Thursday, July 12, 2007

More Marbles

Aside
(This is Friday’s post early – family arrive tomorrow.)

One morning in Ithaca I suddenly found I was losing my balance. Clutching the sink where I was washing up I realised the dishes and the floor beneath me were all gently shaking. It turned out to be an earth tremor which measured 5.5 on the Richter scale. This was in the nineties; in 1953 the earthquake measured 7.8 and three quarters of the buildings were destroyed but only one person killed.

‘All the water was sucked out of the harbour and then a great wave came and we thought we would be drowned. I was a child and I did not mind when the ground shook- but when it jumped up and down…’ words failed Yianni; Ithaca’s most famous taxi-driver.

He took us on many exciting expeditions and although I had found Homer dull at school here the myth and legend became real. He had had many illustrious passengers in his Mercedes including Winston Churchill and Aristotle Onassis. He told me how two years earlier he had driven two British archaeologists, Sir John Cook and Miss Helen Benton who had returned to the scene of their fantastic discoveries after a gap of 56 years. He was in his eighties, she in her nineties.

‘Everywhere I took them’ said Yianni ‘they wept!’

Seventeen years later I understand how they felt.

28 comments:

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

I had my first earthquake at the kitchen sink too! 5.5 must have given you a fair old rattle.

Enjoy the time with the family, hunny.

PI said...

Thanks Sam: You must be accustomed to them. How high do they get?

TLP said...

I lived in CA for a while. We just got used to the quakes.

PI said...

tlp: the first one is quite scary. I suppose the wave they saw would be a tsunami?

R. Sherman said...

The EMBLOS and I so want to go to Greece together. As it turns out, we were both there at the same time and in the same little town in 1980. I found the Greeks to be extraordinarily friendly, although the state airline, Olympic, could use some help vis a vis customer service.

Love the fresco, BTW.

Cheers.

PI said...

Randall: a Zhivago moment. Where abouts were you?

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Ithica is so mystical in a way...A place one reads about but one never gets to see it....Except, YOU did! And Yianni....what a grand guide...How lucky that you found him!

Leigh in Atlanta said...

This is a beautifully written post but eartquakes scare me.

Sorry my comment is disjointed and doesn't mean much...I"m up early and I'm not really a morning person.

Michele sent me.

PI said...

Naomi: in Greece you can almost always find someone who speaks Emglish which - if you are naturally curious like me - is a god-send, and are helpful Mr Fix -its if you have problems.

Hi Leigh! Your comment is fine and thanks for the compliment.

BreadBox said...

PI: shouldn't you have been an archaeologist? I loved the marbles, and the photos of the Greek pieces (I think that the are greek, aren't they? I wasn't too sure about the charioteer, but the bust and the plates definitely look greek)

[Clutches head in sudden realisation: Ithaca in Greece, not Ithaca in NY,US! Suddenly the whole post comes into focus: makes sense: breadbox decides being awake might help make the day work!]

Lovely post,
N.

PI said...

Hi Breadbox! I really should remember that almost every place name is duplicated in the States. Well done for recognising they were Greek. as they say - it's all Greek to me. Not sure about being an archaelogist but I Love exploring in beautiful locations.

kenju said...

Me too, Pat! My first and only earthquake was when I was in Costa Rica. The epicenter was in Nicaragua (6.6) and it was a very eerie experience! No more, thanks.

PI said...

Judy: what shocked me was how it affected one's balance and made you realise how we rely on the earth's gravitational pull to keep us centred

Moogie said...

After living in California for most of my life I can truly relate to what you felt. Earthquakes are quite frightening, and they hit when you least expect it. Now, here in the southeast, we experience hurricanes, but at least you can see them coming and get out of the way.

PI said...

Hi Moogie! Is nowhere safe?

Finn said...

Forgive me, but I didn't read your profile right away and thought you were in Ithica, NY!

It makes so much more sense now. I'm not sure I can handle an earthquake. A hurricane, sure, but an earthquake? Of course, you were in Ithica, which makes up for a lot. ;)

Michele sent me today!

PI said...

don't worry Finn: you'd handle it, you don't have any choice. but hurricanes:(

chrysalis said...

Wow.

Hi from Michele's.

SpanishGoth said...

Safest place to be in an earthquake? In bed. But when you get shaken out, then it's time to panic

R. Sherman said...

Pat, we were in some little town on the Aegean. I was catching rays and eating feta cheese, tomatoes and olives. She was with a school crew.

Oh, for the days of drachmas.

Cheers.

PI said...

Randall: I remember it well:)

Tanya (for GreenStone Media) said...

Earthquakes are frightening! I've been through several both here in Vancouver, and while living in LA.

Michele sent me today.

IndyPindy said...

Hi, sorry, my mom was realy busy today at work, then blogger gave her problems when she tried to comment on your site earlier.

But VERY interesting blog!

Bob-kat said...

Yianni sound slike quite a character. Ithica sounds like a wonderful place to visit if it can reduce people to tears. The earthquake sounds quite scary. I have been in two and didn't even realise though!

Michele sent me to say hope you have a great weekend with your family.

PI said...

Bob-kat: I think it was because they knew they would never go there again and as my husband can't fly I know how that feels.

PI said...

Hi Tanya and welcome!

PI said...

Spanish Goth: sorry love I overlooked your comment. They used to say under a table or in a door lintel but I hope never to have to put it to the test.

PI said...

Indypindy: all forgiven - this time.