Husband, Father, Partner-in-Crime, Best Friend
Husband Our romance blossomed when I was in college. Stavros visited me when I was at home in KC for the summer, making an overnight stop en route to Colorado. He blew into town driving his 1964 Rover coupe (right-hand drive). He charmed my mother with his unusual accent and exotic background, and impressed my Dad (an avowed atheist) with his intellect, irreverence, and passionate involvement in Buddhism. I, too, was completely won over — it was intoxicating to be the focus of his flirtatious attention. He appeared (see photo) at the family breakfast table totally naked but for the silky orange pareo tied around his waist. What followed was an ongoing adventure: wedding, children, travels (most often to Greece).
Father Stavros adored Adrienne and Lea. He could be rather formidable at times, but if he hurt their feelings it made him miserable. The European-style family— in which the parents continue to house, support, and nurture the children after their college years —he viewed as much superior to the US version. As a result his relationships with them only grew and deepened over the years. He was extremely fond of Ethan and embraced the McCalls as extended family, and Eleni’s birth gave him enormous pleasure and pride.
Stavros enjoyed walking a fine line that sat just barely on this side of the law. Early example: in the 70’s and early 80’s he rarely paid parking tickets (he was cured of this when his car got the boot outside the hospital while I was recovering from childbirth). He abhorred paying for certain items, and developed a habit of shoplifting razor blade cartridges, antacid pills, and athletic socks (preferably Sears). He vicariously enjoyed the transgressive lifestyle of the most notorious drug dealers in the Ios crowd. I was usually a stabilizing influence, and in turn he challenged me to inspect my risk-averse “G2S” (goody two shoes) impulses.
According to Nietzche “it is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” We had a pretty significant age difference, among other differences. But we managed to work through those differences, and in a sense grew up together. Through it all, we enjoyed each other’s company immensely. I am very lucky to have had such a friendship.