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A Bundle of Treasures
Panagiota and Evstratios Koukoulis, 1916
Panagiota Diamantidas (left) and Evstratios Koukoulis met in Asia Minor. They were married in West Virginia in 1916. This photo was taken soon after their marriage and was sent to her family to announce they were expecting a child in a new land.
Panagiota Diamantidis Koukoulis, my yiayia (grandmother) was born in the ancient coastal city of Palea Phocaea, Asia Minor, in 1889. Across the Aegean Sea from the Greek mainland, this area is located in the western part of present-day Turkey. It has a rich Greek heritage dating back thousands of years.

One of six children born to Evangelos and Arhontia Diamantidis, my grandmother came to America on Christmas Day, 1915. She and her husband soon became part of a growing Greek community in northern West Virginia. Several decades later, this stronghold of Greek culture remains intact and thriving, thanks in many ways to the efforts of these early emigrants to create a special "bridge" to future generations.

For me, that bridge is comprised of yiayia's heirlooms: a journal, her poetry, her handiwork, and other items bound together in her bundle of "treasures" which she carried with her as she narrowly escaped the warfare and destruction of her homeland.

You can read the rest of this story in the Winter 1997 issue of Goldenseal, available at newsstands, bookstores, libraries or direct from Goldenseal.