Letter to the Editor

International Herald Tribune

July 11, 1978

The replacement or closing of monuments on the Acropolis because of damage caused by pollution and mass tourism (IHT, June 27) brings a pang of nostalgia. I couldn't agree more with George Cocaine whose cancerous condition left him out of breath and unable to make a final climb up to the Parthenon. On giving up the struggle, he said "It's probably better to remember it as it was." He was right.

My own health problems make it difficult for me to return to Athens, where I was born, but I am not sure I want to now.

My best memories of Athens go back to 1946 when my father, an archaeologist who excavated on the north slope of the Acropolis, used to take me up into the Erechtheum and the Parthenon. He told me the Greek myths and explained every finesse of the Parthenon's architecture.

I was only a boy of 10 and I don't suppose I retained a 10th of what he told me, but I will never forget having the Acropolis to ourselves. We would stay for hours and not see another soul. No one asked us for tickets at the Propylaea. There were no hours, no guards, no photographers, no tourists. Just the two of us and the ancient stones beneath an Attic sky of pure blue.