Saturday, January 22, 2011

REVISITING YESTER

Peter returns home to relate to his mother and father the happenings at 47 Vassal Lane. Movses and Yepros are taken aback. 'Jennie is a good girl,' his parents state in unison, as they have for many a day. (They are talking in Turkish now, though Movses knows English well and speaks with a Swedish accent.) Movses offers: Let me go to Jennie's house and ask for her hand, the old country way. [Don't know exactly what my grandpa said though, because the treatment of his son was not what one would expect in an Armenian household and I can imagine Movses may have added a few well chosen Turkish epithets as part of his offer to intercede.] Peter explains further: Yester was planning to marry Jennie off to an Ainteptsi doctor, but Jennie loves me as much as I love her. I will go tomorrow, Movses answers.

Tomorrow arrives. Peter drives (with his father this time) to 47 Vassal Lane in Cambridge, parks his old Chevie in front of the Vartanian's three decker house. Movses and Peter walk the short distance from the sidewalk to the green wooden front door, and stomp up the three flights of stairs, Movses in the lead. Movses knocks. Yester answers his knock. (They are all speaking Turkish now.) Yester shows Peter and Movses the way to the living room and motions for them to sit down. Movses does not stand on ceremony, but he does not sit either. Movses: I'm here to ask for the hand of your daughter in marriage for my son Peter. Yester: I have already promised Jennie to Dr. P. . . .. Movses: Peter will marry Jennie. We want your consent. Yester: No, I told you she's already promised. Movses: If you say no, I will allow them to elope. If you want to see your daughter marry, you must consent. Yester: No. I told you she is already promised to a doctor. . . I won't have her marry your son. Movses: Ask your daughter who she will marry. Yester (calling from the living room): Jennie, bouria gel! Jennie walks into the living room, confident. Yester (also confident; she knows Jennie will do her bidding): Jennie, you don't want to marry this man! Jennie: Mama, I will never marry anyone else! And there ends Dad's telling of the story.

7 comments:

  1. Hurrah for Jennie! Did Yester come around in the end?

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  2. Marashmellow FluffJanuary 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    In other words, (I know . . .your thinking I'm going to say he wore a glove!) even though Mummy was less vocal than Daddy, they both definitely had a mind of their own and wouldn't for one moment, go against what they truly believed was the right thing to do.

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  3. if the reader could only see the faces and the set of the jaw and eyes piercing and hooded, wind swept of history and calling, of the carpet of time survived by all involved. first, peter was a complexity of street tough, inventive genius, craftsman, of wood and electricity, agronomist, passionate in his christian faith, newly re-born 8 years before; moses, his father, wiry and worn, tough as leather, soft hearted to the needy, flinty eyed and unblinking to the threatening, to usurpers, to those who would steal his herd of sheep, dangerous in the extreme to those who would filch from him his responsibility as shepherd, yester, queen like, regal, and piercing like a bird of prey, husband built like a stevedore and quiet, Jennie, all of the above,except she was fair and feminine of body and had a smile of welcome like the dawn over a meadow of wildflowers, and a sweetness of spirit and soul that stole every camera shoot in which she participated. Peter's mother,Yepros, who was blind and had the sight of sainthood, and the wisdom to know that people are just people and what can one expect of just people, of consoling others who came to console her when she lost her sight. these are the players: a blind woman who could see, a shepherd who was the good shepherd, who would lay down his life for his sheep, a shepherd's son, cut from the same cloth, and more, much more, and a cinderella who had the patience to wait for her paladin prince, and the courage to let down her hair and be delivered by the one undaunted by the walls, the moat, the height and the depth of her inaccessibility.

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  4. Movses' engish spoken with a swedish accent came from the swedish missionaries, or from a swedish girl he met prior to his marriage to Yepros, while in Cairo on a self imposed exile from Marash, fleeing the blood feud?

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  5. None of the above. Will explain Movses's Swedish accent in future blog.

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  6. i was 2 years old and i would venture into the cavern of darkness, our cellar,my curiosity and fascination overcoming my fear, to watch Movses make soap from lye. Sitting in front of a wood burning stove that must have begun its life above ground, i.e., above our cellar in the kitchen of my mother or above even that on the second floor, before I came to be. He would sit there tending a gazun larger than any i had seen in the world above, of boiling liquid, periodically a portable black iron handle that fit into a groove on one of the removable skull caps of the stove, to reveal the fires that burned beneath. when he did that, i caught sight of something that lay beneath the stove, beneath the ground, i was sure of it. it was the darkness and the light, the cold and the heat all circulating and not marrying, all distinct and without unity that was the terror. and before that first day of creation sat my Grandfather, at peace.

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  7. One of Movses' routines would be to excuse himself from whatever gathering there was and retire to his bedroom to listen to his favorite radio program, The Lone Ranger! it was the stirring music, the william tell overture, and the husky heroic voice of the narrator, and hidden behind the mask was that encomium of virtue and courage and egalitarianism, He warred against evil allied with his 'faithful Indian companion, Tonto'. How did i know what Movses did when he disappeared from these gatherings? Guess!

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