Betty (Panayiotitsa) Comino - formerly Kalokerinos submitted by Gaye Hegeman on 20.02.2009 Eager to talk about her childhood and youth, Betty’s memories tumble out with recollections of her teenager years when she nursed her bed ridden grandmother and the drudgery of collecting water from the well twice a day. “It was a hard life,” she repeated and “we were very poor.” Although her memory is fading Betty hasn’t lost her sense of humour, and is the first to admit in her friendly, down to earth manner, “I don’t even remember what I had for breakfast today, but can remember what happened years ago”. There were six children in her family, four girls and two boys and Betty was the fifth child, born with the assistance of her aunt Maria Kalokerinos on the 11th January 1924 in their home at Fratsia. Although everyone knows her as Betty, and she doesn’t mind being called Panayiota, her baptismal name is Panayiotitsa. She is proud that her name has been carried forward another generation and among the treasured family photographs displayed on her bookshelf is a framed picture of the “three Panayiotitsas”, Betty with two of her granddaughters. Her father left the Island shortly before she was born and they did not meet until she was eleven years old. “My mother,” she expresses with deep affection, “was a sweet, sweet lady,” and although life was hard during her childhood she considers that she had the “best parents under the sun.” Photographs were all that she had to remind her that she had a father, even though he was far away in Australia. This was not unusual at the time as many children on the Island had absent fathers. Her parents were Constantine John Kalokerinos and Eleni Demetriou Masselos. Her father travelled to America twice and to Australia three times. At one time he had a banana farm at Gympie, an agricultural district 166 kilometers north of the Queensland state capital, Brisbane. Her brothers and sisters were Angela born in 1911, Yiannis (John) born 1914, Demetrios (James) born 1920, Georgia 1912, (Betty 1924), and the youngest child was Irena who was born in 1937. Both of her parents eventually settled in Brisbane, Queensland and remained there until they passed away. Her grandparents on her father’s side were John and Angela Kalokerinos. With the exception of her grandmother, Angela Kalokerinos who was from Pitsiniadis a hamlet near Aroniathika, her other three grandparents were from Fratsia. Betty’s early life was centered in the home, helping her mother and attending school. There never seemed to be any time for holidays or play except on the odd occasion when she escaped next door to be with her friends. Twice a day, Betty and her siblings had to walk about half a mile to the well to fetch water in large tins which were either loaded on a donkey or carried by hand. It was hard work drawing water from the well and even harder getting the tins of water back to their home. They trudged along the frequently used path in all kinds of weather, their hands strained under the weight of the tins caused them to stop to rest several times along the way. The precious water was used for drinking, cooking, for their animals and for the vegetable garden. Betty had to do her fair share of the work when she was old enough and watered the garden, fed the animals and remembers picking figs during the school holidays. The household animals were kept in a stable next to their home. They had two donkeys, one pig (usually fattened for Easter or Christmas), a dozen or more chickens which laid plenty of eggs, two goats, four sheep that provided milk for cheese and wool. Betty loved the baby animals and remembers the young goats and lambs that used to follow her around but recalls her distress and sadness when they had to be slaughtered. Her mother did everything, looked after the vegetable garden, the animals, picked olives, she even did the shearing, washed the wool and prepared it for spinning. They wove blankets from their own wool on a loom which was kept inside the house. Easter and Christmas were the most important events of the year and the whole family observed a strict fast. Betty always looked forward to these occasions and remembers counting down the days during the fast. The main fast periods of the year were the 50 days which preceded Easter, 15 days in August and then the Christmas fast which began on St. Phillip’s day the 14th November and lasted for 40 days. As strict adherents of the fast they did not eat any meat, cheese, milk or fish (except at Christmas) – every Sunday her family attended Church at Fratsia and additionally on feast or Saints days. Saint Pandelemon’s day observed on the 27th July, was her family’s special Saint’s day. On St. Constantine’s day, her father’s name day, all of her relatives came to visit to wish him well. Attendance at the Fratsia village school was a joy for Betty as she loved school. Her favourite subject was grammar but she also enjoyed reading and writing and came top in spelling. Their teacher Constantinos Pavlakis taught all the grades from one to six. Betty was considered to be a smart little girl, the smartest in her school according to her teacher. When she was in grade one a visitor came to see the teacher one day and filled in time talking to the class until the teacher was free. The visitor asked the pupils who was the smartest child in the class. One little boy put up his hand and proclaimed that he was the smartest. In response their teacher turned and pointed towards the back of the classroom and said, “Panayiotitsa, she is the smartest in the class.” The visitor gave Betty five drachmas as a present. Although her formal education ended when she completed grade six, Betty used to read anything she could find which included her brothers’ high school text books. Her parents could only afford to give their two sons a high school education. Life on the Island during the Second World War still holds many unpleasant memories and Betty was not keen to talk about this part of her life. She would only say that it was a terrible time and as a teenager just emerging into the adult world, she became very aware of the misery and poverty that existed in her community. People died of starvation she said, and some were so poor they had no shoes. At about this time Betty became her grandmother’s nurse. Her mother’s father had passed away before Betty was born leaving behind Yianoulla (formerly Pavlakis), her maternal grandmother. When her grandmother fell and broke her hip she had to be confined to bed. In those days before there was a hospital on the Island it was the responsibility of the family to care for their loved ones. Betty was 15 years old when she began looking after her grandmother attending to all the needs of a bedridden person, but stressed that she did this with a glad heart. There had to be someone in the house during the day while her mother was at work in the garden planting and harvesting vegetables, or attending to other outdoor chores. Betty was also supposed to do the housework and prepare the evening meal. When time permitted she did a little sewing or read books or whatever reading matter was available. Two years later in 1941 having reached the age of 90, her grandmother passed away “of old age.” Her sister Angela, who was thirteen years older than Betty had migrated to Queensland years before and was married to Mick Londy of Ipswich. She encouraged Betty to join her and agreed to be her sponsor. So in 1948 when she was 24, Betty decided to leave Greece. It was arranged that Betty should have a male escort to accompany her on the voyage to Australia, even though she was much older than the young man, eighteen year old Harry Londy. They travelled to Port Said where they boarded the ship “Patrice” which brought them to Sydney. This was the adventure of a lifetime for Betty who hoped to eventually find a husband. Angela and Mick Londy owned a café at Ipswich and for the first year after her arrival in Queensland, Betty helped her sister in the home and looked after their children. In the beginning she did not speak one word of English and had a lot of ground to make up. When Angela and Mick bought two picture theatres in 1950, one at Margate and the other at Redcliffe on the Redcliffe Peninsular, Betty commenced her first real job taking the patrons tickets as they came through the door. She continued in this employment for the next two years. From their very first meeting Betty and Yianis (Jack) Comino liked one another. She smiled a lot as she recalled the occasion when friends came to visit and brought Jack with them to meet her. A boot maker by trade Jack had arrived in Australia before the Second World War and because there was not much work available in his trade, he began working in cafes. Jack Comino, who was from the village of Goudianika, was a self-taught violinist and because he was left-handed his violin had to be specially strung. In 1953 Betty and Jack Comino were married in Brisbane. “We were both very poor,” she said, but her sister Angela generously covered the cost of their wedding and went guarantor for them when they bought their first business. Their first shop was a mixed business at Coorparoo in Brisbane with a residence at the back, which sold mainly fruit. To make a go of it they had to work seven days a week. Eventually their hard work and modest lifestyle paid off as they saved enough money to buy their first home in the same suburb as the shop. During this time three children were born, Nicholas (Dr. N. Comino) in 1955, Constantine in 1958 and a daughter Martina in 1960. Betty emphasised that she was determined to succeed and said she had to put up with many difficulties, discomfort and more than anything, fatigue. After about ten years, they sold up and took a trip back to Greece where they stayed for a year enjoying the company of family and friends. When they returned to Brisbane they bought a small fruit and grocery shop in Stanley Street, East Brisbane. Betty and her husband Jack both owned a car. Betty explained how she used to budget very carefully and never wasted, “so much as a bean or even a quarter of a carrot” just so they could enjoy the luxury and independence of owning a motor vehicle. However it was not purely for self-indulgence she emphasised. Her car was a means of helping others, to pick up someone for church, or to assist with a fund raising venture. This was how she was brought up by her mother, to always be kind and to help those in need. She recalled that as children when they carried water home from the well they would always stop to give a drink to passers-by if they asked. In her younger years, Betty used to cook to raise money for the church. She was well known in church circles as a good saleswoman, and her friends would say “give it to Betty, she’ll sell it”. Her marriage, she believes was the most important event in her life but qualified this saying that married life also brought challenges. “You have to be understanding and patient to keep things running smoothly” she said. She is thankful that she has three good, smart children and is very proud of them. The war years brought the greatest hardship into her life especially seeing those around her starving and suffering. She is thankful to have had such a good mother who taught her to be compassionate. Her greatest sadness was the loss of her parents, a younger sister who had small children, a nephew and then her own husband. Imparting a little of her wisdom, Betty added that it is important to be kind to everyone, to love everyone, to forgive those who do wrong to you and to never carry a grudge. She wishes to be remembered as a kind person who liked to help others. The Kalokerinos nick name is “Pantolion” by Gaye Hegeman http://www.kythera-family.net/index.php/photos/8/pho/index.php?nav=5-11&did=16476 .._ _ _..._ _ _..._ _ _..._ _ _..._ _ _..._ _ _..._ _ _..._ _ _ >Case study: Internet usage in the Diaspora – kythera-family.net From the Thesis by Angelika Pentsi. Translated from the German by Joanna Mitchell As its central focus, this paper examines the internet's role in the context of the cultural identity of immigrants. The following case study aims at finding empirical clues to help answer this question. The usage of the kythera-family.net web page by Kytherian emigrants, particularly by the second and third generations, proves quintessential to the study. Does interaction with the site have any significance for their cultural identity? And if so, how can this significance be documented, described and explained in a communication-scientific manner? These are the some of the questions that will be dealt with in the pages to follow. A basic prerequisite, however, is a comprehensive knowledge of the socio-historical context, within which both the birth of the website and its usage are firmly rooted: a basic understanding of the 'modern Greek Diaspora.' 90 2.1. : Historical background: modern Greek Diaspora Like no other expression - with exception, perhaps, of Love – xeniteia has succeeded to spur the imagination of Greek artists - musicians, poets and writers alike. In the songs and melodies of rembétiko, for example (a style of music that emerged in Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki at the start of the 20th century), xeniteia is a perpetually reoccurring theme; the term relays the pangs of longing for a cherished, lost homeland as it must have been felt by the refugees from Asia Minor as they flocked towards Greek harbour cities. 91 This, however, is merely one of the many facets of a term that cannot be translated into English, but that one can at best attempt to describe: In the following paragraph, the term 'modern Greek diaspora' refers to the definition of the authors cited rather than the definition given above. The authors speak of all people of Greek descent scattered across the globe following the migrational movement that expanded beyond the geographical borders of historical Hellenic ground (cf. Hassiotis 1989: 12 and Clogg 1999: 8). In Greek, the talk of xeniteia conveys the comprehensive experience, often characterised as both bitter and painful, of the self's existence during exile. The fact that Greeks have their own word for this 'heightened awareness of one's own existence within physical and cultural displacement' shows how deeply diaspora-experiences are rooted within the Greek mentality: „Like the Jews or Armenians, the Greeks are pre-eminently a diaspora people“ (Clogg 1999: 1); travels are a phenomenon closely linked to Greek history. The same applies to the Jewish and Armenian people, though within radically different historical contexts. The following passages will sketch an outline of the most important historical developments that led to the modern-day Greek Diaspora, paying particular attention to the time period from 1890 onwards. It was around this time that the first overseas mass-emigrations took place, into which context Kytherian emigration can be located. Continue reading here: http://www.kythera-family.net/index.php?nav=135-139&cid=277&did=16479&pageflip=1' /> Betty (Panayiotitsa) Comino - formerly Kalokerinos submitted by Gaye Hegeman on 20.02.2009 Eager to talk about her childhood and youth, Betty’s memories tumble out with recollections of her teenager years when she nursed her bed ridden grandmother and the drudgery of collecting water from the well twice a day. “It was a hard life,” she repeated and “we were very poor.” Although her memory is fading Betty hasn’t lost her sense of humour, and is the first to admit in her friendly, down to earth manner, “I don’t even remember what I had for breakfast today, but can remember what happened years ago”. There were six children in her family, four girls and two boys and Betty was the fifth child, born with the assistance of her aunt Maria Kalokerinos on the 11th January 1924 in their home at Fratsia. Although everyone knows her as Betty, and she doesn’t mind being called Panayiota, her baptismal name is Panayiotitsa. She is proud that her name has been carried forward another generation and among the treasured family photographs displayed on her bookshelf is a framed picture of the “three Panayiotitsas”, Betty with two of her granddaughters. Her father left the Island shortly before she was born and they did not meet until she was eleven years old. “My mother,” she expresses with deep affection, “was a sweet, sweet lady,” and although life was hard during her childhood she considers that she had the “best parents under the sun.” Photographs were all that she had to remind her that she had a father, even though he was far away in Australia. This was not unusual at the time as many children on the Island had absent fathers. Her parents were Constantine John Kalokerinos and Eleni Demetriou Masselos. Her father travelled to America twice and to Australia three times. At one time he had a banana farm at Gympie, an agricultural district 166 kilometers north of the Queensland state capital, Brisbane. Her brothers and sisters were Angela born in 1911, Yiannis (John) born 1914, Demetrios (James) born 1920, Georgia 1912, (Betty 1924), and the youngest child was Irena who was born in 1937. Both of her parents eventually settled in Brisbane, Queensland and remained there until they passed away. Her grandparents on her father’s side were John and Angela Kalokerinos. With the exception of her grandmother, Angela Kalokerinos who was from Pitsiniadis a hamlet near Aroniathika, her other three grandparents were from Fratsia. Betty’s early life was centered in the home, helping her mother and attending school. There never seemed to be any time for holidays or play except on the odd occasion when she escaped next door to be with her friends. Twice a day, Betty and her siblings had to walk about half a mile to the well to fetch water in large tins which were either loaded on a donkey or carried by hand. It was hard work drawing water from the well and even harder getting the tins of water back to their home. They trudged along the frequently used path in all kinds of weather, their hands strained under the weight of the tins caused them to stop to rest several times along the way. The precious water was used for drinking, cooking, for their animals and for the vegetable garden. Betty had to do her fair share of the work when she was old enough and watered the garden, fed the animals and remembers picking figs during the school holidays. The household animals were kept in a stable next to their home. They had two donkeys, one pig (usually fattened for Easter or Christmas), a dozen or more chickens which laid plenty of eggs, two goats, four sheep that provided milk for cheese and wool. Betty loved the baby animals and remembers the young goats and lambs that used to follow her around but recalls her distress and sadness when they had to be slaughtered. Her mother did everything, looked after the vegetable garden, the animals, picked olives, she even did the shearing, washed the wool and prepared it for spinning. They wove blankets from their own wool on a loom which was kept inside the house. Easter and Christmas were the most important events of the year and the whole family observed a strict fast. Betty always looked forward to these occasions and remembers counting down the days during the fast. The main fast periods of the year were the 50 days which preceded Easter, 15 days in August and then the Christmas fast which began on St. Phillip’s day the 14th November and lasted for 40 days. As strict adherents of the fast they did not eat any meat, cheese, milk or fish (except at Christmas) – every Sunday her family attended Church at Fratsia and additionally on feast or Saints days. Saint Pandelemon’s day observed on the 27th July, was her family’s special Saint’s day. On St. Constantine’s day, her father’s name day, all of her relatives came to visit to wish him well. Attendance at the Fratsia village school was a joy for Betty as she loved school. Her favourite subject was grammar but she also enjoyed reading and writing and came top in spelling. Their teacher Constantinos Pavlakis taught all the grades from one to six. Betty was considered to be a smart little girl, the smartest in her school according to her teacher. When she was in grade one a visitor came to see the teacher one day and filled in time talking to the class until the teacher was free. The visitor asked the pupils who was the smartest child in the class. One little boy put up his hand and proclaimed that he was the smartest. In response their teacher turned and pointed towards the back of the classroom and said, “Panayiotitsa, she is the smartest in the class.” The visitor gave Betty five drachmas as a present. Although her formal education ended when she completed grade six, Betty used to read anything she could find which included her brothers’ high school text books. Her parents could only afford to give their two sons a high school education. Life on the Island during the Second World War still holds many unpleasant memories and Betty was not keen to talk about this part of her life. She would only say that it was a terrible time and as a teenager just emerging into the adult world, she became very aware of the misery and poverty that existed in her community. People died of starvation she said, and some were so poor they had no shoes. At about this time Betty became her grandmother’s nurse. Her mother’s father had passed away before Betty was born leaving behind Yianoulla (formerly Pavlakis), her maternal grandmother. When her grandmother fell and broke her hip she had to be confined to bed. In those days before there was a hospital on the Island it was the responsibility of the family to care for their loved ones. Betty was 15 years old when she began looking after her grandmother attending to all the needs of a bedridden person, but stressed that she did this with a glad heart. There had to be someone in the house during the day while her mother was at work in the garden planting and harvesting vegetables, or attending to other outdoor chores. Betty was also supposed to do the housework and prepare the evening meal. When time permitted she did a little sewing or read books or whatever reading matter was available. Two years later in 1941 having reached the age of 90, her grandmother passed away “of old age.” Her sister Angela, who was thirteen years older than Betty had migrated to Queensland years before and was married to Mick Londy of Ipswich. She encouraged Betty to join her and agreed to be her sponsor. So in 1948 when she was 24, Betty decided to leave Greece. It was arranged that Betty should have a male escort to accompany her on the voyage to Australia, even though she was much older than the young man, eighteen year old Harry Londy. They travelled to Port Said where they boarded the ship “Patrice” which brought them to Sydney. This was the adventure of a lifetime for Betty who hoped to eventually find a husband. Angela and Mick Londy owned a café at Ipswich and for the first year after her arrival in Queensland, Betty helped her sister in the home and looked after their children. In the beginning she did not speak one word of English and had a lot of ground to make up. When Angela and Mick bought two picture theatres in 1950, one at Margate and the other at Redcliffe on the Redcliffe Peninsular, Betty commenced her first real job taking the patrons tickets as they came through the door. She continued in this employment for the next two years. From their very first meeting Betty and Yianis (Jack) Comino liked one another. She smiled a lot as she recalled the occasion when friends came to visit and brought Jack with them to meet her. A boot maker by trade Jack had arrived in Australia before the Second World War and because there was not much work available in his trade, he began working in cafes. Jack Comino, who was from the village of Goudianika, was a self-taught violinist and because he was left-handed his violin had to be specially strung. In 1953 Betty and Jack Comino were married in Brisbane. “We were both very poor,” she said, but her sister Angela generously covered the cost of their wedding and went guarantor for them when they bought their first business. Their first shop was a mixed business at Coorparoo in Brisbane with a residence at the back, which sold mainly fruit. To make a go of it they had to work seven days a week. Eventually their hard work and modest lifestyle paid off as they saved enough money to buy their first home in the same suburb as the shop. During this time three children were born, Nicholas (Dr. N. Comino) in 1955, Constantine in 1958 and a daughter Martina in 1960. Betty emphasised that she was determined to succeed and said she had to put up with many difficulties, discomfort and more than anything, fatigue. After about ten years, they sold up and took a trip back to Greece where they stayed for a year enjoying the company of family and friends. When they returned to Brisbane they bought a small fruit and grocery shop in Stanley Street, East Brisbane. Betty and her husband Jack both owned a car. Betty explained how she used to budget very carefully and never wasted, “so much as a bean or even a quarter of a carrot” just so they could enjoy the luxury and independence of owning a motor vehicle. However it was not purely for self-indulgence she emphasised. Her car was a means of helping others, to pick up someone for church, or to assist with a fund raising venture. This was how she was brought up by her mother, to always be kind and to help those in need. She recalled that as children when they carried water home from the well they would always stop to give a drink to passers-by if they asked. In her younger years, Betty used to cook to raise money for the church. She was well known in church circles as a good saleswoman, and her friends would say “give it to Betty, she’ll sell it”. Her marriage, she believes was the most important event in her life but qualified this saying that married life also brought challenges. “You have to be understanding and patient to keep things running smoothly” she said. She is thankful that she has three good, smart children and is very proud of them. The war years brought the greatest hardship into her life especially seeing those around her starving and suffering. She is thankful to have had such a good mother who taught her to be compassionate. Her greatest sadness was the loss of her parents, a younger sister who had small children, a nephew and then her own husband. Imparting a little of her wisdom, Betty added that it is important to be kind to everyone, to love everyone, to forgive those who do wrong to you and to never carry a grudge. She wishes to be remembered as a kind person who liked to help others. The Kalokerinos nick name is “Pantolion” by Gaye Hegeman http://www.kythera-family.net/index.php/photos/8/pho/index.php?nav=5-11&did=16476 .._ _ _..._ _ _..._ _ _..._ _ _..._ _ _..._ _ _..._ _ _..._ _ _ >Case study: Internet usage in the Diaspora – kythera-family.net From the Thesis by Angelika Pentsi. Translated from the German by Joanna Mitchell As its central focus, this paper examines the internet's role in the context of the cultural identity of immigrants. The following case study aims at finding empirical clues to help answer this question. The usage of the kythera-family.net web page by Kytherian emigrants, particularly by the second and third generations, proves quintessential to the study. Does interaction with the site have any significance for their cultural identity? And if so, how can this significance be documented, described and explained in a communication-scientific manner? These are the some of the questions that will be dealt with in the pages to follow. A basic prerequisite, however, is a comprehensive knowledge of the socio-historical context, within which both the birth of the website and its usage are firmly rooted: a basic understanding of the 'modern Greek Diaspora.' 90 2.1. : Historical background: modern Greek Diaspora Like no other expression - with exception, perhaps, of Love – xeniteia has succeeded to spur the imagination of Greek artists - musicians, poets and writers alike. In the songs and melodies of rembétiko, for example (a style of music that emerged in Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki at the start of the 20th century), xeniteia is a perpetually reoccurring theme; the term relays the pangs of longing for a cherished, lost homeland as it must have been felt by the refugees from Asia Minor as they flocked towards Greek harbour cities. 91 This, however, is merely one of the many facets of a term that cannot be translated into English, but that one can at best attempt to describe: In the following paragraph, the term 'modern Greek diaspora' refers to the definition of the authors cited rather than the definition given above. The authors speak of all people of Greek descent scattered across the globe following the migrational movement that expanded beyond the geographical borders of historical Hellenic ground (cf. Hassiotis 1989: 12 and Clogg 1999: 8). In Greek, the talk of xeniteia conveys the comprehensive experience, often characterised as both bitter and painful, of the self's existence during exile. The fact that Greeks have their own word for this 'heightened awareness of one's own existence within physical and cultural displacement' shows how deeply diaspora-experiences are rooted within the Greek mentality: „Like the Jews or Armenians, the Greeks are pre-eminently a diaspora people“ (Clogg 1999: 1); travels are a phenomenon closely linked to Greek history. The same applies to the Jewish and Armenian people, though within radically different historical contexts. The following passages will sketch an outline of the most important historical developments that led to the modern-day Greek Diaspora, paying particular attention to the time period from 1890 onwards. It was around this time that the first overseas mass-emigrations took place, into which context Kytherian emigration can be located. Continue reading here: http://www.kythera-family.net/index.php?nav=135-139&cid=277&did=16479&pageflip=1" />
kythera family kythera family
  

Newsletter Archive

Newsletter Archive > February 2009

16544: Newsletter Archive

submitted by James Victor Prineas on 23.03.2009

February 2009

Dear Friends of Kythera,

just a quick report to start with: I was on Kythera last week - wet and cold but often sunny and very very green - and heard the latest news from all quarters. It's a lovely atmosphere there at this time of year - the island sits around the fireplace - in cafe's or at home - and the wet green ground is a novelty for those of us used to Greece in the dry Summer months.

For those of you interested in the progression of the wind-generator giants, the good news is that the world economic crisis has meant that the Greek government has put the Great-Windpower-Scheme on the back burner while it tries to fill its deficit. The authorities there have also more or less defined the distribution of future wind-farms for the mainland but have not committed themselves to any plans for the islands. Which could mean that they realise they are playing with fire by constructing 150m towers on their jewels in the Mediterranean, or that they have plans but don't want to listen to all the flack they'll get if they release their plans right now. So the opposition on and off the island is staying alert and slowly but surely putting legal obstacles in the way of the pro-tower lobby.

Other news? The authorities in Athens/Pireaus and the local council have decided to amalgamate the scattered schools on the island. And the parents in Pelagia (and elsewhere?) are up in arms. Their children would have to be bused up to Potamos every morning to the old school there until the new school in Potamos is built (the foundation stone has yet to be laid). As the old Potamos school is too small to house all the new children, "schoolroom containers" have been shipped in to house them. The parents I spoke to in Pelagia think the community there will suffer without a school of their own, and they don't think their children will be more comfortable leaving their pretty little classrooms in Pelagia in order to be taught in temporary metal classrooms in Potamos. The "Mayor's Team" has put its money on the Potamos solution, and the "Pelagia Parents" are talking about boycotting the "new" school. Hopefully our local reporter Anna Comino will give us the latest in her next article in March (that's a reminder, Anna...)

Big news on the site. We have mentioned before the thesis which German/Greek sociology student Angelika Pentsi has written entitled "Internet usage in the Diaspora – kythera-family.net". Well the case-study part of the thesis has now been beautifully translated by Kytherian/Australian/German talent Joanna Mitchell and is NOW ONLINE. You can view the whole piece on the site at http://www.kythera-family.net/index.php?nav=135-139&cid=277&did=16479&pageflip=1
There is a good deal of writing on the "Kytherian Diaspora Phenomenon" in the piece, which makes it doubly interesting.
You can also read the first couple of paragraphs below to get a taste of the feast.

Another new treat on the site is Gaye Hegeman's article/interview with Betty Comino. It's a typically Kytherian life story, parts of which reflect the lives and travels of almost anyone who's lived on Kythera or who migrated to Australia. The preservation of such life stories was the prime goal of our website so we are always especially proud to see stories of this quality posted on the site. I've reproduced the entire piece below in this email.

Best regards from a cold and snowy Berlin,

James Prineas

.._ _ _..._ _ _..._ _ _..._ _ _..._ _ _..._ _ _..._ _ _..._ _ _

>Betty (Panayiotitsa) Comino - formerly Kalokerinos
submitted by Gaye Hegeman on 20.02.2009

Eager to talk about her childhood and youth, Betty’s memories tumble out with recollections of her teenager years when she nursed her bed ridden grandmother and the drudgery of collecting water from the well twice a day. “It was a hard life,” she repeated and “we were very poor.” Although her memory is fading Betty hasn’t lost her sense of humour, and is the first to admit in her friendly, down to earth manner, “I don’t even remember what I had for breakfast today, but can remember what happened years ago”.

There were six children in her family, four girls and two boys and Betty was the fifth child, born with the assistance of her aunt Maria Kalokerinos on the 11th January 1924 in their home at Fratsia. Although everyone knows her as Betty, and she doesn’t mind being called Panayiota, her baptismal name is Panayiotitsa. She is proud that her name has been carried forward another generation and among the treasured family photographs displayed on her bookshelf is a framed picture of the “three Panayiotitsas”, Betty with two of her granddaughters.

Her father left the Island shortly before she was born and they did not meet until she was eleven years old. “My mother,” she expresses with deep affection, “was a sweet, sweet lady,” and although life was hard during her childhood she considers that she had the “best parents under the sun.” Photographs were all that she had to remind her that she had a father, even though he was far away in Australia. This was not unusual at the time as many children on the Island had absent fathers.

Her parents were Constantine John Kalokerinos and Eleni Demetriou Masselos. Her father travelled to America twice and to Australia three times. At one time he had a banana farm at Gympie, an agricultural district 166 kilometers north of the Queensland state capital, Brisbane. Her brothers and sisters were Angela born in 1911, Yiannis (John) born 1914, Demetrios (James) born 1920, Georgia 1912, (Betty 1924), and the youngest child was Irena who was born in 1937. Both of her parents eventually settled in Brisbane, Queensland and remained there until they passed away. Her grandparents on her father’s side were John and Angela Kalokerinos. With the exception of her grandmother, Angela Kalokerinos who was from Pitsiniadis a hamlet near Aroniathika, her other three grandparents were from Fratsia.

Betty’s early life was centered in the home, helping her mother and attending school. There never seemed to be any time for holidays or play except on the odd occasion when she escaped next door to be with her friends. Twice a day, Betty and her siblings had to walk about half a mile to the well to fetch water in large tins which were either loaded on a donkey or carried by hand. It was hard work drawing water from the well and even harder getting the tins of water back to their home. They trudged along the frequently used path in all kinds of weather, their hands strained under the weight of the tins caused them to stop to rest several times along the way. The precious water was used for drinking, cooking, for their animals and for the vegetable garden. Betty had to do her fair share of the work when she was old enough and watered the garden, fed the animals and remembers picking figs during the school holidays.

The household animals were kept in a stable next to their home. They had two donkeys, one pig (usually fattened for Easter or Christmas), a dozen or more chickens which laid plenty of eggs, two goats, four sheep that provided milk for cheese and wool. Betty loved the baby animals and remembers the young goats and lambs that used to follow her around but recalls her distress and sadness when they had to be slaughtered. Her mother did everything, looked after the vegetable garden, the animals, picked olives, she even did the shearing, washed the wool and prepared it for spinning. They wove blankets from their own wool on a loom which was kept inside the house.

Easter and Christmas were the most important events of the year and the whole family observed a strict fast. Betty always looked forward to these occasions and remembers counting down the days during the fast. The main fast periods of the year were the 50 days which preceded Easter, 15 days in August and then the Christmas fast which began on St. Phillip’s day the 14th November and lasted for 40 days. As strict adherents of the fast they did not eat any meat, cheese, milk or fish (except at Christmas) – every Sunday her family attended Church at Fratsia and additionally on feast or Saints days. Saint Pandelemon’s day observed on the 27th July, was her family’s special Saint’s day. On St. Constantine’s day, her father’s name day, all of her relatives came to visit to wish him well.

Attendance at the Fratsia village school was a joy for Betty as she loved school. Her favourite subject was grammar but she also enjoyed reading and writing and came top in spelling. Their teacher Constantinos Pavlakis taught all the grades from one to six. Betty was considered to be a smart little girl, the smartest in her school according to her teacher. When she was in grade one a visitor came to see the teacher one day and filled in time talking to the class until the teacher was free. The visitor asked the pupils who was the smartest child in the class. One little boy put up his hand and proclaimed that he was the smartest. In response their teacher turned and pointed towards the back of the classroom and said, “Panayiotitsa, she is the smartest in the class.” The visitor gave Betty five drachmas as a present. Although her formal education ended when she completed grade six, Betty used to read anything she could find which included her brothers’ high school text books. Her parents could only afford to give their two sons a high school education.

Life on the Island during the Second World War still holds many unpleasant memories and Betty was not keen to talk about this part of her life. She would only say that it was a terrible time and as a teenager just emerging into the adult world, she became very aware of the misery and poverty that existed in her community. People died of starvation she said, and some were so poor they had no shoes. At about this time Betty became her grandmother’s nurse.

Her mother’s father had passed away before Betty was born leaving behind Yianoulla (formerly Pavlakis), her maternal grandmother. When her grandmother fell and broke her hip she had to be confined to bed. In those days before there was a hospital on the Island it was the responsibility of the family to care for their loved ones. Betty was 15 years old when she began looking after her grandmother attending to all the needs of a bedridden person, but stressed that she did this with a glad heart. There had to be someone in the house during the day while her mother was at work in the garden planting and harvesting vegetables, or attending to other outdoor chores. Betty was also supposed to do the housework and prepare the evening meal. When time permitted she did a little sewing or read books or whatever reading matter was available. Two years later in 1941 having reached the age of 90, her grandmother passed away “of old age.”

Her sister Angela, who was thirteen years older than Betty had migrated to Queensland years before and was married to Mick Londy of Ipswich. She encouraged Betty to join her and agreed to be her sponsor. So in 1948 when she was 24, Betty decided to leave Greece. It was arranged that Betty should have a male escort to accompany her on the voyage to Australia, even though she was much older than the young man, eighteen year old Harry Londy. They travelled to Port Said where they boarded the ship “Patrice” which brought them to Sydney. This was the adventure of a lifetime for Betty who hoped to eventually find a husband.

Angela and Mick Londy owned a café at Ipswich and for the first year after her arrival in Queensland, Betty helped her sister in the home and looked after their children. In the beginning she did not speak one word of English and had a lot of ground to make up. When Angela and Mick bought two picture theatres in 1950, one at Margate and the other at Redcliffe on the Redcliffe Peninsular, Betty commenced her first real job taking the patrons tickets as they came through the door. She continued in this employment for the next two years.

From their very first meeting Betty and Yianis (Jack) Comino liked one another. She smiled a lot as she recalled the occasion when friends came to visit and brought Jack with them to meet her. A boot maker by trade Jack had arrived in Australia before the Second World War and because there was not much work available in his trade, he began working in cafes. Jack Comino, who was from the village of Goudianika, was a self-taught violinist and because he was left-handed his violin had to be specially strung. In 1953 Betty and Jack Comino were married in Brisbane. “We were both very poor,” she said, but her sister Angela generously covered the cost of their wedding and went guarantor for them when they bought their first business.

Their first shop was a mixed business at Coorparoo in Brisbane with a residence at the back, which sold mainly fruit. To make a go of it they had to work seven days a week. Eventually their hard work and modest lifestyle paid off as they saved enough money to buy their first home in the same suburb as the shop. During this time three children were born, Nicholas (Dr. N. Comino) in 1955, Constantine in 1958 and a daughter Martina in 1960. Betty emphasised that she was determined to succeed and said she had to put up with many difficulties, discomfort and more than anything, fatigue. After about ten years, they sold up and took a trip back to Greece where they stayed for a year enjoying the company of family and friends. When they returned to Brisbane they bought a small fruit and grocery shop in Stanley Street, East Brisbane.

Betty and her husband Jack both owned a car. Betty explained how she used to budget very carefully and never wasted, “so much as a bean or even a quarter of a carrot” just so they could enjoy the luxury and independence of owning a motor vehicle. However it was not purely for self-indulgence she emphasised. Her car was a means of helping others, to pick up someone for church, or to assist with a fund raising venture. This was how she was brought up by her mother, to always be kind and to help those in need. She recalled that as children when they carried water home from the well they would always stop to give a drink to passers-by if they asked. In her younger years, Betty used to cook to raise money for the church. She was well known in church circles as a good saleswoman, and her friends would say “give it to Betty, she’ll sell it”.

Her marriage, she believes was the most important event in her life but qualified this saying that married life also brought challenges. “You have to be understanding and patient to keep things running smoothly” she said. She is thankful that she has three good, smart children and is very proud of them. The war years brought the greatest hardship into her life especially seeing those around her starving and suffering. She is thankful to have had such a good mother who taught her to be compassionate. Her greatest sadness was the loss of her parents, a younger sister who had small children, a nephew and then her own husband.

Imparting a little of her wisdom, Betty added that it is important to be kind to everyone, to love everyone, to forgive those who do wrong to you and to never carry a grudge. She wishes to be remembered as a kind person who liked to help others.

The Kalokerinos nick name is “Pantolion”
by Gaye Hegeman
http://www.kythera-family.net/index.php/photos/8/pho/index.php?nav=5-11&did=16476

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>Case study: Internet usage in the Diaspora – kythera-family.net
From the Thesis by Angelika Pentsi. Translated from the German by Joanna Mitchell

As its central focus, this paper examines the internet's role in the context of the cultural identity of immigrants. The following case study aims at finding empirical clues to help answer this question. The usage of the kythera-family.net web page by Kytherian emigrants, particularly by the second and third generations, proves quintessential to the study. Does interaction with the site have any significance for their cultural identity? And if so, how can this significance be documented, described and explained in a communication-scientific manner? These are the some of the questions that will be dealt with in the pages to follow. A basic prerequisite, however, is a comprehensive knowledge of the socio-historical context, within which both the birth of the website and its usage are firmly rooted: a basic understanding of the 'modern Greek Diaspora.' 90

2.1. : Historical background: modern Greek Diaspora
Like no other expression - with exception, perhaps, of Love – xeniteia has succeeded to spur the imagination of Greek artists - musicians, poets and writers alike. In the songs and melodies of rembétiko, for example (a style of music that emerged in Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki at the start of the 20th century), xeniteia is a perpetually reoccurring theme; the term relays the pangs of longing for a cherished, lost homeland as it must have been felt by the refugees from Asia Minor as they flocked towards Greek harbour cities. 91 This, however, is merely one of the many facets of a term that cannot be translated into English, but that one can at best attempt to describe:

In the following paragraph, the term 'modern Greek diaspora' refers to the definition of the authors cited rather than the definition given above. The authors speak of all people of Greek descent scattered across the globe following the migrational movement that expanded beyond the geographical borders of historical Hellenic ground (cf. Hassiotis 1989: 12 and Clogg 1999: 8).

In Greek, the talk of xeniteia conveys the comprehensive experience, often characterised as both bitter and painful, of the self's existence during exile. The fact that Greeks have their own word for this 'heightened awareness of one's own existence within physical and cultural displacement' shows how deeply diaspora-experiences are rooted within the Greek mentality: „Like the Jews or Armenians, the Greeks are pre-eminently a diaspora people“ (Clogg 1999: 1); travels are a phenomenon closely linked to Greek history. The same applies to the Jewish and Armenian people, though within radically different historical contexts.
The following passages will sketch an outline of the most important historical developments that led to the modern-day Greek Diaspora, paying particular attention to the time period from 1890 onwards. It was around this time that the first overseas mass-emigrations took place, into which context Kytherian emigration can be located.

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