Varsamas (“Victor”) Nikolaos Polizos

 

He was the seventh of nine children, the third son of Nikolaos Polizos and the first of three sons born to Nikolaos’ third wife Alexandra (“Alexandro”) Angelí. He was probably named after his maternal grandfather.

 

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Varsamas Polizos was a man remembered for his strong handshakes, playing the harmonica and the santouri, his hobby of fishing (photo), and enjoying a glass of red wine with dinner

 

 

 

Timeline:

 

Jan. 31 - Wed.or Jul. 13 - Tues. 1877

Varsamas was born in his mother’s home, in the village of Ano (Upper) Klima on the island of Skopelos, Greece.

 

Sept. 15

1883

6 yrs old

Varsamas’s future wife, Ourania Konstantinos Fivya, was born in Ano Klima, Skopelos across the village lane from his house.

 

 

 

 

Varsamas learned to read and write from his uncle Andonis (his father’s brother) while working on a family boat.

 

 

1903

26 yrs old

Varsamas lived in Pensacola, FL for several years at the same time as his younger brother, Ioannis. They owned a fruit stand together for some time. Most fruit stands were located on Garden St. or Chase St.

 

 

 

 

The following information has been obtained from the Pensacola Historical Society using the Residence and Business directories of that time:

The first Polizos family members were located in the Pensacola directory in 1896. Their names were Thomas Poleazo and Antionia (probably Andonis) Pollizzo. Thomas lived and works at 407 S. Palafox and Antionia lived and worked at 507 S. Palafox. Both listed their occupations as “Fruits and Confection”.

In 1898, three names appeared in the directory. All lived and worked at their stated addresses. Antionia now listed his name as “Antonio Polizo” and lived at the same address. A Constantine Polizo was listed at 300 W. Government and Thomas Polizo was now listed at 703 S. Palafox. All three names were listed under both “Fruits” and  “Confectioners”.

In 1903, Antonio Polizo continued to live and work under the title “Fruits” at 507 S. Palafox. An Apostle Polizo lived with Antonio. A Nick Polizo lived and was listed under the employment title “Fruits” at 800 N. Alcaniz. Thomas Polizo continued to live and be listed under the employment description “Fruits” at 407/409 S. Palafox.

In 1905, a Varsama Polejo lived at 407 S. Palafox and listed under the employment title “Fruits”. Nick Polozo lived at 218 E. Gadsden and worked under the employment title “Fruits” at 30 S. Palafox. This was also the same year that Konstantinos, Varsama’s brother, arrived in America.

In 1907, 1908, and 1909, we found V. Polizo and Co. listed under “Fruits” at 407 S. Palafox. The company consisted of Victor Polizo and Nick Mitchell. Victor’s home was listed at the same address under Versama Polizo. Also in 1908, Constantine Polizo (Varsama’s brother) was listed as living at 10 S. Palafox and worked as an Oyter Opener at H.G. Jacobson. In 1909, John Fever (Fivyas) was listed as living with Victor at 407 S. Palafox.

In 1909, the Annunciation of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church of Pensacola, FL was created. The church had an initial membership of 120 people. Within that membership were eight families. The church building was completed on Aug. 17, 1910 on the NE corner of Wright St. and Reus St. The parish priest’s home was soon built next door. The church remained there for 42 years until June of 1952. The first priest brought to Pensacola in May 1911 was the Reverend Father Joakim Georges. He was from the island of Hydra, Greece and served until Nov. 16, 1918 when he passed away from the pandemic Spanish Flu. Varsmas was probably a founding member of this church.

In 1910 and 1911, V.N. Polizo lived and worked at 407/409 S. Palafox. He was also listed as Victor N. Polizo living at 407 S. Palafox. Constantine Polizo lived at the same address as V.N. Polizo and was listed under “Grocery” at 2 S. Tarragona. John Fivyas also lived with V.N. Polizo. In 1910, Angelo Angeletos was listed under the employment title “Confections” and lived at 423 N. DeVilliers.

In 1913, Victor Polizo continued to live and work at 407 S. Palafox.

In 1916, Victor had the same information listed. John Polizo and Jennie (Evyenia) lived and worked as grocers at 823 N. 14th Ave. John and brother George Fevgas (Fivyas) also lived and worked at a restaurant at 413 S. Palafox.

In 1919 and 1920, Charles Polijo (Polijo and Co.) worked at a restaurant at 127 E. Wright and lived at the Southern Hotel. The Polijo Co. included Charles, John Demos, and Alex Salomis. Additionally, there was a John Polijo who lived at 51 E. Chase and was the proprietor of The Famous Restaurant.

In 1921, Charles Polizo (Diomes & Polizo) was listed as living at 49 E. Chase.

 

Dec. 17

1903

26 yrs old

Wright Brothers first powered flight, Kittyhawk, NC  http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/wright.htm

 

 

1906

29 yrs old

Varsamas became a naturalized American citizen. He later obtained his Social Security Number: 420-36-2827.

 

Jul. 22

1907

30 yrs old

Varsamas married Ourania Konstantinos Fivya in Ano Klima, Skopelos and moved into the house in which she was born.

 

Jul. 4

1908

31 yrs old

Varsamas’s daughter, Kerasia (“Keratso”), was born. She was the first of seven children, all born in their maternal home in Ano Klima. Kerasia was baptized by Alexandra (“Alexandro”) Mihilis, from Glossa (Alexandra was Varsamas’s older half-sister).

 

 

1912

35 yrs old

Varsamas’s father, Nikolaos Polizos, died in Ano Klima.

 

Oct. 18

1912

 

Balkan Wars  Begin  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balkan_Wars

 

Aug. 10

1913

 

Balkan Wars  End

 

 

1915

38 yrs old

Varsamas’s wife Ourania delivered twins. The first infant, a girl named Alexandra, died a few hours after birth. The second infant was a stillborn boy. Alexandra was baptized by her paternal grandmother Alexandra.

 

Jul. 2

1917

 

Greece enters World War I  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balkans_Campaign_%28World_War_I%29

 

Nov. 17

1917

40 yrs old

Varsamas’s wife Ourania delivered her second set of twins, Nikolaos and Anthoula. Nikolaos was baptized by Alexandra (“Alexandro”) Mihilis (Varsamas’s older half-sister) from Glossa. Anthoula was baptized by Andromahi (“Mahi”) Efstathios Karastathis, from Mahala / Glossa.

 

Nov. 11

1918

 

World War I Ends

 

 

 

 

Varsamas became partners with his future “Simbethero”/ in-law, Dimitrios Stamatios Hirras on Dimitrios’ merchant boat, the Panormiti.

 

May 4

1920

43 yrs old

Varsamas’s son, Konstantinos (“Dino, Gus”), was born. He was baptized by Foutolakis, a Cretan police officer stationed in Glossa.

 

 

1922

45 yrs old

Varsamas baptized (and therefore became the godfather of) Anna Dimitrios Hirras.

 

Jun. 13

1922

 

Varsamas’s last child, Alexandra, was born. She was baptized by a customs officer from the island of Skyros named Anastasios (“Anesti”) Baloutís and his wife Mercini (“Mirka”). Varsamas probably knew them through his shipping business.

 

Sept.

1922

 

Smyrna, Asia Minor falls to the Turks, Hellenic population is ousted from the region forever.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Fire_of_Smyrna

 

 

1924

47 yrs old

Varsamas’s daughter Kerasia (“Keratso”), at the age of 16, became engaged to Konstantinos (“Gus”) Diamandis Berdanis.

 

 

1925

48 yrs old

Varsamas left for America and stayed for 11 years. His wife Ourania would never leave Greece. Periodically, Varsamas would send money home to Ourania through friends or relatives. Ourania did not know how to read or write so her daughters helped her to sign her name on the checks. Varsamas’s son Gus later recalled wondering if Ourania received the correct amount of money for her checks.

 

Jul. 29

1927

50 yrs old

Varsamas’s brother Konstantinos died in a car accident between Greenwood and Cleveland, MS, at the age of 39. Konstantinos had immigrated to America on the S.S. L’Aquitaine at the age of 19 with $15 in his pocket. The boat left La Havre, France on April. 29, 1905 and arrived in New York City on May 9. According to the ship’s manifest, his father paid for the ticket, and his final destination was Pensacola, FL to meet Varsamas.

 

May 20

1927

 

Charles Lindbergh completes first trans-Atlantic flight  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Lindbergh

 

 

1928

51 yrs old

Varsamas’s family had a two-story home built for their daughter Kerasia (“Keratso”). This house would become part of her dowry (photo).

Houses were built mostly from local stone and mud. The occasional use of wood in home construction was local cyprus or imported chestnut wood from Ayio Oros (Mount Athos). This wood was carried up to the village from the harbor on the backs of construction workers. The doors and windows were made locally or shipped in from Volos.

 

Sept. 29

1929

52 yrs old

Varsamas’s daughter Kerasia (“Keratso”), at the age of 21, married Konstantinos (“Gus”) Diamandis Berdanis in her new house in Ano Klima. In that era, weddings were allowed to be performed in the family homes. Their koumbaros was Ioannis (“John”) Sideris. Varsama’s sons Dino and Nick, in accordance with the local custom, Were asked to kiss the stefania (wedding crowns) during the wedding so that the newlyweds would have male offspring.

Varsama himself was not present. He was living in America. This was the only child whose wedding he did not attend.

 

Jun. 19

1930

53 yrs old

Varsamas’s first grandchild, Ourania (“Nina”) Konstantinos Berdanis, was born in her mother’s home in Ano Klima. She was later baptized by Ioannis (“John”) and Kalliope Sideris.

 

 

1930

 

Varsamas, along with Paul Collins and his brother-in-law George Fivyas established The Post Office Café of Hollandale next to the Post Office of Hollandale, MS. It changed locations to  the middle of the main street, around the corner, for a few years and later, in 1937, finally moved down the main street to another corner location. Once at its corner location, the restaurant added curbside services (“car-hops”). In 1932, the co-founder George Fivyas sold his share of the restaurant to Paul and Varsamas and left for Greece. Varsamas sold his share to return to Greece in February of 1936. In April of 1938, then-owner (and Varsama’s other brother-in-law) John Fivyas sold half of the restaurant to Varsama’s sons Gus and Nick Polizos for a total of $3,500.

 

 

1934

57 yrs old

Varsamas’s family built a two-story house for their daughter Anthoula next door to their daughter Kerasia’s house as a part of her dowry. This house later became Varsama’s daughter Alexandra’s home due to a swap between the two sisters. The upstairs of this house was the site of two of Varsama’s children’s weddings in 1948, Alexandra and Konstandinos.

 

Nov.

1934

 

Varsamas’s son, Nikolaos (“Nick”), moved from Skopelos at the age of 17 to Hollandale, MS. Nick was eight years old when his father left for Greece. Varsamas saw him for the first time in nine years.

 

Oct.

1935

58 yrs old

Varsamas’s son, Konstantinos (“Dino, Gus”), moved from Skopelos at age 15, to Hollandale, MS. Gus was five years old when his father left for Greece. Varsama saw him for the first time in ten years.

 

Feb.

1936

 

Varsamas sold his half of the Post Office Café (of Hollandale). He then visited Nick in Corinth, MS, left Gus in Cleveland, MS, and returned to Greece.

At about the time of his return, the family added a kitchen onto their existing ancestral home in Ano Klima. The kitchen was attached, yet separate from the house.

 

Jul.

1937

60 yrs old

Varsamas’s daughter Anthoula became engaged to Konstantinos Ioannis Manolios.

 

Oct.

1937

 

Varsamas’s daughter Kerasia (“Keratso”) moved from Skopelos to Cleveland, MS with her daughter Ourania (“Nina”), her koumbara, Kalliope Sideri, and her koumbara’s son, Gus (photo).

 

 

1938

61 yrs old

Varsamas’s family had an apothiki (storage shed) built next to their daughters’ homes.

 

Jul. 28

1938

 

Varsamas’s daughter Anthoula, at the age of 20, married Konstantinos Ioannis Manolios in Ano Klima. Their koumbara was Anthoula’s first cousin, Ourania (“Nina”) Fivya Christou.

Konstantinos was originally from the island of Skyros and was brought to Skopelos as a young boy. He was adopted by the Glinis couple (neighbors with the Polizos family) who had no children. After his wedding, he decided to make his official last name his biological parents’ family name: “Manolios”. He stayed close to both of his adopted parents, both of whom died after World War II.

Konstantinos’s sister Anna, who remained unmarried all of her life, lived with Anthoula until her death at age of 82.

The newlyweds lived in the house which was a part of Anthoula’s dowry and about three years later, they moved into Ourania’s house (the house Anthoula was born in) to be closer to her husband Konstantinos’s parents. Ourania and Varsamas moved into Kerasia’s vacant house with their youngest daughter Alexandra.

 

May 17

1940

62 yrs old

Varsamas’s brother-in-law, Ioannis Konstantinos Fivyas, died of a heart attack in a hospital in Greenville, MS at the age of 52 (article).

 

Oct. 28

1940

 

Greece enters  World War II with the Italian invasion into Epiros from Albania. The church bells of the island toll solemnly to inform the people.  All contact with America ceases during the war. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Italian_War

 

Dec. 8

1940

63 yrs old

Varsamas’s grandchild, Ourania (“Nina”) Konstantinos Manoliou, was born in Ano Klima while her father Konstantinos was fighting the Italian invaders on the Albanian border between August 1940 and May 1941.

 

Apr. 28

1941

 

Athens, Greece falls to Germans.

 

 

1941

 

Both of Varsamas’s sons served in the US armed forces.

 

Dec. 26

1941

64 yrs old

Varsamas’s brother-in-law, Yeoryios Konstantinos Fivyas, died of pneumonia / TB in his home in Ano Klima. He was 59 yrs old.

 

 

1943

66 yrs old

Varsamas’s brother Apostolos died in Glossa at the age of 74.

 

Apr.

1943

 

Varsamas’s mother Alexandra (“Alexandro”) Angeli Polizou died in Ano Klima at the age of 94. She outlives her husband by 31 yrs, her son, Konstantinos, and two of her grandchildren. Granddaughters Anthoula and Alexandra, before they got married, would often spend nights sleeping at their grandmother’s house for companionship.

 

 

1943

 

Varsamas was taken, along with his boat the Skilitsa (the name of the boat’s original owner) by the German military to Corinth, Greece. He would never see his wife again. He spent four to six months doing forced labor, mostly loading and transporting wood. The Skilitsa was later given to daughters Anthoula and Alexandra as a part of their dowry. Varsamas’s son Gus later sent $200 to his sister Anthoula to help her buy out Alexandra’s share of the boat.

 

Nov. 4

1943

 

Varsamas’s wife Ourania was upset when she accidentally spilled a bunch seeds and beans in her home, mixing all of them together. She spent the whole day trying to separate them. That evening, she suffered a stroke.

 

Nov. 5

1943

 

Varsamas’s wife Ourania died of a stroke in her daughter Kerasia’s home in Ano Klima, Skopelos. She was surrounded by her daughters, other family members, and close friends. She was buried the next day in the village cemetery behind the church of Ayïi Anaryeri. She was married for 37 years.

Varsamas’s daughter Alexandra now lived in the house alone. Her aunt Evyenia (“Evyenio”) Ioannis Polizos, from Glossa, would come and stay with her for several days at a time. One evening, German soldiers came through the village and knocked on their door. They said something in German which Alexandra and her aunt did not understand. Upon receiving no response, the Germans left. The soldiers had a small camp in the nearby harbor of Loutraki and usually did not come into the village.

 

Nov.

1943

 

Varsamas returned to Ano Klima. He missed his wife’s funeral by three weeks.

 

Mar.

1944

67 yrs old

Varsamas’s mother-in-law, Kerasia (“Keratso”) Fivya, died in Ano Klima at the age of 85. She saw her husband, all three of her children, a daughter-in-law, and two of her grandchildren die in her lifetime. She had three sisters (Eleni, Mariyo and another one in Skopelos) and one brother.

 

Oct. 31

1944

 

Last German troops evacuate mainland Greece in World War II, the church bells of the island ring joyfully to inform the people. Greece immediately enters  into a brutal four year civil war. The island does  not escape some of the trauma of these events.

 

 

1946

 

Earthquake damages Kato Klima.

 

1946

 

Varsamas’s daughter Alexandra became engaged to Vasilios Athanasios Kotsovelos, a law student from Vitina, Peloponnese.

 

Jun.

1946

69 yrs old

Varsamas travelled to America with his daughter Alexandra on the Marine Carp. They would return to Greece on the same ship (http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/m4/marine_carp.htm). This ship has been an army transport ship during the war. All aboard slept in cots, 20 per room, with men and women separate.

They visited for 11 months. This was 10 years after Varsamas left Mississippi for Greece. They arrived in New York City and took the train to Washington D.C. They visited with Nikolaos Apostolis Polizos, Varsamas’s nephew, and stayed there for three days. They continued by train to Atlanta and are met at the train station by Varsamas’s son Nick and his fiancé, Caliope. After visiting for a few hours only, they continued by train to Montgomery, AL and arrived that evening. They stayed with Varsamas’s daughter Keratso for the majority of their visit. That same day, Keratso received a phone call from Laurel, MS informing her that their friend and fellow villager, Paul Collins, had died. They all attended his funeral in MS.

 

Sept. 1

1946

 

Varsamas attended the wedding of son Nikolaos, age 29, to Calipoe (“Callie”) Nikolaos Moraitakis in Atlanta, GA. Their koumbaros was Nikolaos John Mitchell (Amygdalitsis).

 

Jul. 1

1948

71 yrs old

Varsamas attended the wedding of his daughter Alexandra, age 26, to Vasilios Athanasios Kotsovelos in her housee in Ano Klima. Their koumbaros was her brother, Konstantinos Varsamas Polizos.

 

Oct. 10

1948

 

Varsamas attended the wedding of his son Konstantinos (“Dino, Gus”), age 28, to Kokitsa (“Kiki”) Dimitrios Hirra in his daughter Alexandra’s home in Ano Klima. Their koumbara was Gus’s first cousin, Ourania (“Nina”) Fivya Christou.

 

Fall

1955

 

Varsamas visited America for about 1½ yrs.

 

 

1955

 

Large Earthquake destroys Volos and the neighboring island of Alonissos.

 

Dec. 5

1955

78 yrs old

Varsamas’s sons Nick and Gus, along with nephew, Vick Fivgas, opened Riviera Restaurant and Monte Carlo Lounge. The night before the grand opening, Varsamas and his sons Gus and Nick ate the restaurant’s first meal: Spanish Mackerel. Varsamas helped part-time in the restaurant by chopping lettuce for salads into a special lettuce container. (photo).

 

Spring

1957

80 yrs old

Varsamas attended his granddaughter Magdalene’s baptism before leaving America to return to Greece.

 

Sept. 16

1959

82 yrs old

Varsamas’s last grandchild Ourania (“Renee”) Polizos, was born in Montgomery, AL. Varsamas saw all of his grandchildren in his lifetime.

 

 

1962

 

Visited America for the last time.

 

 

1964

87 yrs old

Varsamas’s brother, Anastasios Polizos, died in Glossa, Skopelos at the age of 93.

 

Mar. 9

1965

 

Earthquake damages Ano Klima and the process of moving inhabitants to the newly established village of Klima/Elios in the 1980s begins.

 

Nov. 12

1966

89 yrs old

Brother, Ioannis Polizos died in Glossa, Skopelos at the age of 83.

 

Apr. 21

1967

 

Military Junta takes control of the Greek government establishing a dictatorship.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_military_junta_of_1967-1974

 

Jul. 20

1969

 

Neil Armstrong walks on the Moon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_11

 

 

 

 

Varsamas lived the last few years of his life with his daughter Anthoula and granddaughters in Volos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sept. 13

1970

93 yrs old

Varsamas died in Volos, Greece. He outlived his wife by 27 years.

 

 

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Varsamas fishing in the late 50’s

As of: August 7, 2009

 

 

Note: Varsamas’s name is spelled as ‘Valsama’ by both of his grandsons Vic and Victor in America.