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Newsletter Archive > March 2013

21501: Newsletter Archive

submitted by James Victor Prineas on 28.06.2013

March 2013

View a colour version with pictures of this newsletter here:
www.kythera-family.net/download/NLMarch2013.pdf


Dear Friends of Kythera,

what a busy few months it has been! The Kythera From the Air book is finally finished and at the printers. As usual, eternally optimistic as I am, I underestimated the time it would take to put together, and by adding a Greek translation of everything and collecting and checking and checking again all the surnames, neighbourhoods and churches particular to each village, even with the help of invaluable researchers on the island, the project turned into more of a PHD than a book of snaps from the air. I've put a few pages from the book online to give you a sneak preview . With any luck the book will be ready by June this year, ready for sale in summer on the island (and in winter in Australia). When it's ready I'll let you know where you can order it if you'd like to.

A Kytherian icon and lovely man died recently on Kythera: Roulis Fardoulis. A great loss for the island! You can read Anna Comino's tribute to him below.

For the past couple of months the Australian internet provider Bigpond has rejected all emails coming from the Kythera-Family.net domain meaning that many of you won't have received the mails sent from the site. (If you have any Kytherian friends with bigpond addresses you might want to forward this newsletter to them from your addresses so they receive them too.)

I arrived on Kythera on Friday and have had a day to relax a bit before finally starting this new newsletter. After being swamped by work - not just the Kythera book - for the past few months, I've decided to treat myself to a week on Kythera to visit ancient aunts and make sure our house hasn't blown away. Kythera in March can be a bit of a lottery: will it be sunny and 20º or be windy and freezing and damp with horizontal rain creating pools of water under even the most watertight door of the houses on Kythera? It's windy and wet and quite chilly, but I have another 5 days here, so I'll remain eternally optimistic and expect some stunning sunny days ahead.

As usual, there are lots of new and wonderful recent entries placed on the site from Kytherians living all over the world. If you haven't visited for a while, I'm sure you'll find something special there, new or old: www.kythera-family.net.

Now I'm off to the Potamos Sunday markets - if there are any today - and then down to Evanthia's divine cooking at Skandia for lunch. I hope to see a few of you there.

Best regards,

James Prineas (james@kythera-family.net)


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The Last Embrace

Whenever I arrived on Kythera, I would head directly and often from the airport, to Potamos town-square and have a rizogalo (rice pudding) or a fresh-warm galatoboureko (semolina pie) at Rouli’s Kafenion, the centre of the Kytherian universe.

With a razor-sharp ability to comprehend what was happening around him at all times, Theodoros (Rouli) Fardoulis lived-up to his paratsoukli (nickname) of Alepou (fox). A gentle man, with piercing blue eyes and a deep chuckle, for many people both local and of the Diaspora, Rouli was the key to village life.

Born in 1926 to Vasiliki and Konstantinos Fardoulis, Rouli was the second of five children. Growing up in the remote and rugged but spectacular Vithoula (between Potamos and Agia Pelagia), Rouli’s serenity was visible when walking in the fields. Not one to shirk away from hard work and although he became a pastry chef, he always remained a man of the land who had perivolia (gardens) and would pick olives each year.

A direct relative of the Fardoulis Chocolate dynasty, Rouli never visited Australia but was always pleased to meet all people, especially if they were from the Kytherian diaspora. He would begin to unravel the visitors family tree, leaving you with a deep sense of genuine belonging. He was a surrogate papou (grandfather) to generations. It was as if he had been entrusted by hundreds of his customers, who had long passed away, to welcome their offspring to Tsirigo.

Originally based in Agia Pelagia, Rouli ran a general store and was a fishmonger, when Agia Pelagia was just a fishing hamlet. Theodoros married Hariklea Kaponas and had three daughters, Eleni, Vasso, Antiopi. And they bought the Kafenion in Potamos at the beginning of Greece’s post Civil-War mass migration.

In 1992, I began working with Rouli at his legendary kafenion. An astute and patient man, Roulis was the centre of the Kytherian universe. The early morning regulars were rowdy workmen on the way to building jobs. Then from 10am to midday we had the come-to-towners, dressed in their Sunday best, people who were visiting the hospital or doing their tasks would drop in for a handmade glyko (sweet). Sharp as a tack, Rouli would converse with each of these groups remembering with incredible detail who, what, where, when and the why they had come to town.


Roulis in his "old" cafe in Potamos in about 1985
Picture by James Prineas

The shop phone would constantly ring with questions such as, "has the plane landed?", "is the ship going to dock in Pelagia or Kapsali?", "is the plumber there?" And he would politely answer all question put to him. My favourite time of the day, was when the old-timers would come in. Rouli would become a rascal and the jibes would begin, till they all laughed heartily.

Rouli gracefully nurtured many young people, with even the popular Kythera Summer Edition newspaper being born at the Kipseli (the Beehive) Kafenion. In the late 90’s Rouli sold his beloved kafenion in Potamos, semi-retiring to his brand-new kafenion in Agia Pelagia. He continued to live in Potamos and would commute to Agia Pelagia daily. Always up for a chat, Rouli was an original blend of Kytherian kalosini (goodness), authentic hara (delight) and village sofia (wisdom). He is missed.

Anna Cominos
acominos@hotmail.com

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A Kytherian Secret Finally Revealed


After many decades, a Kytherian secret has been revealed.

Many readers who have read my memories, will recall how often I have spoken of the old Canberra Cafe, which was founded by my father, Stamatis Marcellos and four other young men, coming to Australia to forge a new life.

Many will also relate to my need to hold on to my precious old memories, not wishing to see the changes which have occurred with the passage of time. Memories, so precious to me, allowing me to keep the memory of loved ones alive in my heart, knowing that they are watching over me, never to be forgotten.

When, as a child of just 3 years of age, I would start going to the old Canberra Cafe in Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, spending hours with an “uncle” as, out of respect, I was raised to always show courtesy to my elders, never using their first name, but, calling them uncle or aunt, even though not related by blood in many cases.

The old Canberra had begun as an oyster bar then a fish shop, not the cafe I remember with such wonderful memories. I do not recall those days, but have seen photos of the then Canberra selling fish.

The uncle who never left the basement of the Canberra, peeling never ending mountains of potatoes, to be sent upstairs to the kitchen, where chips were cut by hand, and served to customers who would frequent the shop for the plain but so wonderful meals, is a subject I have written of often in previous times.

My father, as I have often mentioned, always had his steak and chips every lunchtime.

There was a secrecy though, as to how this uncle survived, being such a quiet man, and shrouded in secrecy? Never did he make mention of family to me over the years when I would spend hours sitting on a wooden crate, watching him peel the potatoes, listening to the many stories he would tell me, but, never had I seen him outside of the basement. He wore old clothing, rarely venturing upstairs, but, the hours I spent with him over the years were precious to me.

I was innocent, a child with no knowledge of the outside world, and as I grew, this continued as my father protected me fiercely.

The uncle passed away quietly, leaving an emptiness in my life, taking with him to his grave the secret the Kytherian community would speak of often, where did he keep the money he would receive each week for the decades he stayed in the basement?

Rumours ran rife, with speculation that he had hidden his treasure in the basement, behind a brick in a wall possibly.

How many searched every inch of this basement, but came away empty handed. The uncle did not believe in banks, nor any luxuries in life, preferring to spend his existence in what became his private haven, a basement, from which I never saw him emerge.

The Canberra was taken over for a short time, my father broken hearted as he saw his beloved mirrors behind the serving counter removed. A young university student had changed the look entirely, with navy walls, and string strung across the ceiling, a young man, the son of one of the partners, who had been studying architecture at the university. How were to know that later on in life, this young student would become a world renowned architect, holding down a position as Dean of Architecture at the university of NSW?

The business however did not succeed with the new owners, and the old Canberra took on many different businesses, none however as successful as the cafe of old.

The secret of the fortune which was rumoured to exist was alive and healthy however, with many searching every brick in every wall of the basement. I, myself pondered over the years of where did the uncle hide his well earned money?

Some months ago, the secret was finally revealed to me, and it will be of great interest to the many who searched for endless hours, hoping to find a small fortune, as we must remember, the uncle did not spend any money, having his meals at the cafe, sleeping in the basement, and having little need for new clothing.

As I mentioned before, I had started frequenting the basement from just 3 years old. Never did I know that there was a hidden freezer, dating back to the days when the cafe had been a fish shop. This would have been before my father had returned to Kythera to marry my mother, then returning to Australia for a new life.

The night following the uncles passing, a nephew I did not know existed, and many fellow Kytherians of that era, would not have known also, heard of his uncles passing. But, there was a nephew, a nephew who lived in a country town. To this day, I do not know who he was.

The nephew, on hearing of the passing, hailed a taxi, driving through the night from the country town where he lived, went directly to this mystery freezer, which I still cannot imagine where it could have been, but had been used to keep fish frozen decades before, opened the freezer, and as I have been told, there was a large frozen fish showing on the opening of the freezer door, and behind the frozen fish, the fortune amassed by the uncle was hidden.

The nephew took the fortune, and immediately returned to his country home, having kept the taxi waiting. leaving the entire Kytherian community still believing that the fortune searched for by so many, was still somewhere in the basement.

I myself, have searched deep into my memories, but cannot recall a freezer. I, now have a quiet moment of pleasure, knowing that so many who searched out of greed, did not benefit from this wonderful old uncles fortune.

The freezer, due to an electrical problem thawed, and the huge snapper was found, but no one dared to eat it, as the years it had covered it special secret. was not trusted to be edible.

To the many Kytherians of my age, and elder Kytherians, who have pondered over many years, I can now reveal the secret of the uncle and his money, never to be found by a stranger, money hidden behind a frozen fish. What a wonderful story I feel, finally revealing a secret, and what a wonderful ending it is.

My wonderful father figure visited me recently, spritely as ever, telling me that the story was true. He also answered my question as to how Ayia Triatha in Kato Livadi was the Gianniotis family church, as I always knew it as my family church.

He asked his sister, my wonderful Aunt Vasso, once from Carinda, a tiny town in NSW, who believed there was a family connection. I had kept a record of our family tree. My paternal grandfather, a Greek Orthodox priest, married his bride from Fratsia, and she was Koula Gianniotis. How thrilling to learn that people who I love who I love deeply and respect, are indeed family. My grandfather could not hold church services at this tiny church next to my family home if he did not marry a young woman from Fratsia. Thus my grandmother Koula Gianniotis became his bride.

I never met my paternal grandparents, as they passed into Gods care when I was a young child, but I visited their resting place in the old graveyard at the back of Kato Livadi often when I was a child of 15.

In a recent copy of the THE KYTHERIAN from the Kytherian Association of Australia (KAA) was a picture of the Mercedes Benz emblem which I found in the wall made of stones and rocks, in an outbuilding, owned by my grandfather, in Louradianika. The “star," as I fondly call it, is displayed in the KAA museum, and to my surprise, and honour, my own story is shown with the “star” as I choose to share it with my fellow Kytherians, and all visitors to the museum.

A cousin who lives in Sydney, rang me during the day several times, wanting to tell me that when she attended church, she had never seen so many copies of The Kytherian in the hands of so many church goers. She was also enthralled by the emblem, asking if it was the size of a 20 cent piece, telling me of the many church goers who had approached her, knowing that we were related, with so many questions?

She was amazed when I explained that the emblem was large, and she sowed concern that it may be stolen, but, I have entrusted it to one so close to my heart, and have total peace of mind that it is safe. Maybe, this secret will also be revealed, as, how did this magnificent piece find itself in a rock and stone wall of a poor Greek Orthodox priest?

Maria-Marcellos- Whyte
51 Silkyoak Drive
Morayfield
Qweensland 4056
maria.whyte@bigpond.com

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The Island of Adventures Map

In preparation for the tourism season on Kythera I'm preparing to reprint our free Kythera map which was so popular last year that all 2000 of them were snapped up within 3 weeks last year. There's room on the back to promote your business, association or project - this year we'll be advertising the new Kythera from the Air book - so it you need to reach a Diaspora-Kytherian audience a few hundred Euros will get you a prime spot on the 5000 maps we'll be printing this year.

We still have a few left from last year, so you can already order our map and donate to the Kythera-Aphrodite-Museum project at the same time: follow the links at www.kythera-museum.org

Click here to enlarge
Left: front cover of the folded map. Right: Unfolded the map is 50 x 70cm


Click here to enlarge

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A few pictures from Kythera in March…



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Kytherian World Heritage Fund Publishing House

You can order any of the Fund's publications about Kythera and Kytherians by clicking on the form below and filling out the pdf form which will be download.


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