2013 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient

Alexandra Alfieris

My Family’s History on Kythera

      Both of my great grandparents were born in Kythera. According to ancient Greek mythology, Kythera is the birthplace of the goddess of love, Aphrodite. My great grandfather, Yiannis Alfieris was born in 1883 in Potamos, the largest village on the island. Every Sunday for hundreds of years, products from the entire island have been offered and sold in the town square. My great grandmother, Maria Chlentzos was born in 1882 in Christoforianika. They fell in love and left the island when they were teenagers and married in Alexandria, Egypt. In 1906, they left for America and settled in California, where they raised their seven children. The last of their seven children, and the baby of the family, was my Papou, Milton Alfier. They went through many difficulties in America, such as enduring the Great Depression. However, with hard work, dedication, and love, they got through their hardships. Because of their love for Kythera, they, among several other Kytherians, established the Cytherian Brotherhood of General Koronaios on January 5, 1950. This would later become known as the Kytherian Society of California.

       Before my great grandparents were born, my great, great, great grandfather, Ioannis Argyris hand-carved the wooden templon that frames the ancient icons in a monastery named Agia Moni. To reach this monastery, one must take a very steep and narrow road to the top of one of the highest points in all of Kythera. This beautiful monastery was built in 1840 and the work of Ioannis Argyris was completed in 1841. Today, there is a plaque in the church with his name on it, honoring his work.

        I have been attending the Kytherian luncheons since I was born. Every year when the luncheon rolls around I always feel as if I am getting ready to attend a family picnic. I love being able to see so many family members during the luncheon. It never ceases to amaze me how many relatives are still so active within this community, more than sixty years later. The time and dedication that is put into this association is truly inspiring.

       I have been lucky enough to visit Kythera and the experience was one I will never forget. In 2006, my father, Harry Alfier, my cousin Vikki Fraioli, and I visited Athens and Kythera. As soon as we stepped out of the plane our cousin Martha immediately ran over and started hugging and kissing us. It was the most amazing feeling to be so loved by someone I had never met before. When we first arrived in Kythera I could not believe how beautiful it was. The crystal clear turquoise water, the little villages, and Potamos’ town square; I felt as if I was home. Meeting all of my cousins for the first time and seeing our family’s island in person was incredible. I made many family connections on our trip and continue to stay in contact with most of my cousins that I met while I was there. I look forward to the day when I can go back to Greece and visit everyone again. 

 Su   © KSOCA 2012