My Name

7 Jun


For my entire life I have had to explain upon first meeting anyone new the origin of my name. My full name is Vardis Ellis Kriaris and its a whopper of a name,especially when you are 8 years old. Yes, I am of Greek descent,in fact more rightly Cretan,[no jokes please] Three of my grandparents migrated to the U.S. from the island of Crete in the early 20Th century. The tradition among Greeks is to name the first born son after first the paternal grandfather,in my case Vardis and the second name the maternal which was Elias,but for some reason the name was morphed into Ellis,which I still cannot explain. perhaps to make it more American? how funny is that. My last name Kriaris is also a small short legged breed of goat that wanders the rocky hills of Crete,I always thought that appropriate esp. when you get to know me. My nick name is Vori, there are a number of stories about its origin, the one I prefer is the following. When my papou [grandfather] arrived here a railroad Foreman for whom he worked renamed him Vori or Voris, they say he was German, but there is no proof of that. I am second generation born here,which make me far less “Greek” than the image of the Gus and Nicks you find in pizza and diner restaurants throughout the states, although as I mature the Greek traits become more apparent to me. I am hard working, stubborn, self sufficient, opinionated and slightly suspicious of others motives. True to the image of Zorba, being spontaneous, hedonistic and a fatalist make me a proud member of the Greek-American family.

Posted by Vardis Ellis Kriaris at 9:46 AM 0 comments

7 Responses to “My Name”

  1. Rene Torres June 7, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    Unfortunately the image most Americans have of Zorba is that of one portrayed by a Mexican. So Como estas mi amigo?

  2. Robert Perilstein June 10, 2013 at 6:47 am #

    You left off the part about being a talented, creative designer with extreme comprehensive knowledge of visual merchandising.

    • vori52 June 10, 2013 at 7:03 am #

      But not as good a salesman as I would like to be….thanks Robert

  3. Anonymous June 10, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    You said “Elias morphed into Ellis, which you couldn’t explain”…My grandfather came through Ellis Island from Poland, could that be why maybe, or is it too obvious? They named my grandfather “Charlie” because Teofil was too hard to pronounce….Elias is a very common name here in italy, I love that name.


    • vori52 June 10, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

      It wasn’t Ellis Island he arrived through Boston…Elias is Louis in Greek which was my maternal fathers name…I think they might have changed it to Ellis…due to the fact that Vardis Ellis Kriaris rolls off the tongue easier than Vardis.Elias Kriaris….and Ellis sounds slightly Anglo which tempers the ethnic weight of Vardis Kriaris…just call me Vori…it’s easier..has been my whole lifes story..

    • vori52 August 16, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

      Thanks Trish

  4. DoF@theinfill June 19, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    Love Crete – used to go each year for quite a number of years. I’m second gen too (mid European) but you still end up becoming more like ones grandparents as time goes by I find 🙂 Perhaps the next lot will still carry a little of it into old age too(?)

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