Elizabeth Tzagournis, CA
Elizabeth Tzagournis is a journalist, storyteller and creative producer. She has seven-plus years of professional writing experience and recently helped produce Netflix documentary series “The Confession Killer”. She frequently interviews business professionals and helps turn their words into books. She’s a born-and-bred Buckeye and the oldest of six in a big, fat Greek family. She pursued a degree in journalism (with Spanish, business and media production minors) at The Ohio State University. Her greatest passion is connecting with her subjects and sharing their stories. It’s what drew her to writing, documentary and event hosting. You can find her cooking up a storm, hiking around Southern California or on the phone with her Yiayia.
As a Story Terrace writer, Elizabeth interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.
Dress for the Occasion
Growing up, my favorite time of the year was our annual Annunciation Columbus Greek Festival. As the oldest of six kids in a large, American-Greek family, I lived for this weekend.
Greeks and non-Greeks alike arrived by the thousands. They came for a bite of baklava, a shot of ouzo and to enjoy the traditional Greek dancing.
For years, I danced alongside my sisters and cousins. Sweating through our headpieces, we’d race inside for a piece of tiropita after each show. I remember the moment I was first handed my ornate, traditional costume. I held the red dress with reverence. Each stitch was perfectly and intentionally crafted.
I stood in Miss Diana’s Hellenic-inspired home. White lamb figurines dotted the backyard. The smell of freshly baked dolmades wafted through the kitchen.
“Will you take care of this costume?” she asked, searching for confirmation in my eager eyes.
I quickly nodded as she turned to retrieve my ticket to the Zoe dancing group. I was in awe of Miss Diana’s handiwork.
“Make sure to hang it up every night. You must dry clean it after the festival ends,” she informed me.
She handed me my dress while pointing out my name that was stitched onto the tag. This meant it was marked as mine. I felt a powerful ownership in claiming this dress as a symbol of my heritage.
“Thank you, Miss Diana.”
Her face broke into a warm smile. She had assumed the role of costume seamstress nearly 20 years ago. Yet, it was obvious her work still brought her so much joy.
After countless Sunday practices twirling around our neon-tinged gymnasium, suddenly it was the festival’s opening night. I followed the chain of interlaced dancers to our “parking lot” stage. Gripping my sister’s hand, we bounced on our toes, waiting for our leader to start the step.
I felt a squeeze and we were off to the upbeat tempo of the Kalamatianos. Out of the corner of my eye sat Miss Diana smiling and clapping her hands to the beat. I grinned and curtsied as my first performance ended.
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