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Our First Holiday in Greece

It is much too easy to write about the sea, the beaches, the traditional beauty of Greece. As an American of Greek descent, Greece to me is home, it is family, it is discovering roots. It is much more than beaches and sun.

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Our first trip to Greece was in 1964, when we went to visit my father’s sister and my cousins in Edipsos, in Evia. My grandfather ended up there after coming from Asia Minor, obviously not by choice. We arrived the week before Easter, intending to stay a couple of days. We had a rather ambitious travel plan, and not much time. We were pressured into staying longer, naturally, at least until Easter. We did not have many clothes with us, as we had only planned to stay for a couple of days and had left everything at my Aunt’s house in Athens.

For Saturday night we planned to go to church, but I needed a suit. My aunt came up with one of mine, that my mother had sent from the United States, (at that time, the 1960s, every Greek-American sent over clothes and other things to our relatives in Greece), so my suit was not too much of a surprise. Jeannine, my wife, had enough clothes with her; women pack more than men. So far, no great surprise. We get to the church, and Jeannine notices, and recognizes, lots of outfits, belonging to my sister, my mother, and my father. She even recognized an outfit that my sister had worn about a month ago. It seems that all the stuff my mother had been sending, was worn proudly and well, and put to good use. Everybody in town seemed to be wearing very familiar clothes. My favorite pink and white shirt was on the Mayor, I looked for it before we left the States, but Mama had been too fast for me.

Naturally, we felt even more at home. We met family for the first time and felt reassured by being surrounded with our familiar clothes. To this day, whenever we go to church, not often enough, I always see if I can recognize any of the outfits, but those days are gone forever.

So holidays in Greece will always remind me of our first holiday, when we truly felt at home and discovered some of our roots.

By the way, the sea and the beaches are great, an ouzo and grilled octopus by the sea can’t really be topped, and seeing your family's clothes 3000 miles from home is a unique experience!

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