submitted by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on 21.03.2008
Seated from left to right: Ioannis Alfieris with his honorable wife Maria Chlentzos, Mr. Theodore Ath. Firos, and Mr. Panagiotis Koroneos “Lerios” standing is Mr. Semitekolos
John and Maria Chlentzos Alfieris made their first trip back to Kythera in 1951, after having immigrated to America in 1906. They took a train from California to New York, then embarked on a ship headed for Pireaus, Greece.
While in New York, they stopped at the SHIP-AHOY where they delighted in the hospitality of their compatriot, Mixalis Semitekolos. A news article was printed in a Greek Newspaper, possibly the San Francisco Greek-American Newspaper -The Promithiean. It appears the article was written by John Alfieris, but one can not be certain.
GREETINGS FROM THE RETURNING IMMIGRANTS
Years ago we left our homeland in search for a better life in a foreign country, America. But the desire to return to our poor island dominated our souls. We wanted to revive the carefree life of our childhood under Kythera’s emerald blue skies.
As years went by, our desire to return to our homeland increased. As immigrants in America, we kept our homeland in our hearts. We prospered in America. We benefited from its opportunities and civilization. We now love it as our own country. We are proud of our American citizenship just as we are of being born Greek.
We thank God for enabling us to fulfill our desire, for realizing our goal after so many years of keeping it strong in our hearts. Today we are happy in our homeland. Our love of Greece is equaled by our love of America.
With full hearts we send greetings to all our fellow Greek Americans, but especially to those in California where we have spent most of our immigrant years.
We send heartfelt, special greetings to our compatriot in New York, Mr. Mixalis Semitekolos. As we passed through New York, we met him at his famous restaurant, SHIP-A-Hoy, where Greece and America merge. He extended unbelievable hospitality to us. We thank him for everything and hope to see him in Greece very soon.
Athens, July 1951
Translatied from Greek to English by Peter Panaretos, then edited by Katherine Stathis.
Mike’s Ship-A-Hoy website.
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