Peeturrr, if you dye yorr herr, you veel look tventy yirrs youngurr . . . But Mari, I don't want to look 20 years younger! my father would answer laughingly, on every Sunday that he attended church.
Mari Kricorian was a short cheery woman, a survivor of the Armenian genocide, a member of our church -- the United Armenian Brethren Evangelical Church on Arlington Street in Watertown, Massachusetts. She was the wife of Mr. Kricorian (I don't remember his first name), the man who owned the Armenian meat market in Watertown, and she had 4 children, all of whom attended our church. (Leo was my age and I remember him the best -- dressed in the robes which were saved especially for the pageant, we played Mary and Joseph at Christmas on the church stage for many a year.) Mari always wore a hat (as did all of the women in our church) but her hat, although it was black, had beautiful flowers on it. . . I always thought, even as a child, that the flowers reflected her joyous spirit!
Mari's granddaughter, Nancy Kricorian, is a writer in New York City who wrote the novel ZABELLE, a novel based loosely on her grandmother's life in the old country and here in Watertown, Massachusetts. A few years ago, Nancy was on a book tour, and was to appear at the Brookline Booksmith. I invited my father to join me at the author event. There we were, sitting in the front row, looking at the beautiful, tall, brilliant granddaughter of Mari Kricorian. Hard to believe. Nancy began her presentation by explaining that she had wanted to write a novel about her grandmother, an ordinary woman. . . she paused . . . 'YOUR GRANDMOTHER WAS NO ORDINARY WOMAN,' shouted my father from his first row seat -- and he didn't have to shout very loudly. Nancy heard him. And remembered. In March of this year, when my father died, Nancy sent us the following message: Your father was no ordinary man!