Silver hand mirror

In Attire
Mirror with double head eagle
Mirror with double head eagle

 My grandmother, Mary Papantoniou (Pappas) Daniels Stamas, brought this mirror from her island of Kastelorizo in 1921. It is silver with beveled glass, marred from age. The design is the two-headed eagle, the emblem of the Byzantine Empire and the Greek Orthodox church.  A silver hand mirror was so luxurious, and her dressing table was so beautiful, that the mirror became symbolic of the prosperous life she left behind.  My grandmother’s island now belongs to Greece, but it is very close to the coast of Turkey. In 1921, Turkey was Asia Minor, Istanbul was Constantinople and Greek Christians were prevalent in the region. According to her, they were generally wealthy and well educated. She said true Greeks were fair with light eyes, just like her. She described a beautiful house around a center courtyard and surrounded by orange groves. 

She never lost her love of beauty. Her house in Ohio gleamed with glossy paint and well rubbed woodwork. She was a good baker and demanded that each honey-dipped piece be small and dainty. She boiled cherries with sugar and served it to us kids with ice water in tall glasses. In the afternoons she would pour Turkish coffee into delicate cups and when we finished, turn them upside down in the saucers and laughingly tell our fortunes with the thick grounds that dripped down the sides. Her garden was filled with flowers. When I married she presented me with a delicate crocheted table cloth, also a symbol of the life of beauty she created. 

Place(s): Turkey, Ohio, Kastelorizo
Year: 1921

– Paula M Kirifides

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant