submitted by Phillip Con Poulos on 29.04.2006
From the Newslettter of the Ex-Services Home, Ballina, September, 2002.
PO Box 350 Ballina 2478
Ph: 6686 2383
Fax: 6686 6469
My entry into the world was in a small village called Karava on the small Greek Island of Kythera in 1928. As I showed promise as a scholar, I was sent to live with my uncle and aunty in Athens to be properly educated. Unfortunately, the German invasion of Greece during WWII resulted in my return to Kythera ending my dreams of academicsuccess.
Post WWII, Kythera offered nothing — I was fortunate that my uncle remembered this and bought me a passage to Australia in 1947 on the Rodnik. I went to Lismore where I was housekeeper for another uncle and his family.
Here I was introduced to Peter Poulos who lived in Ballina and was co-owner of the Monterey Cafe in River Street. We married in 1948 and had three children, but tragedy struck in 1967 when we lost Peter to leukaemia. We had just sold the Monterey but I had to go back to work because three children under eleven cost money!
I worked in numerous cafes in Ballina from 1967 to 1981. By this time all my children had secure jobs so I retired. In June 1981, I had a stroke which rendered me partly paralysed. After six months of rehabilitation at St Vincent’s Hospital, (Sydney), I returned home where I managed to ‘shuffle’ around the house for twenty years.
On Christmas Eve 2001, I became a resident of the Nursing Wing and whilst it isn’t home, I have no complaints. The people are very caring and friendly. I have no regrets in my life and would do everything again. My hardships made me strong and I’m proud of that. My children and grandchildren have been and still are the mainstays in my life. I am very blessed.
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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