Spending an hour with Olympia Dukakis to me is like spending time with the Dalai Lama or Socrates to others. Eighty-plus years on this earth and so many experiences and roles.
Olympia was actually partially responsible for my own “Greek American coming of age” experience. It was back in 90s when she won her Oscar for her role as Rose Castorini in “Moonstruck”. That same time in our community’s history, her cousin Mike Dukakis was running for President of the United States of America.
Two children of Greek immigrants– one winning the most coveted award in her industry and perhaps the world and the other, one person away from becoming the most powerful man in the world. Talk about a call to action.
One thing that I took from my time with her yesterday– when I asked her why she wasn’t at the Oscars, she said– “They don’t want an old lady like me there. What could I possibly talk about there?”
I’d take Olympia Dukakis on that stage any day over some of those presenters they had. Can you imagine the stories? The life experiences? The wisdom?
I often do ask why we push our elders and their wisdom aside for young, “pick of the week” stars.
I’m guilty of it too… Reminds me also of the final months of my dad’s life when I spent hours and hours trying to learn as much about his amazing life as possible… His years as a child during World War II… His immigration to this country… Struggles of survival here, and so on.
I never cared to ask much when I was growing up… And when the writing was on the wall and he was slowly leaving us, it was too late.
Thank you Olympia Dukakis for our time together and for your wisdom, and for always answering my questions and for listening. You are a treasure.