It was a boisterous, determined family-his father, Minas, a painter; Uncle George, a civil engineer; Uncle Bill, an electrician; Uncle Elias, another painter; Uncle Emmanuel, another electrician; and his beloved Uncle Gus, a carpenter. ("To this day," Emmanuel says, "if I cut into a 2-by-4 piece of pine and get that smell . . . that fresh-cut wood smell, I think of my Uncle Gus.") They were a tight-knit clan who'd all known real hunger and deprivation back in Olymbos, on the island of Karpathos.