CAMBRIDGE, MA – Demetrios and Despina Mattheos of Lowell, MA got the surprise of their lives on October 28, when they were surprised in a surprise celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary, in a carefully orchestrated effort by his three children, Dr. Steven, John, and Mary-Ellen (Monias).
The children notified the Mattheoses’ family and friends and emphasized absolute confidentiality. And their plan went off without a hitch.
Following Divine Liturgy on the morning of the 28th Steven invited his parents to brunch at the Four Season Hotel in Boston. As his parents were driving there, along with John, his wife, Nancy, daughter, Gabriela, and Mary-Ellen, Steven called them and told them that the Desfina restaurant in Cambridge – which they preferred to the Four Seasons but which was normally closed on Sundays – had decided to open in honor of Oxi Day. Unbeknownst to the Mattheoses, it opened because their three children had reserved it for their parents’ surprise anniversary party.
Sure enough, the honorees were surprised to be welcomed by over 70 relatives and close friends.
Speaking collectively for the three siblings, Steven congratulated his parents and described their golden anniversary as “a feat worthy of praise,” noting that only 5 percent of married couples enjoy that milestone.
“Thank you for everything, seen and unseen, heard and unheard,” he continued. “I know that dad jokes about how lucky he was to marry you, Mom. But in reality, it was we who were so lucky, so lucky to have been raised in home with such love, faith, loyalty, discipline, and a word that cannot be translated, ‘philotimo.’
“Next, I would like to say thank you to all of you who took the time to be here and more importantly, to be in our lives. Weddings and anniversaries are not just about brides and grooms. These gatherings are about family and community. My parents care so deeply about everyone in this room. They care about community. They are actively and endlessly involved at the church, the Greek school, and the festivals. My parents always welcomed all of our friends into their home.”
He then read a poem he wrote for his parents: “Mom and Dad, when you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator and I immediately wanted to paint another one.
“When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you flash a proud smile when you saw my report card and I immediately wanted to do better on the next one.
“When you thought I wasn’t looking I heard you say a prayer, and I knew there is a God I could always talk to and I learned to trust in God.
“When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.
“When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you give of your time and money to help people who had nothing and I learned that those who have something should give to those who don’t.
”Visibly moved, his father said: “we thank God, who granted us good children, good friends, and we thank you very much because you honor with your presence this celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary.”