ride with the daughter American Farm School Girls School graduate Eleftheria '71, who now lives in Philadelphia. Kathy -- born in CT and a trained nurse -- lives outside Athens with her Greek husband and family. She is going to pick up her‎ own daughter Eleftheria, who is attending the American Farm School high school program some 44 years after her grandmother graduated. That somewhat dizzying circle is closing. (FYI: I worked at that school for 10 years, 1968-78, and have not been back in Northern Greece since 1983.)

I would like to report good, clear-cut news about the political/economic situation here in Greece, but I cannot. The capital is awash in speculation and anxiety. People here simply cannot afford more cuts to their pensions or added taxes for necessities like food and utilities.  Many people have put any even minimal summer plans on hold. The Finance Minister said that yesterday was a good day, because now the issues have been clarified, And polling shows that the Greek public doesn't want the government for change to back down. We will have some answers very soon. 

While in Athens I stayed with my dear Thea Soula in Palaion Faliron where I ate down-home cooking, watched the news, and talked about family history. Her father was the mayor of  my father's hometown of Naousa during the Civil War and was assassinated by the communists guerrillasBy that time Soula was safely in Athens and became a world traveler with her late husband Mario, even living in Salt Lake City where he went to school and where their daughter Leah was born. They came to our house in California many times -- and we had much to talk about, including who to visit when I go to Naousa next week to work on my maternal grandmother Paraskevouda Koutsouki's quarter of our Family Tree.

This morning, my aunt was arguing with her television set. She is 86 and already her pension has been cut by 36 percent. Can you blame her?

NOTE: Naousa is a town of 23,000 people about an hour west of Thessaloniki in Northern Greece...My Yiayia married Xanthoulis Xanthopoulos at Panayia Church in 1916, just 4 years after Naousa was liberated from the Ottoman Empire.  My father Efstathios (Steve)  Xanthopoulos was born there, too, in 1920 and went to the States in 1929 with the rest of the family.  He never forgot "Niaousa," as he pronounced it...and went on to become a devoted, hard-working family man and Greek Community leader in Stockton, California, where I was born. Papou X died of cancer in San Francisco in 1941, so I never met him.  He remains somewhat of "a mystery man." That circle is not yet closing...

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network.

No comments:

Post a Comment