My beautiful late Pappou/ Grandfather, was a Greek islander of Anatolian descent. His professions included; Saddler, Farmer, Market Gardener, Soldier and Army Cook, Soap Maker and Distributor during the great depression and a Butcher’s Apprentice. Pappou was a champion Backgammon player and above all a Kind Gentleman as remember by many and those who loved and knew him.
After my Grandparents married they helped raise and support my grandmothers’ three younger siblings and her young widowed mother who outlived my Grandfather. Later in life, my Great Grandmother informed me that my Grandfather was an angel.
Whilst in the army, a fellow Greek ship accidentally blew up my Grandfather and his platoon, mistaking them for the enemy. My Grandfather and a fellow soldier the only two survivors had to bag body parts.
My late Grandparents’ love for each other, was so strong that before the news broke out about the blast, my late Grandmother was on her knees, newly wedded and praying that her husband would be safe.
Amongst his pets Pappou had Tzak, the dog, many cats, horses, donkeys and goats.
Towards the end of the war, Pappou, learnt to converse in Italian with a small group of Italian soldiers, swapping goods for goods, so that he could carry out his soap making.
Immigrating to Australia my Grandparents became Australian. Proud to be Hellenes/ Greek, excited and anxious to commence their new life in Australia. They had a cat which was very playful, a lot of fun and always performing tricks. Pappou worked extremely hard on the South Australian railways and later in a factory, was self sufficient, cooked and carried out many chores, kept a huge garden of vegetables, herbs and fruit trees; including one of my favourites, wild Cherry trees!
When Pappou planted a wild cherry tree in our backyard and it started growing… I would go to the tiny non fully grown cherries, pick them…. Hold the miniature cherries in my hand and squeeze them, as I watched the liquid cherry reddish/ purplish colour, rush and run all over my hand and so my excitement, my inspiration for liquid colour – Paint began at an early age! I noticed how the liquid stained my hand and started rolling it around on my skin – ‘Wow’ !
“Marisa, leave the cherries to grow so we can eat them…” But little did dad know, what I had discovered!
When I was a toddler Pappou would sit me on his knee and I would play with his orange beaded komboloi/ Komboloyee, Greek ‘happy’ pass time beads. Many years later, I found one of the orange komboloi beads tossed in my late Grandparents garage and knew that Pappou was ‘talking’ to me. One bright orange bead –
“Yiassou (Hello) Pappou!”
Pappou’s komboloi of beads, was my creative embedding for designing and creating beaded Luxury Necklaces / Jewellery – Jewelry!
Whenever my father tried to renovate; repair windows with putty, little fingers followed – I was a crafter from way back!
Sorry dad! You had to re apply everything twice – maybe even three times!
I’d follow and watch dad making, fixing, building, growing, nurturing everything!