Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricanes that live on . . . the hurricane of ????

In her parents' bedroom looking out the windows facing westward,  Marash Girl stood with her father and mother watching the white birches dance in the hurricane's wind, reach to the ground, twist and turn, and return to their upright position, only to begin the dance again.  Do you see those trees? Peter asked. . . . They will unlikely be uprooted or torn down because they're flexible, they dance with the wind. . . unlike the sturdy, strong oak trees, unbending, and when they fall, they fall hard, completely uprooted.  

Peter loved object lessons.

It was that same day that little Marash Girl got so excited when the sun came out - - only to learn that she could not go out to play, that they were in the eye of the hurricane.  And sure enough, a short while later, the hurricane returned even more ferocious than before.  Peter did not take that moment to teach an object lesson , (he might have said that things aren't always as they seem . . . or sunshine and the good times do not last forever), but instead he taught us about the dangers of being in the eye of the storm.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Post Hurricane Sandy in New York City

Marash Girl's son who lives in NYC's financial district still has no electricity, no running water, no flushing toilet, no cell phone service.  He just called to say he's hanging in there, but will be going to his office  to go to the bathroom, take a shower, and eat at the cafeteria.  The only place around . . .  All hotels are full.  He asked that I let everyone know that he's okay, but has no ability to communicate by phone, email, or any other form of computer activity.  And the Jubilee Market on the ground level of his building on John Street, now with no electricity, and no locks, has guards out front to prevent wholesale looting. Apparently, NYC midtown has its electricity back.

Hurricanes that live on . . . The Hurricane of 1938

Hurricanes that live on  . . .  The Hurricane of 1938

The hurricane of 1938 (actually a pre-memory for Marash Girl), up to that time the most violent hurricane recorded in 100 years,  tore down the portable schoolhouse in 16 Acres, Springfield, Massachusetts,  providing the birth of the cabin on top of Wilbraham Mountain.  As the story goes, after that hurricane, Marash Boy's Uncle Haroutioun went to the City of Springfield's  auction to purchase the remains of that schoolhouse in 16 Acres with the thought of setting it up on the family land on top of Wilbraham Mountain, to be used as shelter for the family during sudden summer mountaintop rainstorms. . . Uncle Harry's highest bid caused much consternation for the French Canadian carpenter bidding against him. Furious, the French Canadian carpenter approached Uncle Harry at the completion of the auction: "You rich guys always win out! I needed the remains of that school house in order to live, to work, to feed my family . . . "  Being a survivor of the Armenian Genocide and not exactly a rich guy, Uncle Harry understood, and offered the carpenter half of the portable schoolhouse in exchange for the carpenter's setting up the other half on the top of Wilbraham Mountain, on the family land.  The carpenter accepted and the rest is history, or was history until the tornado of 2011 returned the cabin to the earth. [See Marash Girl's posts on the 2011 tornado.]

Monday, October 29, 2012

Jubilee Market in NYC stays open during Hurricane Sandy

Jubilee Market, a 24/7 market on John Street in the heart of New York City's Financial District, says it will not close during Hurricane Sandy, as it has no locks on its doors!  So reports a resident of John Street!  I wonder what happened when the electricity went out . . . 

Hurricane Sandy, The Massachusetts Turnpike, and Marash Girl's Volvo

Hurricane Sandy, The Massachusetts Turnpike, and Marash Girl's Volvo

Thank God for the sturdy, 8 year old Volvo, that carried Marash Girl and Marash Boy safely east across the Massachusetts Turnpike  despite horrific gusting wind and rain between 12 and 3 this afternoon, in the midst of the approaching hurricane named Sandy.

Aleppo, Syria: Sourp Kevork Armenian Church has been set on fire.

Reduced to ashes:  the interior of St. Kevork Church, Aleppo, Syria
Aleppo, Syria: Marash Armenians' Sourp Kevork Church has been set on fire [Link to film on Sourp Kevork Church burned interior]. Appreciate the notification by Garo Derounian who resides in Lebanon.

Hurricane Sandy, Azniv and the Weatherman

"Guzdurup, guzdurup, yediriyorlar," or so she would say, disgusted, every time anyone would talk about the same problematic "garbage" ad nauseum.  Literal translation?  "They heat it up,  reheat it and feed it to you . . ." And so Azniv, born in Marash, a surivor of the Armenian genocide,  is probably commenting from beyond the hurricane today as she hears weather(wo)men discussing Hurricane Sandy. (Her daughter, here with Marash Girl now, points out that the expression is even more appropriate in the political arena, as her mother would often use those words throughout every Presidential campaign.)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A hurricane and a wedding . . .

Heading home to Newton from the Poconos, directly into a hurricane, via a wedding in Tarrytown, NY.  More later!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

She lost her camera . . . or so she nightmared

Several nights ago, Marash Girl anxiety dreamed that she had lost her camera.  She had, in fact, lost her camera case several years ago, but never her camera.  The camera remained jangling around in her bag where ever she went. She never consciously thought about how important her camera was to her, how it allowed her to share the way she sees the world, until that dream forced her to deal with her tie to her little pocket camera.

And now, several days later after that dream, her camera has fallen apart, and is held together with bandaids.  She's hoping the camera will hold on to all the photos she's been taking of the Poconos, its beauty and its haunts.  Hey, maybe it was those haunts that tore the side off of her camera!  Well, hopefully, haunts don't like bandaids, and the photos will remain until the camera and Marash Girl can get back to Newtonville Camera with a plea for help! . . . and a new camera case.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Late for dinner? Not to worry!

We'd hear Peter laughing, calling out to Marash Boy, "Gaynanan seni seviyor!"  Known to be late, Marash Boy was always the last to arrive for dinner,  (Peter used to laugh and say, you can call me whatever you want, as long as you don't call me late for dinner!) and Peter delighted in calling out to his new son-in-law, "Gaynanan seni seviyor."  It was a play on a play on a play on words,  play that the folks from  his home town of Marash loved, and word play that multi-lingual Peter, though he was 12 when he left, carried with him to the United States.  Remembering Peter, Marash Boy and Marash Girl, to this day, love to play with those very words as well, and use them whenever someone, anyone, arrives at their home when the supper has just been put on the table.  "Gaynanan seni seviyor . . .Your mother-in-law loves you."  Go figure.  It's meaning upon meaning upon meaning, humor upon humor upon humor, and very hard indeed to explain.  Wanna give it a try in the comments below?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dust particles dancing in the light

Reading a blog post by a friend on a shard of light reminded Marash Girl of her early fascination with dust particles dancing in a shaft of light on a late afternoon . . . the room darkened and that shaft the only light . . . and remembering further, perhaps her earliest memory . . . a darkened living room (in Winchester, Massachusetts?), a large shiny grand piano on the left,  dust particles dancing in that shaft of light, and walking toward toddling Marash Girl through that light was a very old woman hunched over, all dressed in black with a black "shush" on her head, carrying a walking stick, an old woman all dressed in black walking towards little Marash Girl, shaking that walking stick at little Marash Girl, frightening little Marash Girl who remembers that moment to this day.  Trying to explore that memory, Marash Girl found in a pile of very early black and white photographs, a snapshot of 4 generations:  her mother (Lucille Mae (Jennie) Vartanian Bilezikian), her grandmother (Yester Bosnian Vartanian) and her grandmother's mother, name unknown.  Little Marash Girl, probably 9 months old when that photograph was taken, was sitting in her mother's lap staring tearfully and fearfully at her great grandmother, as the group of women posed for the camera, sitting on the front steps of that home in Winchester, Massachusetts.  Great-Grandmother, as it turns out, hated girls, and was very upset that Jennie's first child, her own great grand-child, had to be a girl.  One wonders whether this great grandmother hated herself as well.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Remembering Zabelle Haroutunian Chalian 1917-2010

Remembering Zabelle Haroutunian Chalian, the daughter of Yesayi [Kurtgusian] Haroutunian (Grandma Yepros [Kurtgusian] Haroutunian Bilezikian's brother).  Zabelle left us on 10/24/2010.

l. to r.  Yesayi Haroutunian, Zabelle Haroutunian (Chalian), Makrouhi Haroutunian
 in Newton, Massachusetts, circa 1920.
 Photo courtesy of Ben Haroutunian

Zabelle Haroutunian Chalian (January 22, 1917-October 24,  2010) was my aunt, the daughter of my Grandma Yepros's older brother Yesayi.  Born on Edinboro Street in Newtonville, Massachusetts, she was my father Peter's favorite cousin, a beautiful and kind woman, a well-known concert pianist on the west coast, a woman to be admired.  The year before my father died, she came to Newtonville to visit for a month.  In February of 2009, Amaras Arts Alliance sponsored a concert featuring Zabelle Haroutunian Chalian at the Steinway Piano in her cousin Peter's living room at the Bilezikian family homestead, 474 Lowell Avenue in Newtonville, Massachusetts.  Zabelle performed on a Steinway Piano for nearly an hour  -- playing pieces by Chopin,  Beethoven, and several of her own compositions . . . an incredible feat of memory and skill, of endurance and passion.  She was playing for the gathered guests (over 30 in number) and for Peter, who she played for every day of her visit, and every day after her visit over the telephone from her home in Colorado. Peter and Zabelle, at the time of her visit to Newtonville, were both well into their 90's; they remained friends to the end.

left: Bethel Bilezikian Charkoudian introduces her aunt, Zabelle Haroutunian Chalian, in her father's living room.
Tatoul Badalian films the concert while the audience listens  with rapt attention.
Auntie Zabelle introduces her very own compostions that she is about to perform.
Cousins forever!
Auntie Zabelle graciously accepts bouquets of appreciation at the end of her concert.
Photos of the concert by Karoun Charkoudian, Peter's granddaughter, Zabelle's grand niece.

Front page article by Nancy Kalajian covering  Zabelle's concert in the Armenian Mirror Spectator

"On a cold and rainy evening in February, folks found warmth and camaraderie at the home of Peter Bilezikian of Newtonville, MA. Smiling faces entered the living room, greeting Peter with hugs and kisses. They had come to hear a piano concert by once well known west coast concert pianist Zabelle Hartounian Chalian, Peter's first cousin of 92 years. Best friend and 1st cousin Peter, born in Marash, Turkey, met Zabelle in Newtonville, when he first arrived in the United States in 1921 having survived the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
The Thursday soiree sponsored by Amaras Arts Alliance welcomed an audience numbering upwards of 30 people ages 9 to 96, who heard compositions played on a Steinway piano, among them a Chopin Nocturne, a movement from the Beethoven Appasionata Sonata, and two unpublished pieces composed by Zabelle Chalian herself. The audience expressed its admiration for Zabelle's music with a standing ovation.
Cass Flowers and Amaras Arts Alliance presented Zabelle with large bouquets of flower. Visiting for three weeks, 92 year old Zabelle Hartounian Chalian returns home at the end of February, hopefully to prepare for another piano concert for her admirers in her now hometown of Arvata, Colorado. Zapaharoutioun, Zabelle!"  The above article was written by Bethel Bilezikian Charkoudian & Nairi Badalian and appeared in the Armenian Weekly on Saturday, April 18, 2009.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Another New England October Earthquake Story

"I was in Truro on  Cape Cod, in our old farm house, sitting in Mother's Chair (we call it Mother's Chair because it was Mother's chair) when suddenly Mother's Chair began to rock.  I knew that it must be an earthquake causing Mother's Chair to rock and not Mother, who had long since departed this earth.  And I knew because many years ago, I had been with Father in the South Sea Islands sitting on a chair that suddenly began to tremble beneath me; it was unearthly, but Father said it was very earthly as it was an earthquake that was causing the chairs, and those sitting in them, to tremble."

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Cardinal Whistles in the Night and in the Light

After once again hearing the mystery bird whistling in the light (scroll down to see yesterday's blog post), Marash Girl, deciding to do some research, listened to every owl call that she could, and although none of them sounded like her night bird's whistle, one of them sounded suspiciously like a coyote!  Researching further, she discovered that scientists believe cardinals to have over 16 different whistles. As the cardinal's style of whistling was the closest to the style (though not the intonation) of the calls she had been hearing, Marash Girl began to suspect that her mystery bird was the cardinal.  And sure enough, at around 10:30 yesterday morning, soon after Marash Girl had heard those whistles, the same whistles she had heard in the night, she looked out of her kitchen window and saw the male cardinal who loves to hover amongst the evergreens that separate the houses, and yes, Marash Girl has decided that the bird calling in the night is  the resident cardinal who probably lives outside of the very kitchen window near which Marash Girl prepares meals for several hours each day.  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Birds That Whistle in the Night

Have you ever heard birds whistling in the night?  Often, when Marash Girl is in the kitchen preparing dinner, after dark, (and specifically last night,) she hears a bird whistling.  [Marash Boy heard it last night, although he had never heard it before, as he is rarely in the kitchen while Marash Girl is preparing dinner.]  The whistle is almost as clear as that of a cardinal, but not the same in tune or lilt.  Searching the internet for an answer to this puzzle, Marash Girl found nothing.  There were a few queries by others who had heard similar whistles, and the only answers?  Tree frogs.  Marash Girl knows tree frogs and hears those as well, but this whistle is that of a bird.  She listened to every bird call that was offered on the internet, and none matched the whistling that she hears. Has you heard a bird that whistles in the night?

It is now 9:28 AM and I hear the same bird whistling in the light, not as insistently, but still whistling.  What bird is it?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Eliot Church of Newton's Fair and Flea Market, Centre Street, Newton Corner, Today!

A volunteer prices the jewelry at the "Deck Yourself Out" table, after she has hung up the red prom dress worn by a Newton Corner lovely at Newton North High School's 1994 Senior Prom. It's a Size 10, should anyone be interested!

Volunteers at the Eliot Church have been working all week preparing for the annual Eliot Church Fair.  Don't miss this year's Fall Fair and Flea Market at the Eliot Church, 474 Centre Street in Newton Corner (just around the corner from Exit 17 on the Mass. Turnpike) -- today from 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM.  Books, jewelry, rugs, dishware, collectibles, toys, bargains galore, live music, fun and games for the kids will greet you when you arrive,  and after you've shopped 'til you drop, sit down for a cup of coffee, a snack, or a cup of cider and a sandwich in the snack bar set up outside of the room of treasures.  See you there!

Friday, October 19, 2012


The earthquake wolverine story (scroll down to see yesterday's blog post) is not so difficult to imagine for those of us who once lived in a cabin on the top of Wilbraham Mountain, the cabin taken away by the tornado of 2011.  In addition to the cries of coyotes calling into the night, one late evening, thumping and shaking on the corner of the cabin's roof awakened the family, and soon, flying squirrels came flying through the roof, crawling down the walls, not as shy as one might think a wild creature to be.  In fact, not shy at all.  The family felt not only trespassed upon, but clearly threatened.  Shouting and waving did nothing; the creatures were fearless.  The only object slightly resembling a weapon in the cabin was a flashlight, a weapon not to be thrown, but to be used as it was meant to be used.  Shining the light directly into the eyes of the flying squirrels stopped them, literally, in their tracks,  and caused them to flee  . A light shining in the darkness proved to be as effective as holding a cross up to ward away the evil spirits.  In fact, perhaps what the flying squirrels saw in that light was a cross, a cross which made them decide to take to the woods, literally.  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

More on the earthquake as experienced in Newton Corner and Auburndale

Yesterday, catching up on errands, Marash Girl stopped at the bank in Newtonville.  Greeting her favorite teller, Marash Girl asked  whether or not she had felt the earthquake the night before.  "Earthquake?" she replied.  "So that's what it was! I  called my husband (who was driving at the time), and he said he had felt nothing; I called my son (who had been playing tennis) . . . no, he had felt nothing.  I was holding onto my lamp so it wouldn't fall off the table, it was shaking so badly!  I thought that perhaps it was a car crash or an accident of some kind -- but when I looked there was nothing!  I never thought to check the radio or TV to see if anyone else had experienced the roar and the tremor!" Marash Girl is convinced that the bank employee was secretly relieved to learn that it was only an earthquake that she had experienced, and not the experiencing of a newly arrived ghost in Newton Corner.

And then there was Marash Girl's friend in Auburndale who thought that a wolverine had just broken through the roof of her house and had fallen along the length of the wall, only to land behind the sofa in which she was sitting . . . 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Newton Corner Republican Garden

The views expressed in this photograph are not necessarily those of the photographer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Earthquake in Newton Corner 5 minutes ago!

Just felt the earth quake, shake, rattle and roar, here in Newton Corner, MA  for  about 3 seconds.  Heard and felt our house shaking!  Felt in Burlington, MA and in Springfield, MA by family members.  Please record your earthquake experiences in the comments below!

Sunrise, Newton Corner, 6:45 AM, Oct. 15, 2012

Sunrise over Newton Corner

Monday, October 15, 2012

Shuffling through Newton Corner

As Marash Girl took a short cut from the Newton Corner on the north side of the Massachusetts Turnpike to the Newton Corner on the south side of the Massachusetts Turnpike and in so doing, walking across the front walkway of the Crown Plaza Hotel ( in order to avoid walking around the Circle of Death -- bad enough we have to cross at the walk lights which most cars ignore -- yes,  the Turnpike tore our Newton Corner in half), she happened on this young man who was standing in front of the entrance of the hotel with a cartload of belongings.  Stopping, she said with a mischievous glint in her eyes, "Young man!  Can't you read the sign?  The sign says, 'No standing'."  Turning to Marash Girl, the young man answered without a pause, "Yes, of course.  Can't you see that I'm shuffling, not standing?"

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Courage to Blossom

Yesterday, here in Newton Corner, we had our first frost of the season.  The basil was hurt and drooping, but this chipper plant blossomed to face the oncoming winter.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Beef Stew for Fall

Never mind that she was supposed to be having a yard sale today -- the first Saturday in over a month for which rain had not been forecast!  But as the weatherman had promised, there was a frost last night, and the thermometer outside of her kitchen window now reads 30 degrees fahrenheit.  The sun is shining, though.  And yes, that's a plus.  But preparing for a yard sale with such a forecast was out of the question.  Who would want to browse at all of her tchochke when they're so cold that they're hands don't even want to come out of their pockets?  No one.  So instead of preparing for the ill-fated yard sale, Marash Girl spent yesterday afternoon preparing her first beef stew of the season.  How?  After a trip to the market to buy a large, uncut piece of stew meat, she gathered small red potatoes, yellow onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and a can of Italian crushed tomato sauce.  Carefully rinsing the beef under cool water, a trick Marash Boy's mother taught her many years ago,  (and Marash Girl had made sure to buy a whole piece of beef rather than cut up pieces of "beef stew meat"), she cut the beef up into 2 inch cubes with scissors (faster than a knife), browned the cubes of beef in olive oil, olive oil that had already been browning sliced up onions and garlic, and then added  the cubed vegetables and the tomato sauce.  All of this was done in her largest orange le Creuset iron pot, which she then placed in the oven at 325 degrees fahrenheit for 2 hours.  Amazing.  She didn't even add herbs or spices or salt and pepper and the meal was perfect.  Something to be said for using those old-fashioned iron pots and ovens rather than the more contemporary slow-cooker!  And believe me, at dinner time,  Marash Girl did NOT say, "Yapan yemez!" (Scroll down to see yesterday's blog.)

Friday, October 12, 2012

"Yapan yemez!'

"Yapan yemez!"  So spoke Marash Boy's mother at the end of the day, sitting down to join us all for a supper she had laboriously prepared.  Born in Marash, she said it often, often enough so that Marash Girl wondered what it meant.  Not the words.  Marash Girl understood what the words meant.  The literal translation: "The maker doesn't eat (it)."  Or the meaning:  "The cook doesn't eat (what she cooks)."  As recently as last night, as Marash Girl prepared a turkey vegetable soup for supper, she heard those words echoing in her mind and wondered.  "Yapan yemez."  Does it mean that the cook has taste tested the food so often to assure its perfection that s/he has no appetite? (Sorry, Marash Girl should be writing "she", not "s/he", as in most Armenian families, only the "she" prepared the meals; Marash Girl will correct that error in the future.)  Does it mean that she knows what went into the meal and would never eat it, no matter what?  Does it mean that she was so hungry as she prepared the meal that she ate whatever came to hand as she prepared the meal?  Or that she couldn't wait for the family to gather so she ate her portion while she waited? Or that there wasn't enough food for everyone, so she herself went hungry?  Or that she knew she would be hustling from the kitchen serving and would have no time to sit and eat with the family?  Or that she would be bored sitting at the table and eating with that particular group of family members/guests?  Or that the "maid" was not allowed to sit and eat with the guests?  Or that she simply didn't like what she was serving and had eaten leftovers in the kitchen from the day before? Or that she was so exhausted at the end of the day, that she had no appetite.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Marash Girl Fell

Remembering Grandma Yepros's fall down the back stairs from the second floor to the first (scroll down to read yesterday's post) brought to mind that day in 2003 when Marash Girl learned that her niece Katie had pancreatic cancer.  Needing to get away from the city to the peace of the countryside, Marash Girl was carrying her suitcase from the third floor down to the first floor, in preparation for a trip to Wilbraham.  Having climbed up and down several flights of stairs daily her whole life with no problem, she was most surprised when she tripped on the second step down and fell the full flight of stairs until the 2nd floor landing stopped her.  Dragging herself to the closest telephone (as she couldn't get up and no one was at home to hear her fall), Marash Girl dialed 911.  She, like her grandmother but perhaps not for the same reasons, had bruises aplenty, but no broken bones.  Marash Girl always wondered if Grandma Yepros, too,  had received tragic news on the night before her fall down those back stairs at 476 Lowell Avenue, Newtonville, way back in the 1940's.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Grandma Yepros Fell

Grandma Yepros fell when she was going down the back stairs from the second floor to the first floor with a basket full of laundry to hang on the clothesline in the backyard.  Grandma was blind and lived on the third floor of our two family house. Why she fell that day, we'll never know.  She never fell before, she never fell again.  And she didn't hurt herself, they said; perhaps they meant to say that she didn't break any bones.  They said that her being fat saved her.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

No morning walk . . .

Darkness and cold and rain greeted Marash Girl and the rest of Newton Corner when they awoke this morning.   No morning walks, no greeting the sunshine, a gentle reminder that summer is past and the fall is quickly falling away.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Overheard at Bob Lobster, Newburyport, Massachusetts

Overheard at Bob Lobster (located on the road to and from Plum Island):

While dining on delicious, freshly made clam chowder at Bob Lobster, Marash Girl overheard the fellow at the table by the front window happily and loudly proclaiming to his table mates, "My condo is located between Friendly's and Burger King!"

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Another Tree Hits the Newton Corner Dust

Sitting down for breakfast this morning, Marash Boy & Marash Girl were startled by a loud, intermittent roar.  Looking out of our kitchen window to our back neighbor's yard, we saw nothing, but looking up into the sky, very far up into the sky, we saw a man with an orange power saw at the top of the oak tree (and the top was very high up, higher than our three story house), the oak tree that grew on the border between our neighbor's yard and ours.  Unable to eat our breakfasts (as our hearts were in our mouths for both the man and the tree), we watched as this deft acrobat cut down the ancient oak tree piece by piece, from its top down, an oak tree that had stood there for well over 100 years.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

More on Chicken Mushrooms . . .

Pondering Chicken Mushrooms (scroll down to see yesterday's blog), Marash Boy and Marash Girl wondered why, although they had often seen brown and grey bracket mushrooms  attached to the many oak trees growing on Wilbraham Mountain,  they had never seen even one Chicken Mushroom.  And then it came to Marash Girl . . . she awoke in the middle of the night with the realization that the coyotes who reside on the top of Wilbraham Mountain, the coyotes with whom she had often communicated, would never have allowed anything chicken-like to survive!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Chicken Mushrooms, Newton, Massachusetts

Marash Girl's friend proudly displays a  Chicken Mushroom that he harvested from an oak tree in Newton yesterday.  Who knew that oak trees grew anything but acorns!  Photo Credit: Marash Girl

This chicken (bracket) mushroom ( a polypore of flat, fan-shaped, bright orange overlapping caps 2 to 12 inches across) was gathered off of  an oak tree on Islington Road in Newton, Massachusetts by Marash Girl's friends who live in Auburndale.  They generously offered to share their bagful of wild mushrooms with Marash Girl; she graciously refused.   Their plans are to prepare these mushrooms with sautéed onions for a delicious supper treat.  Luckily, there are no similarly colored poisonous mushrooms!

Thursday, October 4, 2012


 A groggy but dedicated volunteer crew answers telephones this morning, having arrived at the station well before this photo was taken, round about 6:30 AM!
Color coordinated volunteer admits that she checks  what the TV weather lady is wearing  every morning and dresses accordingly!
WBUR volunteer munches on the apple and savors the book provided by WBUR while he waits for the next donor's phone call.  He's sporting the WBUR baseball cap that was offered yesterday as one of the thank you gifts to donors.
Stacey Moyer, Coordinator of Volunteers
 Stacey Moyer (standing) is kept busy coordinating the volunteers!
Jonathan Peck, formerly volunteer coordinator, volunteers!
Tom Ashbrook, host of WBUR's On Point, visits with the volunteers, thanking them for coming in.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


WBUR, Boston's National Public Radio Station, is broadcasting its Fall Fundraiser all this week.  Volunteers from the Greater Boston area are manning and womanning telephones from 6:30 AM to     7 PM daily. Public Radio personalities Tom Ashbrook, Robin Young, Jay Clayton, and Bill Littlefield, among others, wander among the volunteers, personally thanking them for their help. Marash Girl, one of the volunteers, took the opportunity to knit a few "Peace Scarves" in between the telephone calls.

A Marash Girl Peace Scarf Creation modeled by its new owner, a WBUR volunteer (above left), while another volunteer (above right)  a biker dressed all in grey to match the buildings and the day, graciously records the donation of an enthusiastic WBUR listener.

A Marash Girl Peace Scarf Creation modeled by its new owner, a long time WBUR volunteer.  In the background, another WBUR volunteer hides from the camera.

Bill Littlefield (left & above)  of WBUR's "Only a Game" greets the volunteers during his  coffee break.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

MINT CONDITION: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession

Recently, Marash Girl acquired a copy (in mint condition) of MINT CONDITION: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession by Dave Jamieson (NY, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2010).  Rather than listing the book for sale at, Marash Girl emailed her son, a longtime lover of baseball and baseball cards, to ask him if he would like to read the book. 

His answer: "Perhaps. I lived How baseball cards became an American obsession!"

So true!  He still has his baseball cards neatly organized in an antique oak chest, the chest originally meant for the cataloguing of library books, the chest unopened for years, in his room, the walls of the room still papered with baseball and basketball greats.

Monday, October 1, 2012

More on the Armenians of Alexandria, Egypt

IN March of 2011, Marash Girl posted blogs on her 1960's trip to Egypt, (including Alexandria) where she met NO Armenians.  Kid from Alex was dismayed to find nothing about his community on her blog, as there is a large Armenian community in Alexandria, Egypt, he being a part of it. Therefore, he submitted a series of blogs (ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT, through the eyes of an Egyptian Armenian) beginning in March of 2011 on the life of Armenians in Alexandria, Egypt.  Following up on those posts, Kid from Alex herewith writes,
"Homenetmen Gamk of AlexandriaEgypt,  is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year. The following is a brief history of its establishment."
1912-Gamk first committee members with athletes & football players (front row) during establishment period.  Front row sitting, 3rd person from right:  Ghevont Emmian.  Source: Gamk Archive.       Note:  Marash Girl's father Peter was born in Marash in 1912.
(from the the Gamk website )

During the period of 1910/1912, Boghossian Armenian School in Alexandria organized the first Sports Day in the Armenian community of Alexandria. The Sports Day was organized by Stepan Khandjian with the presence of Parsegh Ohanian. Even with such a pioneer activity, Boghossian ArmenianSchool was unable to provide the sufficient needed sports activities to the Armenian youth and community in Alexandria. The interest for sports activity was growing vastly and a yearly Sports Day was not sufficient
A patriotic Parsegh Ohanian who had a charismatic character and was popular figure in the Armenian community in Alexandria ,together with 28 young Armenians who had the same ideas and beliefs that an Armenian sports club has to be established, applied to the Armenian Patriarchate of Alexandria an agenda to establish an Armenian sports club. The Executive Council members of the Armenian Patriarchate of Alexandria collectively approved the idea and agenda ,and supported the Armenian youth by giving them the land next to the Armenian church.
After six months of persistent work ,the founding members established the club and had the first general meeting on the 1st of August 1912.
The first general meeting was under the auspices of Dr.Missak Jamgochian,who was the chairman of the Executive Council of the Armenian Patriarchate of Alexandria ,and by his recommendation the first Gamk club executive committee members were chosen to establish an agenda and membership applications.
First Gamk committee members were:
Berj Ohanian (chairman)
Parsegh Ohanian (sports Director)
MihranTelian (treasurer)
After considerable efforts by this young members, Gamk sports Club was inaugurated .The name " Gamk " which means " Will " in Armenian was recommended by Shavarsh Krisian, after witnessing the sacrifices and efforts of the founders. The first general members meeting was held later in 1912 with the participation of 50 young members , during this meeting Gamk's Policy, Procedure, and By-Law Manual was asserted.
On the 18th of May 1915 ,the dream came true and the Armenian Boy Scouts movement (hay hedazodichnerou engeragtzoutioun) was established.
Gamk has given Armenians living in Alexandria and Egypt a place to get together, create memories, and practice different kinds of sports, including basketball, soccer, tennis, boxing, cycling, ping-pong, swimming, gymnastics and track and field. Some of Gamk athletes played for the Egyptian national team in international competitions .It is important to note that Gamk individual sports athletes and team sports athletes, all participated in the Alexandria and Egyptian federation games for many years .In addition to the athletic nature of Gamk club, it is also important to note its Scouting activities assisting Armenian youth develop valor, pride and strong values.