This lovely satin quilt originated in Lefkada, one of the beautiful Ionian islands on the western side of Greece. In 1965, Evangelea Politis, had it specially made as a gift for her daughter-in-law Maria, in faraway Australia.
Almost directly in line with Lefkada, on the eastern side of Greece, is the island of Mytilini (Lesvos) and the village of Aghia Paraskevi, which Maria Politis left in 1960, to join her brother Andoni who had come to Australia three years earlier. There were five children in Maria's family, growing up during the 'pinna' (hunger or famine), the time of the WW2 German occupation. These were times of great hardship and starvation, and families all over Greece were struggling to survive. Maria's father, Costas Mimelli, planted tobacco, a longtime staple crop in Greece. Maria remembers, as a nine-year old, working in the fields with her sister Eleni. She worked with her father for many years before migrating to Australia.
Maria met and married her husband Aleko in Broken Hill, NSW, where they had several good friends who had also come from Mytilini. After a few years they moved to Canberra where they worked hard and gave their children Theodoros and Raylene, a good education. Maria, a widow now for many years is grateful for her supportive, close-knit family. Her 'paploma', still in its original, excellent, condition remains as a symbol of a life interwoven with sadness as well as happiness."
[Written by Lula Saunders: adapted from interview 10.1.01 for the National Quilt Register]