Spiridula (Lula) was born in Alexandria, Egypt, the second child of her parents, John and Maria Alfieris. When she was just a few months old, her mother and three-year-old brother, Gus, sailed by themselves to Ellis Island where they were detained for a few weeks because Gus had pink eye. Her father, John, had arranged for their passage to America and brought them to Oakland, California. He had come to America before them, settling in Oakland where he worked to earn money to bring them to America.
Lula, her parents, and her brother, Gus, just after arriving in America.
Lula, age 9, with her parents at their home in West Oakland, 1916.
Lula (11) (on the left) with her parents and two sisters, Aspacia (7) and Efroseni (4), at their West Oakland home, 1918.
Lula lived with her parents in Oakland until her arranged marriage in 1926, at the age of 18. She was a quiet, dutiful daughter and learned from her mother how to make elaborate handcrafted items for the home. Her parents chose her husband, as was the tradition in Greece, from among suitors they deemed capable of providing a good home for their daughter. Forced into this marriage by custom and tradition, she obediently obeyed. Her parents arranged everything for a church wedding in San Francisco and sent out this invitation.
Here is a surviving image of Lula’s 1926 marriage to Panagiotis Tzoumis (later changed to Zamenes). To Lula’s left stands her sister, Aspacia. Standing second at the left of the picture is her brother, Gus. Behind Gus is her brother, Harry. Behind Harry are her parents, John and Maria, with their other children, Efrosini, Evangelia, and Miltiades in front of them.
A year later, she gave birth to her first son, Nicholas; a second son, Aristotle, arrived eight years later in 1936. By the time Aristotle was a toddler, Lula divorced her husband and lived in the Castro district of San Francisco in a large flat. She raised her two sons in that residence, stayed very close to her parents and extended family, and started a thriving upholstery/interior design business. Her talent with fabric allowed her business to grow and flourish. She operated it for many decades and supported her family well. Here she is in 1946 with all her sisters and her mother:
Left to right: Lula, Aspacia, Efrosini, Evangelia, and their mother, Maria, 1948
Sisters Aspacia and Lula with their niece, Evonne, in Russian River, 1951.
In the early 1950s she married another Greek man she met in San Francisco. That marriage ended in divorce shortly afterwards. Then she went to Greece in 1956 and fell in love with and married Argyris Argyriades, a man she met through friends and family in Athens. She returned to America with him, and they lived in her San Francisco residence.
Her son, Nicholas, went to Greece and started an avacado farm for a few years until his accidental death in 1982 at age 54. Her second son Aristotle (Ted), stayed in the San Francisco Bay Area, married, and gave his mother three grandchildren who gave her much happiness in her later years. Ted watched over his mother’s well-being in every way. These pictures are from her 70th birthday celebration.
From left to right: Ted’s children, Cynthia, Stephanie and Andy Zamenes; Ted’s wife, Cathy, Ted, and Lula, 1977
Lula in 1986 as she approached age 78; she died three years later, after battling breast cancer during the last years of her life.