Travels with S/Y Thetis

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Our House

About 3 km East of the city of Samos is the suburb Kalami. Here, my family for several generations had a property with a modest country house. The property originally belonged to two great uncles of my maternal grandmother. They were captains with their own boats trading in the Aegean and the Black Sea. Like all seafaring Greek people of their time, they were also pirates. At any rate, since they had no children the property was eventually inherited by my grandmother, Nitsa Tremouli. It consisted of about 4,500 m2 of land adjacent to the sea and a small one story farm house of the type referred to by the Samian as pyrgos, meaning tower because it was built in a way that it could be defended from a pirate attack from the sea. The land was terraced and was mostly covered with vineyards. Somewhere alone the line the house was expanded and a second story was added. After my grandmother married my grandfather, Dr. Emmanuel Iliades, they built a verandah and expanded the property by the acquisition of an adjacent property of about 3,500 m2. During their life, they used the house in the summer months when they moved from their winter house in the town.

The Avli

Since 1949, after my grandfather’s death, my grandmother refused to visit the property because it reminded her too much of her beloved husband. The vineyards and the trees dried out, the land was overcome with brambles, and the house collapsed. After my grandmother died, the original property and house were inherited by my mother and the second adjacent property by her brother, Dr. Constantine Iliades, my beloved uncle Costas. In 1972, my mother gave the property and house to me, and uncle Costas hired a local farmer, Telemachos Papagergiou, to clean and re-cultivate both properties. Alice and I undertook to repair the old house and make it, once again, livable. Uncle Costas also built a small 2 room house on his property. Alas, he died before he ever had a chance to enjoy his little house. We completed the repairs in 1977 and from that time we have been spending a few weeks every summer in Kalami. The land has been replanted by the indispensable Telemachos and every year we are literally blessed by the bounty of his labors: olives, olive oil, grapes of several varieties, apricots, pears, figs, peaches, pomegranates, almonds, walnuts, lemons, oranges, tangerines, eggplants, onions, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, zucchini, etc.

In late 1997, our daughter Corinna bought Uncle Costas’ property and house from our cousins. This summer, 1998, we renovated the little house.

Corinna's new house

In 2000 Telemachos had a stroke and was unable to take care anymore of the property. But, he did find us a replacement: Yiorgos Hadzipanayiotis.

Yiorgos is not a farmer by profession but a well paid plumber. He did grow up in an agricultural family and farming was his relaxation hobby. His house is over the hill overlooking our own property. For several years he had been admiring our vineyard and had repeatedly told Telemachos that when he retires, he Yiorgos, would love to take care of our land. When I met him he told me that he would love to make wine from our vines, we agreed, and he is now our caretaker. Kalami Wine details Yiorgos’ efforts in viniculture and wine making. Over the years Yiorgos and his family have become our family friends.

In the summer of 2007 our beloved Telemachos passed away. His spirit is still active in Kalami and although we all miss him we also feel his presence in the soil that he labored for so many years.