submitted by Kyrranne Thomas on 25.03.2010
Our mother, Effie Zantiotis, was born on 8/5/1916 in Pireaus to Aphroditie and Panagioti Coroneos, (Faganas) - who originally came from Karavas, in Kythera. Mum was the 5th born in a family of 8 children – 4 boys and 4 girls.
At the age of 19 she was betrothed by proxy to our father, George Zantiotis (Zaunders) last son of Emmanuel and Eirene Zantiotis (Yerandis )from Vouno, Kythera.
Effie arrived in Sydney on the maiden voyage of the P & O Liner ‘Orion’ which during the war became a troop transport ship (the ‘Orion’ was returned to normal service after the war). In 1954 our parents had their first trip to Greece and traveled back to Australia on the ‘Orion’.
Our parents were married on 29/12/1935 (as it was considered bad luck to be married in a Leap Year which would have been 1936 – the following year). Mum and Dad then moved to the ‘Elite Café’ in Taree to be in partnership with Dad’s elder brother, Jack. The ‘Elite Café’ is well known in the district.
They were blessed with a daughter, Rene, born in Taree, and after 4 years they moved to Forster and opened ‘The California Café’ in December 1940. A second daughter, Aphroditie, was born a few months later.
These were very tough years for our mother as she had to adjust to a strange land, no English, very far from her family and any other Greek families. Our mother successfully raised her 2 daughters in the Greek tradition.
In September, 1949, a big move to the city was decided and our parents opened a Milk Bar/Restaurant named ‘The Aristocrat’ in Lane Cove where they stayed till 1958. An opportunity for a Sandwich Shop arose in Camperdown – this they found much easier to manage after the Milk Bar/Restaurant. (By then, both daughters were married.)
Retiring in 1972 our parents travelled annually and extensively to America, Europe and Greece. Effie had the good fortune to enjoy seeing her parents and siblings on many of these trips.
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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