x

Politics

Theodoros Halikiopoulos, TNH Reader since 1962, Shares His Story

September 30, 2018

NEW YORK – “The Ethnikos Kyrikas newspaper was my first contact with my country when I came to America in 1962 for a better life. Illegal, without knowing a single English word, without having one of my own people and a relative, the National Herald became my companion and my comfort in those difficult times. From then until today, for 56 years, reading the newspaper is a daily way of life,” said Theodoros Halikiopoulos in an interview with TNH.

Asked how he decided to immigrate to America, the 81-year-old Greek pointed out the difficulties of life in the post-war years on Lefkada, as well as in all of Greece.

He told TNH, “Many young people, myself among them, had a great dream to come to America for work and a better quality of life. Many times I tried to leave without success either because of my young age or because I did not have a relative here to invite me. I tried my fortunes in Athens, but I did not even like it. America had always been in my mind. I was dreaming about living in such a rich country.”

Halikiopoulos continued, “One day, miraculously, I read in the Athenian newspaper ads that the then Greek government would grant naval licenses to people aged 16 to 25, ‘That’s my opportunity to go to America,’ I immediately thought. Without any delay I did all the necessary procedures, I took the leave, and a few months later shipped out on the boats. On my first trips to America I could not leave the ship because I was not allowed as a young man at work.

“Later on one of the trips, we went to Philadelphia to load oil. They let me go out in the evening with a group for fun. I did not say anything to anyone about my plans. As soon as my foot touched the ground, I slowly moved away from them, got a taxi and went to Washington. There, an acquaintance, an elderly gentleman, hosted me for a few days in his home and found me a job in a restaurant. My dream slowly became a reality.

“But joy turned into fear when a few days later I learned that they were looking for me from the immigration service, apparently someone betrayed me that I was illegal in America. They went to the house where I was staying with my photo, asking for information. I was afraid, I hid, and a few days later I fled for New York. My first stop was Time Square. There were many Greeks in the area during those years. I asked for a job with a fake name for fear of being recognized as a wanted person. I stayed in hotel rooms and worked in restaurants.

“I always had the fear of being arrested and deported back to Greece until I got the green card,” he said.

“As a legitimate citizen, my life calmed down. I settled in Long Island, changed profession, from the restaurants I went to the insurance business, where I am until today. I married my beloved wife Irene and we have two good kids Krystallo, a gym owner, and Demetris, an ophthalmologist, and two beautiful grandchildren, Nikos and Alexandra.”

“My life in America looks like Odysseas’ adventure, but I glorify and thank God for all that He has given me,” he said.

RELATED

ATHENS - A regulation in an omnibus bill will allow repatriated Greeks from Albania and the former Soviet Union to receive full national pensions, Labor and Social Protection Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said during a discussion in Greek Parliament on Tuesday.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Mitsotakis: Today’s Bill Comes to Define a New Field in Which Everyone Should Move

ATHENS - At the end of August 2022, I announced a legislative initative for the upgrading and modernisation of the protection, the operation of the security agencies and the operation of the communications and after the change in National Intelligence Service's (EYP) leadership and the establishment of double check to the legal intrusions," stated Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis addressing the parliament on Thursday during the debate on Justice Minstry's bill on the lifting of the communications confidentiality, cybersecurity and protection of the citizens' personal data.

The holiday season is swiftly upon us: gingerbread houses, eggnog, and festive parties with our nearest and dearest.

PERTH AMBOY — People are asking questions about a storm protection proposal for New York and New Jersey that would be among the most massive and costly flood control projects ever done in America.

NEW YORK. A delegation of the Diaspora Sector of Greece’s ruling New Democracy party visited New York City December 1-4.

WASHINGTON — The House gave final approval Thursday to legislation protecting same-sex marriages, a monumental step in a decadeslong battle for nationwide recognition of such unions that reflects a stunning turnaround in societal attitudes.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.