submitted by Spyro Calocerinos on 12.10.2004
Some time after the Germans left Kythera, (to be exact on the 27th of January 1945) a British cargo ship loaded with rice,wheat and flour,anchored in Kapsali.The ship was under the supervision of a British battle ship,whose Captain was Captain Frederick Rand.He was the first official appointed by the liberated Greek Government as a caretaker,to oversee the peaceful existence of all political parties in Kythera.
At this point,I must explain that there were a number of political conflicts in Kythera with a few locals forced to leave their homes to avoid one political party or another.
The cargo ship unloaded it's "life saving" cargo in Kapsali and this was the first free food assistance on the island of Kythera after the Second World War.
Hora's Councilors decided that they should honour Captain Rand by naming a street after him. The street next to Estavromenos Church leading to kastro, was chosen and after the normal ribbon cutting ceremony,speeches and "doxologia" at Church, Captain Rand was a very happy and proud man looking at the sign on the wall on the WESTERN side of the street.
The following story was told to me by my late brother-in-law, Nikos Petroheilos.
Some years later, the sign deteriorated and it was impossible to read anything on it.The Councilors,including my brother in law, the late Nikos Petroheilos,decided to pull it down, scrape the old paint,repaint it and write again"Frederick Rand Street". They removed the sign but they did not repaint it immediately.After all, they had all the time in the world to do it.
One day, a message came from Kapsali that Mr.Rand was in Kapsali with his family and they are all excited to see "Mr.Rand's Street". The Councilors,sent a car to pick up Mr.Rand and his family but instructed the driver to delay them as long as possible and somehow explain to them that he will take them to an interpreter.
Those days, the main road in Hora was a two way street,as there were very few cars in Kythera.If two cars were going the opposite direction,one would have to reverse until a wide enough place was found for the other car to go through.
In Hora's plateia "square" the interpreter ensured that no cars would go towards Kapsali through Hora so the driver with Mr.Rand would not stop.The interpreter also received a message, to take Mr.Rand's party to Myrtidia as there was still plenty of daylight and the sign was painted,but the paint wasn't dry enough to write the name on it.
When the car with Mr.Rand was approaching Estavromenos Church, they all got excited as he remembered the sign on the Western wall. He had a quick look and couldn't see the sign but he wasn't sure if it was there or not.The driver had instructions"do not stop under any circumstances", so he kept driving towards the town square or"plateia".
The interpreter convinced them that they should see our monastery "Myrtidiotissa".
When returning from Myrtidia there was a message at Livadi from Hora that the sign was ready and by the time they drove to Hora it would be up on the wall.
Talking about last minute preperations for the Athens Olympics!
The Councilors,placed the sign on the EASTERN wall of the street,which made it impossible to see while driving from Kapsali to Hora.
When they arrived at Estavromenos, the welcoming party was in position including the priest,Councilors and young girls with flowers.Mr Rand,looked at the Western wall where he remembered the sign was placed but everyone pointed at the Eastern wall where the sign was.
Finally Mr.Rand could show with pride," his Street" to his family.
After a short walk to Kastro, they were driven back to Kapsali where they boarded Mr.Rand's yacht and he left Kythera a very happy and proud man.
The sad part of this story is the fact that after noumerous trips to Kythera, I haven't seen the sign on the wall. Can anyone tell me what happened to the sign?
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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