Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Danger of Letting your Hair Grow!

Marash Boy: It's all your fault!

Marash Girl:  What?

Marash Boy:  You wouldn't let me get a hair cut last week, and when I returned to Springfield on Sunday afternoon, and was walking across Main Street, a young boy asked as he was riding past me on his bike, "Would you like to buy some marijuana, sir?"  First time that's ever happened!  And it's all your fault!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Tying the Knot

"Even when the rope is broken, the knot is always there," Peter told his son many years ago.

What was he referring to? Marash Girl asked. . .

He was referring to marriage, of course, answered her brother.

Oh, of course, answered Marash Girl. . . Tying the knot is an expression we've always used in the United States for getting married, but I never knew where that expression came from.  Could it have come from the ancient marriage ritual in the Armenian Apostolic Church?

During their wedding ceremony in St. Gregory's Armenian Apostolic Church in Indian Orchard, Massachusetts, Marash Girl and Marash Boy were asked to place their foreheads together as the priest placed a silken rope around their heads and tied the knot.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Shining on - Edgartown Lighthouse

The moon shines on Edgartown Lighthouse, Edgartown Harbor, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Any day on this side of the earth

"Beautiful day," said Marash Girl to the fellow digging in the soil in front of his house in Edgartown, on Martha's Vineyard.  

"Any day on this side of the earth is a good day," answered the fellow . . .

 "What did he say?" asked Marash Girl, thinking the fellow might have said,  "Any day on this side of the ocean is a good day . . .",  a concept with which Marash Girl heartily agrees.  

Marash Boy pointed down to the soil.

"Oh," said Marash Girl, finally getting the point.

"How old do you think he is?", asked Marash Boy.

Friday, April 26, 2013

On Texting . . .

Overheard in an Edgartown shop:

I slipped and fell, and the girl who was walking behind me, texting, just walked around me and continued texting.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Buy One, Get One Free

At a "Buy one, Get one free" sale in Edgartown, Massachusetts, Marash Girl pondered over her two selections.
The saleswoman approached. "Can I help you?"
Marash Girl: "I can't decide which one I'm buying and which one I'm getting free . . ."
The saleswoman, irritated: "What difference does it make?"
Marash Girl just laughed.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April 24 - Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1923

Peter (Daddy, Grandpa Peter, Otro Baba), born in Marash, Ottoman Empire, in 1912, survivor of the Armenian Genocide, felt it was a waste of time arguing with the Turks about the fact of the Genocide.  "It doesn't matter what they say; we know what happened."  Yes, he knew what happened, and he survived to tell the tale.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Armenians who survived the Genocide, or The "Good" Turk

At a public meeting of Armenians with the Mayor of Newton, Massachusetts, at least a decade past, Peter stood up and stated, " If it weren't for the Turks, not one Armenian would be alive today."  

Needless to say, the statement stirred up a hornet's nest, to use an inept metaphor, but Peter knew of what he spoke, and soon a newspaper reporter approached to learn from Peter what only Peter (at least in that room) could admit.  Many a "Good Turk" had put their lives at risk to save Armenian lives.  Peter would always remember  the Mutasarrif (Mayor) of Marash who promised his Uncle that he would do what he could to save the Armenians of Marash.  . . . and he did . . . until one day, the Mutasarrif disappeared and was never heard from again.

(See tomorrow's blog post for a link to the newspaper article that resulted from the interview.)

Monday, April 22, 2013


                             This car actually drives along the streets of New York City!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sheltered in Place Noodles

Sheltered in place, Marash Girl looked through the kitchen to see what she could throw together for lunch, as all the stores had been ordered closed by the Mayor in light of the hunt for the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon Massacre.  

Looking at the ingredients on hand, and with some advice from Barley Jim who had come visiting despite the shelter in place order, Marash Girl and Barley Jim came up with a concoction that can't be beat!  And it's vegan to boot!

Here is what we threw together:

Whole wheat noodles (freshly cooked, or, as in our case, cold and left over from the day before)
Tahini (you determine how much -- perhaps several tablespoons)
Tamari (to taste)
The juice of a fresh lemon

Toss the dressing over the noodles, and reheat if the noodles are cold.

Absolutely delicious and ready in minutes.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A New Way To Kiss

Iffar & Enila delight in kissing, especially "Eskimo" kissing and "Butterfly" kissing the people they love, but last week, they came up with a new combination, a kiss that delighted them like none other:  the Butterfly Eskimo kiss. Just brush your eyelash against your loved one's nose and there you have it . . . from the under 10 set, a new way to share your love!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Newton Grieves Victims of Boston Marathon Massacre

On Wednesday evening,  April 17,  2013, Mayor Setti Warren speaks to the gathered on the steps of the Newton City Hall War Memorial, a haven for the grieving on Monday following the devastation at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Congressman Joseph Kennedy III, U.S. Representative for Massachusetts' 4th Congressional District, addresses Newton Citizens on Wednesday evening at the Newton City Hall War Memorial.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Robinson Crusoe and the Community of Ethnics

There was a shipwreck with only one survivor, a Jewish fellow who washed up on a small island where he lived with Robinson Crusoe for five years until he was rescued. He was showing the rescuers all the things that he done, including the synagogue that he had built. A little later around the other side of the island the rescuers saw a smaller synagogue and they asked; "What's that?"
"Oh, that's the one I don't go to."

Sassountsi David writes, "The above joke was another of my father's favorites. Tatoul tells me that it's gone around as an Armenian joke." . . . 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A joke from Sassountsi David

Goldstein retired and he wanted to find something to occupy himself with. He tried tennis, stamp collecting and other things but nothing really took him.
Then he decided to try Christianity and he "took instruction" in a good Episcopalian church. The day came for him to made a member of the congregation and after the service the minister announced;
"Today we would like to welcome into our congregation Mr. Abe Goldstein.  Mr. Goldstein would like to say a few words on this momentous occasion? "
Goldstein comes up to the pulpit. He's choking down tears of emotion and can barely speak. Finally he manages to blurt out,  "Fellow Goyim...."

(Sassountsi David, Marash Girl's Jewish Armenian wanna-be friend was kind enough to email Marash GIrl the above joke. . . More to follow)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Duck, Duck, Haddock!

A favorite story often told by Marash Girl's dad, who had close friends in both the Jewish and Roman Catholic communities, was the following.

Although he was Jewish, Isaac lived in a Roman Catholic community, and decided that, in order to be a part of the community, he should join the Roman Catholic Church.  He went to the church, and related his decision to the priest.  The priest, after going through the conversion ritual, held his hand over Isaac, intoning, Isaac, Isaac, you are now McIsaac.

Several years later, McIsaac invited the priest home for dinner.  McIsaac welcomed the priest into his dining room, and after the priest said grace,  McIsaac, with great fanfare, brought in the Friday night dinner on a platter.
The priest was startled to see that there was duck on the platter.
McIsaac, don't you know that we Catholics cannot eat meat on Friday?
McIsaac paused and answered,  "Isaac, Isaac, McIsaac; Duck, Duck, Haddock."

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pray for the Victims of the Boston Marathon Massacre

The Fox that Couldn't Catch the Ferry!

"That can't be a dog, Marash Girl thought as she looked into her rear view mirror at a sleek dog with orange fur and a white-tipped tail loping north across Church Street; "we have a leash law in Massachusetts, and anyway, that dog looks healthier than any dog I've seen in a long while . . .  It must be a red fox!" 
An hour later, looking out her kitchen window, Marash Girl saw the sleek red fox trotting south through her back yard towards Cabot Woods,  probably heading home to its young.
Checking MassWildlife to learn more about the habitat of red fox in Massachusetts, Marash Girl learned that the "red fox and gray fox are common and abundant in Massachusetts and can be found throughout the state, except  on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket."
"Why do you think that is?" Marash Girl asked Marash Boy.
Without missing a beat, Marash Boy answered, "They probably couldn't catch the ferry!"

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Starbuck's, Watertown Square

The Starbuck's in Watertown Square is affectionately known among Armenians as the "Armenian Starbuck's".  Yesterday Marash Girl learned that an Armenian jokester has actually translated the name of the coffee shop into Armenian:  աստղիկ դրամ, or transliterating into English, Asdghig Terram!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

This T-Shirt says it all!

 T-shirt in Newport, RI, shop window reads, 
"I support two teams -- the Red Sox, and whoever beats the Yankees!"

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Robot Greets Marash Girl at Boston University

If you've never seen a robot before, take a look.  S/he's saying, "Here's looking at YOU!"

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Shout Out for the Newport Playhouse and Cabaret Restaurant, Newport, Rhode Island

Welcoming visitors to the Newport Seaman's Church Institute is this 1930's handpainted map of Newport Harbor  
Surprise of surprises!  Dinner, theatre, cabaret, and friendly folks!

The Newport Playhouse and Cabaret Restaurant (http://www.newportplayhouse.com) is a family owned business based on the premise that all of the actors not only act on stage, but cook, serve, sing and dance.  Unbelievable talent for an unbelievable price in the heart of Newport, Rhode Island!  [Check out Friday nights when they offer a special for two!]  A magnificent buffet which is prepared on the premises greets the theater goers -- a variety of "home cooked" entrees, salads, and desserts  that cannot be beat.  Sitting at long, cafeteria style tables, the diners have the opportunity to meet and greet one another in a casual, friendly atmosphere.  Not until everyone has finished eating do the doors to the theatre open; diners leave the dining room (where later the cabaret will take place) to enter the theater -- a theater small enough so that every seat in the house is a good seat!  [Marash Girl & entourage attended, the comedy Spreading It Around by Londos D'Arrigo, which is playing from April 3 - May 25, 2013.) Bordering on slapstick, with a serious message to convey, the actors never failed to entertain, and were not "acting" but rather "living" their parts.  [The surprise was to see the very same actors later singing, dancing and joking around in the cabaret, and then later, at the end of the evening, to have them greet us at the door as we left.]  The theatre provided one of the most entertaining evenings Marash Girl has experienced in many a year. 

The cabaret after the theatre
Standup comedy at its best!
 The Newport Playhouse and Cabaret Restaurant (102 Connell Highway • Newport • Rhode Island • 02840  (401) 848-PLAY (7529) is worth the trip to Newport, Rhode Island.  And by the way, if you hesitate to go because of the price of hotels in the city, try the Seamen's Church Institute (401-847-4260), a "Seamen's Bethel" which has "welcomed Newport mariners and visitors for over 93 years" with rates less than a third of the rates of the hotels in town . . . (www.SeamensNewport.org).

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Plight of the Honey Bee

As planting season comes around once again, Marash Girl remembers with disappointment the zucchini plants that never bore fruit.  Her zucchini plants produced many flowers, but not one zucchini.  Nor had she seen butterflies or honey bees in her back yard. . . The only honey bee she saw last year seemed confused -- it landed on her arm as she sat in the courtyard of Panera's in Newton Centre -- sat there for a few moments, and then flew off.  Marash Girl thought that perhaps the bee could sense that Marash Girl was a friend of the family's, growing up the daughter and niece of beekeepers in Newtonville many years ago.  This year once again, and this time in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, Marash Girl saw a bee that looked confused, again hovering around picnic tables.  A young boy thought the bee was about to sting him, and did exactly what he should not have done -- he swatted the bee, the bee stung him as bees are wont to do when attacked, and died (the bee, not the boy -- bees only attack when they feel attacked, and die once they lose their stinger -- they give their lives in order to protect their hive).  The day after witnessing this sad bee drama, Marash Girl heard a program on WBUR discussing the dwindling honey bee population -- farmers are concerned -- as every two acres of crop needs one hive for pollination -- but beekeepers have been losing their bees over the winter . . . and not only over the winter.  What could be the reason?  Perhaps pesticides -- not only pesticides sprayed on the  outside of plants, but systemic pesticides such as nicotine (used as an anti-fungicide).  Boxing up hives of bees and shipping them to California during almond season, and then returning them to the East coast may be the cause of trauma as well . . .  But not only the bees, where have the butterflies gone?

Whatever the reason, Marash Girl is so discouraged with last year's crop (or rather, lack of crop) that she will not plant vegetables again this year.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Warning or Welcome? Newport, Rhode Island

In the center of Newport, Rhode Island's downtown is a sculpture of a wave -- whether a warning or a welcome was unclear.  (Note the bottoms of two feet at the lower half of the sculpture.)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Walk on the Wild Side

The Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island, has experienced the hunger of the Atlantic Ocean as have all of the beach front structures along the New England coast.  Newport's grand mansions, albeit set above and back from the dangers of the sea, were built along the cliff at the beginning of the 20th Century, and protected from the curious tourist by natural and man-made fencing along the mansion side of the cliff walk;  the occasional metal fencing on the ocean side of the walk protects the walker from being lured by the Sirens down the steep narrow paths into the sea (Iffar & Enila, take note); the dirt paths, now closed off by only short bits of fencing, lead their circuitous route down to the rocky ledges and the hungry ocean.  Vertigo prevented Marash Girl from photographing the ocean itself.  Just seeing the repeated signs of caution was enough to spoil an otherwise beautiful walk on a beautiful day along the beautiful Atlantic Ocean.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

An Armenian Proverb?

Recently, browsing through a group of old books, as Marash Girl is wont to do, a "business reply mail" envelope fell out of a particularly old Armenian book, an envelope which appeared to be unused, vintage 1960, with a preprinted address for Proctor & Gamble Home Service Group in Cincinnati, Ohio.  About to toss the envelope into the waste basket, Marash Girl noticed  both Armenian and English handwriting on one end of the back side.  

Although she could not read the Armenian script as it appeared to have been tinily and hastily written, she could read the English (which by the way, appeared first, just above the Armenian) and here is what was written.

"It takes a certain amount of strength to bend the twig . . ."

Never having heard this expression before,  Marash Girl searched the internet for its origin, to no avail.  Could you, dear reader, provide the original Armenian, and (perhaps) a context and possible meaning for this apparently Armenian expression, one important enough to write down and keep among the pages of a very old book?

One fox, Two Views

One Fox, Two Views

A neighbor writes:

I saw a fox in the  yard this evening. About 15 minutes ago I heard some animals getting into it in our back yard.  It sounded like a small dog, so keep an eye on your animals.

Marash Girl  replies:

It was a beautiful fox.  Small and sleek.  Saw it last week sauntering down Maple Circle just before leaving to take the grandkids to the zoo.  We felt blessed to have seen it.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Aintab, Western Armenia

"The Gaziantep American Hospital was founded in 1879 with the grants from a group of doctors who had graduated from Yale," (the university from which Marash Girl's great uncle Luther Bosnian graduated).  Aintab (or Aintep) was the name of the city and the hospital when the hospital was founded. It was the city where Marash Girl's maternal grandmother and grandfather were born. Only after the Genocide (1915-1922) against the Armenian people, when there were no Armenians left in the city, was the city and the hospital's name  changed to Gaziantep.  Alice Shepard Riggs, the author of the book, Shepard of Aintab, a book about her father's doctoring in Aintab, lived  in Newton, Massachusetts, when Marash GIrl interviewed her in the 1970's.  That interview is available for listening at the Armenian Library and Museum of America in Watertown, Massachusetts.  A first edition copy of Shepard of Aintab is available for sale at http://www.OldCornerBooks.com.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Going to the dentist

What is it about going to the dentist -- even if only for a cleaning -- that causes such anxiety?   Even Dr. Lawrence, a gentle old fellow with a yet gentler assistant, his dental office in an ancient mansion on Walnut Street near Newtonville Square  . . . even he caused concern for little Marash Girl.  But the fun of it was that we kids were given  little globules of mercury to play with at the end of our visit, globules that would soon shatter into pieces too tiny to see!  

Oh, dear!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Walking South from Penn Station

Getting off the train at Penn Station left us with little choice.  There was a line of folks a block long awaiting the next taxi, and the day was too beautiful to go underground, so we decided to walk and were well rewarded for our decision by the variety of interesting window displays we passed . . . 

                                               Above:  The hookahs of New York City
                                                                     Flowers in March
The long awaited surprise . . . an Armenian restaurant in the heart of New York City?  Could it be?  Although the bartender and the wait staff did not speak Armenian, the young owner came out and engaged us in conversation, yes, in Western Armenian, explaining that the restaurant is family owned, one of several restaurants owned throughout the east (the Middle East, that is), in Beirut, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Riyadh.  We felt very fortunate to sample our (almost) home cooked cuisine on 21st Street between Broadway and Park Avenue, in the heart of New York City.

                                              And yes, they even served Merjumek Kufte!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

More on coloring Easter eggs . . .

Next year, be sure to color your Easter eggs with all natural dye (onion skins)  [see http://marashgirl.blogspot.com/2011/04/have-you-started-saving-your-onion.html], but beware of   dying your pot as well!  The beautiful white interior of Marash Girl's largest Le Creuset pot is now the color of dried blood -- er, rather the color of Armenian Easter eggs after they have been hardboiled with the skins of yellow onions!  A natural dye for all seasons!

Next Easter, Marash Girl will be sure to use a stainless steel pot when dying her Easter Eggs.

N.B. Armenians are not the only ones to use onion skins as a natural dye.  A note from a colleague in Germany assured Marash Girl that he, too, used onion skins, along with other natural dyes, to dye Easter Eggs.  And on a recent trip to Sturbridge Village, Iffar and Enila found onion skins among the herbs that were used for natural dyes in early New England!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Love thy neighbor!

Whenever Grandpa Peter (Otro Baba), Marash Girl's dad, heard someone comment,  "Love thy neighbor", he would continue, to the delight of those around him, "Yes!  Love thy neighbor . . . but leave his wife alone!"