Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fireflies, Brooklyn, New York, 1950's

Photo Credit:  Weber Street Photography
Fireflies on E. 15th Street, Brooklyn, New York.

When Marash Girl lived in Manhattan, she would often visit her Great Uncle Manoog and her Brooklyn cousins by taking the BMT (Brooklyn Manhattan Transit) to E.16th Street and Avenue U, where, getting off the train,  she descended the steep stairway and walked two blocks to her cousins' two floor brick home on E.15th Street (behind which the BMT roared both day and night). It was good times at Uncle Manoog's house who made his own red wine and always shared the brew with his guests. Uncle Manoog was first cousin to Marash Girl's grandfather Movses, (and delighted in reminding the family that unlike his cousin, he had never removed the 'j' from the ....jian of his last name!)  Uncle Manoog and Aunty Lucia lived with Uncle Tony, Aunty Mary and Marash Girl's cousins, young Mary and Jeannie, in the heart of Brooklyn, New York.  It was there that, as a young girl, Marash Girl first became intimately acquainted with fireflies.  This is what happened.  One day, cousin Richie Koumruian (whose mother Auntie Gohar, born in Marash, was the daughter of  Great Uncle Manoog and Great Auntie Lucia) visited from the Bronx.  (Richie and his mom lived at 1645 Paulding Avenue in the Bronx -- yes, Marash Girl still remembers!)  As night descended, and darkness began to take over the Brooklyn streets, Cousin Richie began catching fireflies in a Mason jar, fascinating his young cousin.  (He offered to let young Marash Girl try to catch a firefly.  A bit shy, try she did, surprising herself by actually adding to Cousin Richie's collection.) When he had filled the bottle with fireflies, he invited Marash Girl to join him as he walked around the now dark neighborhood, carrying the jar of fireflies to light his way.   

It was only later in life that Marash Girl learned that fireflies light up to attract their mates.  Perhaps we humans light up as well, but thankfully there are no giants out there collecting us into a bottle to light up their nights


  1. Staten Island BabyOctober 16, 2011 at 8:08 AM

    I remember catching fireflies at Grandma Jennie's when Richie's house in Sheepshead Bay had the fire and they were living temporarily with Grandma Jennie on East 14th Street (two or so blocks from Grandma Lucy).  We would put the fireflies in jars and then ride on Richie's bike carrying them.  I also remember catching them at Grandma Lucy's with cousin Mary and my sister, Janet, and then letting them go.  We always let them go.

  2. this little light of mine, i'm going to let it shine... this little light of mine i'm going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine...

  3. Marko Pasha says...

    My great aunt Yetta, who was born in Horodenka, Ukraine lived most of her life in Borough Park Brooklyn. She live for over 50 years in the same house. a few years before she passed away she moved to an apartment around the corner. The picture of the subway entrance brings back memories of when used to visit my grandfather in Queens in the late 50s and the beginning of the 60s.
    My father was an entomolgist and he had a collection or inspect specimens. He was one of the champion pack rats of all history, along with his cousin Bill, and he had a substantial collection of Mason jars.I remember one fine Saturday morning in the kitchen of our house in Hopkinton, my mother asking with mild sarcasm "When are you going to disose of the Mason jars?"
    In summer we would eat outside in back of the kitchen, and there were always insects. Being an entomologist my dad could name them all, genus and species...."Oh, it's a such and such..."