submitted by James Victor Prineas on 26.02.2008
Dear Friends of Kythera,
the programmers of the Kythera-Family.net website have just sent me a statistic which I previously never thought to ask for. It seems that, since the launching of the site a little over 2 years ago, 1,374,081 pages have been viewed on the site. That's right, over 1.3 million pages. That's a lot of information about Kythera being viewed all over the world. I wonder if it helped give Kythera its best ever tourist season in living memory this year? We certainly did our little bit to help with the event we organised in August...
...Kytherian Heritage Event
It's over, the historic first "Discovery your Kytherian Roots" day held on Saturday the 13th of August in Hora on Kythera. It was an honour to host the 45 participants from all over the world at the Kythera Town Hall where 6 speakers revealed aspects of the Kythera which caught even the most hardened island inmates uninformed. The networking was intensive and I have to admit, informative and entertaining though the speakers were, it was the participants who gave the most. At the beginning of the conference each of them took the microphone in turn and within seconds had transformed our notions of what being Kytherian is. For some their only early impression of the island of their ancestors was the food lovingly prepared for them in a a dusty town in rural Queensland. Others had hardly heard of Kythera as children only to discover and fall in love with it as adults after their first visit. Some wept tears for their parents who had never made it back to the island, others glowed in appreciation of the brotherly hospitality their distant cousins had shown for them upon arriving on the island. It was, all in all, an emotional process of untying family memories and of creating new less complicated knots of friendship. And the speeches? You can view the handouts we distributed here:
We hope to have the speeches ready for download soon - please check for them at the "Discover Your Roots" area of the site in the next few weeks.
A Thousand Words...
The phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words" has almost achieved the status of a truism, but is it in fact correct? Pictures do give almost instant gratification - both in the taking of them (in this digital world...) and in the viewing. If you combine them with the memories which are revived while viewing, for example, a picture from your childhood, they can indeed provide a feast of impressions which go far beyond the content of the original picture itself. But that doesn't count. The phrase isn't "a picture combined with memories is worth a thousand words".
Take the picture submitted to our website by Koula Veneris in February of this year which you can view here:
If you recognise someone in the picture or are in it yourself then the picture might indeed bring back memories and tell a story. But if you don't know the people in the picture what does it tell you? It is just a group of southern Europeans on a boat somewhere, sometime, a few dozen years ago. The 104 words in the caption tell us far more than the picture can.
Even reportage and documentary photography are limited in their ability to tell a story. While they may capture a moment for posterity, they can hardly convey the thoughts, connections, tradition and, most of all, personality of the subject(s) of the picture. Any of the people in the group photo might be an exceptional cook or mechanic or teacher or singer, they could be sociable, reclusive, generous or flippant, but no photograph can tell us that. Movies have scripts because the pictures alone aren't enough. And it would be almost impossible to tell even the most simple of stories solely with pictures without a loss of meaning.
So before you go thinking that a picture is enough to keep the memory alive, consider this: will your grandchildren or distant descendants know more about your mother if you preserve a handsome photo of her, or will they know her better if you write a thousand word homage to her? No competition! If you were to put down this newsletter and take a half-an-hour to write up your memories of a dear elderly or deceased Kytherian relative and then post it to http://Kythera-Family.net then you'll really have created a portrait of that person and immortalised him or her in the process. (Feel free to add a photograph to the text...). By the way, as if you didn't already know, submitting to Kythera-family.net is easy and free.
Speeding up the site
Over the past month many site users noticed that Kythera-family.net was slowing down. I had the programmers look into it and the problem has been identified and rectified. The family tree section is still a little slower than usual and we hope to have that fixed in the coming days.
All the best from some wonderful late-summer weather in Berlin,
James Prineas, Kythera-Family.net, Team Leader Europe
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Some interesting entries from August:
Vicki Leondarakis Drakopoulou - Lagonissi, Greece
posted on 30.08.2005
Family village of origin: Fratsia
"Congratulations on this excellent web site. My father, Nicolaos Leondarakis, was born in Fratsia in 1906. Every visit to Kythera only makes us want to stay longer. The feeling of complete peace and joy when in Kythera is magnified with every trip. The natural beauty of Kythera and the generosity and hospitality of the Kytherians makes one want to live there forever. We may do this some day. Your web site is a wonderful example of an island that cares for its natives and the strong desire to keep the ties with families strong."
"Roots Day" was wonderful!
submitted by Maryann Mazarick-stoner on 23.08.2005
We enjoyed meeting everyone and hearing their story of what Kythera means to them. Not only did I met great people while in Kythera, we were able to trace our family tree back to the 1700's. We also met distant relatives, who treated us like long lost sons and daughters. It was a once in a lifetime trip!!!
The milkshakes always taste better ... in the other Kytherian Cafe.
submitted by George Poulos on 28.08.2005
When I was young, I spent a great deal of time working in the Gilgandra Fruit Mart. To see a photograph of the Shop, in the 1960's, complete with milkbar counter and stools, go to:
Every so often I would feel like a milkshake. I was allowed to make one, and drink it whenever I liked. Which I often did.
But I always felt that the milkshakes - particularly the Vanilla malted's - always tasted better at George Peter (Proto)Psaltis's, Monterey Cafe.
Every so often I would pester my father, Con George (Tzortzo)Poulos, for money, to go and buy a malted at George's.
This would infuriate my father.
"Why do you want to buy a milkshake from there, when we have better milkshakes here?"
"But I think the milkshakes taste better there!"
"But how can they? We are both buying our milk from Hargreaves, and the syrup and the malt come from the same place."
"But they do".
"But they can't."
"But they do."
After about 15 minutes of this banter - with great reluctance - my father would relent, and give me the money to go and buy the milkshake at the Monterey.
And I would saunter across the road, order the milkshake, sit in one of the booths, and sip on my milkshake - making sure that I prolonged the drinking experience for as long as I could.
George also went to special lengths to make sure it tasted good.
A decade later, Stella Aird (nee, Kelly) - daughter of Paul and Chris Kelly from the ABC Cafe had a child, Kristi, and she too grew up, in and around the ABC Cafe. (Now, in 2005, Kristi Ulgiati, lives and works in Dubbo, NSW).
Every so often, as a young girl, she would come into the Gilgandra Fruit Mart, and order a milkshake. I can't recall now, what her favourite flavour was.
She was convinced that Uncle Con's milkshakes were so much better.
If I served her, I went to special lengths to make sure it tasted good.
She too used to sit on one of the stools, and sip away slowly, prolonging the drinking experience.
A cycle was perpetuated.
The milkshakes always taste better......
in the other Kytherian Cafe.
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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