‘I’m Greek, you know!’
I remember A T Casdagli’s last words to me. We were queuing up for some event - I forget what now, but probably a play. He was quite elderly then. He was standing in front of me and we started to talk and then suddenly he told me ‘I’m Greek, you know!’ And those were his last words to me.
Memories of Cas and Wendy are among my most treasured.
To know them was to love them.
The Chance Meeting Of A Life Time
In 1971, when my husband Don and I came from Rome to Athens on our way back to Australia, we decided to give Athens a go for 3 months. Hence we were looking for somewhere to stay without committing ourselves to a lease. When I picked up the Athens News and saw an advertisement from an English couple who wanted to let while they returned to England over the summer, it sounded ideal. So I called up, and was asked by a lady where we came from. We were invited around. My first glimpse of Wendy was a grand woman at the end of the room with swept-up red hair in a long dress. I was quite scared, but we were quickly put at ease. We must have passed the test, as I was invited around the next day - Don was at work – and Cas, as everyone called him, showed me the ropes. It ended in a walk through the market with Wendy and an ouzo about lunchtime poured by Cas, which was very strong! As we stayed in the house over the summer, we pieced together a little about them, especially when an embroidered map of Crete fell off the wall while I was cleaning. I read the reverse side with amazement. Wendy said much later that they had been very trusting, as she had left her diamonds behind, taped under the Singer sewing machine! We became great friends. We loved them so, and named our son Alexis after Cas. I call that the chance meeting of a lifetime.
Margaret Bergomi, architect, Sydney, Australia
The reverse side of the Map of Crete embroidery
A Latter Day Zorba The Greek
For my first birthday, Grandpa made this embroidery, with the MCC logo, 'egg and bacon' colours, cricket etc. It hangs in my office. A couple of years ago the squash players who are "Jesters" in our squash club in SantaFe became interested in press articles about Grandpa, and I gave a talk about squash and creativity running through the generations. We had a great time talking about squash, creativity and history, and the next generation over a wonderful dinner. I think of Grandpa as a latter day Zorba the Greek and Prouder Than Ever will help me to remember to live life.
Martin Casdagli, Sante Fe, USA
Martin Christopher Casdagli, his initials MCC, as in Marylebone Cricket Club
Simon in Leura, Australia writes ‘My grandfather’s humanity and concern for all around him shines through each page of Prouder Than Ever. We used to call him Grandpa Bobcat. I believe this was the result of us pestering him to read us a bedtime story every night one summer. The story was a kids’ abbreviated version of Old Yeller. He made a great show of disliking doing this before settling us down and reading to us. The hero of the story was an old dog and the villain of the piece a bobcat. He always made it clear who he favoured!
Jeremy from Tallinn, Estonia writes ‘I remember so well Grandpa telling me the story of the windows, the aluminium strips that the American & British bombers used to drop to confuse the German radar systems. One morning, he found the camp grounds scattered all over with it and picked up some strips of it and stuck them in his diary.’