Today, my grandfather would have turned 109.
Neither is he still around to celebrate – he died over two decades ago and I have already paid him a tribute in one of my first short stories – nor did he ever visit Tilos. (Though he did make it to Athens late in life and with his chain-smoking habit and always clad in a three-piece suit he fitted right in with the old-fashioned crowd at the capital’s kafenia.) So why do I start a blog entry with the memory of him?
Thinking of him, I think of “home” – though we never lived in the same city. “Home” to me is a state of mind, a sense of calm and love. And he embodied that.
“Home” and the search for it is also a key topic in THE ISLAND BUS. And there is another connection: As I stumbled recently over a collection of centenarian portraits by a German photographer, the faces looking at me out of those photos made me marvel and wonder what those eyes had seen in their lifetime of over a hundred years. There can be something very comforting about old age. To us younger ones, the message seems to be: look, if we managed to get this far, so can you. It’s not always been an easy ride, but it has certainly been interesting.
It’s the same sense of wonder that I felt when I first met the elderly of Tilos for THE ISLAND BUS. There is currently no one on Tilos over a hundred but with Giorgos and Marta who work for the home-care program we visited many of the island’s eldest like Kyrios Nikolas who lived in his little blue and white house in Megalo Chorio well into his nineties. “Home” for him might have meant something very different than for me or Marta or Saeed, yet for a while all of us got to share his island.
It filled me with the same sense of wonder again that I felt as a little girl. I am convinced this sense of wonder is what makes me a filmmaker.
Today’s blog is a tribute to both:
to a home that can be found wherever you are and to old age, to a life lived to the length but also to the full.
I hope to have captured for you my sense of wonder about both in THE ISLAND BUS.