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What I Remember): Chronology
OF GEORGE SOTER'S LIFE
Prepared by George Soter in 2004 (completed by Tom Soter in 2009)
George born, Chicago, May 16, 1924.
First trip to Greece in ‘29, to be shown off to grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and antiquities.
First movie, a Charlie Chaplin, with dad. Start in Chicago, grammar school. (Several there, thenmore in Gary, Indiana and Detroit, Michigan--for a total of eight new-kid-in-town experiences.) In ‘32, Dad dies, moves with mother Emily to Uncle George and Aunt Edith’s home in Detroit. In ‘38, Emily marries old friend and very nice man,Nicholas Pappathefilopoulos, move back to Chicago. Decides to keep Soter surname.
Chicago’s Roosevelt High School, class of ‘42. Then, U.S. Army draftee, ‘43. Sees the world via the Signal Corps--Florida,North Carolina, Massachusetts (meets up with Effie!), Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey, and, then! Lancashire, London, Lille, Paris, Antwerp, Brussels, Berlin, Glasgow, Edinburgh. Post-war, at University of Chicago, and, finally, wed to Effie--that Athenian refugee met in Worcester--and begin housekeeping.
Starts working in advertising, moving from mail room to copywriting fairly quickly. Nick is born; Soters get transferred by agency toManhattan; Riverside Drive becomes new home turf (mostly because it’s like Hyde Park their Chicago turf--i.e., near a body of water, a big University, and a famous ghetto).Tom is born. Has five minutes of minor fame with Renault “Le Car Hot” campaign. Gets to Paris, on business! Shoehorn in a trip to meet again with families in Athens.
Peter is born. Gets fired. Mother dies. Takes a job-freed two-month holiday in Greece en famille. New ad job. And start of Greek Island Ltd. retail adventure at Amster Yard. (Next five minutes of fame.) Annual summer “buying, etc.” trips to Mykonos, Crete, Metsovo, Rhodes, Syphnos, Peloponessos, et al. Move to dream apartment at 404 Riverside Drive. Ad campaigns for Air France, Helena Rubinstein, more Renault, get good press. Miscellaneous celebrity sightings include Alec Guiness, Katherine Hepburn, Joel Grey, Stephen Sondheim, Michael J. Pollard in shop; Charlie Chaplin and family in Jamaica. Mercouri in Athens.
Open Greek Island Ltd. branches in East Hampton and Cape Cod. Jury member at Cannes Commercial TV Festival for two years, plus one year at Venice Film Festival. Rubunstein “Mykonos Look” press trip. Anthea Sylbert and Theoni V. Aldredge design clothes for shop. Nick in San Fransisco, Tom at Columbia, Peter in West Virginia. Form agency with Marc Pampuzac to specialize in non-American accounts, e.g., Gauloises cigarettes. Open “Greek artists” gallery in shop. Annual homemade catalogue mailed out to extensive customer list. Greek dictatorship ends. Opa!
Nick passes California Bar; he and Dora create Eva, first grandchild! Tom graduated from Columbia, starts editorial work and enters into serious flirtation with improv comedy. Peter’s into bookshop business. George has heart attack; OK with no surgery. Pulls back on activities. Closes down Greek Island Ltd. operations. Keeps foot in ad activities with campaigns for Schumacher fabrics, IBM Gallery, assorted Trump projects. Manages fairly regular reruns of the usual Greek summer activities. Opa, opa.
Nick and Dora’s Zoe, no. 2 granddaughter enters. Boys get their revenge for all those climbs through Delphi, Mistra and assorted Greek acropollises, by sponsoring a tip to Aztec antiquities and heavy climbs. George continues work as copy editor, home gardener. Reluctantly sell the three-decade apartment home and eventually find a smaller facsimile. Tom now managing editor and also improv impresario. Peter tries out bookstore ownership. Things are getting simpler.
Peter and Amelia get joined and third grandaughter Xanthe joins the fracas. Fourth granddaughter, Helena, born 2005. Moves to 468 Riverside drive for three years. November 2007: Diagnosed with inoperable cancer; given a year to live. October 2008: makes final move to basement apartment of niece Anemona's Harlem townhouse. Calling it his "Last Hurrah," he does remarkable design job on apartment. George dies at home, surrounded by friends and family, on January 8, 2009. Adio!