What do you remember about the day before your wedding?
I remember a rather tense hen party with my Greek friends and English relatives eyeing each other warily over the canapés. I remember drinking hot chocolate at 5am with my brother when he returned from the stag night.
My mother in law remembers the death of Kalliope. Murder most foul! In fact the only reason she remembers the date of her wedding 50 years ago is because there was no music, as a sign of respect for the bereaved family.
My in laws were married on 24th August, 1958. We had a quiet family celebration to mark their anniversary. They remember nothing of their wedding but were able to tell me every detail of the death that preceded it. No mean feat when you consider that my dad in law often forgets that he is wearing a hat….
Kalliope was a young woman who lived in the mountain village of Ayia Gala in Chois.
She was married and expecting her first child. Her day was taken up with a round of chores, ranging from housework and cooking to tending animals and working in the fields, a simple life hard work but without the stress of our modern lifestyle.
The only apparent blot on her landscape was that her husband, Lefteres was a philanderer. He had an eye for the girls and all the village knew about it. He was particularly taken with Barbara and not very happy that he was about to become a man with responsibilities. Lefteres, like many of the men from chois was a sailor and spent long periods of time away from home, he is said however to have had a hand in planning the death of his pregnant wife.
On 23rd August 1958 Kalliope’s husband was away but Barbara’s brother was there, in the village and filled with malevolent intent. He wanted Lefteres to make “ an honest woman” of his sister and this was not possible as long as Kalliope was in the pictue.
He followed the unsuspecting wife of his sister’s lover as she set out to bring the animals in for the night. It was a feast day and there was music in the street played by a band of travelling minstrels. It was a hot summer night, nobody would have been indoors. It seems unlikely that no one saw the comings and goings of any village member. And yet when the police questioned the villagers not one of them could shed any light on the movements of their fellows or suggest a possible motive for the crime.
Kalliope was found in the fields where she had gone to tend her mother’s animals, not one corpse but two, her and the unborn child. She had been stabbed to death her killer(s) were never punished. Her husband married Barbara. Everbody knew what had happened to Kalliope but not one single person cared enough to make it known, until now.
Rest in peace Kalliope, today ( half a century after your death) you will be mourned, you and your child.