2018-05-10 / Letters

A Mother’s Day Tribute

To The Editor:

During an overnight family vigil in her Wilkes-Barre home December 31, 2000, my mother died.

Born Feb. 29, 1916, her mother was 15; her father, a Greek iron worker, 30.

As the oldest, my mother helped raise her six brothers and sisters, and during World War II worked in a war factory. In 1945 she married a 35-year-old Greek restaurant cook who’d emigrated in 1934.

She was a 20th Century woman, set in her ways ... she never wore slacks or shorts ... and would have been uncomfortable in today’s world.

The house Mom grew up in had a one-room grocery storefront where my grandmother kept a notebook with “everyone’s” name. When money was tight she’d record what they took; on payday they’d settle up.

Everyone attended the Greek Orthodox Church because everyone was Greek; it was a cultural thing.

In 1948, I was born; in 1955, my sister. My mother scrimped and saved so on my father’s week vacation each summer we’d go to Wildwood N.J,. staying in a Magnolia Ave. “guest house.”

When my sister started school, my mother began working at the Empire Dress Factory, a six-block walk, retiring in 1981.

About 10 years ago it dawned on me that all of my grandmother’s relatives were Syrian, but she was Greek ... a cultural thing.

Dating my wife in 1973, I asked her what she was; she asked me what I was talking about ... a difference in cultures.

One day my mother brought home a bag of pink and blue polyester cloth strips she’d salvaged from the trash at work. My father used them as tomato plant ties until his death in 1997.

In 2001 the house I grew up in sold for $32,000; last year it was boarded up.

I still use my pink and blue inheritance each summer to tie my tomato plants.

Paul Politis

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