Guest Post: Effie’s Thoughts on Turning 60 by Effie Kammenou
I was the very last person from the Commack High School class of ‘74 to turn sixty years old. Birthday after birthday, as each of my friends celebrated their milestone year, I held onto the fact that I was still in my fifties. But on December 29, 2016 I could no longer make that claim.
It’s not the number that bothers me. As they say, you’re as young as you feel, and in my mind, I’m still quite young. I’m healthy, I keep up with the trends and latest fashions and, to me, it feels as though a minute ago I was a carefree teenager. What bothers me is that time is ticking away and I never want it to run out. There is so much to explore in this amazing world and I want to experience it all. As youths we take time for granted as though it is infinite, as though we are invincible and, for some of us, more time is wasted than should be.
Through the decades my aspirations changed in accordance to my situation and place in life at that period of time, so each milestone birthday evoked a different emotion or expectation.
When I turned twenty I had my whole life ahead of me. I was a theater major in college and was sure that my future held a stellar performance followed by an Oscar nomination. I was a self-proclaimed disco queen who was out dancing at a different club each night of the week without a thought that there could be anything more valuable to do with my time.
Thirty was a bit of a eye opener for me. Suddenly I had become a real adult with real responsibilities. I got married at twenty-six and had my first child at twenty-nine. My husband was still early in his career as an accountant and I forgot all thoughts of a career in acting in order to help support our little family. Now, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world but at twenty I had no responsibility and now at thirty everything had changed. Thirty hit me harder than forty.
Forty didn’t bother me in the least. I actually think I looked better at forty than I did at thirty, or maybe it was that we were out of the eighties and the clothing trends were better—well, a little better. Now I had two daughters, our own home, and I only worked part time—but I volunteered for everything—PTA, class mother, Sunday school teacher, and I even directed a few school plays and Christmas pageants at church. In my late forties I had reconnected with a group of old school friends and we remain close to this day. But in reconnecting with my friends I realized that I’d lost a part of myself. The part that craved creativity and I vowed to explore that part of myself once again as the children grew and became more independent.
Turning Fifty did not upset me in the least. If anything it energized me. I decided this would be the decade that I would do something that would define me. Would it be going back to acting and taking classes? Or another creative medium? I began making decorative cookie favors for special occasions. Fun. Creative. But I wouldn’t say it was the fulfillment I was looking for. I began to write a food blog. Now, I was getting closer. Cooking is a passion of mine and I love sharing my own recipes and the traditional Greek ones that were handed down to me by my mother and grandmother. But I didn’t simply write recipes. There’s a story with every meal, a tradition or a memory, and I wanted to share that as well. It was in my fifties that I lost my mother and that led me to write my first novel. Writing was something that was in the back of my mind for a while, but I dismissed the thought until my grief brought all my emotions to the surface and gave me the inspiration to write a character that had my mother’s heart and soul.
So what is in store for me in my sixties? I guess the sky is the limit. If I have my father’s DNA I have many, many years ahead of me to catch up on all the adventures I might have overlooked in the past. He’s ninety-four and he tells me he feels the same as he did when he was thirty-five. Okay, I can run with that one!
Synopsis – Waiting for Aegina by Effie Kammenou
In 1961, five little girls moved into a suburban neighborhood and became inseparable, lifelong friends. They called themselves the ‘Honey Hill Girls,’ named after the street on which they lived. As teenagers they shared one another’s ambitions and dreams, secrets and heartaches. Now, more than thirty years later, they remain devoted and loyal, supporting each other through triumphs and sorrows.
Evanthia’s Gift follows the life of Sophia Giannakos. In Waiting for Aegina the saga continues from the perspectives of Sophia and her friends as the story drifts back and forth in time, filling in the gaps as the women grow to adulthood.
Naive teenage ideals are later challenged by harsh realities, as each of their lives takes unexpected turns. Now nearing their fiftieth year, Sophia, Demi, Amy, Mindy and Donna stand together through life-altering obstacles while they try to regain the lighthearted optimism of their youth.
About the Author:
Effie Kammenou is a believer that it is never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she’d thought that, by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actress. Instead, she’s worked in the optical field for 40 years and has been the proud mother of two accomplished young women.
Effie is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog, cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com, you can find her cooking for her family and friends.
Her debut novel, EVANTHIA’S GIFT, is a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down. She continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America. Her recent interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine.
As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the book.
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.
Member of Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association & Romance Writers of America