Trakas speaks about Greeks settling in the Upstate at Lanier Library

Published 6:43 pm Thursday, August 11, 2011

Deno Trakas, a professor of English at Wofford College, will describe the immigration and settlement of a Greek community in

Deno Trakas

Spartanburg and the South Carolina Upstate on Tuesday, Aug. 16 at noon at the Lanier Library.
In his book “Because Memory Isn’t Eternal: A Story of Greeks in Upstate South Carolina” Trakas describes how his grandfather, Nicholas Trakas, left his village in southern Greece, boarded a steamship for America, made his way to Ellis Island, and from there to Spartanburg, where he became the city’s first Greek resident.
He opened The Elite, one of the finest candy kitchens in the South, built a house on a $44 lot, bought a pet parrot that could cuss in Greek and began a wave of immigration from his home country into the growing Upstate area.
Trakas tells a personal but, as he says, peculiarly Southern story by describing four generations of Trakas family members, their friends and their hardworking business partners. Through them he’s able to tell greater story. Trakas reflects on how these complex, larger-than-life characters have preserved the best of Greek culture down South. This memoir includes many misadventures, including the day two Trakas boys accidentally burned down the family’s church.
In addition to “Because Memory Isn’t Eternal,” Trakas has published fiction and poetry in many literary magazines and anthologies and two of his poetry chapbooks, “The Shuffle of Wings” and “Human and Puny,” are published by Halocene Press.
The free program is part of the Lanier Library’s Brown Bag Lunch series.

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