Harbor Style Harbor Style March 2018 : Page 69

to eat. “I was sitting at the table and I noticed a box that contained coffee and sugar for preparing Turkish coffee. So I said to her, ‘Can I have a teaspoon of sugar?’ and at that time I did not understand why, but she burst into tears.” Port’s parents shortly arrived in Loutraki and the family started towards Athens in a truck. “We had to abandon the truck at some point because the road had been blown up and we had to walk.” A Changing World On their way home the family stopped at a roadside cafe, “tired as we were,” Port continued. Her father’s money that he had brought with him when the family left Athens two years earlier was supposed to last the duration of their exile. He soon learned it was worthless after he ordered a popular treat for his daughter. The price? The entire amount of all the money he had on him. When the family was about to leave the cafe, the price went up even more, and “My father was almost in tears as he did not have enough to cover the new price.” Fortunately, the waiter understood and the family went on their way. They reached Athens in the dark and her father called the landlord, Charilaos Paligginis, and found that he had moved all of their belongings into his own apartment for safekeeping. A Gestapo officer also occupied a room there. “We asked how did you do this while this officer was there,” Port recalled. The landlord answered that the officer was always drunk and “did not notice the two pianos and the two dining room sets.” The family ended up living with the landlord and his family for 11 months “free of cost until we could muster enough business and money to have a place of our own.” Entering the third grade, Port had a difficult time at first catching up as she had missed the first and second grades. Some classes and concepts were alien to her, but she managed to catch up and even went on to attend the prestigious American College for Girls in Athens, where she studied English. That would serve her well later when she became the official interpreter for her family. The Sarfatis sent for Chrysoula, and she came to live with them at the age of 15; Port was 9. “We grew up like sisters until 1951 when my parents and I left for the US.” The Displaced Persons Act “thanks to President Truman,” Port said, “was very significant because since 1924 the US had effected a quota system for countries in Europe that were considered ‘less desirable,’ and Greece was one of them.” Needing a sponsor, the Sarfatis went to the Joint Distribution Committee that sent them to Houston, where Jewish Family Services provided a garage apartment. “Each week we got $18 for groceries and other incidentals; everything was from charity: furniture, kitchen utensils, clothing...” The service also looked for jobs for her parents. Port entered the eighth grade, a year lower than her grade in Greece, in order to catch up on her English proficiency. “We were very lucky. We survived and then we had the happy chance to come to America,” she said. Port said she wanted to impart this message: “Yes, the Holocaust of World War II did happen. And we must never forget that. The coming generations must never forget that. My generation will soon be gone… ³ Roommates were great for college. But not for hospitals. The last thing you want when you’re in the hospital is to share a room. That’s why, at Bayfront Health Punta Gorda, we now offer all private rooms — at no additional cost. You won’t find another hospital in the area that can provide the same. Take a tour at BayfrontVIP.com . 809 E. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda HARBOR STYLE | 69

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