Viewpoint: 2012 Sophocles N. and Louiza Zoullas Memorial Hellenic Lecture
The intellectual highlight of the Greek-American Community of Long Island’s East end is the Sophocles N. and Louiza Zoullas Memorial Hellenic Lecture at the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons. Dr. Peter Mihalos who gave the evening’s introduction said, “We have had Supreme Court Justice Kennedy and Supreme Allied Commander Stavridis as speakers. Tonight, we have Ali Wentworth to share with us the best medicine: laughter.” In 2002, Alex Spanos, one of the most admired WWII veterans and businessman of his time, spoke about his life in his autobiography “Sharing the Wealth, My Story”. The lecture took place July 21st at 7 p.m. on the church grounds.
Presbyter Father Constantine Lazerakis in his welcome remarks expressed that “it is an honor for our Church of the Hamptons to bear witness and tribute to the memory of Sophocles N and Louiza S. Zoullas through our Memorial Lectures. Although they received in their life-time decorations and medals from Patriarchs, Kings, Archbishops and Heads of State and commendations from the Swiss, American, British, French and Israeli governments, we believe that the Sophocles N. and Louiza S. Zoullas Memorial Lectures will forever offer living testimony to their life in Christ, faith and heritage.”
“I am known in Greek circles as Father Robert Stephanopoulos’ daughter-in-law and George Stephanopoulos’ wife,” she said. Where I come from in Queens, she is known as being related to Professor Father Robert Stephanopoulos, a mentor to generations of college youth and former Greek Archdiocese Director of Communications Presvitera Nikki Stephanopoulos. This is a family of dynamic persons.
“I met my husband through a friend,” explained the speaker. “We met over lunch and knew he was it. He proposed two months later. We were married six months after. George took me to Mykonos and proposed to me with a ring. George was known for not going out with someone more than once or twice. Did I really want to marry George? I was in love with him from the second I met him. I am now married ten years. When you marry a Greek, you marry all of them.”
Ali Wentworth is an inspiration to all women, who have been in long relationships that did not materialize in marriage. When the right person comes along, it is fast and it lasts. She continued saying she “was married at the holy Trinity Cathedral and had a reception in the church basement with lamb and a band. We were having such a great time, we did not want to leave. My Mother stayed to the end.” Her jokes about her wasp background from her book “Ali in Wonderland” were hilarious. Ms. Wentworth donated her honorarium back to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons.
“Greek dancing is a great ice breaker,” Ms. Wentworth said. “The best part of the wedding was the Greek dancing. Our wedding ceremony was beautiful. It was long and beautiful to have Father Robert marry us. I am now writing a second book on parenting and raising our Greek Orthodox children. I learned Greek: sa agapo (I love you) and say it every day. I found when I married George, I wanted to be a good wife and be with my children.”
“There was no discussion where we were going to live,” she explained. “I was in Los Angeles and George in New York. There was no question that George’s career was more important and that we would live in New York. George works seven days a week. He has a full life. My program is on Yahoo. Our location is at my kitchen table when the kids are in school. We have made our marriage work.” She cracked many jokes, having an audience of two hundred persons laughing. Her down to earth personality made an impression on this writer.
Nicholas Zoullas made the closing remarks saying “it was a wonderful lecture.” Father Alexander Karloutsos, protopresbyter of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church presented Ali Wentworth with a unique byzantine cross. “This is the first time we are giving this cross,” he said in the memorable ceremony. For more information, visit http://kimisishamptons.org/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/kimisishamptons/sets/72157630689580342/show/.