I MISS HIM STILL…

A lot is said about the influence of grandmothers, not quite so much about grandfathers… I was fortunate enough to know both my grandfathers. Strangely enough, I didn’t really know them both at the same time.

This is a brief story of Theodore Haralambos Catsoulis.

My paternal grandfather lived in the same country town as we did. He was tall, with a ready smile and an open heart… we children adored him…no matter how busy he was, he always had time for us, maybe just a word or two then, but always kept his promise to ‘be there soon’. I really didn’t understand that he had so much to tell us, much of which I didn’t hear till many years later. He was a farmer, a bee keeper, a man who could turn his hand at anything. That I knew… I also knew that he came from another country, Greece, but when, at 5 years old, I didn’t know to ask…

It was many years after his passing that I heard that he had been chosen to be a guard at the Greek Palace…a great honour. I still haven’t been able to find the exact year, but I would think that it was in his early 20’s as that was the norm. How I would love to have a photo of him in the uniform. The basic uniform hasn’t changed a lot since that time… this photo was taken outside the Greek Palace which is now used to house the President.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 6.32.06 pm

(c) worldoneness.tripod.com

Papouli (grandfather, one of several spellings) was born in 1878, on the small Greek island of Kythera… this photo (below) was most likely taken around the time of him becoming a guard (evzone) or not long after. I have him watching over me as I write this… he came to Australia in 1904, worked in cafes before actually owning some, in northern NSW, then moved to Aberdeen, where he had a farm.

papouli_formal

 

 

He was to become a farmer for the rest of his life, raising his 9 children along the way. Theodore and Chrisanthe Catsoulis were well known among not only the village of Urunga, but also the Greek community and their home was always full of people.
I have written more about them at
That Moment in Time
http://thatmomentintime-crissouli.blogspot.com.au/2011/07/grandma-dont-make-marmalade.html
Papouli loved to sit in the verandah and tell us the stories of how things worked and grew. He showed us the honeycomb, dripping with golden delight and warned us to keep away
from the bees till he said it was safe. I can see him in a veiled hat and smoking the hives till this day.
He helped us pick fruit from the many trees and walked through the garden with us,
introducing us to aniseed and fennel…He showed us how to shake the macadamia tree
till the ripe nuts fell and took us to one of the sheds to crack them open in a vice. I still
think of him every time I enjoy that fragrant fresh nut meat from a newly cracked nut.
We fed the chickens from the huge barrels of meal mix that he had in the storeroom, of course, tasting a little on the way, just because.
The farm was across a road from the lake on the bottom side and below the railway line at the top.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 6.33.51 pm

                                                                       (c) Catsoulis

 

 

1927 in Urunga was the year that the last trip of the Urunga ferry took place, as a bridge was built across the Bellinger River…

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 6.34.03 pm

(c) Picture Australia

It was also the year that the new Ocean View Hotel was built… to replace the original which was burnt down…

 

Original 1896

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 6.34.17 pm

 

(c) unknown

1927

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 6.34.31 pm

 

(c) unknown
current, still standing…

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 6.34.44 pm

(c) Crissouli
The hotel has a story all it’s own, for another day…
My father’s family on the beach at Urunga… very different attire to today…

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 6.35.00 pm

 

 

 

 

(c) Catsoulis

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 6.35.10 pm

(c) Catsoulis

His story is long, though my time with him was short… he died in 1953, on 19th May, 26 years after moving his family to Urunga in 1927.

Theo Catsoulis SMH 1953 died 19 May

Sydney Morning Herald, May, 12953 sourced via TROVE

Obituary Theodore Catsoulis 1953

Theo wasn’t 76 until 21st June, having been born in 1878.

 

 

My beloved grandfather was to pass away not long after this photo was taken.
If I close my eyes, I can still smell the faint aroma of his pipe, feel the texture of his cardigan and see his loving smile.

I miss him still.

 

Papouli
(c) Catsoulis

 

Reblogged from  The Back Fence of Genealogy, 28th August 2012

(c) Crissouli

The Back Fence of Genealogy

 

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2 thoughts on “I MISS HIM STILL…

  1. A beautiful memorial Chris. It brought tears to my eyes and memories of my own quite grandad who also smoked a pipe and also had a vice to crack the macadamias. Simple memories to be treasured.

    Like

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