Strangers at Ithaca is a narrative of the coming of the spongers to Tarpon Springs, their difficulties when they first came to their new country, the hardships and the struggles, their adventures and dangers and the innumerable sacrifices they subjected themselves to in order to render their lives impeccable, praiseworthy and legendary. The sponger himself got his manhood through the winds and storms that gave him courage, and fearlessness, and his harsh and tyrannical labor aged his body and put steel in his arms. The summer heat gave him his bronze color and the sunburned wild look. The loneliness gave him his silent and melancholy manner, and the vastness of the sea, his love for the land. With wild resolve he fought the ocean beast that always threatened to swallow him. The daily battle with it, and the deathly fight, schooled him in his character. The eyes sharp and vigilant at sea became mild, sad on land and ready to cloud up and divulge a secret thought for things, places and loved ones whom he never forgot. So, the Sponger became a lion in body, meek as a lamb and bashful as a young girl. This, then, is the Sponger of Tarpon Springs!!
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In February of 2000, George Th. Frantzis was inducted into the Great Floridians 2000 Program which is sponsored by The Florida Department of State. This program seeks to recognize individuals who have made important contributions to Florida s history and culture. Frantzis' multi-faceted career involved him with the people of Tarpon Springs, the state of Florida and Greece via his roles as: attorney, educator, business man, community leader, activist, writer, historian, radio music host and commentator. Frantzis came to the United States in October 1940. He was a Cum Laude graduate of the University of Athens, Greece, School of Law. During World War II, he and Dr. Nicholas Mavris played a major role in the financial decision of the Allies to have the Dodecanese Islands again unite with mother Greece after 2,000 years of foreign occupation. In 1955, Frantzis began the committee for reorganization of the Sponge Industry after the red tide decimated the sponge beds of the Gulf of Mexico (1947-1957). He created the International Music Hour, spoke on Voice of America, founded the first Greek Orthodox Parochial School, was a businessman and prolific author whose works include: novels, plays, serials for newspapers, poetry and magazine articles.Review:
The story you are about to read is the true story of the Sponge Fishermen of Tarpon Springs. In many ways it parallels the life story of many of our Greek immigrants. The author, Mr. George Frantzis, a learned man's story is authentic. Having completed his formal education in the field of Law, he has cultivated the art of listening. And listened he has! In the Sponge Exchange, in the coffee houses, on the streets at the Docks, in the packing houses, he has listened. He has heard the much repeated stories of many old timers who have since died. Mr. Frantzis has lived a few of the prosperous with them and all of the difficult ones as well. Endowed as he is with the talent of expressive speech, together with the years of research and the first hand experience he has successfully grasped the first hand life story of the celebrated SFOUNGARA; and masterfully set it almost into prose to create the exciting, thrilling and vivid account of this Ode to a Sponger. --Father Constantine J. Raptis, Pastor St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church Tarpon Springs, FL
Most Honorable Mister George Th. Frantzis, our child in God so clear, grace come to your Honor and peace from God. Disposed very kindly toward the submitted, we are moved by decision to congratulate your honor, its work, through which is related the life and toilsome job of the occupied, in making a living, in the production of the sponges from the bottom of the sea, respectful children of the Orthodox Church of ours, all immigrants from the Isles of Greece, wishing that the book of your honor becomes reason for strengthening them in this their honorable work. --ATHENAGORAS I Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
Your book, the history of the spongers of Tarpon Springs, Florida is a masterpiece! We congratulate and thank you for the time devoted for one such valuable spiritual legacy which you intend to leave. In addition, we have thought, if we ought to, and what we should write about Tarpon Springs and the Spongers. You have exhausted the subject. For this, and we also are being limited in some memories-impressions from the first to the last visit (1940-1960) and in some rather sad thoughts that we are writing something similar to an epilogue of one honorable history. --Greek Archdiocese of North and South America His Eminence The Archbishop Iacovas of North and South America
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Book Description Fanitsa Frantzis Meehan, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110967173302