march 2011

‘…he said there was no chance he would ever be willing to move from the village…’ (Greek village at sunset photo by Susan Stripling)

The Summer Romance That Changed Me

By Maria Coscia

When I was 16, I fell in love with a boy over a summer romance. My parents were both born in Greece, and they made sure that me and my siblings knew the roots of our family and learned the language and culture of their native land. So as a kid I spent many summers in Greece visiting family there. I spoke the language and it became very easy to fit into that lifestyle.

My summer romance was everything you could imagine at 16. It was fun, it was thrilling, and every summer I would look forward to reuniting with my Greek boyfriend. For years, we went back and forth, dating for the summer while I was visiting Greece and breaking up when I left to go back home. Despite our best efforts to make it work long distance, it became harder and harder to stay together. But even when it seemed like there was no hope of us working out as a couple, something kept us connected. I remember him calling from Greece, telling me that even though we're apart he can't bring himself to love another woman because no one compared to us!

The Seekers, ‘I’ll Never Find Another You,’ the great Australian group’s 1965 hit single (here performed in 1968) written by Tom Springfield, Dusty’s brother. Judith Durham on lead vocal; Athol Guy on bass; Keith Potger on 12-string guitar; Bruce Woodley on guitar.

At 22, six years after we first met, I found myself comparing every single guy I dated and knew to this guy from Greece. I found I could not move on with my life wondering what might have been. At that time I was in college and working for a travel agency to make some extra pocket money. I knew that it was now or never, that something had to be done to make a decision about our future together. I really felt that this relationship could last forever. So one morning I went to the travel agency where I worked and bought a one-way ticket to Greece. I was ready to put everything on the line for this guy. I needed to find out if we could really make it work. At this point I hadn't said a word to anyone in my family about going. I drove home and threw the ticket on the table where my mom was sitting. She shocked to see what I had done, but thankfully she was supportive after I explained why this was something I had to do.

After arriving in Greece I confided in a good friend of mine that I was there to see if this guy would be willing to come back to America with me to try and make things work with us. If he won’t, she asked, would I be willing to move to Greece for him? I told her that I would move to Athens, but not to the remote village where he lived, perched on a mountaintop, in the middle of nowhere. You have to drive 40 minutes out of your way to get to any kind of store or market. Later that night she and I met up with a group of friends and he was among them. Having no idea that I was in Greece, he was completely shocked to see me. It had been, after all, a year or two since we’d last been together. I pulled him aside and confessed that I flew to Greece with no notice because I kept comparing every guy to him and I just couldn't bear the thought of being without him anymore. I told him that my ticket was one way and that I needed to know where we stood. Either we were going to move to Athens together or he was going to move to the States with me. I was completely willing at that point to leave everything behind and start a life with him.

I told him I was willing to move to Athens where I would be more likely to find a job and could live more of a life like I had back home, but I did not want to live in his village. I also gave him the option of visiting my hometown, in the States, to see if it suited him as a place to live, where we could build a life together. He had never been out of his little remote village; he'd lived there all his life.

After a lot of talking, and even some arguing, he not only refused to visit the States, he also refused to live with me in Athens. If we were going to be together, he insisted, it would be in his little village--he said there was no chance he would ever be willing to move from the village, in fact.

I was heartbroken. I could not believe that he wasn't willing to make a little bit of an effort to move outside of his village when I was willing to move to a completely different country to make us work. One of my parting remarks was to assure him he would never see me again if he refused to make any kind of sacrifice; I would leave knowing that I gave everything I could to the idea of establishing a relationship with him. It just wasn’t meant to be.

I never saw him again.

Chad & Jeremy, ‘A Summer Song’ (1965)

All in all I learned so much from this experience and I truly believe it changed the way I have viewed relationships ever since. I don't regret anything that happened between us and I wouldn't change a thing about the outcome. I know and believe now that it all was meant to unfold exactly as it did--I convinced myself that had I ended up with my Greek friend, I would have never been as happy as I am now.

Fast forward to the present, I am 33 now and I have been married for three amazing years to the love of my life. He is everything I could ever ask for in a husband, best friend and soul mate. This past March we also welcomed our first child, a beautiful baby boy. Ironically enough, last year right before I got pregnant I took my husband to Greece and we visited my summer love’s village but did not see him there. I’ve heard he is also married and has a daughter. His wife is from the same village and they are all living happily where he always wanted to be. I know it's situations and relationships we go through in our lives that make us who we are and lead us on the path we are meant to follow. But I have to say, I look back on that time and feel quite proud of having really put myself out there and truly taking a chance on love. I know now that in giving so much of myself emotionally to my summer romance of long ago I gained clarity that led me to the man I fell in love with and married. After that it became surprisingly easier to spot what I really wanted and to openly give my heart to the person that was really meant to have it. I am so happy I did!

Chad & Jeremy, ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ (live, 1964)

Founder/Publisher/Editor: David McGee
Contributing Editors: Billy Altman, Laura Fissinger, Christopher Hill, Derk Richardson
Logo Design: John Mendelsohn (
Website Design: Kieran McGee (
Staff Photographers: Audrey Harrod (Louisville, KY;, Alicia Zappier (New York)
Mailing Address: David McGee, 201 W. 85 St.—5B, New York, NY 10024