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The loving couple Athanasios and Louiza Miris, together offering many years of service to the Church and their Community.
Photo TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos
BOSTON – The life path of Athanasios and Louiza Miris has its own story, full of all kinds of experiences and joys, and always revolving around the Church and the Community, which they served faithfully and devotedly – especially the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church of Flushing, NY.
When Athanasios was President of the Parents and Teachers Association of the Greek Afternoon School in Flushing, he took the lead when they travelled up to St. Basil Academy, and there he started the tradition of roasting ten lambs, to be enjoyed by the children of both the Academy and the Greek School of the Flushing, whom he wanted to honor.
Athanasios recalled that, “back then, Archbishop Iakovos and Telly Savalas happened to be there for a baptism and when they smelled the lambs (roasting) they came and ate with us.”
Both Athanasios and Louiza have been faithful and devoted readers of The National Herald for decades.
Athanasios was born in Lamia, and he said, “I was six years old and I remember very well as if it were today, when the Germans were bombing Lamia in 1941.” Louiza comes from Limni, Evia.
Athanasios left Lamia at the age of fifteen and went to study at the Sivitanidios School of Engineering in Piraeus. “I specialized in petrol engines. I returned to Lamia and worked at the electricity company. In 1955, I did my papers to come to America, but because of my skills with diesel engines I was scheduled to go into the Greek Navy. When I went to depart, they stopped me at the airport, because I had been drafted. I was 19 years old, going on 20. After my discharge I came to America in December, 1959, brought there by mother’s brother,” he said, adding that, “my mother was born here in America. My grandfather had come to America in 1896 and in 1921 my grandfather took them (back) to Greece.”
In Flushing, Athanasios found work in an auto repair shop. He told TNH, “the owner was Jewish. Back then, we did all the repairs of all gas and diesel cars, even auto body repairs. After three years the owner said to me, ‘I want to make you a manager because I want to relax more.’ On the first day, he dropped a ten dollar bill on the office floor. I took the ten dollars and as soon as he came back, I said you lost a ten dollar bill, Here,’ and I gave it to him. That night I went home and I told my uncle, who told me. ‘be careful because he is testing you.’ I told my uncle that if he is testing me, then he is the one with a problem. Two weeks later the owner threw a twenty dollar bill down. I took it and as soon as he came in I said, ‘Maury, here’s your twenty, but the next time you throw money down I’m not going to bend down to pick it up. I’m going to take the broom and throw it away.’”
One day his wife complained that the cash register was short two dollars. “I called her husband over,” Athanasios said, “and told him in front of her, ‘the next time you take two dollars from the cash register to buy lunch, put a receipt in the cash register so your wife doesn’t accuse me.’ He took his wife aside and told her “never question the kid about money again.’”
Athanasios worked there for ten years and then opened his own auto body repair shop, which he ran for twenty-five years. He was an active member of the St. Nicholas community and served in various capacities. “I got involved with the youth organization, GOYA which was big. I remained a bachelor for ten years because I had two sisters to marry in Greece and when I finished, I married my wife in 1968 with a big wedding with a band and lots of food at the Crystal Palace,” in Astoria, he told TNH.
Asked about the secret to their successful marriage, Louiza said: “love, mutual respect, kindness.” She added that, “Thanasis is a very good person. He didn’t let me work – he would rather work on Saturday, too. I became pregnant with our Alekos, our ‘levendis’, our child, who is loved even by the stones.”
They moved to Nashua, NH five years ago. Louiza said, “we came here for our son and daughter-in-law and our grandchildren.” Alekos is married to Constantina Alexopoulos, daughter of Rev. Soterios and the late Presvytera Eleni Alexopoulos and they are now members of the community of St. Philip. Athanasios has been an Ahepan for decades and Louiza is a Philoptochos member.
They love living in Nashua. “We have a very good daughter-in-law who is raising our three grandchildren, all three boys, as straight A students. We are happy to be close to our children and grandchildren, and this gives us life,” Louiza said.
They maintain contact and ties with their friends back in Flushing, however, and asked if they ever regretted leaving Greece, Athanasios said, “no,” and Louiza said “never.”
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