In 1979, my cousin George and I flew to Greece for a two week trek. I was 20 and he was 17. On the airplane flight to Greece, as we were about to land in Athens, the stewardess (they were not called “flight attendants” back then) handed out declaration cards for the passengers to fill out and give to the customs agent when we landed.
We all read, studied, and learned about the 12 Greek Olympian Gods and the rest of their dysfunctional pantheon of miscreants, mischief-makers, and scoundrels. Now don’t look shocked. When we were young we read about Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Athena, and the rest of the gods and half-gods and the stories were nice.
From the 1960s through the 1980s, I had a friend once, contrary to popular belief, that came from a very “Greek” family. You know the type – they spoke Greek all the time, cooked Greek meals, Yiayia, who was dressed in black, lived with them, they went to Greece each summer, they went to church every Sunday…
You have seen thousands of them on Facebook, websites, and plain paper just being handed around. The “You Know You’re Greek When…” sayings. For example, you know you’re Greek when you have bottles of Ouzo and Metaxa in the house right now. Or, you know you’re Greek when you have a komboloi hanging from your rear-view mirror of your car.
In my last post, “Greeks – One Big Happy Family,” I alluded to the Greek Discount otherwise known as the “GD”. For those of you who have never received the GD – krima! it’s where the Greek owner of a business finds out you’re Greek and wham! You are given a discount just because you have some Greek ema in you.
The late Rev. George Dimopulos, a true scholar and gentleman, who was the parish priest at St. Demetrios GOC in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, once told me a story of the time he traveled to Alaska. He ended up in a small town and asked a local where a good place to eat was and he pointed to a small diner.
Say the name, Jack P. Pierce, and what comes to mind? An athlete? A whiskey company? A Greek immigrant whose make-up creations scared every generation since the 1920s, and are known throughout the world?
Jack P. Pierce was born Janus Piccoula on May 5, 1889 in Valdetsyou, Greece, and immigrated to the United States as a young teenager.
In today’s world, if the Greek diaspora wants to communicate with each other or find out what’s going on, there are many websites and social media sites that they can go to, such as our own Cosmos Philly, My Parea, Growing Up Greek American, and many others. A click of the mouse and instant contact throughout the world.
For the past year, I have been writing articles mainly about everyday things from the prospective of a Greek-American. Some articles were meant to be serious with a touch of sarcasm so the reader would think about what I was really trying to say. Other articles were just meant to be plain funny and others just to inform.
Greeklish. Every Greek-American (or Canadian) knows the meaning of this word, but for those of you who are not Greek, or a Greek not living in an English speaking country, it basically means the destruction of the civilized world! Well, not really. It’s when we start mish-mashing Greek and English, thus… Greeklish.