I was born in australia. I am named after my grandmother from vis. Vis--an island in the adriatic sea. I can show you a pocket travel guide that says greeks settled on vis two thousand four hundred years ago planting grapevines.
It's 1914--my grandmother is seven. She is on a ship with her mother, brother and two sisters. She is sailing from vis forever. She is sailing from the adriatic sea. She is sailing to the indian ocean to the port of fremantle to her father to boulder where her father works as a miner & her mother has three more children. To the swan valley to a vineyard where her parents settle.
It's 1992--I'm opening a letter from an uncle. He says he tries to visit vis in 1980 but is not allowed on the island. He says there are graves of our relatives in the cemetery of the church on vis. The church has been there since 1587. He says that his brother visited the island in 1989. That restrictions were lifted. That my grandmother's sister went there last year.
It's 1992--I'm standing in a bookstore on elizabeth street melbourne. I'm reading a pocket travel guide. It tells me: vis is a naval base. Foreign tourists are not allowed to visit vis. Apply to the military authorities first. I check the edition--'88/'89.
I am born in australia. I am named after my grandmother from vis. I am walking out of a bookstore in melbourne. I am picturing me in the cemetery on vis reading the names on the graves. I am carrying a question: Do I have to apply to the military authorities first?
It's the last thursday in november 1992. I'm standing in my office. There's a call for me--line 6 std. I pick up the phone & hear a voice telling me my grandmother died this morning 2:30.
I replay the last time I saw her. In the garden when she saw the olive tree her arm shot out--pointing to it-- "Whatcha-ma-call-it! Whatcha-ma-call-it!" And the time before that when she could still get her tongue to work when she lit up when she saw me & said: "You're beautiful".
I was born in australia. I was named after my grandmother from vis. I was standing in my office. I was talking on the phone--line 6 std-- I was dictating a death notice for the first time: Goodbye to the beautiful Anna, my grandmother whose name I carry. Love Ann.