A long time to housesit

The old man sitting on a chair outside the house stood up, recalled Panayiotis Selviaridis. «He looked me in the eye and said: ‘Are Anastasis and Panais alive? If they are, let them come and I’ll give them the house.’» Seventy years after the Pontians fled Trabzon in disarray, the old man told Panais’s grandson Panayiotis how he had offered to stay at their place to save it from destruction. Born in Hortokopi Kavala, Selviaridis is associate professor of neurosurgery and head of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) neurosurgery clinic. In 1989 and 1994, Selviaridis made sentimental journeys to the four houses of his grandparents in the villages of Daniaha and Kapikoy in Trabzon. He talked to Kathimerini about the ruins of the chapel his grandparents had built beside his grandmother’s home in Daniaha, a large marble fountain bearing the inscription «This fountain was built by Haralambos Selviaridis in 1893» outside his grandfather’s house in Kapikoy, and the neighborhood that looked just like the painting he had. And there were the people, old friends and neighbors of his family, and strangers too. Fatme, who lives in his grandmother’s house, never knew his family but offered him a cool drink. Salih from Livera, who still speaks fluent Pontian, became his guide. Another old man, touched to hear Pontian spoken, offered him pears from his garden. And the guide was so pleased when Selviaridis found his grandfather’s house that he fired shots into the air. This year Selviaridis plans to take his son on a visit to the villages.

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