You can go home again, and for North Riverside resident Bill Paganis, that meant a trip to his ancestral home – Kalamata, Greece.
Accompanied by his daughter, Alisa, Paganis had not been back to Greece for nine years to visit his family. Alisa, on the other hand, had returned numerous times. For Bill Paganis the trip held a deeper meaning, a time to visit with an ailing brother and visiting his sisters and other relatives and going to familiar places.
As soon as I heard Kalamata, I immediately thought of the olives and was told that from his brother’s home you could look out and see rows and rows of olive trees.
Viewing the area included time to visit the place his parents are buried and remember the times when he was a young man in Greece. It was in Greece that he studied to become a hairdresser.
Wishing to give his sisters haircuts while he was visiting the family, they searched for a local salon that might allow him to do his sisters’ hair. Their search ended when they found a hair-dressing school run by two young women, who were happy to accommodate the visitor.
Paganis sensed that something about the building seemed familiar. After some questioning, he discovered it was the very place where he had learned his craft. The building had been home to many things since Paganis went to school there, and it had only recently been returned to the beauty business.
He conducted a workshop for the current students at the school and told them the story of how his teacher had grabbed a comb out of his hand and exclaimed that student Bill Paganis would never make it in the business.
As so often happens, that teacher should see him now. Obviously, Bill Paganis struck a chord with the locals and was surprised when his picture with the beauty students appeared on the front page of the local paper.
Paganis made some time to play golf and visited often with family and friends before returning home. He says the only traveling he will be doing now is on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when he will be doing hair at his son Frank’s salon, Pagani, in Oak Park. But never fear he will still be at his son’s other salon – Pagani in Riverside on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Yes, you can go back to visit, but it’s good to be back. Opah!