Captain John Perivolaris and Dimitri Perivolaris, Port of Hamburg, c. 1947

A snap of my grandfather with his thumb in a bandage standing next to my father.

Dinu writes, `Those suits look so good and your father looks great there? Any tailors in your family? I wonder what the Germans made of them back in those days?’

And I reply, `No, all sailors before I came along. My grandfather always had his suits made in Saville Row since being stranded in London for the duration of the War, during which he ran the gauntlet of U-Boats across the Atlantic as the captain of one of the cargo ships that ran supplies between the US and England. My dad used a tailor in Buenos Aires, which is why I had a leather jacket hand made for me in the same city when I was there in 2001, shortly after he died. In fact, I carried this photo with me on that trip. That was the first time I understood the meaning of ghosts, having, in my mourning, such a strong sense of following in his footsteps that I swear I saw him boarding a bus and looking back at me through the window as I ran behind feeling foolish. On the return journey I stopped a while in Cuba, washed up there by the same wave of mourning as I tramped the same streets he had half a century before; a merchant seaman ploughing the waters between Europe, Havana, and the Southern Cone.’

`By the way, on this trip to Hamburg, shortly after the War, my dad bought his first Leica on the black market. It was with this camera and a Weston handheld meter that at the age of nine I took what was my first photograph: a picture of my grandfather in his eighties some four years before he died’.


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