She always wore her hat, and she only came to the afternoon gatherings. I can't remember when Kiria Selini started being part of the weekday rotation, but it certainly was not right from the beginning. I also do not know whose friend or neighbour she was, because she was not part of the family. Formality was always observed with her, a small woman, neat and chirpy, removing her gloves as she entered.
After she had had her coffee and sweetmeat she would take her hand work out of her handbag. It was always a crochet hook, and always one of two items that she was making: a looped washcloth or a needle case.
Every time we were there for the summer and she would say that we would not find her the following year. It was, however many years before she was missing. Life had caught up with so many of us in different ways by then. There was so much I did not know about her, but somehow I felt that asking would emphasize my being the outsider. I do not even know if Selini was her surname or given name but the Kiria (Mrs sounds so prosaic, Madame would be a better approximation) was always used. I never heard her address anyone directly - or perhaps even indirectly by name.
All I know is that apart from being a widow there was some sadness about her, which I understood from the vague muttered sympathetic adjectives overheard when she was not present - sadness more than simply that her son was a communist official in Russia! In any case he was not discussed - well, not until Greece took in the folks who wanted to come back from Russia. The son joined his mother, but by then I was married and no longer a summer visitor.
Over the years we received many washcloths: strong cotton constructs which did not disintegrate from one summer to the next. But in 1969, on my last visit before marriage I also received this needle case, and I use it still.