Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Magical Mystery Tour: Day 2 (The Xepoleoses)

After being treated to "La Boheme" at the SFO the night before by Candace and George, I set out on 11/20 to visit with a distant relative living in a senior community in downtown San Francisco -- hoping to find out more about my Papou George Sarris' early days in California and who his relatives also from Kyparissi were.  The Xepoleoses were his cousins on some level.

Bessy Xepoleos is 92 and darn sharp. As the second wife of Pete Xepoleos, she did not have recollections/photos of the early days. But she did know some of Pete's 6 siblings (Elsie Gogas and Yoda Manolis) and added 2 brothers to my list (John and Steve). The parents, James and Vasiliki (Sarris, I believe now), were married in Kyparissi and 3 sons were born in Greece.  Bessy and Pete visited then land-locked Kyparissi in 1972 with Yoda and Evelyn Mellis...

My SF visit was delightful, including dinner and a good look at the few photos she did have, one of her as a 2 1/2 year-old child. Bessy (also Vasiliki!) was born in Seattle, went to Cephalonia, grew up in Argentina, and then to SF where worked for McKesson Corp. She speaks fluent Spanish, too, but we spoke mostly in Greek. Bessy introduced me to the only other Greek in the place and gave me the grand tour of The Sequoias where she has lived for 15 years. What a gem, so glad I met her!

But there was still no answer as to why the Xepoleoses used to always come -- according to my aunt Liberty -- to Stockton on Memorial Day. So I visited the Rural Cemetery and found out that James Xepoleos, aged 63, had died in Stockton on March 10, 1925. Where was buried? No longer in Stockton, but moved to San Mateo on July 11, 1944 -- which would explain why I have no recollection of the Xepoleoses in Stockton, though I did know Yoda and Elsie as a kid when they lived in Santa Cruz...

I also know that Yoda had been born in SF and "grown up in Stockton," and lo-and-behold the Stockton Telephone Directories list the Xepoleoses from 1920 (when the Demokopoulos also were first listed) through 1926. They lived at 717 E. Channel (no house there now) and 2000 S. San Joaquin, with a now extinct City Free Market at 338 E. Jefferson...Looks like they moved after the father died, perhaps to Pittsburgh. The mother was called "Thea Vasilo," but whose daughter was she?  

Anyone out there know anything more about the Xepoleoses in Stockton???

NOTE: Bessy wanted to know if I had seen "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" w/Penelope Cruz and Nicholas Cage set in Cephalonia. Ordering it from Ebay right now!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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