12 February,1936 ( Birthday )
I don't know exactly where I was born, whether in a hospital or at home. All I know is that we lived in Tanganyika (presently Tanzania), East Africa. My Father had a farm in the province of Mbugwe, in the district of Mbulu. Nice names,huh? Also, it was in darkest Africa, We walked around with lamps and flashlights. Not really; just kidding.
I had 2 older brothers, Photis and Panos (Pete) and younger sister, Stergia.
Anyway, the nearest town was Arusha, about 30 miles away. My early memories are of a mud brick house,tamped dirt floor and a thatched roof. The kitchen area was an attached grass wall hut. I recall one evening waking up to pots and pans banging around and all that noise was due to a hungry hyena scrounging around for food. There were lots of various wild animals and insects in the nearby bush country. We slept under mosquito nets and took quinine pills to prevent malaria attacks from the swarms of mosquitos. The black people that lived in the area were generally friendly and several were employed by my Father for farm and house work. My Dad had several guns and he often went hunting both as a sport and for financial reasons. One time as we were having lunch, we saw elephants uprooting some cotton plants and trampling a part of the farm. My Dad went after them with a gun and chased the elephants away by firing some shots into the air.
I didn't have toys to speak of. I played with whatever was handy and available. One of my "special" toys was catching dragon flies and tying a string around them and flying them about. They were my home made planes. Also, I was always interested in anything in the nature all around us.
One day a black man came to our home asking for help as he was attacked by a leopard and needed the wounds on his back treated with whatever medicines we had. My Mom took care of that and I am sure that he recovered well. During one of the rainy seasons, a dry river bed flooded and sent a torrent of water all over the countryside. We had to have a small earthen dam built around our compound to keep the water out of the houses.
We did not have an automobile. The main road (a dirt road) was several miles away and we had to camp on the side of the road and await a truck to come by in order to hitch a ride into town. The first time I had a piece of chocolate, I was probably 3 years old, on a trip to Arusha. I thought that was a most wonderful treat.
There were a few other European owned farms near us. One of them was a Greek farm and we would go over to visit and listen to their radio. It worked off a car battery. It must have been around 1940 as I recall the adults talking about the war in Europe and the Italians having a difficult time when they attacked Greece and were repulsed back into Albania. Probably why I have always had an interest in World War II history.My all time World War II hero being Audie Murphy, the most decorated American soldier of all time. His book and movie "To Hell and Back" are both excellent accounts of his experiences.
When I was about 4, we were at some one's house and I had suffered a burn on the back of my left palm. I remember somebody riding me on a bicycle to a nearby clinic for several days while my hand was being treated. Near that house were ostriches and I would watch them and sometimes chase them around. I was lucky that they never attacked me. They say God takes care of stupid and drunk people but I was only about 4 years old. At one other house that we visited, they had several wild animal pets and one of them was a buffalo. I was terrified of that large beast. I was lifted up by some one and was told that it was OK to pet it and I reached out and petted his horns and massive head.
One time I must have walked through some bushes and my legs were scratched. To stop the bleeding I rubbed some dust on the scratches, like using talcum powder. The bleeding did stop and I suppose it's a miracle that my legs were not infected, or worse.
I had two Godfathers; one was Anthony Karaiskos and he gave me the name Marcos.I do not recall the other Godfather's name. He gave me my middle name, Constantine. I was asked which name I preferred as my first and I chose Marcos as Karaiskos was my favorite Godparent.