In 1984, a trip to Greece and the ancestral home of Constance Constant’s mother yielded a home with little left standing after 50 years, but, undisturbed, hung a bag full of letters.
The letters were from Constant’s mother to her family in Greece after she’d left Greece for America in 1921 because her father had no dowry for her.
Thus began a 20-year writing odyssey to tell this tale of one Greek-American family, different, yet like so many other families in a time when stores and businesses all over closed due to the Great Depression and American families lived like nomads in public parks, huddled in doorways on cold nights – without money for food, let alone housing.
In this world, Vasiliki Limberopulos, Constant’s mother, moved her young family to cheaper quarters, put on a waitress’ uniform – unheard of at the time for a Greek wife – and began working with husband Paul in the Austin Lunch, a Chicago restaurant.
About the author
Born in 1939 Chicago to Greek immigrants, Constance (Connie) Constant didn’t begin to understand until the 1980s what an extraordinary life her ordinary family had lived coming to a country so different from the “old country” and surviving the Great Depression, hanging onto their restaurant at the edge of Skid Row. When she realized what was going to be lost, she began writing about the family and their times, drawing on memories of her brother and sister, in what turned into a 20-year exploration.
Paperback, In English