Tag Archives: Greece

Irony and cruelty: My father’s endless journey from Pearl Harbor

Flight Lt. Christos G. Halkias, RHAF, in the cockpit of a Hurricane, c. 1941. (click to enlarge - photo courtesy of author)

My father and Pearl Harbor have been inexorably linked through the irony of history, and the cruelty of coincidence. When America was attacked by Japan early on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Flight Lt. Christos George Halkias was a 21-year old fighter pilot making his way to North Africa by land after escaping a German prisoner of […]

My Father’s Day

Dad holding me, Christmas 1960. (click to enlarge - photo courtesy of author)

On Pearl Harbor Day, 1996, I came home early from work, and within minutes of walking in the door, my sister called with news of our father’s death. After hanging up, the poet Robert Lowell came to mind. A New Englander who spent his life at odds with an old-school father, Lowell once wrote: I struck […]

Memorial Day: The loneliness of the funeral officer

The funeral offer presenting the next of kin's burial flag from the deceased veteran's casket. (Click to enlarge - US Navy photo in public domain)

In 430 B.C., after the first year of the Peloponnesian War – arguably history’s most devastating civil conflict, between Athens and Sparta – the Athenians gathered to bury their dead and hear a eulogy by the general and statesman Pericles. In what has been described as the paradigm for Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, he uttered these […]

In bleak midwinter, hail the gods of early spring!

While sandlot baseball has virtually died among kids in the U.S., Americans abroad play it as a reminder of home, as these Marine show in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2006. (Photo by US Marine Corps, released for use in public domain)

In the weeks-long news blitz about this winter’s bone-chilling, record-setting cold and snow, it escaped me that Major League Baseball spring training camps opened this week. While channel surfing, I noticed a countdown clock almost wound down behind a sportscaster. Then he spoke the magic words: “Pitchers and catchers report!” As a teenager I followed the national pastime, even after […]

Teachers matter: How Mr. Miskell changed the world

One afternoon almost 40 years ago, my ninth grade geometry teacher, Mr. Miskell, stood in front of a chalkboard, paused, and then proceeded to change the world – making it a better place for me, forever. This time of year, around Labor Day, with local schools gearing up for fall, my thoughts always turn to him, […]

An immigration tale: Yiayia’s American dream

Last week, in my piece on soccer, I wrote about several immigrant boys playing a pick up game on Portland’s Western Prom. They probably came from the neighborhood surrounding nearby Howard C. Reiche Community School. Whenever walking my dogs that way, I wave and nod to families sitting out on their stoops in the cooler sunsets. They come from […]

On Father’s Day, let’s not forget granddads who mattered

My paternal grandfather George was one tough hombre. Armed with just a grade school education back in the old country, he lived his 92 years there with the energy of a teenager. Known to us by the affectionate Greek moniker of “Pappou,” he possessed drive and ambition that kept his eyes on the horizon, forever dreaming. A former editor of […]