I have a group of close friends united by a common denominator: we are all children of the Greek eighties. We have different ties to each other, but we were all nurtured by the spirit of those times, even if we met much later in life and in a foreign place.
Our mothers and fathers became parents in the greyzone between the mid/end of the seventies and the very beginning of the eighties. Our mamas were getting weaned off sleek, flat hair and mini skirts. Our fathers had transited to looser shirts and straight cut pants. Many a sideburns and elaborate mustasches were sacrificed along the way. It was time for change.
Our mamas and papas were leaving rather dark years behind. They wanted freedom, stability and social justice. They were hoping for a better world for us, their children, to grow up in.
Our mothers unfailingly assumed the duties of the working woman of the time, combining paid work with unpaid domestic chores. Our fathers did their best to provide for their families, stuck to their lifepartners, and most probably kept a lot in.
In the first years at school the war in Lebanon was raging. Alarms went off when our territorial waters were challenged and we were warned not to pick flowers after the Chernobyl disaster. Eating out in a local taverna once in a while, was probably a typical outing for all of us. Greek music in the loud-speakers, bifteki or souvlaki on our plates and fizzy drinks in our glasses.
Meanwhile, the Green and Blue parties competed with each other on delivering empty promises. Yet there was room for justice and equality; for progress and development. Politicians still had some credibility and allure to tap into.
Our parents faced problems of grown-ups; they fought social and personal battles, struggled with everyday life and lost people dear to them; they were still young though, and would learn the healing qualities of time. They resisted to the sirenes of easy money and social quantum leaps and kept their heads cool and their feet on the ground. With their good sides and with their shortcomings, but most of all with lots of love, they held our hands while we were making sense of the world.
I and my friends now live in different countries, but in one way or another, we remain connected. Hopefully for ever. Some among us have families. Some have lost a parent, and no matter how old one gets, a child will always be a child; a parent will always be a parent…
If there is a dimesion after this, there should be a Greek eighties heaven where the souls of my friends’ parents can find rest and refuge. A familiar and friendly spot from which everything looked as if it was turning for the better.