submitted by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on 02.09.2007
I 'd like to thank George Poulos for stopping by to visit all of us California Kytherians on his way back to Australia this August. My husband Tom and I thoroughly enjoyed welcoming you into our home and showing you the sights of California….San Francisco, Haight-Ashbury, Sausalito, Berkeley, Yosemite and Southern California.
We had two wonderful gatherings. The first was in Oakland at the home of my sister and brother-in-law, Evonne and Nikos Yfantis. There we gathered with about 40 members of the Kytherian Society of California for a wonderful afternoon of friendship and fellowship.
I'd like to thank ALL the members who worked hard on this event by bringing the delicious food, and I'd especially like to thank our BBQ chefs; my husband Tom Fraioli, and brothers-in law Nikos Yfantis, and Fawaz Khanachet. The salmon was superb!
From Modesto, we continued our tour to Southern California via the scenic coastal drive down Highway 1….Monterey, 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, Big Sur, and San Simeon where we found sea lions lazily lying on the beach. Of course it was there that we ran into Greeks as well. Several Greeks from Athens and France were riding Harly-Davisons motorcycles up Hwy 1. George spotted a perfect photo opportunity in the parking lot when he noticed a Greek flag attached to the back of a motorcycle. He quickly rummaged through his suitcase in the trunk of the car, to pull out his Papou’s large Greek flag. Soon the other Greeks had returned and helped him stretch open the flag as they all chanted, ZITO H ELLAS! The other Greeks shot photos and video footage of the gathering as well.
Later we stopped in Templeton to visit Kytherian, Polyxene McClory (nee Souris), who we became acquainted with through Kythera-famiy.net. She had graciously invited us to her home for dinner and shared her old photographs of relatives from Kythera. George vowed to try to reconnect her with her Souris relatives from Karava.
The next day we took in Pismo Beach and the tiny Danish town of Solvang before going on to Santa Barbara where we would meet team leader Terry Chlentzos.
That evening we were invited to the home of Kytherian, Alex Morelli (Feros) where a large family gathering was taking place to celebrate two birthdays of family members. To all of our amazement, George recognized most of the people in the old photographs of Alex's photo albums, as people very close to his family. Included was an old photo of none other than our own KFN Team Leader James Prineas who she referred to in her photo album as "Dimitri the Aussie" , who helped them when they first arrived in Kythera because the "cabby" couldn't understand English.
The next morning we left Santa Barbara for Ventura to have coffee with Connie Pappas Hillman. Connie prepared the most wonderful coffee and Greek sweets for us to munch on in her beautiful home with panoramic views of the California coast. Connie was the former manager for Elton John and is a good friend of Terry Chlentzos. Click here to see a photo of George posing with his new bud, Connie’s husband, Chris Hilllman, formerly of the 70’s rock band the BYRDS. Thank you Terry for arranging those two gatherings!
From Ventura it was on to Malibu, to have lunch at Taverna Tony's and to see the exhibit of the Greeks on the Black Sea at the Getty Villa. Terry drove the scenic route taking us down Sunset Blvd, past Rodeo Drive, and on to Pasadena.
The following day we had our Southern California Kytherian Gathering, held at Wahib's Middle East Restaurant. Fourteen Kytherians gathered, most of whom had never met, for a wonderful afternoon of friendship and sharing. Hopefully, this gathering was the impetus for the beginnings of a Southern California Kytherian Society.
Georgia Pine (Aronis) took the initiative to launch a Southern California Kytherian Society Website, in hopes of recruiting more interested people.
Newfound friendships were formed at that gathering which led to a evening out in Old Town Pasadena. Cynthia Cavalenes-Jarvis, her husband Ron, and Pete Bellessis, joined KFN team members Terry, George and me, as we had meze and drinks at Café Santorini, a Greek restaurant of course, that we just happened to come upon in old town.
The following day, the group visited St. Sophia Cathedral in Los Angeles, and cruised through Papa Christo's famous Deli-Restaurant across the street from the Cathedral in the Byzantine-Latino district of Los Angeles. Cynthia again offered her assistance by navigating her way through the Hollywood Hills so George could take a photograph of the Hollywood sign. She drove us past the Paramount Pictures Studios, where she worked for several years, three of which she worked as the personal assistant to Shelley Long, on the set of “Cheers”.
After one last lunch at El Cholo Mexican Restaurant, we said our goodbyes.
Terry took George on one last tour through Venice Beach before dropping him off at LAX for the long plane ride home. After Cynthia dropped me at the Burbank airport, we each headed back to our own destinations.
Thanks again George for a wonderful visit! We look forward to seeing you again soon!
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