Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye to the past . . .

What shall Marash Girl write about on this last day of the year?  As she was walking across the bridge to the market this morning, she was thinking about her grandmother, Yepros, her grandmother, orphaned during the  1895 massacres, a little girl when she witnessed the murder of both parents in Marash, Ottoman Empire at the sworded hands of the Ottoman Turks,  suddenly a little orphan girl holding her littler sister Mary Kurtgusian close to her, hiding in the closet where her parents told her to hide, where they told her to remain in silence no matter what she heard.  She hid and held her little sister.  How much she cried, Marash Girl will never know; perhaps it was what Yepros witnessed that caused her blindness those many years later, once she had reached the safety of the  New World . . .  that caused her to hold her silence no matter what she experienced in the years that followed . . . 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Post-Christmas Feast

  Squirrel feasting on Marash Girl's Christmas Eve Boulghour Pilaf
(Can you see the squirrel sitting on the far upper edge of the zinc tub, 
the orange mound of boulghour in the tub nearer the viewer?)

Photo taken with an iPhone camera by Karoun through the dining room screened window on the day after Christmas

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Over the Back Fence

Actually, across the side fence . . .

Peering out of her dining room window, later on Christmas day, Marash girl spied her neighbor, an esteemed Boston lawyer, jumping up and down in his trash barrel, the barrel full to the brim with discarded Christmas wrappings, the neighbor vainly attempting to compact the wrappings into a manageable mass.

Friday, December 27, 2013

New Photos from the Armenian Community in Alexandria, Egypt

Nicolas, one of our blog followers, after reading http://marashgirl.blogspot.com/2011/03/alexandria-egypt-thru-eyes-of-native_05.html 
requested more photos of the Armenian Church in Alexandria, Egypt.   Visiting blogger KID FROM ALEX obliged with the  following photos, never before posted.  Kid from Alex writes, "These were sent to me by a friend of a friend when he was visiting Alexandria a few years ago. Pictures are of Sourp Boghos Bedros (St. Paul and Peter), and of property around the church."


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Overheard at Bleu : Cape Cod Oysters on the Half Shell

Always eavesdropping at restaurants, Marash Girl witnessed the following:

A gentleman ordered his first course: oysters on the half shell;  the oysters arrived, but no cocktail sauce.  What self-respecting New Englander could eat oysters without cocktail sauce?

When the guest asked the waitress to bring cocktail sauce, the waitress replied haughtily, "We don't stock cocktail sauce."

The gentleman's wife, without pause, saved the day: "I'll tell you how to make it; my husband won't eat oysters without cocktail sauce.  Do you have ketchup?"

"Yes," replied the waitress.

"Do you have horseradish?"

"Yes," replied the waitress.

"Do you have lemon?"

"Yes," replied the waitress.

"Just bring them all here, or you can stir them together in the kitchen; I want my husband to enjoy his oysters!"

And enjoy them he did, despite the "fancy" Cape Cod restaurant's insistence on serving oysters on the half shell WITHOUT cocktail sauce!

N.B. Wait a minute . . . isn't that Arppie's secret cocktail sauce! (http://marashgirl.blogspot.com/2013/12/dont-throw-away-those-broccoli-stems.html)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"Merry Christmas To All, And To All A Good Night!"

"The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there!"

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Chistmas Eve Tale, 1968, Charlestown, Massachusetts

It was Christmas Eve and the bars were full of sad-eyed men  . . .
 a local charity had purchased a truck load of turkeys to distribute among the poor, to give to the men so that they would have something to take home for Christmas dinner . . .But the men were too proud to take charity.

So Marash Girl's friend, John Powers, came up with a ruse that worked. . .

He walked into the neighborhood bars and whispered that he had a truckload of hot turkeys that he had to unload, and unload fast!

Within 15 minutes, the truck was empty, and the bars were empty.  The men who were sad-eyed, leaning against the bar, were now grinning from ear to ear, pleased to be carrying home a turkey, a turkey they had paid for, a turkey for their family to eat on Christmas Day.

Monday, December 23, 2013


Last week, Marash Girl wrote about the Nativity Scene in Newton Corner that she and her family have been enjoying for years. [http://marashgirl.blogspot.com/2013/12/newton-corner-nativity-celebrating.html]

Front page of Newton Tab, Dec. 18, 2013
A week ago, in its December 18th issue, The Newton Tab wrote of the same scene but what they wrote was a bit unsettling . . . It took Marash Girl a while to decide whether or not to comment, as she eschews negativity . . . but here, at last, is her comment.

The headlines on the NEWTON TAB on December 18, 2013, read, "CHRISTMAS DISPLAY ELICITS ANGRY LETTER"; reading on in the article, we learn that an anonymous letter was written to the Newton, Massachusetts, displayer of Christmas fun. That an open display of a religious nature on private property could be offensive enough to write an anonymous letter to the owner of the display is surprising in this city in this century  . . .

Thinking back, though, even royalty took offense at the birth of an innocent babe, and later the public took offense at the very same babe grown to be a man . . .  and crucified him.  But then that story comes later . . . in about 4 months.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Snow Driving

Marash Girl expressed concern that her friend was driving through downtown Boston during rush hour in a snowstorm while talking to Marash Girl on a cell phone.

 "I've never been in a fatal accident yet,"  replied her friend.

"Well, you wouldn't be talking to me if you had been!" quipped Marash Girl.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Search for Baby Jesus

Vacationing on Cape Cod in early December can be iffy, at best, New England weather being what it is, but no worries . . .  there's always the favorite pastime for seasoned Cape Codders, a pastime introduced to Marash Girl by her dear departed friend Joan: searching the church thrift shops. . .  but unlike previous tours of Cape Cod Thrift Shops, this tour had a focus.
Marash Girl found the Baby Jesus!
After her visit to the Highland House and its exhibit of Christmas Creches from all over the world 
(http://marashgirl.blogspot.com/2013/12/bill-hendels-christmas-creche.html), Marash Girl decided that she wanted to add to the few nativity scenes she puts out every Christmas.  And so she began searching the thrift shops, Marash Boy chauffeuring her with his New York Times at the ready.    She would enter the thrift shop, holding her breath in the hope that there might be a creche and its attending figures hidden somewhere in the corners of the shop . . . yes?  no?  No . . . . but in one shop, there were figures for the nativity scene, but the only problem?  It was missing the baby Jesus.  I'll take it!  said Marash Girl.  I know I can find Jesus if I look hard enough . . . and find Him she did . . . at the last church heading off Cape in Sandwich, Massachusetts.  Do you have a nativity scene with all the figures?   she asked the woman behind the counter.  "No," was the answer. "But we do have the Baby Jesus, and after all, He's the most important figure in the whole story, is he not?"  "Yes," shouted Marash Girl with a grin.  "He's the most important of all!  I knew I would find Jesus if I kept looking!" Marash Girl sighed as she took out her dollar bill to pay for the beautiful baby, but the saleslady would not take the dollar bill. . . she said, "Jesus is a gift . . . I cannot take your money . . . Jesus is free to all who want him . . . Take Him."  And Marash Girl did.

Friday, December 20, 2013

12th Annual WBUR Winter Solstice Celebration for WBUR's Robin Young Interviews Here and Now's co-Host Jeremy Hobson at WBUR

Wednesday evening, December 18, 2013: at the 12th Annual WBUR Winter Solstice Celebration, a fundraiser for the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts, Robin Young interviews her cohost on HERE AND NOW, Jeremy Hobson, who we all learned (among other non-tweetable fascinating facts about him), is 31 years old!
Admirer greets Jeremy Hobson in the hallowed hallway of WBUR.  Photo Credit: Peter Metz

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Christmas Story

Barley Jim braved the cold and the snow yesterday to help Marash Girl shovel her walk in a not so raging snowstorm, and to deliver the following story.

Under a cold and clear full moon Monday night in a small park in Newton (Nonantum, Massachusetts) fully decorated with Christmas scenes, I stood on the snow in front of a large creche.  A little girl came running and bouncing over and said to me "Where is the Baby Jesus?".  I answered "He isn't here yet.  He won't be here until Christmas.  Come back and see him on Christmas."
   Where will we be on Christmas and what will we see?

Merry Blessed Christmas to you all,

Barley Jim

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


No parking sign in Newton Corner reads,

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wally Bernheimer recognized for over 34 years of service on Newton (Massachusetts) Parks & Recreation Commission

Newton Parks & Recreation Commissioner Bob DeRubeis (right) congratulates Wally Bernheimer (left) on his more than 34 years of dedicated service as a member of the Newton Parks & Recreation Commission. 

At yesterday evening's meeting of the Newton Parks & Recreation Commission, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Bob DeRubeis read Mayor Setti Warren's proclamation in appreciation of Walter S. Bernheimer's 34 years of service. Mr. Bernheimer resigned from the commission yesterday evening.
Commissioner Bob DeRubeis presented the above plaque to Wally Bernheimer in recognition of Wally's dedication to the City of Newton and its parks and recreation.
Mr. Bernheimer, who grew up in Newton, attended Bigelow Junior High School, and used to skate on Bullough's Pond, was appointed to the commission over 34 years ago by Mayor Theodore Mann.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Full moon over Frozen Landscape

Stepping out the back door to catch a picture of the full moon over the frozen landscape, Marash Girl's storm door slammed shut, leaving her alone, now a part of the frozen landscape, at the top of an ice covered stairway, the door handle inoperable, she in her slippers with no jacket, 20 degrees fahrenheit, the wind blowing, ice underfoot, no way to get back into the house.  Luckily her camera was a phone as well,  and a telephone call for help (her shouts for help were unheard) soon (2 minutes though it seemed like a lot longer) brought Marash Boy to open the door and welcome Marash Girl  back into the warmth of her kitchen . . . and she, never so happy to be there!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Snow Ploughs In Absentia

Seven days ago, Marash Girl wrote of her sense of snow, and not only her sense of snow, but the snow plough's sense of snow.  Today, at 7 AM, it has been snowing for 14 hours, and sleeting for the last few, and not a snow plough to be heard, much less seen!  Luckily our neighbor's happy lights cheer the otherwise dreary morning! (Yes their house is on a hill; thus the slant of the photo taken from Marash Girl's level front porch.)

9 AM:  The snow ploughs just went by and left behind them a sheet of ice, no sand!  AND huge chunks of ice gathered from the street above left by the snow plough . . .  blocking our driveway. We'll wait and see if there's to be another saga in this drama.

The next saga?  Marash Girl shoveling it all out, of course!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Remembering Grandpa Garabed Vartanian

Grandpa Garabed Vartanian, born in Aintab in the mid to late 19th Century, living in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the early to mid 20th Century, used to sing a song, a song of his creation, a song that expressed his love for his beautiful blonde, blue-eyed granddaughter:

 Herkes sevsin Marta Mae, Marta herkes sevsinler!

Happy Birthday, Marta Mae!

Friday, December 13, 2013


Looking for a good lesson in sportsmanship, salesmanship, "neighborliness"?
Take a look at Champions Sporting Goods, 53 Leonard Street, Belmont, Massachusetts.  Their back door opens onto the town's parking lot, as do most of the businesses on that side of Leonard Street .  The difference between Champions and their neighbors is the sign posted on Champion's back and front doors, a sign which encourages customers visiting Belmont Center to "pass through"!
This sign on the front window of  Champions Sporting Goods, Leonard Street, Belmont, Massachusetts, reads "We are the official cut thru of Belmont Center - Welcome". Posted at the back door as well as the front, the sign encourages customers to use Champion Sporting Goods as a "cut thru" from the parking lot to the main shopping area on Leonard Street, and back again.  Let's hope the customers appreciate the gesture enough to stop and buy a sporting good or two as they pass thru!

A mother walks out onto Leonard Street after she has walked her child safely through
 Champions Sporting Goods from the parking lot in Belmont Center to the main thoroughfare.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Trivet: Ve get too soon oldt . . .

Marash Girl was so excited when she found this trivet in a church thrift shop in Falmouth on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  Was her father visiting her again from the next world . . . and laughing? He LOVED to quote the phrase in German-accented English (yes, he had studied German in high school so he knew the accent well), "Ve get too soon oldt und too late schmart!" He probably first saw the quote on this trivet or one very much like this one -- a trivet which graced a dining room table in the 1930's! Or perhaps he knew the original expression in German . . .  We children would often hear him laughing, and repeating in a somber voice, "Ve get too soon oldt und too late schmart!"

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Driving home from the post office on Galen Street, Marash Girl noticed a woman setting up the Nativity Scene on the snow-covered lawn in front of her house.  Marash Girl remembered visiting this very house to see this very scene (although it was always dark with the lights shining when  her mother and father drove her by on Christmas Eve -- a magical moment indeed).  Until the day he died, Peter (Marash Girl's dad) would drive by, or ask Marash Girl to drive him by in those last years, just to experience the magic of it all.  Last week, Marash Girl stopped to chat with the woman of the house, who explained, "My father started this many years ago, and I want to continue the tradition!"

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

There is no "mine" in this house!

It was the depression; the young men were survivors of the Armenian genocide and living and working in Watertown, Massachusetts. Paul had just purchased his first necktie with the earnings from his first job and had set the tie out to wear to church the next morning.  Peter, an early riser, got up to get ready for church, and spying the necktie, put it on.  When Paul came to don his new (to him) necktie, it was no longer where he had left it, but rather on Peter's neck!  Sunday morning suddenly burst out in a cacophony of shouts . . .  The boys' mother, Yepros, hearing the argument, stated the following:  Bu  evi, senin benim yokh. In this house, there is no mine or yours.  You wear the necktie to church this week, Peter, and Paul, you wear the necktie to church next week!

There is no yours or mine in this house! Bu  evi, senin benim yokh. Those words followed Marash Girl throughout her growing years . . .  and to this day.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sense of Snow

Yesterday afternoon:

Marash Girl:  You think it's going to snow?

Neighbor:  Don't know.

Marash Girl:  Sure feels like it!

Confirming her New England Girl sense of snow, Marash Girl was wakened to the sound of snow plows rumbling past her house at four o'clock this morning . . .  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Camelot at the New Rep Theatre in Watertown, Massachusetts

Camelot at Newton High School?  Is Marash Girl remembering correctly?  Didn't Susan Stone play opposite Irving Krasner, and thus, the two of them became heroes of their class?  Marash Girl played the piano in the orchestra for every rehearsal and every performance, so she couldn't be misremembering, or could she? Probably . . . what was the name of that show?

Those are the thoughts that whisked through the sieve of Marash Girl's memory when her friend offered her center front row seats to Camelot, performed by the New Rep at the Charles Mosesian Theatre in Watertown, Massachusetts.  And what a performance it was . . . . No, not the Camelot that Marash Girl remembers from high school days, but rather an incredible piece de resistance lasting 3 hours of big acting and big singing . . .
Taking their bows, l. to r.  Marc Koeck (as Lancelot), Benjamin Evett (as King Arthur), Erica Spyres (as Guenevere)

The whole cast graciously accepts applause from an enthusiastic audience at the end of the performance of Camelot.
Benefactor Charles Mosesian's photo at the entrance to the Charles Mosesian Theatre

Friday, December 6, 2013

Falmouth, Massachusetts: Wind, Fog Horn Moan for Nelson Mandela

Falmouth, Massachusetts: grey seas,  foggy skies,  flags at half mast:
the wind & the fog horn moan  for Nelson Mandela

Hospitality a la Marash & Aintep

Some hints on Armenian courtesy . . . or perhaps it's Marashtsi/Ainteptsi courtesy . . .

All those dishes that folks bring filled to the brim with goodies for the holidays?  Once you empty them, what do you do with them?  Do you remember to return the dishes?  And when you return the dishes, are they empty?


Never return a dish empty of goodies . . . If you have nothing to fill the dish with, don't return it until you do!

I was reminded of this "rule" when a non-Armenian friend (actually now Armenian, given that she's been married to an Armenian for forever) returned my baking dish, a dish that had been filled with Marash Girl's Peach Cake (and yes, the peaches were from Wilbraham) . . . Marash Girl's friend  returned the dish with a loaf of the most delicious Banana Nut Bread Marash Girl has ever tasted . . .

So, ladies and gentlemen, a word to the wise, in this case, words to the wise . . . .

Oh, and by the way, Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Celebrating Christmas, Cape Cod Style

Bring the kids (and the kid in you) to the Falmouth Village Green (Falmouth, Cape Cod, Massachusetts) for good old-fashioned Christmas fun!  Even the men setting up the exhibit were excited about it . . . especially as they were putting in the model train (under a protective plexiglass case, not pictured here) that could be made to move around the tracks by the simple push of a button.



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bill Hendel's Christmas Creche Collection featured at Highfield Hall, Falmouth, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Highfield Hall, Falmouth, (Cape Cod,) Massachusetts, is celebrating Christmas with Bill Hendel's Christmas Creche Collection.  Christmas Creches representing cultures from every corner of the world (does the world have corners?) are set up in every corner of this magnificent Victorian "Historic" house (the house does have corners, and many of them). . .

Marash Boy even found a Christmas Creche with the Turkish Crescent at the top!