Greek to me

We’re in Ancona, on the Adriatic in these days, staying with Maurizio’s family. On Thursday we’re going to Greece to visit  our friends Yiannis and Jo Ann Pantanizopoulos who have a house by the sea. Their handsome, kind and very droll son Niko was the inspiration for my Irma’s husband, also Niko. You see them in this picture taken at a recent Easter celebration.

Thinking of them brings back a vivid childhood memory. It was the years of brutal Greek dictatorship and my father was sharing his lab in Rahway, NJ, with a brilliant Greek research chemist, exiled from his country for reasons my father explained tersely were “his own business.” This Greek, whom I vaguely remembered was called George, had received a cassette from home via a circuitous chain of connections. But it was an unusual speed and size and he had no way to hear it.

We had a tape player. My father borrowed others and George came over with the cassette wrapped like a precious relic. I could stay with them in the living room, my father had agreed, on the condition that I not pester anybody with questions. After much discussion, the men rigged a system that slowly rendered the gibberish more human-sounding. At a certain point, George stiffed and said quietly, “One more.” My father carefully threaded a new tape and began the final transfer. A young man was speaking; I understood that much. “My brother,” George whispered. Then an older woman. He covered his eyes.

My father drew me into the kitchen. From there, peeking around the doorway, I could see George hunched motionless on the couch as more voices rose from the tape.

Pamela Schoenewaldt, historical novels of immigration and the search for self in new worlds: WHEN WE WERE STRANGERS, SWIMMING IN THE MOON, and UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY (all HarperCollins).

Tagged with:
Posted in WWWS

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Announcements

Workshop on Point of View for the Knoxville Writers Guild, Sat. Feb. 18, 2017, 10am to noon

For more events and specifics, please click on Events.

Recent Review
“Absorbing and layered with rich historical details, in Under the Same Blue Sky, Schoenewaldt weaves a tender and at times, heartbreaking story about German-Americans during World War I. With remarkable compassion, the author skillfully portrays conflicted loyalties, the search for belonging, the cruelty of war, and the resilience of the human spirit.”—Ann Weisgarber, author of The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts.

Join 2,152 other followers

%d bloggers like this: