2009 Panigyri of the Myrtidiotissa


2009KSOCLuncheon


By Melissa Neofis-Mischa

Our President, Elaine Moulos, kicked off the celebration of the Eve of our 60 Anniversary with the following remarks:th

“For nearly 60 years now we meet to celebrate our heritage. We celebrate a tiny island with far more natives that migrated away from it than had chosen to stay.  And we do this because of 11 founding members that called a special meeting and created our organization called the Kytherian Brotherhood of General Koronaios.

Our President then called out the names of the founding fathers – George Cominos, Harry Alfieris, James Psaltis, Pater Batagious, Nick Vandas, Arthur Psaltis, Anthony Aroney, Fotis  Sophios, Angelo Simotes, John Alfieris and Alexandros Bellecy – and had people wave their hands or clap if they were related to that individual.  

The rest of us are in the room are related to the island in other ways or by other people. If I quote the old by-laws, ‘membership would be granted to any person of Kytherian descent, or anyone related to a Kytherian by marriage “within the sixth degree” and residing in the Western US.’  These old bylaws were very formal and very exacting. The old by-laws went on to say, ‘ any person affiliated with any organization that advocated the overthrow of the US would not be accepted as a member.’

This was America in 1950 – and our world looked very different but as I think of it in some ways not so different from our politics today.  Needless to say, John Alfieris and Jim Psaltis still wanted to form a group – and so they did, scheduling meetings regularly several times a year.

They met in Oakland predominantly, but there were also meetings in San Francisco.  I went to visit Stamatoula, Teddi and Tikey Zes in preparation for this gathering as I wanted to find out more about the early meetings.  Our beloved Stamatoula was very instrumental in the early days as she was asked to make the Artos for the luncheons.

I asked Stamatoula why they picked her. She said the she was the most recent immigrant, it was a great welcome and opportunity to make our bread! And she was the granddaughter of a priest! Stamatoula accepted the honor and made the bread every luncheon for 50 years.  The bread took 3 days to make, I was told, and she made 6 loaves.  You could not get bread here like Stamatoula made it as she used an island recipe!

In addition, Stamatoula never missed a meeting and her presence continues to this very luncheon since the year 1950!  As a side note, Stamatoula always had a ride because if she didn’t go there would be no bread.”

Other points of interest raised during the keynote address included:

Our first President, George Cominos, was one of the owners of the famous Hotel Cominos in Salinas.  It was situated near a major stop for the Southern Pacific Railroad.  Essentially, every dignitary who visited Salinas Valley stayed at the Cominos Hotel including – President William Taft, Herbert Hoover, and Calvin Coolidge – not to mention every California Governor were some of the Hotel guests.

Another important relationship in our history has its roots at the Hotel Cominos.  A frequent visitor was the Kytherian Association President of New York – Mixalis Semitekolos. Our KSOC ties with the New York Kytherian Association continue until today!  

This historical luncheon, filled with warm Kytherian filoxenia, concluded with two important highlights:

In a lively bidding competition between Ted Leonis and Genevieve Moulos, the Exoklist painting by artist Andrew Saffas was won by Ted!  The winning bid was $200 and was matched by our President Elaine Moulous bringing KSOC $400 for this verbal auction item.  

We connected with our newest Scholarship winner, Alexis Kerameris, via Skype.  She is a freshman attending The Art Institute of Chicago and was awarded our second Anastasia Conomos Condas Scholarship.  In her essay, My Family History on Kythera, she noted, “In my artwork I portray images of the elderly, many of which I base off elderly Kytherians I meet. I am interested in the celebration of age.”  She shared that when she visited Kythera that she took a lot of pictures of the elderly.  She then transformed the images into aliens that made the pictures “more accessible” to kids of her age.

Alexis is studying  Lithography, not surprisingly, has its roots in Greek.  Lithos means stone and grapho means to write.  Lithography is the method for printing using either a stone or a metal plate.We concluded our conversation with Alexis bidding her well wishes in her studies and Alexis extending her gratitude at winning the scholarship. 

The luncheon event was closed by a rousing raffle led by John Carvounnis. At the end of the many donated, auctioned raffle prizes $336 was raised for our scholarship fund!  Opa! 


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   © KSOCA 2012