Trecosta, Gail D.: Ekali Elementary School, Ekali, Greece

In 1973 our family moved to Greece from Rota, Spain. After a short time in temporary quarters in Glyfada we moved into a house in Ekali that had beautiful rose bushes and numerous fig trees. Ekali was a suburb of Athens and was also where the K-8 th grade DODDS Ekali Elementary School was located. My sister Lauren and I attended this school for the 1973-1974 school year and our dad, Rocco Trecosta, was an elementary school teacher.

From our home we could either walk to the school via a path through the woods or we could ride with Dad to school. I don’t recall that a bus came into our neighborhood, but I can’t be certain.

The school was not on a military base, like every other DODDS school we had attended. It was on the main road through Ekali and even more unique was that it used to be a hotel. The lower grades were on the ground floors in an open classroom style in the various former lobbies and nooks & crannies of the hotel. There were lots of windows and an elevator. The middle school grades were on the upper floors and stretched through the various hotel rooms where the dividing walls had been removed. The lockers were in the hallways. The playground was in the ravine on the backside of the building. Tetherball was still my go-to playground activity.

Dad usually bounced around teaching various elementary grades and I’m not sure which grades he taught in Greece. I do recall he continued his tradition of hosting classroom plays so all the students had an opportunity to be the shining star. Mr. John W. Murphy was the principal and he & our dad had much mutual respect for one another. My sister Lauren was in the 5 th grade and presumably I rotated classrooms in the 7 th grade, as I don’t remember a specific teacher. Lauren remembers that basic Greek was taught and that she wondered how she would ever use words like king, throne, or frog.

The school downsized the following school year (1974-1975), eliminating the 8 th grade. Both Lauren & I switched to the Ursuline School, our first experience outside of a DODDS school. We then transferred to Livorno, Italy in 1975 and attended Livorno American High School at Camp Darby.

As kids we hung out at the Ekali Club (swim & tennis) and at the American Club (movie theatre, pool, community center) in Kifissia. We saw the show Up With People at a Greek amphitheatre, and traveled to see the sights in the city of Athens, the Greek countryside and islands.

During the time we lived in Greece, there was an uprising in a local university during a time of prolonged political unrest, there were tensions between Greece and Cyprus, and there was significant anti-American sentiment. During one particular tense moment we could hear the Army tanks rolling in through the main streets and many of the Greek American boys in my sister’s 12 th grade class at the American Community School were concerned about getting drafted. While we lived in Greece there were some car bombings of cars owned by Americans. The cars were easily identifiable because of the license plates. Dad used to put mud on our license plates to obscure the American tags.

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