I haven’t had the desire to write in a while, but with all that’s going on this election year, I finally found the inspiration. My grandfather and I haven’t spoken to one another in over four years. Our relationship was never great, but then again I lived in a different state and/or country than the majority of my family. The last memory I have of my grandfather isn’t a fantastic one, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still care about him even though I have no intentions of contacting him. I’m stubborn as a mule, which is apparently a trait we both share so here we are stuck in our ways. Anyways, this isn’t about my nonexistent relationship with my pappoús, but he is what inspired me to write this. I was visiting my parents last weekend and my pappoús called my dad. I could hear his rough Greek voice reaching through the phone as he started to yell about fascism and hatred.
Eventually, my dad got off the phone and told my mom and I that it was the fourth time my pappoús had called that day. My dad started to tell my mom and me about how my grandfather felt about Trump and the feelings that this election has flooded his memories with. For a little background, my grandfather, who I refer to as pappoús, lived in Greece when WWII started. I’m not going to go into details about what he experienced and the atrocities he saw because that’s not entirely what I’m writing this about. What I will share is that my pappoús was born in Greece, experienced WWII, eventually left Greece, and came to the USA through Ellis Island.
That being said, the call my dad received from my pappoús made me realize something. Pretty soon all of those that were around during WWII will no longer be here. Those that actually experienced the horrible realities of WWII won’t be here as a reminder. All that will be left are the stories that were shared along the way and the hope that future generations have great history teachers. NPR wrote an article a few years back called Is HIV Still A Death Sentence? Young People Weigh In. I was horrified to read what some of the perspectives were. One person actually referred to HIV as a myth. I was so enraged I posted a response to the article (*see below).
I read my response recently and one of the sentences stuck out. “Talk to someone who was around in the late 70s or early 80s and listen to their experience of seeing many of their friends/coworkers/acquaintances drop like flies.” This line reminded me of the reality that will soon be before us. Sooner than later those that were around during the 30s and 40s, won’t be around to remind us of WWII. Some new “young people” will come around and try to refer to everything as myth and folklore. I’m not saying we are doomed or anything. What I am saying is for those that still have family and friends that were around during WWII, sit down and talk to them. Listen to their stories and put them in your memory bank and never forget. Better yet, record the conversations or write them down to share.
Please continue to educate yourself. Remember that going to a fancy school doesn’t mean you are highly educated. Going out and continuously seeking knowledge is the only way to get and stay educated. Maybe one day I will stop being a stubborn mule and will reach out to my pappoús again to record all the stories he has to share.
*Response to: Is HIV Still A Death Sentence? Young People Weigh In
To think that some people are comparing HIV/AIDS to a myth or the boogeyman and that it “isn’t much different from worrying about other STDs.” I don’t understand why people choose to be so ignorant. Talk to someone who was around in the late 70s or early 80s and listen to their experience of seeing many of their friends/coworkers/acquaintances drop like flies. HIV is not a thing of the past and it isn’t some folkloric myth. People might not be dying left and right anymore, but you are kidding yourself if you think a lifetime of expensive pill popping and side-effects is not the equivalent to a death sentence. Also, if you are comparing the HIV/AIDS epidemic (something true, actually happened, still a problem, facts proving its existence) to a myth (unfounded belief, exaggerated, partially or totally fictitious), it is time you purchase a dictionary. Educate yourself, people.