Monday, April 30, 2012

Overheard at the Entrance to the Dining Room, Harvard Club, Boston, April 2012

Maitre d' (to woman):  You can't go into the dining room wearing jeans.

Woman:  These are blue pants.

Maitre d': They're jeans.  You can't go into the dining room wearing jeans.

Woman:  Shall I take them off then?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sidetracked: Trinity Church, Boston

Trinity Church with reflection and passing school bus.
Marash Girl was driving Kenar to the Museum of Fine Arts when suddenly a parking space appeared, as if by magic, right outside of Trinity Church.  MG asked her guest if, perchance she would like to visit the historic Trinity Church, to see the magnificent architecture, and in particular, to experience the treasure of stained glass windows.  Why, yes! answered her guest, and so, impressively, Marash Girl, quick as a lick, backed into the rather small parking space to her right before anyone else spotted the space (receiving compliments from the Verizon man who was watching to make sure MG didn't hit the car behind or in front, which, of course, she did not -- her father having trained her well!)
Christ in Majesty by John La Farge, 1883, the earliest stained glass window of several by La Farge at Trinity Church
Looking to the heavens:  Trinity Church, Boston
The Evangelists (Luke & John) by Margaret Redmond of Boston, 1927, Trinity Church, Boston

The Evangelists (Matthew and Mark) by Margaret Redmond of Boston, 1927
Enjoy (above) 3 of the 36 stained glass windows, diptychs & triptychs embedded in the walls of Trinity Church, and consider planning a trip in the near future to experience the architecture, all 36 of the stained glass montages (window groupings), as well as  the 8 painted murals, and decorative elements that abound in the church which was built in the Back Bay between 1872 and 1877, designed by Henry Hobson Richardson.  "In 1885, Architects voted Trinity the most important building in America, and today, the American Institute of Architects still ranks Trinity Church among the Top 10 -- the only building that remains from the original list." (From Trinity's Brochure on the history of the church.)

Photos by Marash Girl

Saturday, April 28, 2012

On Broiling Green Peppers

Peppers were on sale yesterday, so Marash Girl, bought a bagful.  Here's what she did with them

She washed them thoroughly in cool water, of course, broiled them in the oven on a large cookie tray with a bit of water on the bottom, ('til skins were slightly burned, turning the peppers every so often), removed the tray of peppers from the oven, pulled out the stems, and along with the stem came the seeds, all of which she later composted in her garden.  Then comes the hard part -- removing the skins while the peppers are hot!  Can't hold on too tight or your fingers will burn!  But you can do it -- just keep a pan of cold ice water near by to cool off your fingers and keep them from burning (or you can cheat and run the peppers under cold water, but you'll lose the delicious juices that run out of the peppers after they're broiled).  After peeling all the peppers  and removing the stems and seeds, add salt, olive oil, wine vinegar and garlic (or wine vinegar in which has been steeping a garlic clove) to the peppers and the pepper 'juices'.  Refrigerate. A delicious treat that can be served hot or cold for several weeks.  

All this brings to mind Wilbraham, and the peppers, fresh from the garden --  they used to cook them over the fire before cooking the shish kebab -- peeling the broiled peppers  under the running cold water of the outdoor sink.  Marash Girl, when first married, suggested that everyone could peel their own peppers, but Medzmama would have no part of it.  And so Marash Girl learned her mother-in-law's trick of quick hands and cold water.

Broiling peppers also brings to mind Peter, Marash Girl's father. After Jennie (Marash Girl's mom) passed away, Peter made lunch for himself every day by toasting bread, broiling peppers in the toaster oven, melting cheese on the toasted bread, and adding the (unpeeled) broiled peppers. Absolutely delicious!

Friday, April 27, 2012


"Below is the statement issued by President Obama on April 24, 2012, in which he continues to avoid referring to the destruction of the Armenians in Ottoman Turkey in 1915 as “genocide,” employing the Armenian term Medz Yeghern instead." (ARMENIAN WEEKLY)

Today, we commemorate the Meds Yeghern, one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century.  In doing so, we honor the memory of the 1.5 million Armenians who were brutally massacred or marched to their deaths in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire.  As we reflect on the unspeakable suffering that took place 97 years ago, we join millions who do the same across the globe and here in America, where it is solemnly commemorated by our states, institutions, communities, and families.  Through our words and our deeds, it is our obligation to keep the flame of memory of those who perished burning bright and to ensure that such dark chapters of history are never repeated.
I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915.  My view of that history has not changed.  A full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all of our interests.  Moving forward with the future cannot be done without reckoning with the facts of the past.  The United States has done so many times in our own history, and I believe we are stronger for it.  Some individuals have already taken this courageous step forward.  We applaud those Armenians and Turks who have taken this path, and we hope that many more will choose it, with the support of their governments, as well as mine.
Although the lives that were taken can never be returned, the legacy of the Armenian people is one of triumph.  Your faith, courage, and strength have enabled you to survive and prosper, establishing vibrant communities around the world.  Undaunted, you have preserved your patrimony, passing it from generation to generation.  Armenian-Americans have made manifold contributions to the vibrancy of the United States, as well as critical investments in a democratic, peaceful, and prosperous future for Armenia.  The United States is proud of your heritage, and your contributions honor the memory of those who senselessly suffered and died nearly a century ago.
On this solemn day of remembrance, we stand alongside all Armenians in recalling the darkness of the Meds Yeghern and in committing to bringing a brighter future to the people of Armenia.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


On the evening of April 24, Armenians of Greater Boston attended a  requiem service at St. Stephen's Armenian Apostolic Church in Watertown, Massachusetts, followed by the 97th commemoration of the Armenian Genocide organized by The Greater Boston Committee to Commemorate the Armenian Genocide.

Leading a procession from the front of St. Stephen's Church to the Armenian Cultural & Educational Center, Watertown, Massachusetts, were the Scouts of the Boston Chapter of Homenetmen

The audience, both young and old, listened attentively as Hagop Der Khatchadourian, chairman of the Armenian National Committee World Council, speaks in both English and Armenian about recognition, justice and compensation for the 1915-1923 genocide of over 1.5 million Armenians by the Young Turks and the Ottoman government.  Paintings commemorating the horrific occurrence were hung on the walls of the auditorium.

Rev. Fr. Antranig Baljian speaks words of hope to the assembled at the closing of the event.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Armenian Genocide in Perspective

This week, Armenians all over the world remember the Armenian Genocide, a genocide perpetrated upon the Armenian people in their own land by the Young Turks and the Ottoman Government between 1915 and 1923.

Thinking about this, Marash Girl remembers her father telling of his years in Marash (early 20th century), when whole families would be hanged in the marketplace of Marash -- their crime? they were the families of the Armenian folks in the United States who were speaking of the ongoing slaughter, looking for the support of the United States government to stop the mass murder of the Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire, mass murder not yet labeled genocide by the outside world.

Hopefully this is not happening today in Turkey as we Armenians in the United States grieve the genocide, the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians, the removal of children from Armenian families, the forced conversions, the torture, the rape, the suffering brought upon our people by the Young Turks and the Ottoman Empire early in the 20th Century, a genocide which both the governments of Turkey and the United States have yet to recognize officially. (See tomorrow's post on the April 24, 2012 statement by Barack Obama.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

YOUTUBE reveals the plight of the Armenians of Marash, 1915-1923

Memories of Marash: The Legacy of a Lost Armenian Community (2002) (Click blue link above to view.)

Roger Hagopian's 74-minute documentary tracing the history of the city of Marash, the city of Marash Girl's ancestors, the ancient Hittite city that no longer exists for Armenians, the city where many an Armenian family perished at the hands of the Turks, the city where our lands, our peoples, our books, our churches are no longer.  Featured are interviews with Prof. Leon Janikian, Rev. Vartan Hartunian and Peter Bilezikian.  

Copies of the DVD entitled MEMORIES OF MARASH by filmmaker Roger Hagopian are available at

Monday, April 23, 2012


This week, Armenians all over the world grieve the Armenian Genocide (1915-1923) perpetrated by the Young Turks, and continued by Kemal Ataturk, a genocide that is still denied today by the Turkish Government.  Yesterday, the Armenian Library Museum of America held a joint commemoration remembering all peoples who have been the victim of genocide, and this year specifically the Armenian Genocide, the Ukrainian Famine (read genocide) in the 1930's when Stalin deliberately held back food from the starving peoples of the Ukraine, and the Irish Potato Famine (read genocide) of the 1840's when the English deliberately held back food from the starving peoples of Ireland.  The event featured brief talks by Dr. Joseph Downes on the Great Hunger of the Irish People ("Irish Famine or Genocide -- You be the Judge"), Dr. Dikran Kaligian on the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide ("Denial and the Quest for Justice"), and Paul Rabchenuk on the Ukrainian Genocide.  Their talks were followed by a Ukrainian religious service with priest and  choir from St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Dr. Dikran Kaligian explains that the seeds of denial were sown even as the Young Turks committed Genocide against the Armenian people.

Attorney Paul Rabchenuk, President of the Holodomor Remembrance Committee,  speaks on the Ukrainian Genocide, reminding us all that we are not Irish, we are not Armenian, we are not Urkainian, but rather Irish-Americans, Ukrainian-Americans, Armenian-Americans, and as such must speak out for the truth.

Choir of St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Choir Director, Eugene Moroz) participate in a religious service remembering those who suffered and died during genocide, a service led by Fathers Roman Tarnovsky & Hierdeacon Vasyl at the close of this event.
"The Armenian Library and Museum of America firmly believes it fitting  to acknowledge and commemorate the suffering and deaths from all genocides." 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Do you like butter?

Let's see if you like butter!
Remember holding a buttercup under your friend's chin to see if s/he liked butter?  Did YOU like butter? Here's a print from the 1930's that memorializes that moment and recalls memories of the buttercups that filled the fields of our childhood.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A guy walks into a bar . . .

A guy walks into a bar: "Bartender, set me up 3 shot glasses and put a little whiskey in each one."  "OK," says the bartender.  The bartender watches as the fellow pauses before each shot glass before downing it.  "Interesting," the bartender thought, but soon forgot about it.  But about a week later, the same fellow comes in and again asks for the 3 shot glasses and whiskey.  This time the bartender's curiosity got the better of him and he asked: "You mind telling me why the 3 shot glasses?"  "Not at all," said the fellow.  "My two brothers emigrated to the United States and I do this little ritual every so often to think of the good times we had together." 
"Oh", says the bartender, "that's very thoughtful."  The fellow goes through his ritual and leaves.  A couple of weeks later, the fellow comes into the pub and asks the bartender to set up 2 shot glasses.  "Oh, no!" says the bartender, "Did something happen to one of your brothers?"  "No, no," says the fellow, "nothing happened to them, they're both fine.  It's just that I gave up drinking."  Contributed by Harvard Classmate Alan Lokensgard

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Universe Hears

Walking through Newton Centre on the way to the Boston Marathon, Marash Girl's friend was explaining that, all of her life, she had concentrated on not being noticed.  Just at that moment, the two women passed the sign pictured above.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

How do we see the world and its peoples?

Does the space we grow up in, sleep in, spend most of our time in, stare at when we are falling asleep, when we are waking up, does that space shape the way we see  the world and its people?  Do we carry a square box around with us into which all the world must fit, or do we carry a multifaceted space with nooks and crannies, light and shadow, which shapes the world we see?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Blossoms reign -- not only on dogwood trees, not only on magnolia trees, but on maple trees as well.  Walking out of our Victorian house on Monday morning, Marash Girl could feel the rain -- the rain of blossoms from the city's century old maple trees.  Marash Girl looked about her and saw the reign of blossoms, the reign of new life, of life over death, and on this April day, the day of the Boston Marathon, the day that all eyes are on Heartbreak Hill and Commonwealth Avenue, (the street one block from where Marash Girl grew up,) the blossoms rain, the blossoms reign, and life reigns supreme.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


A block from Heartbreak Hill, we are alerted that there is no stopping Monday!

And indeed there was no stopping, especially for the Kenyans who came running up Heartbreak Hill in Monday's 86 degree weather, full sun (notice that they are not running in the shade provided by trees  along the South side of Commonwealth Avenue!)

Heartbreak Hill (the chalk marks the spot).

Running up Heartbreak Hill . . .

Derderian, Tom, Boston Marathon: 100 Years of Blood, Sweat and Cheers. 1897-1996.Chicago Triumph Books, 1996 Signed (autographed) by author on title page: 'By Tom Derderian 1996'. Hardcover fold-out book in colorful cardboard case, both fine detailing the history of the Boston Marathon in words and photos; colorful charming format. Available from

Monday, April 16, 2012

Taner Talks Turkey

Prof. Akcam speaks with some of his audience at ALMA preceding his talk yesterday.

Prof. Akcam reviews notes for his talk yesterday at ALMA.

Taner Akcam speaks to an audience of over 150 yesterday at ALMA.

Professor Akcam points to the dark circles on the map of the Ottoman Empire where mass killings of Armenians occurred.
Prof. Taner Akcam of Clark University, the courageous scholar once jailed in Turkey with a nine year sentence (he escaped after a year) for insulting Turkishness, and adopted in 1976 by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience, spoke yesterday afternoon at the Armenian Library and Museum of America (Watertown, Massachusetts) on the occasion of the publication of his new book:  THE YOUNG TURKS CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY: the Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire (Princeton University Press, 2012).  His talk focussed on the numbers game (as illustrated by documents taken from the Ottoman Archives) that preceded an out and out genocide of the Armenian People by the Ottomans and the Young Turks. After Taner spoke for over an hour about the percentages of Armenians that should or would be allowed in any one area (not more than 5% in Anatolia, not more than 10% in the Syrian section of the Ottoman Empire), it became clear that the Turks had found a solution for the requirement by Great Britain in 1895 that any minority population of over 5% needed to have representation in the Ottoman government.  Prof. Akcam used original documents to illustrate the orders which reflected the percentage game, the resistance among the ranks (the armed forces did not want to give up its Armenian soldiers), and the decision to send the Armenians into the desert to let the sands of the desert do the dastardly deed -- in fact,  the Ottoman officials never thought that so many Armenians would survive the 'death march', the tortured walk through the desert without food, water, transportation.  Because they survived, they had to be destroyed.
Without the Armenians, there would be no need to follow the British mandate, there would be no need to have Armenian representation in the Ottoman government.  The Ottomans followed the letter of the British 'law' to a T . . . T for an Armenian-free Turkey, that is.

Ottoman document from 1915 ordering the elimination of the Armenians.


The Armenian population from the same counties and districts [of a province
 is to be broken up and settled in different regions, and no space or permission is to be given for the opening of ARmenian schools in their areas of settlement; thereby, their children are to be forced to continue their studies at the government schools and care and attention is to be given that the villages in which they are to be settled be at least five hours distant from one another and that they be in no place or condition that would allow for self rule or defense. (This telegram si) to be destroyed after its contents have been communicated to the necessary parties. 10 [23' June 1915
Nazir Namana 

Contents of coded telegram from the Interior Ministry's Office of Tribal & Immigrant Settlement to the province of Mosul and the provincial district of Der Zor dated 23 June 1915.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Wild Turkey for Breakfast?

 Yesterday early morning, as she was hopping into her Volvo to leave for a funeral (she didn't want to be late), Marash Girl spied a full-grown wild turkey on the walkway right in front of her automobile.  The turkey took one look at Marash Girl, turned and calmly but purposefully sauntered in the opposite direction, as Marash Girl wildly scrambled for the camera which was in the bottom of her purse.  By the time Marash Girl had the camera out, the turkey had sauntered the full length of the walkway. 
Marash Girl was able to get off a couple of shots. (As you can see above, these were not shots of lead, as some might suppose).  
Marash Girl had seen wild turkeys in Newton Corner, leisurely crossing Newtonville Avenue, but never in her very own back yard.  Luckily the coyote who had visited a month ago was no longer around (see earlier post entitled Coyote Comes Calling), although Marash Girl did spy a sleek black cat peeking around the corner of the house.  The drama for Marash Girl paused, as she backed out of her driveway, leaving the forces of nature to play out as they would.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Forsythia in Farlow Park

Walking through Newton Corner's Farlow Park yesterday afternoon, Marash Girl was reminded of her 4th grade teacher, Miss Forsyth, Claflin School, Newtonville, Massachusetts.   The very first fact that Miss Forsyth taught her students was her name, Forsyth. She taught us that the Forsythia Bush, which grew at that time all over Newtonville, was named after her ancestor.  Researching the fact just before she wrote this blog, Marash Girl learned that the genus Forsythia was, in fact, named in honor of the Scottish botanist and founding member of the Royal Horticultural Society: William Forsyth (1737-1804).  Every time Marash Girl sees Forsythia, she remembers Miss Forsyth.  She hates to admit it, but that's about all she remembers from fourth grade!

Europe via the 57 Bus

Overheard on the 57 Bus:

College Girl to Friend:  I'm going to Europe this summer!
Friend (sounding unimpressed):  I've seen that place -- I went there on Spring Break.

[Adapted from VINEYARD BLUES - A Martha's Vineyard Mystery by the late Philip Craig]

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bumper Sticker Commenting on the Lottery

A bumper sticker seen in Takoma Park, MD, for all who know how to read, but may not know how to do math:

The lottery is a tax on people who don't know how to do math. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Armenians and The Book at Lamont Library, Harvard University

Unfortunately not open to the public, fortunately available for  viewing by students and professors at Harvard University as well as graduates of Harvard College or Harvard University (if you're one of the privileged, be sure to bring a photo i.d. -- the librarian will confirm from her tome on Harvard/Radcliffe graduates that you can, in fact, get in to see this exhibit) is a fascinating exhibit entitled "The Armenians and the Book", an exhibit organized by Prof. James Russell, Mashtots Professor of Armenian at Harvard University. Commemorating the 500th anniversary of the first printed book in Armenian,  the exhibit features examples of very early works from Harvard University's collection,  

A page from Aesop's Fables, 19th Century, in Armenian.
A bound manuscript of magic incantations in Armenian.

several Himayils (prayer scrolls) on loan from ALMA (the Armenian Library and Museum of America), numerous manuscripts and early printed books, as well as more recent publications, with a special photograph of William Saroyan that accompanies an inscribed and autographed presentation copy of one of Saroyan's books.  Unfortunately, these photos taken through glass without flash give a very limited sense of the wonders of this exhibit which is set up on the third floor of Lamont Library, Harvard Yard, Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
(Above Left) Inscription by  Armenian-American writer William Saroyan (photo above)

Some 20th Century Armenian publications printed in the United States and Armenia.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Armenian Easter Eggs: The Game

Hopefully Easter isn't too far in the past to talk about the game that all the kids look forward to, even the older kids like Marash Girl and Marash Boy.  Here are some photos of the game using Armenian Easter Eggs, steeped in an all natural onion skin dye -- see Marash Girl's post  "Start saving your onion skins" for instructions . . .  Lorig did it one step better --- she bought eggs from free range vegetarian chickens (is there such a thing as a vegetarian chicken), dyed the eggs naturally with the skins of yellow onions while hard boiling the eggs the night before, providing baskets full of Easter for her guests on Easter Sunday.
Each guest selected a sturdy-looking egg and held it carefully in their hands so that only the tops were showing (scroll down for illustration).  Then s/he chose a partner with whom to compete.  The partner had to try to crack the egg of the opponent, fat end to fat end, or pointy end to pointy end.  Before long, the room was alive with shouts of "I won this egg!", or "I've got to find a tougher egg!"
The person "wins" has an uncracked egg, and has won the most eggs -- i.e., has managed to keep the egg s/he is holding intact while the opponent's egg point cracks (and once both points are cracked the person holding the cracked egg has to give up the egg to his/her opponent).

What does all of this symbolize?  The red of the egg, the blood shed for our sins; the egg itself, the tomb; 
the cracking of the egg,  the breaking open of the tomb, the conquering of death.
Doubtful that all those happily screaming little kids and grownups think about the symbolism as they laugh and crack their way through the long awaited Easter Egg game.   Does anyone know what the game is called in Armenian?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

GETTING HUMAN  Can't find the number on the website?  Found it but no answer? Can't get through?
Marash Girl learned many lessons yesterday with the further failure of her mail program.  And one is how to 'get human' through the internet.  Trying to get through to Comcast seemed impossible, as did the whole task of reconfiguring her email which would no longer send.  The folks at Apple were kind enough to share the secret of how to 'get human', i.e., get a human being on the other end of the electronic device known as the telephone, (or the cell phone) at a website that promises to cut through the wait time, the music, the insistence on your grandmother's birthplace, your favorite pet, your mother's place of birth, and actually speak to a human being.  They promise that when you need to contact a company, or have them call you, that you can get customer service faster and easier by using their site to get there.  Let me know how it works when you force the technological world around you to get human: 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Knitting for the Very Young in Duck, North Carolina

My name is Iffar.  I like to do knitting. And Knitting Knobby.  I like chicken nuggets and chicken.  The chicken that Marash Girl makes.  I harm no living things.  That's what we say in Kung Fu.  I really really really really really like knitting.  And my real name starts with an R; that is awesome.
[Iffar is the pen name for Marash Girl's grandson.  Iffar dictated the above blog post to Marash Girl who here recorded his words.  He would LOVE your comments!]

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Christ is Risen!

Քրիստոս յարեաւ ի մեռելոց՜ Օհրնեալ է Յարութիւնն Քրիստոսի՜ 

Christos haryav i merelotz! Ohrnial e Haroutioun Christosi! 

Christ has risen and has conquered death.  Blessed is the resurrection of Christ!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Goodbye to the Outer Banks

On Good Friday, the sun sets in a cross over  Currituck Sound, Outer Banks,  North Carolina