Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Grandpa Moses: "He didn't know the gun was loaded." Or, from Ahir Dağı to Newtonville, Massachusetts

Grandpa Moses was a young man riding in the mountains of Marash (Ahir Dağı).  His friends rode with him. As the story goes, Grandpa Moses (then single) was sitting around a campfire in the mountains with his best friend and his best friend's wife (who they were, we do not know; some say his best friend was a Kurd.)  Grandpa Moses was inspecting a recently purchased gun (whether it was his or his friend's is unclear) when the gun went off by accident and instantly killed his best friend.  He went into hiding in the mountains, protected by his Kurdish friends.  The authorities knew that they would never be able to find him as long as his friends were hiding him in the mountains.  In his place, the authorities placed father, the minister,  in prison for the crime; his father would stay in prison until his son Moses gave himself up.  That was the only way that Moses would ever be caught.  Yes, in a Turkish prison in the late 1800's, early 1900's.  You can imagine.

So Grandpa Moses, son of the first Protestant minister in Marash, gave himself up to the Turkish authorities, was placed in prison (and who knows what else), and the case actually went up for trial.  (Death was the penalty for the crime.)  At the trial, his best friend's wife testified that the murder was an accident, that her husband and "Mose" were best of friends, and in no way would Moses ever wish harm to his best friend.  Grandpa Moses was released from prison and exonerated for the crime.

However, his father, Rev. Sarkis Bilezikjian, reminded his son that "The Turks never forget. . . Leave the country,  and leave the country fast." 

 And leave the country Moses did . . . heading for the good old U S of A. and Newtonville, Massachusetts.

That was the way Marash Girl heard the story.  She knows no more.  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Grandpa Moses and the Spring on Lowell Avenue

Yes, there was a spring on Lowell Avenue at the corner of Hull Street in Newtonville . . . a spring of fresh water flowing from the cliffs that were once a bird sanctuary, the cliffs bequeathed to the City of Newton by the Claflin family, the cliffs that were forever to be held sacred for birds, upon which a large brick building was built (once a public school, now a privately owned apartment building).

Marash Girl remembers Grandpa Moses walking down to that spring from her home opposite the cliffs, walking down with two jugs in his hand, returning home with the jugs filled with fresh, clear, cold spring water.  Later, as Marash Girl got big enough to carry a jug of water, she would walk north on Lowell Avenue, past the woods, to the corner where the short rusted metal pipe jutted from a cleft in a rock out of which poured the delicious God-given brew!

But soon, the land was sold, and developers cut down the trees and built houses  . .  .  and yes, they built a house right over the spring.  Marash Girl remembers how the cellar hole was left empty for months -- empty that is except for the water at the bottom of the cellar hole -- water from the spring that could not be stopped.  And well after the house was built over that cellar hole, that house on the corner of Lowell Avenue and Hull street, the spring kept giving, the cellar was always wet.  The question Marash Girl, at age 8, and throughout her life, always wondered:  why could that developer not have built the spring into a beautiful fountain in the front yard of that corner house?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Grandpa Moses: "Yuzune deyim!"

Marash Girl grew up in the little church , the United Armenian Brethren Evangelical Church of Watertown, Massachusetts. Uncle Vartan, her Grandfather Moses' brother, founded that church and ministered to its congregation until the 1950's. His sermons were in Turkish,   Armenian and English, the hymnals were in all three languages as well  - E. E. Elmajian's    Spiritual Hymns of Worship -    Hokevor Yerker Bashdamunki - Ruhani Ibadet Ilahileri [in English, Armenian & Armeno-Turkish].

Early in the history of the church, however, there was a movement to "Pentecostalize" the church; the man leading the movement (whose name Marash Girl never learned) happened to be the treasurer of the church, and up  and left the church, taking many of the worshipers and all the money in  the treasury with him.  

Upon learning of  the event, Grandpa Moses said of the treasurer, 
"He's nothing but a crook!" The former treasurer heard of the accusation, and   came to the house on Lowell Avenue to face Grandpa Moses.

"You called me a crook behind my back," he announced to Grandpa Moses on a Sunday afternoon, surrounded by the visitors who weekly visited Grandpa Moses.

"Well, let me tell you to your face:  (Yuzune deyim!)", said Grandpa Moses. "You're a liar!"

For years after that event, Marash Girl's dad would say, yüzüne deyim, when describing the straightforwardness of his father, and all of us would laugh, enjoying the reminder of Grandpa Moses' fearless honesty.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

If wishes were horses . . .

And remembering admonitions from her parents and grandparents' generation, Marash Girl often heard her father quoting her grandmother Yepros (and Marash Girl only remembers the expression in English with a rough translation into the language of Marash Armenians):

"You can't ask someone to love you."  

(Rough translation of meaning: You can't say to someone, "Gel ve bene seviyor", "Come and love me" and expect that to happen.)

Friday, July 31, 2015

Trying to hold two watermelons in one hand, are you?

Purchasing watermelon today at Whole Foods, Marash Boy remembered the caution his mother brought with her from Marash:

Bir elinde iki karpuz tutulmaz!  You can't hold two watermelons in one hand!

Of course, Marash Boy paid no attention whatsoever to the admonition, causing his mother no end of consternation.

Do you understand the meaning of the expression?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Grandpa Moses and The Lone Ranger; or Grandpa Moses, The Lone Ranger

Born in 1865 in Marash, Ancient Armenia,  Eastern Anatolia, Grandpa Moses was the oldest of 5 sons born to the Reverend Sarkis Bilezikjian:  Moses, Garabed, Arakel, Alexan, and (Rev.) Vartan.  Moses, however, was a loner.  As a young man, he would ride off  on his horse to join his Kurdish friends in daily forays throughout the mountains surrounding Marash.  And because they were his friends, they would never attack the sheep that he herded up there in the mountains, nor the travelers or  caravans for which he "rode shotgun" . . .  He was a wiry, quiet man when Marash Girl knew him, hardly speaking at all, sitting in the winged arm chair on the second floor, and (later in 1947, when television first came out), watching The Lone Ranger (was he watching himself?) as he protected the innocent.  

It was then, just as the Lone Ranger was in combat with evil, that Marash Martha, at the time only 5 years old, would decide to get up and change the channel.  Grandpa Moses would complain to his son Peter (Marash Martha's father), "That girl! She always turns the channel just at the height of the action!"  (Of course, that's not exactly what he said; he was speaking in Turkish, the language of his Marash.)  Oh, and by the way.  He spoke English with a Swedish accent.  More on that later.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Grandpa Moses and the Glass of Water

Grandpa Moses was sitting under the grape arbor in the back yard --  his son (Marash Girl's father) had built the arbor for him -- a beautiful wooden structure covered with grape vines under which were two benches and a table -- the family often sat there for summer dinners on Sunday -- but this was a a hot summer weekday, and Grandpa Moses was cooling off while the kids were running around playing in the back yard.  Grandpa asked little Marash Girll for a glass of water, so Marash Girl ran into the house and ran a glass of water from the tap for Grandpa Moses -- thinking she would play a joke on her grandfather, she ran the water from the hot water tap and carried the clear glass of water outside.  Before taking the glass into his hands, Grandpa Moses took one look at the water and roared with displeasure.  He knew (bubbles in the water?  Marash Girl is not sure) that the glass was full of hot -- not cool -- water!  It was the only time Marash Girl ever remembers that her grandfather spoke to her with displeasure, and, yes, obviously, she remembers the moment to this day.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Grandpa Moses and Pendir Ekmek

Marash Girl wants to write more about Grandpa Moses on future blog posts, but today her memories of Grandpa Moses were triggered by her memory of the circular wooden box he built, a round box made of dark wooden slats with a round, loose-fitting cover that sat atop the box, the box approx. 2 feet in diameter and 18 inches high.  That box sat in the attic for many a year . . . when Marash Girl was very young, (she was told) it was filled with ekmek . . . round, dried, thin, flat Armenian bread (homemade, of course) made with white flour and salt and a bit of yeast, rolled out to approximately 18 to 20 inches in diameter, (or as large around as the oven would take) and baked until crisp.  The bread would be kept dry in the box that Grandpa Moses had built, and before serving, would be sprinkled with water and wrapped in a towel until the cracker bread was flexible and could be rolled up around whatever was served on that particular day: vegetables or meat or cheese (usually home made Armenian cheese that had been stored in a brine, and was sliced and served after it had been let to sit in hot water for a bit -- yes, hot, slightly melted, very salty cheese).  Pendir ekmek . . . bread and cheese!  Wet bread and wet cheese, you ask?  Yes!  Any of you out there remember eating wet bread with wet cheese?  Marash Girl does.  It was one of her favorite meals!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

Button, button,who's got the button?

Any of you remember that game? (A simple game played in a simpler time. . .)

Have you ever threaded a needle?  

Tightened a button on your favorite blouse?

Searched your button bottle (do any of you even know what that is) for a button that matches, or nearly matches the one you lost on your favorite pair of slacks?

All of these memories flooded Marash Girl's mind when her daughter called to find out if Marash Girl had any iron-on tape. . . her daughter's friend loves vintage clothing, and recently bought a blouse she "could not live without" . . .  but the blouse was unwearable because the button half-way down on the front of the blouse was missing and a tear was there in its place.  What to do?

Get some iron-on tape to iron-on over the tear on the reverse side of the blouse.  Find some matching thread (preferably cotton if the blouse is cotton) in your sewing basket -- wicker or plastic basket, either will do -- (does anyone have a sewing basket  containing needles and spools of thread anymore?) . . .  have fun going through the button bottle to find a matching button . . . have fun trying to thread that needle (if you're clever, you'll have one of those wire needle threaders from the 1940's).

I can just hear Marash Martha now, as she reads this post . . . she'll be screaming all the way from Palm Desert, California . . . screaming, "Why don't you just take the darn thing to your local seamstress?  She'll take care of it all in a jiffy!"

Sunday, July 26, 2015

We miss you, Shirley Tashjian!

Shirley Tashjian welcomes a young man from Uganda to her 4th of July Parade party!

                                     Our lives and our 4th of July's will never be the same without you, Shirley!

The calling hours are on Thursday morning, July 30, at St. Gregory's Armenian Apostolic Church, Indian Orchard, Massachusetts,  between 9:30 - 11:00 AM.  Service will be at 11 A.M. Shirley will be buried at Hillcrest cemetery. After the cemetery a memorial luncheon will take place at  St. Gregory's Armenian Apostolic Church Hall.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Ticks and Talks on Cape Cod

 As most of you know by now, Massachusetts' beloved Cape Cod and the Islands (Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket) their beaches and roadsides, paths through the woods and back yard havens, are now overrun by ticks carrying lyme disease.  Go shopping to the local market, and in the parking lot,  you'll overhear folks comparing notes on their neighbor's (or their own) bout with the tick born lyme disease.  Originally thought to nest in the fur of deer, the ticks now make their home on animals as small as mice, and certainly live in the fur of pet cats and dogs who have been allowed to go outside and enjoy the fresh salty air.  Enjoying the leaves of plants as small as two inches high, or living among the greens of the lofty oak, these tiny ticks have ensured misery for the many.

Recently, Marash Girl engaged in one of her favorite pastimes — a visit to a yard sale on Cape Cod.  Yard sales on Cape Cod are not simply for stocking up on gadgets that you  don't need but can't resist just because the price is so cheap --  rather they're a time to enjoy the sun and fresh air and catch up with your "neighbor" the way folks used to do in the old days.  Yesterday, the "neighbor" on Captain Blount Road sold Marash Girl all kinds of treasures at 50 cents apiece.  While Marash Girl paid the total sum of $10 (how many treasures was that? -- get your pencils out!)  -- yes. Marash Girl had gone to the bank the day before to make sure she had cash -- no credit cards or checks accepted at yard sales -- the proprietress began talking about her bout with lyme disease. (Marash Girl can't remember how the topic came up!)  At any rate, this young woman told of her year long fight to regain her health and went on to say that Harwich was known to be the hot spot for lyme disease -- which was the reason she moved from Harwich to Yarmouth!  As she obviously still gardened around her house, Marash Girl asked the young woman how she prevented getting reinfected by the pesky ticks.  

Her solution?  A lint roller.  

She advised the following:  every time you return from working in your garden or from a walk along the beach or  a walk in the woods -- whether or not the path is cement, tar, sand or dirt -- keep a lint roller handy, and roll that roller over every inch of your exposed skin and your clothing -- have someone do the back of your clothes as well -- throw your clothing into the washing machine using hot water  (after you've removed the clothing from your self, of course) and while the clothes are washing, take a shower; when the wash is done, throw the clothing in the dryer.  The heat from the dryer will destroy any ticks that may have survived the wash.

If you do find a tick on your body, call 911 -- no, just kidding -- call your doctor and the doctor will usually prescribe a prophylactic dose of doxycyclin (usually one day's worth).  

Marash Girl can tell you from experience -- contracting lyme disease is no joke!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Raccoon Comes A-VIsiting

Sending notices out for your yard sale?  Make sure that your local raccoons can't read!

Recently Marash Girl attended a yard sale, granted she was a late bird rather than an early bird, and while standing at the foot of the stairs leading to the front door, chatting with the proprietress of the yard sale, she looked up to see, yes, she saw, yes, it really was, a raccoon entering the open door of the grand Victorian home.  In shock, Marash Girl screamed, the raccoon turned tail (literally) and fled, and the proprietress was completely confused.  What just happened?  Oh, no!  Let's call animal control.  A half hour later, animal control arrived (giving the raccoon plenty of time to take cover) and announced that she could not take down an animal that was not rabid or sick.  Well, if the raccoon was not rabid or sick, what was it doing rummaging around in broad daylight at a local yard sale?

Apparently, Newton is now known not only for its million dollar homes, but for its protected wild life!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dishwasher Blues

Tired of eating off those dirty dishes that you thought  were clean (already run through the dishwasher)? Tired of emptying a dishwasher full of rinsed but unclean dishes and putting them away before you realize that they have not yet been washed?

Save yourself the trouble of ever going through that again, and use Marash Girl's signal!

After emptying her dishwasher, Marash Girl immediately fills the soap dispenser with dishwasher soap and firmly closes the dispenser.  That's the signal.

From then on, any dishes in the dishwasher are known to be dirty.  How? Just check the dispenser!  If it's closed, the dishes are dirty.

And likewise, if the soap dispenser is open and empty, that's your signal that the soap has been used, that all of the dishes in the dishwasher are clean and ready to be used.

Got it?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Why would anyone ever want a dishwasher?

With apologies to Mummie!

Marash Girl's father was co-owner of Newtonville Electrical Company, Inc.  As such, he and his brother always supplied the family with the latest in electrical appliances.  Thus, Marash Girl's mom was one of the first folks in the neighborhood to have a dishwasher.  But what did fresh young Marash Girl say to her mother when her mother was excited about getting a new dishwasher?  "Why would anyone ever want a dishwasher?" Yes, she really asked that question.

Years later, Marash Girl understands and sends her apologies back in time to her wonderful mother, Jennie.

Today, Marash Girl has a friend who still washes dishes by hand.  Her friend doesn't realize that the dishwasher SAVES WATER and, in fact, gets dishes cleaner than any hand washing could ever do.

But what about the social aspects? Do any of you remember the chatter  enjoyed wiping  dishes and putting them away while the "chosen" lady for the day washed the dishes?  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Chinese Dancers on Newton Center Green

Beautiful and graceful, young Chinese-American dancers in authentic Chinese costume performed traditional Chinese dances on the Newton Center Green. Sponsored by Newton Community Pride                                                       Photo by Marash Girl

This past Sunday evening, (no not in the cool of the evening, but rather in 90 degree weather with high humidity), on the Newton Center Green, young Chinese American girls from the American Chinese Art Society performed traditional Chinese dances wearing traditional Chinese costume (shipped directly from China).   The dancers posed for Marash Girl before the program began.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Marash Dondurmasī

Growing up, Marash Girl often heard her father  talk about "Marash Dondurmasī" (the ice cream  for which Marash is famous throughout the Near East!)

Visiting Istanbul in the 1960's, Marash Girl was regaled with stories about the famous ice cream of Marash.  She wanted to travel to Marash to taste the real thing, but that year, in the mountains of Marash, there had been a murder of a honeymooning German couple.  Thus her Turkish friend, Memet Fuat Bengu, did not feel it was safe for her, a very young American Armenian woman, to journey to Marash alone.  

And so it was that Marash Girl never tasted the famous ice cream of Marash.  

To this day, Marash is famous for its ice-cream, and Marash Girl once again read reference to the ice-cream on the Facebook page of K. Marash. 

Apparently, snow brought down from the Ahir mountain is stored year round; a "molasses" (which is actually cooked down grape juice or fruit juice) is added to the snow for year round ice cream.  

If any of you in Marash are reading this, please tell Marash Girl if the ice cream makers of Marash add cream or milk to the mix before making the ice cream!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Redcoats are coming!

Barley Jim writes, "While approaching the July 4th esplanade festivities in Boston, I made my way through not only a large number of police and firemen but an even larger number of soldiers wearing SF (security force) armbands and tactically holstered side arms.
I have now confirmed that this is the first time that armed soldiers have patrolled Boston's streets since Governor Coolidge activated the State Guards during the 1919 Boston Police strike.

I do not welcome the Redcoats back in my city especially on a day that celebrates our Freedoms, not the least of which isour emancipation from the then oppressive Redcoat quarantine of Boston!! So maybe you should stay in NYC?????"

Marash Girl answers, "Only blue coats in NYC!"

(See below!)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

New York's Finest!

                                           Broad Street, Financial District, New York City
                                         Dylan Marie joins the ranks of New York's Finest!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Lucia Michaelian of Marash, a Bible Woman?

Recently, Phil Hanna wrote to Marash Girl:  A woman historian who has been researching and inventoring archival materials in Lebanon and studying some of the activities of the Protestant missionaries and their churches,  posed this question to me:
I wanted to ask you a question about your mother. I was talking to a
colleague about Armenian women and their important role in maintaining
the community especially after WWI and we were unsure if there was a
history of Armenian women serving as nuns or evangelical workers
outside of war time? I believe that there were Armenian female
monasteries and that Armenian women continue to play an important role
in the community but on a unofficial level. Do you know if there was a
movement among Armenian Evangelical women to become Biblewomen (like
there was with the women in Syrian and Lebanon during the late 19th
and early 20th century)? Or am I completely wrong with this
I did not have a sense of an answer.  I had not heard the term Biblewomen before.  What do you think?

Marash Girl's Response to Phil Hanna:
She was a tall woman, with very white hair that was cut just below her ears and somewhat curly. Miss Michaelian used to come to our house when I was a little girl.  She spoke English precisely.  She didn't look Armenian; she looked more like my Yankee school teachers!
[My Uncle, Rev. Vartan Bilezikian (author of Apraham Hodja of Aintab which is online) and the son of Rev. Sarkis Bilezikian (the first protestant minister of Marash), lived in Newtonville where I grew up and I have the sense worked closely with Lucia Michaelian.] Miss Michaelian, I’m sure, was a Biblewoman, though certainly not called that in English.  She was a religious woman who visited homes, and must have come to visit my blind grandmother who lived upstairs, but I distinctly remember her standing in the doorway to our living room and talking with my father.  What they talked about, I could not say.  Probably around 1944 or 1945.

Some more info on Lucia Michaelian from her grand niece Berta Bilezikjian who lives in California:
Lucia Michaelian was sister to Berta’s grandmother Kohar Michaelian Vahanian, born in Marash around 1900, the youngest of her family.  Excellent English, tall and slim, she used to preach when the preachers were away. She got her college degree in social welfare — would help Armenian immigrants.  Left Marash in the early 1920’s. She was working with the missionaries there.
We think she was a member of the Eastern Star.  She had a high pitched voice, sang hymns. died in 1956. she was  as good a preacher as anybody; she would preach when the preachers were out of town. she went to college in boston and returned to marash to teach in girls college. Her mother was housemother in the college. They stayed at the college for 14 years. Her older step-sister who had recently married and had a baby was killed in the genocide in 1920.  Missionary Mrs. Lyman told her mother  that the family could stay with the missionaries. The missionaries raised my mother (Zabel Vahanian), and taught her piano on their grand piano.  Mrs Lyman visited Berta in Aleppo and Boston. Berta's mother Zabelle and Mrs. Lyman played piano together during that visit. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Entrance to Subway - The Subway Entrance

New York City:  The Entrance to Subway  - The Subway Entrance - Your Choice      Photo by Marash Girl

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Dropped a cigarette at the doorstep of Tiffany's? No worries!

With their backs to the Trump Building on Wall Street, a smartly-dressed woman stood with her gentleman, both gazing at the front door of Tiffany's.  The woman took out a cigarette, and while holding it up to her mouth to light it, dropped the cigarette onto Wall Street. Retrieving the cigarette, she placed it between her carefully painted lips, lit the cigarette with a match,  and took the first of many puffs.

When Marash Girl related the above tale to Sistah Sarah, Sistah Sarah replied with her own elegance, "Surely the five-second rule must apply."

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Remember the Bastille!

Above image from the internet; Marash Girl was not present at the storming of the Bastille.
"Remember French Bastille Day? They stormed the prisons to release those wrongfully held for political power. History repeats because the passions of man never change. Hand someone power and it far too often consumes them."  

Deron asks, "Why is the French Revolution more romanticized around the world than the American Revolution? 13 years after the beginning of the French Revolution , Napoleon was consolidating power.  13 years after the Declaration of Independence, the United States was a representative democracy with a constitution." (Please comment below if you have thoughts on this question.)

Both Independence Day and Bastille Day evoke memories for Marash Girl and Marash Boy. Every summer in Wilbraham, the family celebrated Independence Day by going to watch the annual East Longmeadow 4th of July Parade.  In the early years, the family watched the parade from the driveway of the Gralia Construction parking lot.  In later years, the family watched from the front lawn of Armen & Shirley Tashjian 's house.  After the parade, the family returned to the mountain for an Independence Day feast, Armenian-American style: hot dogs and shish kebab; strawberries and homemade paklava. After dark, from the mountain top, the family watched the fireworks of the cities and towns in the Pioneer Valley. 

On Bastille Day, Marash Boy would serve French wine and freshly baked French Bread and French Brie (there was a circular wooden box from real French Brie that for years decorated the top of the kitchen door frame, until the tornado took the box, the door frame and all), while the kids built a "bastille" of branches that had fallen from the century old oak that graced the front of the cabin. (Untouched by the tornado, the oak is still there, though the cabin is gone.)
After the kids had captured their Uncle George (Dr. George Charkoudian) and marched him into the "bastille", all of them at once would "storm" the bastille with shouts and laughter, and tearing down the "bastille", rescuing Uncle George and marching him to the marble topped picnic table where all would imbibe in a French feast!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Cost Analysis in a New York City Elevator

Marash Girl in an elevator on Wall Street in New York's Financial District, noticed the cup of coffee being held by the only other occupant of the elevator:  I hear Starbuck's is raising its price for a cup of coffee.

Man on elevator carrying a paper cup of Starbuck's coffee (which he had purchased across the street:  Well, after all, they have to pay for increased rent, increased wages, increased cost of coffee, increased cost of cups, increased . . . .

By then Marash Girl had reached the 8th floor, and bid farewell to the cost analyst who was going on up to the 20th floor, most probably continuing his analysis, even though he had lost his audience.

After all, he was on Wall Street.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Art For Whose Sake?

Photo by Marash Girl
Sporting red shorts, a red purse with red shopping bag in hand, woman poses under the Neguchi Red Cube, Helmsley Plaza, Financial District, New York City, while the cube is being photographed by three photographers at the same moment.                                                                                                                                                         

Friday, July 10, 2015

Service Entrance at the Rear

During the South End Garden Tour (see yesterday's blog post below), an "interpreter" at the South End Community Garden glanced behind him at the elegance lining the streets, and pointed out the kitchens that were attached to the back of the 4 story brick houses, where the servants (in this case, usually, the Irish maids) lived and worked (in the back with the kitchens, NOT in the elegant houses).  

"If workers or servants attempted to enter the house through the front door," he commented, "they were told to go to the service entrance at the rear of the house." 

That little piece of South End history sounded so familiar. Marash Girl remembers her father telling of such treatment.

At his customer's front door  in Newton, Massachusetts, ready to repair a refrigerator/furnace/dishwasher/Bendix, Peter was told to go the back door -- to the service entrance at the rear of the house.  His reply?  "I enter from the same door you enter, Madam, or you get no service!"

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Art Imitates Art

Artists' Views of Boston's South End Gardens at the  20th Annual South End Garden Tour, Saturday, June 20, 2015

The 20th Annual South End Garden Tour, held on Saturday, June 20, 2015, was blessed with perfect June weather -- warm, sunny, with a light breeze.  The gardens (hidden behind the magnificent brick structures which line the streets of the South End of Boston) were found via a map (which Marash Girl has since lost), and the artists hidden in the gardens were an extra perk!  Their still wet paintings were on sale at the reception which was held at  the conclusion of a sun and flower filled day.  Tickets ($25 at the door, $20 in advance) included a map indicating the "hidden" gardens, admission to the "hidden" gardens, and a wine and cheese reception where gardeners and artists,          visitors and South Enders, gathered to share the joy of the day.

Artists' Views of South End Gardens
 during this year's
South End Garden Tour, Boston's South End

Marash Girl's favorite garden was not on the tour, but the gardener allowed her a peek in!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Deron & Dylan Marie

In NYC, on the day before Independence Day, 
                     Deron and Dylan Marie at 3 weeks old  (Dylan Marie, not Deron).  Photo by Marash Girl

Dylan Marie at, yes, you guessed it, 4 weeks old yesterday. Photo by Meghan Charkoudian

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Cartoon Artist Jack Ohman of the Sacramento Bee on the Charleston Shooting

Sacramento Bee editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman's "Charleston Shooting Debate".
 Thanks to high school classmate Ronnie (Skip) Isaacs for emailing this cartoon to Marash Girl!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Sunday Morning Question in New York City

"What Would Jesus Drink?  Cold Brew or Regular Iced Coffee?" 
 The correct answer is probably "His own home-made wine," 
which, unfortunately, was not one of the options offered.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Nisha Charkoudian quoted in the New York Times on the Fourth of July!

From the New York Times,  July 4, 2015

"Enduring Summer’s Deep Freeze" by Kate Murphy, 

". . . . As infants we learn to associate warmth with the safety of our parents’ arms. Our subconscious equates cold with vulnerability, which partly explains why people can be so miserable when they are chilled.
A region of the brain called the hypothalamus is responsible for our body’s thermoregulatory system, constricting blood vessels when we are cold and dilating them when we are hot to maintain a safe core body temperature. Your physical discomfort is essentially the hypothalamus prodding you to say, put on a sweater if it’s chilly or fan yourself when it’s hot.
Extreme temperature changes like entering a freezing lobby on a sweltering summer day may feel good at first, but it makes the hypothalamus go nuts, intensifying physical and psychological discomfort when the initial pleasure wears off — as if to say: “A blizzard is on its way! Do something!”
“It’s left over from a time when it was dangerous to have that kind of change in temperature,” said Nisha Charkoudian, a research physiologist with the United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Mass. . . . "

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Independence!

Dylan Marie Celebrates Freedom and the Fourth of July, waving the American flag.  Photo by Meghan Charkoudian

DC in NYC: I wish we would celebrate INDEPENDENCE DAY, and not

Above the Streets of New York City - Photo by Marash Girl

Friday, July 3, 2015

Fife and Drum?

Woke up this morning to the music of  the fife and drum wafting through the open window  . . .  It must be the Fourth of July -- or almost!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Moon Over Brooklyn Heights

Moon over Brooklyn Heights as seen from South Street Seaport      Photos by Marash Girl

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Marash Girl first learned of THE MUSICIAN'S SECRET on April 24, 2015, when Tom Ashbrook interviewed Litty Mathew in Glendale, California, by telephone from WBUR in Boston.  Mathew's first novel, a mystery riddled with history, a history riddled with mystery, THE MUSICIAN'S SECRET, a recently published work of fiction, is a mystery set in contemporary Glendale, California. The mystery is dependent upon the knowledge of the history of what happened 100 years ago to the Armenian people, knowledge which is gradually imparted to the reader throughout the narrative. The narrator, an 85 year old man and famous duduk player of Los Angeles, captivates the reader (just as he is known to captivate his audiences) from the very first sentence on page one.  A must read, whether or not you like mysteries, whether or not you like music, whether or not you like Glendale, California, whether or not you like Armenians!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Eggs Benedict à la Marash Martha

Marash Martha writes again.  To make poached eggs or "eggs benedict" even better than any restaurant, just add a droplet of white vinegar and a droplet of olive oil to your simmering water; crack an egg (one at a time) into a pyrex cup and slide the egg (one at a time) from the cup into a slotted cup or spoon which is in the simmering water, the spoon having been previously rubbed over with olive oil (that will assist in helping the egg to keep its shape,) placing the egg which is still in the slotted spoon or slotted cup for 3 minutes (or longer depending on how firm you like your egg) in the shallow simmering water.  Before you begin this process, get a slice of provolone cheese, put it over some nice ever so slightly warmed freshly sliced bread of your choice (my favorite is organic raisin nut bread); when the provolone is slightly melted over the bread,  serve the poached egg over the melted cheese over the bread.  Enjoy this delicious version of eggs "benedict" sans sauce!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Bunnies Flee Bobcats

Marash Martha writes from the beautiful California desert. "It's 6 A.M. and it's 84 degrees, very humid, although a gentle breeze just picked up.  It'll be going up to 111 degrees (fahrenheit) today.  I'm walking through a botanical garden and I just saw a couple of cottontail bunnies scampering across the golf course. They probably sensed the bobcats that have been sighted around here recently.  Haven't seen the endangered long-horned sheep in a while, but occasionally they come down from the mountains and nibble on the grass of the golf course. . . they have the right of way; not the golf balls!  The ducks are gliding through the pond with their ducklings following behind; the geese are nibbling on the neatly trimmed grass of the putting green, oblivious to the bobcat possibility. All is well."

Saturday, June 27, 2015

President Barack Obama with Amazing Grace

[After clicking the link, when you arrive at the page, scroll down and click white arrow in center, and join in!]

President Barack Obama sings and heals with  Amazing Grace!  Truly moving . . . and amazing!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Thirsty on a Hot Summer's Day? Try Panaché!

Marash Girl's friend Hélène, born in Marseille, came to visit on a hot summer's evening.  As they sat on the front porch, hoping for a cooling breeze, Hélène said, "I'd love a cool drink -- do you know how to make panaché?"

"Panaché?" queried Marash Girl.

"Oh, it's wonderful!  So thirst-quenching.  We used to have it at picnics when we were kids in the south of France.  It's very common there!  Do you have gingerale?"

"Sure," answered Marash Girl.

"And beer?"

"The beer my son Deron made on his birthday, if that's okay!"

Hélène continued with the recipe.  

"Panaché is half beer, half gingerale.  So cooling  . . . In France, the gingerale is a bit more lemony, so sometimes we add a bit of lemon here in the U.S.A. . . . You can order it all over France . . . The Irish love it too . . . they call it shanty. . . But a lot of bartenders here don't know it. It's so thirst-quenching — great for summer."

Marash Girl brought the gingerale and the beer -- cold from the refrigerator -- no ice.  Hélène made the panaché . . . "Delicious!" she said.  "But your son's beer is so strong!"

Thursday, June 25, 2015

"They were so hungry, they even ate sparrows . . . poor sparrows."

"They were so hungry, they even ate sparrows . . . poor sparrows," remembered Marash Girl's father.  "The people would prop a large cup under a stick, attached a string to the stick, put food under the cup, and wait at a distance.  When a sparrow entered to eat the crumbs, they would pull the string and the cup would fall over the sparrow.  Peter related tales of life, tales of hunger, tales of death and deportation in Marash during the "aksoroutioun" . . .  He never forgot.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Crucifix Marks The Fountain of Zeitoun (Zeytun, Zeitun)

Zeytun Historical Drinking Fountain - Photo taken August 2014?
Suleymanlı - Zeytun tarihi içme suyu çeşmesi ve evleri
Suleymanlı - Zeitun

The fountain is assumed to be about 400 years old.
"Zeitun grand fountain, a three-arched, three-spring fountain (assumed to be about 400 years old), is adorned with symbols of eternity."
Photo Courtesy of Bir Zamanlar Marash (Facebook)

"There is a mark on one side of the fountain which is made by whom. ( I can not advise where the mark is, not to exterminate treasure hunter.) . . . a crucifix on the fountain."

Remembering the courageous Armenians of Zeitoun who once, no doubt, drank from this fountain . . . they gave their lives for their people . . . .  Marash Girl wonders if the "mark" is in Armenian . . . 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Death, Divorce, Departure

The three D's -- Death, Divorce, Departure -- (or are they really only 2 D's) are to blame for the many losses in Marash Girl's life. She has had family, and lost family . . . had friends, and lost  friends -- to death, divorce, or departure.  Today she is losing another friend who departs for Davis, California, tomorrow for a wonderful new job and new life.  Farewell, my friend. . . God be with you 'til we meet again.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Happy Father's Day on Wilbraham Mountain

Although the mulberry tree is gone, the day was beautiful, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and Karoun was dancing to Armenian music.  Shish kebab, pilaf, salata on an oriental rug covered picnic table under a tent, looking over the valley from Wilbraham Mountain. The high note of the day were the song birds and their songs, and, much to  the surprise of the gathered, Arax's conversation (in bird whistles) with the mockingbird!                                       Photo by Marash Girl

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

Remembering Father's Day on Wilbraham Mountain, Marash Boy picks white mulberries from the mulberry trees planted along the Charles River in Watertown, Massachusetts.   It isn't Wilbraham Mountain, but it is mulberries!  Who planted them, we'll never know!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Lower Manhattan Honors "Edison" Power; Watertown Honors Water Power

At the corner of Pearl and Fulton Streets, a commemorative plaque              installed in 1917 at the site of the former Pearl Street Station. Plaque reads, "1882-1917 In a building on this site an electric plant supplying the first Edison Underground Central Station System in this country and forming the origin of New York's present electrical system began operation on Sept. 4, 1882, according to plans conceived and executed by Thomas Alva Edision to . To commemorate an epoch-making event, this tablet is erected by the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society. The New York Edison Company."

From the internet:  In September 1882 in New York, the Pearl Street Station was established by Edison to provide electric lighting in the lower Manhattan Island area. The station ran until destroyed by fire in 1890. The station used reciprocating steam engines to turn direct-current generators. Because of the DC distribution, the service area was small, limited by voltage drop in the feeders. The War of Currents eventually resolved in favor of AC distribution and utilization, although some DC systems persisted to the end of the 20th century. DC systems with a service radius of a mile (kilometer) or so were necessarily smaller, less efficient of fuel consumption, and more labor-intensive to operate than much larger central AC generating stations.
Dylan Marie's grandfather and aunt view the Edison plaque in between visits to newly born Dylan Marie.

And in Watertown, Massachusetts, along the Charles River, this plaque commemorates water power:  "This stone wall marks the southern edge of the historic Mill Creek Canal which provided power for Mayhew's Mill in the mid 1600's."
Waterpower: The Charles River, Watertown, Massachusetts, site of Mayhew's Mill

From the internet:   After Thomas Mayhew built America’s first grist mill in 1638 – in what is now known as Watertown Square – the Town grew into a mill village whose river and its falls accounted for the booming industrial growth along the riverbanks still in evidence today. . .

Photos by Marash Girl

Friday, June 19, 2015

Lighthouse on the Mind

Marash Girl has always wanted a house on the beach, but instead she got 1) a house on the Connecticut River, and later 2) a cabin on top of Wilbraham Mountain.  But never her dream, so she began to create her dream on the green buffet (better known as the Green Monster) that sat facing anyone that entered the cabin.  She collected miniature lighthouses from  the yard sales in Wilbraham -- from folks who had been to the Cape, purchased a lighthouse, brought it back to their Wilbraham home, and realized that it had no meaning there.  But it had meaning for Marash Girl, as she gathered her lighthouses and placed them on the top of the buffet in the cabin at the top of Wilbraham Mountain.  Even there, her dream was not to be, as the tornado of June 1, 2011, took the cabin, lighthouses and all.  Not to be daunted, once again, Marash Girl has begun collecting lighthouses and has placed them in the  corner of her Newton Corner kitchen.  She's still hoping for a place at the beach, but whether or not that ever becomes a reality, she has her lighthouses!

Thursday, June 18, 2015


Deborah Child presents her newly published book, SOLDIER, ENGRAVER, FORGER
 at the New England Historic Genealogical Society     Photo by Marash Girl

Yesterday evening, at the NEHGS on Newbury Street in Boston, Deborah Child, author of  SOLDIER, ENGRAVER, FORGER, presented a fascinating look into the life of her subject, Richard Brunton, who, as her title suggests, was a deserting soldier for the Brits in the Revolutionary War, settled (unsettled, actually) in America . . . an artist and engraver, and a forger of currency.  Included in her presentation were slides of his work which included counterfiet paper  currency and coins as well as some of the earliest pre-printed family registers in the new world.  "Despite his many talents, he spent years living on the fringes of society, forging and counterfeiting currency, until his death in a New England poorhouse in 1832."  He was, apparently by necessity, always on the move, in and out of New England towns, in and out of prison.  But he survived by dint of his artistry and his cunning.  (For more information on Richard Brunton, buy the book!)

All this brings to mind Marash Girl's Uncle Paul (Boghos) who loved to tell tale of his namesake, the engraver Boghos who was Armenian, a master counterfeiter of United States paper money. According to Uncle Paul,  counterfeit bills and counterfeit anything became named "bogus" after the the master counterfeiter Boghos.

No indication of this story on the internet, but a tale that Marash Girl grew up with.  Have any of you, dear readers, heard this tale? Is it only a tale, or is there some truth to it?  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Two Oaks, Two Stories

From mountain top to ocean side the mighty oak prevails.

 Only 200 years old, Edgartown's White Oak on Fuller Street, Edgartown, 
opposite the back entrance to the Harbor View Inn.

So that no one could ever say that there was no room at the inn, the Harbor View in Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard decided to expand, but in order to expand, it had to cut down an Edgartown  landmark:  its mighty white oak.  Luckily the Inn's back door neighbor decided to save the oak and by hiring a special ferry, was able to transport a crane from "America" to the Vineyard, in order to save the mighty oak, transporting it by crane across the street to his front yard on Fuller Street, and there it stands, the 200 year old white oak of Edgartown.

On Wilbraham Mountain, a mighty white oak stood guarding the mountain top.  It was there that Uncle Levon Charkoudian would rest, read and picnic when he was healing in the 1920's.  And it was there that the Charkoudians began to picnic as a family, and there that the white oak graced the front yard of the Charkoudian family cabin until, one day, of its own accord, the 300 year old white oak fell, and soon after (ten years later), the tornado took down the Charkoudian family cabin and the rest of the trees on Wilbraham Mountain.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Newton, Massachusetts:  Novice gardeners and long-time gardeners, young and old, gathered to share and learn at Newton's Second Annual Plant Exchange sponsored by the Newton Parks and Recreation Commission. The event attracted gardeners from all over the Garden City on a beautiful Saturday, June 13, at the Parks and Recreation Offices in Newton Corner. Folks brought indoor plants and outdoor plants to exchange with their neighbors. On site Master Gardeners answered questions and offered advice as to which plants were best for which gardens.  

Mark your calendars so as not  to miss Newton's Third Annual Plant Exchange set for sometime in June of 2016.  

Monday, June 15, 2015

Lost your keys? Try this!

From Marash Girl's Sister-In-Law, store manager:

A very nice older gentleman was in the store.  For some reason I must have shared with him my frustration that I had lost the keys to the store.  He suggested that, in order to find the keys,  I use the phrase that had always worked for him.  Knowing I would not remember to word my search request exactly as he said it, I asked him if he would please write it down. 

“Infinite intelligence of my subconscious mind reveal the (Name the item) that I am looking for." 

The quote above is exactly what he wrote down for me on a GNC register slip many years ago. The phrase has never failed me. I have kept the slip of paper on which he wrote the magic words.  I have referred to it many times and imagine I will again in the future.

Have you tried it?  Did you find what was missing?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Dylan Marie: "Happy to be Heading Home!" June 13, 2015


 Auntie Lorig with niece: 6 day old Dylan Marie at home on Wall Street, June 14, 2015