Saturday, January 20, 2018

Thank God He's Not A Protestant!

Born in Marash as Bedros, and grandson of the first Protestant minister in Marash (Sarkis Bilezikjian), Peter would love to tell the following story, a story that has particular significance when one is aware of the anger that was caused, the rift in families, when the Protestant movement reached Marash in the 19th Century (via missionaries from Boston, by the way)!

Neighbor Woman:  (snippily and sarcastically)  So, I hear your son has become a Poghokagan (Protestant)!

Marashtsi Mother:  No, thank God!  He got up this morning, late for work, drank a shot of whiskey, swore at me, and walked out of the house slamming the door.  Thank God he's not a Protestant!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Chamlian Armenian School on MLK Day

Chamlian 8th grade students participate in a talk with civil rights activist Bethel Charkoudian
GLENDALE—The Chamlian Armenian school’s eighth- grade class on January 12 hosted a Skype session with Armenian activist, Bethel Charkoudian, who participated in a Civil Rights Movement march led by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965.
Charkoudian (left) shared her personal story on her role with the Armenian Genocide and her experiences during the Civil Rights Movement. The 8th grade students had the opportunity to ask questions about what inspired her to participate in the movement and what emotions were provoked from the experience as the only Armenian-American present in the march.
The topics of conversation not only engaged the 8th grade students of Chamlian Armenian School, but also instilled in them the desire to continue on with the struggle for freedom and equality. Throughout the video-chat, the most noted appreciation that students expressed was Ms. Charkoudian’s impeccable ability to make important social issues seem relevant. She demonstrated that we, too, through awareness and sheer bravery, may be remembered throughout the pages of history as those who dedicated their time and effort in ensuring that we leave the world a little better than we found it for all of humanity.
Bethel Charkoudian (right) on Boston Common during the
1965 Civil Rights March on Washington
This educational Skype session was a once in a lifetime opportunity for Chamlian students to be exposed to someone directly involved in a pivotal and decisive historical event. Students especially appreciated the chance to not only ask their questions, but also to engage in conversation with Ms. Bethel. One of the most memorable moments was when Ms. Bethel urged the students not to be afraid by repeating the phrase, “Mi Vakhnak!” which translates to “Do not be afraid!”
This motto helped them understand that while taking a stand against injustice is not always the easy option, it will always remain our moral obligation. This truly was an educational experience for our students and sparked conversations regarding critical issues such as racism, sexism, and discrimination. As part of Chamlian’s school mission to embrace Armenian culture and heritage, we continue to be active participants in the Armenian community and gain greater awareness of the unique aspects of the Armenian culture and history while preserving the Armenian heritage.
Chamlian expressed gratitude to Charkoudian for what it called the “unforgettable opportunity and for sharing your inspirational story and encouraging us to fight for respect, dignity, and equality.” The school also thanked Verginie Touloumian, the Executive Director of the Armenian Relief Society Inc. for her support as well as efforts in organizing this memorable and unique experience.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

"We Want You!" At the Airport in Washington DC several months ago

Marash Girl is so proud of her children and grandchildren who fight discrimination in whatever form.  

"NO matter where you are from, we're glad you are our neighbors. 

Photos by Lorig Charkoudian taken yesterday evening at the airport in Washington, DC.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Beware the Mighty Raisin

Yesterday, Marash Girl paid $400 to a dentist in Boston for an emergency visit.  What was the problem?  She knew not.

What was the problem?  The dentist found it and removed it!  A piece of a raisin had lodged itself between the gum and the inner edge of a a back molar.

The charge?  $400!!!! And no insurance!

Should Marash Girl ever eat a raisin again?  Will Marash Girl ever eat a raisin again?  Doubt it!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"Keep the faith, Baby!"

DACA Participants Can Again Apply for Renewal, Immigration Agency Says

 DACA Participants Can Again Apply for Renewal, Immigration Agency Says, NY Times, 1/14/2018  
                         Note: Lorig Charkoudian in upper left corner of photo wearing white hat.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

"Armenians for Freedom for All" at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Rally, Boston Common, 1965

Deeown D. Shaverdian tagged you and Verginie Touloumian in a postDeeown wrote: "As soon as I saw the photo of Ms. Charkoudian participating in the Civil Rights movement with Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965, I knew she would be an inspiration and source of bravery for my 8th graders. After many weeks of planning and emailing and phone calls to the East Coast (where Ms. Bethel lives) and with the help of Ms. Verginie Touloumian, the Executive Director of the Armenian Relief Society in Watertown Massachusetts, this dream became a reality. What an honor it was to interview Ms. Bethel via video chat and listen to her discuss important issues such as discrimination, activism, sexism, history, and equality with our students. Truly, a once in a lifetime opportunity. Thank you so much for truly one of the most unique experiences we’ve ever experienced, Bethel!" 
"Keep the faith, Baby!"

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Free Advice

Whenever someone would say to Marash Girl's father, "Let me give you some advice. . ." he would smile and think to himself, "Free advice is worth exactly what you pay for it!"

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Chopping of Onions - Another Test for the Worthy Dandigin

If you can't chop onions, you can't marry an Armenian man. . . at least that was the lesson Marash Girl learned when she was getting to know the family into which she was soon to marry.  So she learned to chop onions, carefully and finely, but soon the Cuisinart came along and the skill was all for naught!  Just throw the onion in the Cuisinart and you can pass any onion chopping test a future Armenian mother-in-law could put you to! (And anyway, what's the difference, once the food arrives in your stomach!)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

How to Alienate a Non-Armenian Boyfriend

So here we go into Marash Girl's deep, dark past.   Today she's remembering how she shocked a then boyfriend (who was not Armenian), shocked him to the point of complete alienation.  Here's what happened.

Marash Girl was visiting a boyfriend in Washington, DC, on a day when he was expecting guests.  Expecting guests?  What does any self-respecting Armenian woman do when she is expecting guests? She does what her mother, her grandmother, her great-grandmother, her great-great-grandmother would do!  She empties the closest refrigerator onto whatever table she can find to welcome the guests in from the cold (or the heat, or the rain, or the snow)!  And what happened when Marash Girl's "hippie" boyfriend's refrigerator was emptied?  Nothing!  Nothing!  Nothing!  (i.e.,That was the end of that relationship!)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Cabbage Stuff!

Cabbage Stuff?  Sounds awful?  Wrong!  The easiest and most delicious winter meal you could prepare on a cold winter's day . . . that is, if you have green cabbage!  And here's how you do it.  (All credits go to Medzmama, Digin Azniv, of Springfield, Massachusetts.)

You'll have to have on hand a head of green cabbage, a large yellow onion, a clove of garlic (Medzmama says you can only use the onion or the garlic, never both, but Marash Girl breaks the rules and uses both), and a large can of stewed tomatoes.

Begin by peeling the large onion, slicing it or chopping it finely (your preference), and browning the onion slices on low heat in a good olive oil.  While the onion slices are browning, peel and chop one or two cloves of garlic, chop finely, and, adding to the onion slices, stir 'til lightly browned.  (If you or your guests eat meat, it is at this point that you would add ground lamb, and stir until well browned.)  Turn off the heat under the pot.
Back to the chopping block.  Remove the outer leaves from the cabbage and rinsing off the cabbage under cold fresh water. Slice the cabbage into thin strips (spaghetti sized).  Add the chopped cabbage to the already browned onion mixture, turn on the heat under the pot, and stir until the cabbage is slightly wilted.  Add fresh very ripe tomatoes, or a the can of stewed tomatoes, stir and simmer for one half hour.

"Cabbage Stuff", my kids' favorite epithet for this meal, will be even better the next day and the next, especially when served over rice pilaf or bulghour pilaf.  (For recipes, see this blog, Marash Girl - bulgur pilaf for Thanksgiving - Nov. 27, 2013.)

Happy eating!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Uncle Manoog and Marash Girl's Leather Sandals

Years ago, when Marash Girl was living in New York City, she loved to visit her Uncle Manoog, first cousin to her Grandpa Moses, both born in Marash in the mid to later 1800's.  In those days, Marash Girl wore leather sandals . . . that is, hand made leather soles with a few leather straps to hold the soles onto her feet, very expensive sandals that had been hand-made in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and gifted to Marash Girl by her then artist friend.  That was the style, and very stylish it was (both the sandals and the friend).  But Uncle Manoog was unaware of the styles of the day, in that he was, at that time, in his late nineties, and rarely went out for walks along the Brooklyn boulevards.

As Stephanie reports the story, Uncle Manoog approached her with some money, and asked that she buy Marash Girl some proper shoes; he hadn't realized that his cousin's family was so hard up that their daughter couldn't afford a proper pair of shoes to cover her feet!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Separation problems?

Baking during these frigid snowy days?  What could be better?  Staying warm, staying productive, and hopefully sharing the product with your neighbors.  But . . . oh, oh!  Can't get that cake you just baked out of the baking pan?  If the pan is made of metal (NOT GLASS) and you've greased it well before pouring in the cake batter, no problem.  Simply do as Marash Girl's mother did.  After letting the cake cool slightly, using a knife, separate the cake from then edge of the pan; then turn the pan over and, using a metal tablespoon, or the handle of a metal butter knife, gently tap the back of the cake pan . . . if you tap evenly around the base of the metal pan, the cake should loosen up and fall out onto the table, so make sure the pan with the cake is only inches from the table when you are trying to separate the cake from the pan!!!! Otherwise . . .

Sunday, January 7, 2018

What Better Armenian Christmas?

Yesterday, our wonderful daughter-in-law sent this photo along with an invitation to dinner; unfortunately, the weather and the distance prevented our flying to NYC to partake in the feast, but what better way to celebrate Armenian Christmas than to share in all the wonderful taste treats, the recipes and methods of preparations handed down to us from our ancestors?  Thank you, Meghan!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Remembering Our Past on Armenian Christmas

Illumination of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Hand-copied in AD 1711 by Yeghia Marsvantsi Elijah of Marsvan.
Donated to the Armenian Museum of America (Watertown, Massachusetts) by Adele and Haig Der Manuelian.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Go West, Young Man!

It was on snowy, icy winter days like today that Grandma Yester Vartanian would call us from sunny southern California, begging us to move to LA.  She would not only laud the climate (weather), but the she would proclaim the thriving climate (business), both to be enjoyed, both to be had for the taking!  All one needed to do was to convert from the old New England mentality (suffer, suffer), to the mentality of the new LA (enjoy, enjoy)!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Snow? No problem!

Maple Avenue on the day of the first snowstorm of 2018. Photo Credit: Kate Walker 
Marash Girl used to love winter, but that was when she didn't have to worry about heating her house and keeping the pipes from freezing.  Her dad was a specialist in that field, and, in fact, was out and about many a winter night, helping folks whose oil burners had suddenly failed, more often than not, in the midst of a raging snow storm! And the next morning, Uncle Paul would head out and clear the snow off the car with his bare hands!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Cardinal Brightens The Way

In the midst of a snowstorm, Marash Girl spied a cardinal sitting on the snow laden branches of the evergreen tree, the tree outside of her kitchen window.  That cardinal, if not the snow it was perching upon, put a smile on Marash Girl's face!  Sorry, but Marash Girl couldn't get to her camera fast enough!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

California Beach Sign in the Midst of Snowy New England

Recently, Marash Girl accompanied her granddaughter to a local department store and there at the entrance to the dressing room was the above sign.  Talk about rubbing salt into the streets, or rather, rubbing salt into the wound!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Thursday, December 21, 2017


Rachel Kadish reads from her recent novel, THE WEIGHT OF INK, at the Woman's Club of Newton Highlands. Photo by Marash Girl

Author Rachel Kadish spoke to the Woman's Club of Newton Highlands this week about her experience writing THE WEIGHT OF INK, a novel set in 17th Century London (based on maps made by Queen Elizabeth's cartographer) and Amsterdam, where the Jewish people sought refuge (although the author admits that she herself never made it to Amsterdam -- only to the Houghton Library in Harvard Square!)  The question for the Jewish people was, according to Kadish, "Though we have found safety, are we really safe?"  The novel centers around a 17th Century woman, poor and Jewish, who has taken seriously Verse 5 from Psalm 137
ה  אִם-אֶשְׁכָּחֵךְ יְרוּשָׁלִָם--    תִּשְׁכַּח יְמִינִי."If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning."
and the central theme, according to the author?  "Writing can be a life or death act!"

When asked about her approach to writing, Kadish says that, as she gets ideas, she places post-it notes on her wall, reorganizing as she goes, but she does NOT recommend that others necessarily do so!

Set in the present,  and in the 1660's,  the main character in THE WEIGHT OF INK is a woman who has been allowed to be the scribe for a Jewish Rabbi.  A fascinating look at history, the place of women in history, the courage to write, the secrets that our houses hold, and the history of the Jewish people.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Man of La Mancha for Christmas . . . Really?

Looking for an uplifting evening at the theatre?  Avoid going to MAN OF LAMANCHA.  So well done by the New Rep that it leaves you wondering why they would ever perform this piece during the  Christmas season!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Stressing for the Holidays?

Counterproductive!  Don't fall for the trap!  Rather, celebrate Armenian Christmas . . . you'll have an extra 12 days!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Antiquing with Raffi on a Hot Summer's Day

Some tips to remember when Christmas Shopping on Cape Cod next summer!

1.  Real brass won't attract a magnet, but then neither will white metal.

The weight, then; the weight!

2.  Can't see in the dim light of the shop?  Feel the edge of the dish or the glass for chips . . .

Ama -- didn't you feel the edge of this? It's chipped! You don't want it!  (Out of the mouths of babes!)

And remember . . . even if there is a slight chip, you can use emery paper or an emery board to smooth the chips that you missed!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Kicking a Bone from the Spring to Home

A block from the house in which Marash Girl lived for the first 20 years of her life there were woods -- only for a block, but none-the less, woods -- and at the corner of Hull Street and Lowell Avenue where the woods began, was a spring.  It was at that spring that very young Marash Girl found a fossil -- or so she thought -- an old bone that she knew must be a fossil; she feared carrying it with her hands, so she kicked the fossil up the hill, about a half a mile to her house.  When she arrived home, glad to be bearing this ancient museum piece, she was not praised for discovering the ancient fossil but rather chastised for scuffing up her brand new shoes, scuffing them for none other than a not so old bone, a bone not even worthy of a dog's interest!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Save Those Christmas Cards

We never did save them; we threw them all away after Christmas.  But one card we did save, and that card was a reminder, a sweet reminder, so  don't throw away those Christmas cards.  They will survive long after your days of yore, long after your friends of yore, long after your memories of yore -- and they will bring those days, those friends, and those memories rushing back!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Strolling the Aisles . . .

Since when was a trip to Costco a moment to treasure?  Since Marash Girl used to make those trips with her dad.  He would love to stop and chat with the fellow "guarding" the entrance, with the women "guarding" the free samples of tasty tidbits, with his old friends who would invariably be similarly strolling the aisles.  A great way to get exercise in the middle of the winter . . . a great way to socialize in the middle of the week!  And invariably he would hear folks chatting in Armenian -- always an excuse to interrupt them for a lively, three-way conversation.        

Costco had become a family event.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Some Don't Mind The Snow!

On Marash Girl's front lawn is the little boy who keeps guard over her garden, taking a rest 'til spring!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Laughing your way through a boring lecture . . .

Marash Girl's dad would love to laugh (rather than cry, rant or rave) when he was forced to sit through a boring lecture . . . He would always quote the old "stand"ard,  "I stand before you to sit behind you to tell you something I know nothing about . . . "

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Red Candles, Anyone?

Every year, during the daylight hours of December 24, Marash Girl would frantically send out a battalion of family members to search the local stores for tall red candles -- candles to light the living room, dining room, and hallway on Christmas Eve.  (We kept electric lights on in the kitchen, to make sure that we didn't use salt instead of sugar when making the syrup for the kadayif!)

This year (finally, after how many years?) Marash Girl decided to tackle the chore herself and clever girl that she was, she found a raft (literally) of tall red dripless candles at the $ store for . . . yes, a dollar for a package of two.  You guessed it!  She bought them all.  All she'll have to do now is remember to check the shelves in the basement rather than heading out to buy red candles for Christmas Eve next year . . .

Monday, December 11, 2017

Can't sleep?

Turn off the news!  That's what Marash Girl's father was told by his doctors many years ago; that's what Marash Girl would advise today.  A lot better than sleeping pills!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Real Live Christmas Story

Marash Girl heard --  what was it? Someone shoveling her sidewalk?  Why?  Who was it?  She went out to see who it was and found a young fellow shoveling all the way up the sidewalk along the side opposite her house on her little street, and all the way back.  Next thing she knew, he was shoveling along the sidewalk on her side of the street, as well as the apron and steps leading up to her house.  Who was this Christmas Elf?  She reached into her pocket, grabbed a $10 bill and headed out the front door . . . Who are you? she asked the young man.   Oh, I'm just the neighbor at the end of the street -- I needed to get some exercise, so I decided to shovel.  Really? asked Marash Girl, astounded.  Yes, he answered; I'm a teacher and I don't get much exercise, so this is great!  What do you teach? asked Marash Girl.  Oh, I teach fourth graders.  Well, here's for your efforts, said Marash Girl, handing him a $10 bill.  No, no, answered the young man.  I can't accept that!  Oh, yes you can, answered Marash Girl; accept it for your students; buy your students a Christmas treat with the money!  Okay, agreed! grinned the young teacher, pocketing the $10 bill, as he continued his mitzvah, shoveling along.

Saturday, December 9, 2017


Looks like the folks here are in for the first big snowstorm of the year, and none too happy about it!  But Marash Girl remembers when it was a joy to watch the snow coming down, a joy to clear the snow from the 35 steps leading to the sidewalk below, a joy to help her dad and uncle clear off the two cars, a joy to clear the sidewalk along the two lot length of stone wall!  Oh, for the joys of the old days!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Driveway Into The Past

Walking along Ethan Allen Avenue into the town center of Takoma Park, Maryland, Marash Girl spied a scene that took her straight back to her childhood.  The only difference was the downward slant of the driveway.  The driveway to the garage of her childhood went uphill!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A House on Commonwealth Avenue!

Mummy's dream, a dream that was never realized, was always to have a house on Commonwealth Avenue . . .  along the carriage lane, of course . . . or short of that, a brand new, single-family ranch house in Weston.   Just saying. . .

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

'Tis the Season!

'Tis the season, and if you want some interesting items for little ones (and big ones alike) at bargain prices, try the $ store!  Amazing what wonders you can find there that will fit comfortably into a Christmas stocking!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

No snow yet!

But snow is in the air, and Marash Girl knows that she's no longer a kid (though sometimes you'd wonder) because she no longer looks forward to the snow flakes falling from the sky.  How wonderful that was . . . watching the first snowstorm of the season, making angels in the snow (do you know how to do that . . . she can tell you), and, of course, building snowmen (we never thought of building snow-women because what woman would want a carrot for a nose, and two pieces of coal for eyes!)

Monday, December 4, 2017

An Armenian Nursery Rhyme

The posting below on Facebook reminded Marash Girl that eons ago, Kenar and Marash Girl recorded on paper Armenian nursery rhymes from Marash, nursery rhymes remembered by Kenar's mom.  Marash Girl will have to dig into her files to find them and start posting them on her website.  In the meantime, enjoy the one below from Aintab!

Armenian Nursery Rhyme/ Lullaby Aintab mothers said to their children. Remember Armenian language was spoken differently back then.

Djor, Djor, Djor Mama,
Djoring maman jam g'erta
Gorgod abour bish enna,
Yeghe vran khesh enna.
Kkachon oude, josh enna,
Lop, Lop Ashenna.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Trouble on Maple Avenue?

                                                                                              Photo by Kate Walker
A neighbor reported excitement at the end of our "dead end" street yesterday early evening; to wit: "Around 6:30 PM, heard cars, yelling, big drama.  Obviously, another 'Oops, it’s a dead end' move. Sounded like a domestic thing. Crazy blocked car, car hitting hydrant, people screaming in some really bad Bawstin accents!  Really crazy and unsettling. Better you were snoozing, it was ugly to hear."  Apparently even the police came by . . . unusual for our quiet corner of the city!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Christmas Crèche

The Christmas crèche -- there are many available, both new and antique -- a beautiful and tactile way to introduce Christmas to the little ones.  Ironically, or perhaps as it was meant to be, most antique crèche assemblies are missing the Baby Jesus. . . a perfect fit for baby's hand and baby's heart!  Marash Girl's Christmas crèche was handmade by Nancy, our dear neighbor on Beacon Hill, on the occasion of the birth of our first child, and as fitting, Marash Girl has gifted that hand built crèche to her first-born child (who prefers to remain anonymous on Marash Girl's blogs)!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Have You Done Your Christmas Shopping Yet?

Better get going!  Not too many days left!  And you don't want any disappointed faces peering up at you on the big day!  But don't you worry.  There really are 12 days of Christmas, and in the old days the young 'uns had 12 gifts to open (and if you were the older generation, 12 gifts to provide)!  Maybe you could get many dozens of donuts, and give each child a donut a day?  (Keep 'em fresh in the freezer?)  Whoops, methinks the season is really getting to Marash Girl!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Clearing the Decks

Sometimes gifts can be overwhelming, and when Marash Girl closed her warehouse, she no longer had space to keep the gift of a "storeful" of sheet music.  Marash Girl has spent the day moving cartons of brand new sheet music onto her porch, where the Vietnam Vets will pick up the music to resell.  If anyone reading this lives in the neighborhood, you're welcome to come by and take what you like.  There's plenty for everyone!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Backgammon (Tavlu) Has Finally Arrived!

Although there were no examples of backgammon boards from Damascus, Syria,
 always a work of art, the tavlu board has finally made its way into the rooms of the 
George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, Springfield, Massachusetts.  
Bravo, Springfield! Bravo Sidney Mobell!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

First Christmas Tree of the Season

                             Springfield, Massachusetts:  Quadrangle,  Dr. Seuss Museum

Monday, November 27, 2017

New Friends Greeting for the First Time on Thanksgiving Day

                                                    Dylan Marie greets her newest friend!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

How does one recognize the devil?

Reading Kim Warp's cartoon in the New York Times several days ago reminded Marash Girl of one of those unforgettable sermons she heard when she was probably no more than eight years old.  The evangelist warned his congregation, "The devil doesn't come dressed in red with horns, carrying a pitchfork with three tines.  The devil (or evil, as you would have it) comes dressed in a nice suit with a white shirt, clean and well-dressed."
N.B. Or did the devil come in an overabundance of delectable desserts on the Thanksgiving table?

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Map of North Korea?

On Thanksgiving Day, Marash Girl received a greeting from her brother, the "Message" was simply the  map of North Korea . . . She wonders what he'll send her on Christmas Day. . .

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Two Little Ones

The two little ones returning from a foray on the day after Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving . . . But . . . .

This morning, opening her computer, expecting to be barged by greetings of the season, Marash Girl was faced with a  warning:  "Coyotes on the prowl in Newton!"  Make sure your chickens are safe, as well as your small pets.  Coyotes love them all!  The coyotes are looking forward to a "Happy Thanksgiving"!  They got the message!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Back in the day, a kiss was a kiss, but still, a kiss was a bigga deal, at least for Marash Girl.  The game of padiddle made life a lot easier for guys who wanted a kiss from their favorite gal without having to steal one.  Paddidle, you ask?  Well, yes.  This is how it went.  If a guy took a girl out on an evening date in his car (or they could be walking . . .) and the guy spotted a car with one headlight missing, the guy would call out, "Padiddle!"  That would signal his right to kiss the gal who was with him.  And in those days, kissing the gal you were with meant something!  So the guy would call out, "Padiddle", and it was understood that the gal would have to allow the guy to kiss her.  But that was a problem if the gal were out with a guy who she liked as a person, but not as a boyfriend, not as someone she would want to kiss.  So how did a girl deal with that in the day when she was alone in a car with a guy, he claimed his right to a kiss by shouting, "Padiddle" when he spotted a car with only one headlight?  She simply said, "No," and never accepted a date with that fellow again.  At least, that's how Marash Girl solved the problem!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Secure those air-conditioning units!

A word to the wise . . .  Apparently, the latest style of home break-ins comes via first floor air-conditioning units!  Either secure those air-conditioners or remove them!  As the holidays approach, folks with no money get desperate!  A word to the wise!!!!!

Monday, November 20, 2017

The White Birch: A Lesson In Survival

Standing at the bay windows watching the white birch trees dancing with the hurricane force winds, Marash Girl was taught a lesson in life, a lesson which she remembers to this day:  the importance of the ability to sway with the winds. That lesson was brought back to her unexpectedly last week on a wind-free afternoon, as she wandered past the shops of Newton Centre and spied lengths of white birch, leaning against the windows of an elegant men's shop, white birch which in her day were considered "junk trees" when juxtaposed with the mighty oak, white birch which when battered by hurricane force winds, knew to dance and sway with the winds in order to save their lives.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Hymns Stay With You Forever!

The words, the tunes of those old-time hymns stay with you forever.  You may forget the sermons, but not the hymns!  When you most need them, they are there with you, a reminder of God's presence.  At least, that is the case for Marash Girl.  In case she hasn't mentioned it before, the hymnal she grew up with, Spiritual Hymns of Worship, compiled by E. E. Elmajian, was published in three languages -- English, Armenian in Armenian letters, and Turkish in Armenian letters.  And the hymns were sung in all three languages by folks who had sung those hymns in Turkish and Armenian and English throughout the time of untold atrocities, atrocities against the Armenian population, atrocities that occurred under the cover of World War One.  We are all so thankful to be safe, here in the United States of America.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

"There are two brothers who have not bowed their knees to Baal." A Missionary's Tale

"There are two brothers who have not bowed their knees to Baal."  These words were uttered by a missionary visiting the Congregational Church in West Newton in the 1930's.  What ever could he have meant?  Here is the story behind those words.

Many years ago, in Newtonville, Massachusetts, in the 1930's, a man walked into Newtonville Electrical Company, then at 84 Bowers Street in Newtonville, Massachusetts.  The man walked into the store, looked at a used refrigerator, asked the price, and when he heard the price (not very much, for that time), he thanked the proprietor and turned around to leave the shop.  The proprietor stopped him.
"Why are you leaving?" asked the proprietor, who had offered the used refrigerator (probably a Grunow) at a price far below the going price for such an appliance.  
"I can't afford the refrigerator," replied the customer, hanging his head in shame.  
"Don't worry," replied the proprietor.  "Where do you live?  If you can't afford the refrigerator, we'll deliver that refrigerator to you at no cost."  "The boys" (as they were known) who owned Newtonville Electric, knew what it was to have very little money, to have to do without . . . The customer was amazed at the beyond generous response, and accepted the kindness of the proprietors of that electrical shop in Newtonville in the 1930's.

Not a week passed before folks started calling the Newtonville Electrical Company, ordering electrical appliances, sight unseen, cost unquestioned, to be delivered to their homes on West Newton Hill (at the time, one of the wealthiest areas in Newton).  Peter and Paul could not understand what was happening . . . why folks would be ordering appliances without asking the price ahead of time . . . without seeing the appliance before ordering.  Finally, they asked one of the customers what had caused the sudden influx of orders from previously unknown customers from the West Newton Congregational Church, and below is the reply they received.

"The missionary to Africa that our church supports is here in the United States on a year's leave.  He needed to furnish his apartment on a very limited budget. Not knowing that he was a missionary, or that he was supported by the West Newton Congregational Church, you gifted him the refrigerator, essential to his family's well-being.  He told the story of your generosity at our evening service, beginning with the following words:  "There are two brothers in Newtonville who have not bowed their knees to Baal." (See 1 Kings 19:18 and Romans 11:4).

Those two brothers were Marash Girl's father Peter Bilezikian and her uncle Paul Bilezikian.  God rest their souls.

Friday, November 17, 2017

If You're Armenian, Thanksgiving Means More Than A Turkey and Trimmings

Daily, Marash Girl's father thanked God for his new life in the United States of America, life without fear of the Turkish gendarmes knocking at the door (fear that his mother and sister experienced as they hid, the gendarmes taking away their parents, Marash Girl's great grandparents who were never seen or heard from again . . .  for whatever reason, no-one today knows).  Marash Girl thanks God daily, as did her parents and grandparents, for welcoming the Armenians into the Country of the Free.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What would we do without our iPhones?

Today, Marash Girl thought she had lost her iPhone.  The emotional toll that that possibility took on her was indescribable.  There's something wrong with our having such dependence on any such mechanical device, no matter how helpful it is to our daily lives . . .
n.b.  She did finally find it.  She had left it on the front seat, passenger side, and in that it was the same color as the car's upholstery, she had not seen her trusty phone.  Thank goodness for "FIND YOUR PHONE!"

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Takashi Murakami: Lineage of Eccentrics

Now featured at the MFA:  Takashi Murakami's "Lineage of Eccentrics".  Marash Girl was lucky enough to be invited to an illustrated lecture previewing this exhibit, followed by an elegant tea.  The only problem with the lecture was the deliberate (I have to assume) avoidance of any reference to the toll/influence/affect that World War Two must have had on the artist.  Nor was a likeness to Mickey Mouse mentioned, although the image included herewith certainly brings to mind the famous Disney rodent.  Herewith, a few photos from the illustrated lecture.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Panera and the Kitchen Sink!

Panera always offers a special treat -- a free desert to celebrate on your birthday-- that is, if you've signed up for the treat on their website!  True to their word, Marash Girl was offered a special treat, a treat called the Kitchen Sink.  I kid you not!  What was the Kitchen Sink?  It was the biggest, fattest chocolate chip cookie you ever did see -- a promised 800 calories if you ate the whole cookie!  Did Marash Girl eat the whole cookie?  She's not telling!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Happy Birthday, Nisha Djan!

Okay, so who in the world ever has a first child three weeks early?  Marash Girl did!  And what a surprise it was.  Marash Girl and Marash Boy were expecting a boy . . . who knows why?  The old country old wives' tales about how high or low the mom is carrying the baby . . . Marash Girl was sitting on the third floor of their Beacon Hill home, preparing the antique wicker rocker which Grandma Jennie had gifted them . . .  Marash Girl covering the rocker's cushions with brightly colored Marimeko fabric . . . when all of a sudden Marash Girl's water broke and off Marash Girl and Marash Boy went to Brigham and Women's Hospital.  They were all set with the rocking chair for nursing the baby and a name . . . Armenians always name their first son after the child's grandfather.  (Do they? Or did Marash Girl just make that up?)  In any case, Marash Boy and Marash Girl were all set with a name.  Nishan.  Beautiful name meaning "sign" . . . (all Armenians knew that meant "Sign of the Cross").  So off they trekked to the hospital, and guess what!  Not a first son, but a first daughter.  Name?  No problem.  They would still name the beautiful new baby after her father's father.  Nishanouhi?  ("ouhi" is the feminine ending for an Armenian name. . . No way was Marash Girl's daughter going to be an "ouhi"!)  Not Nishanouhi!  Nisha!  Yes, Nisha!  A beautiful name for a beautiful baby, a beautiful woman.  
Happy Birthday to our dear Nisha! Happy Birthday to you!