submitted by Susan Johnson on 03.06.2020
I am an author with a book contract to the Australian publisher Allen and Unwin. I've been commissioned to write a memoir about my experience of Kythera, starting 40 years ago as a young woman. Last year, 2019, I came to live on the island with my 85-year-old mother, Barbara. See here https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life-and-relationships/our-big-fat-mother-daughter-greek-adventure-20190506-p51kjq.html
As part of my memoir, I have obviously done a lot of research. This wonderful site has been very helpful, and I came across this very moving account, from the year 2000, from a Mr Panagiotis Tzortzouploulos (this is an abridged version):
“What an effect that little place has on our hearts! Our family (small word for a big complicated thing) has proudly retained its family home in the village of Karavas, even though we all came to Australia in the ‘50s. Many became wealthy and successful in their new home, but some forgot the most important thing of all, their children’s future heritage. But those of us with pure hearts love the little cottage by the chapel, and its view of the valley below. My hair is now slowly turning the proud grey of my grandfather, I wish to see the end of my days in the same place my father was born, doing the same things he did as a child, feeding my donkey, picking lemons from the yard, eating olives from the family grove, drinking from the clear Karavas springs of my forefathers. I will never allow our cottage to leave our clan, and will devote my days to bringing love and laughter to its little kitchen once again. Our house of stone and wood will always be a Tzortopoulos family home. Yassou Cerigo, we love you, and we will come home soon.”
Panagiotis Tzortzopoulos, Queensland, Australia, 2000
I would love to use this in my book, with the permission of the Tzortzopolous family. Is Mr Tzortzopoulos still with us? If he, or his family, could kindly get in touch with me -- either here on this site (replying to this), or else by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would be most grateful. I think this letter sums up beautifully a lot of what Kytherians in Australia feel about Cerigo. It is not only moving, it is a work of poetry. Thank you, Warm wishes, Susan Johnson
submitted by Susan Johnson on 04.06.2020
Hello all -- have just discovered, in researching my earlier research, that this letter comes from a now defunct website which ran in the late 90s-early 2000s, called VOYAGE TO KYTHERA. Mr Tzortzopolous's letter can be found via the link here http://www.oocities.org/raissis/gbook03.html - I realize that James Prinaes only started this website in 2003, so Mr Tzortzopolous's email pre-dates this site. Apologies -- however, if anyone DOES have any info, please contact me. Cheers
submitted by Phillip George on 23.08.2020
hi Susan - My father George A Tzortzopolou or Zortzopolou was born in Alexandra Egypt but his family originally came from Karava :) regards Phil
submitted by Susan Johnson on 26.08.2020
Many thanks for taking the time to stop and leave a message -- really appreciated. I know there are many variations of that name still around in Karavas, and I've been reading in Koula Kassimatisis wonderful books -- and talking to her in interviews -- about the families from Kythera who ventured to Alexandria, and elsewhere. Really moving stuff...many stories of displacement and dislocation, but also of adventure, and finding unexpected homes. I fear my particular Mr Panagiotis Tzortzopolous is no longer with us though....Warm wishes, and thanks again, Susan
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