Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Scott Lennon sworn in as Newton's Alderman at Large

l. to r.  Scott Lennon, his daughter Jenna, and his wife Wendy pose in front of Newton City Hall, just before Alderman Lennon was sworn in yesterday as Newton's Alderman-At-Large.  Photo by Marash Girl

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Quietest Corner . . .

Visiting Blogger Barley Jim offers the following . . . 

Yesterday while riding (on my bike) by Cambridge Cemetery, a proud African American family approached a nearby grave site where our nation's flag draped a casket, two "redstripes" (Marines are called redstripes for the stripes on their royal blue dress trousers) flanked  the casket in solemn attention while one stood more distant with a silver bugle by his side held in his white gloved hand.  

I dismounted and saluted the family and then departed; perhaps a son just returned from Helmand Province, perhaps a brother from a best forgotten war, perhaps a father from a war near forgotten.  This is all I could do.  This is all any of us can do.  I could not bear to see the careful folding of the "Stars and Stripes" and then its presentation.  I could not bear to hear the oncoming notes echoing over the quietest corner in all of Cambridge.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Where farms once flourished . . .

    What once filled this wheelbarrow, now abandoned at the side of a Chatham road? Photo Credit: Marash Girl
What once traversed this wooden gate, now abandoned at the side of a Chatham road? Photo by Marash Girl

    And what was once housed in this shed, now abandoned at the side of a Chatham road?
                                                                                                                                                                                   Photo Credit: Marash Girl

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Stained Glass Windows designed for Cape Cod: Our Lady of the Cape Parish

Our Lady of the Cape Parish recently restored its stained glass windows, windows designed specifically for the Cape Cod church in 1962. Located in Brewster, Massachusetts, the parish writes in its brochure that all the original stained glass windows (installed in 1962) have been removed, restored & even enlarged.  They note, "In the 14 original 'Jesus Windows', the motif of the sea and Jesus' relationship to water is ever present as New Testament accounts portray Jesus preaching at the Sea of Galilee and the River Jordan."               Photos by Marash Girl

"At thy word I will lower the net."
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a net.

The fishermen were washing their nets.

"Lord, save me."
"Lord, save us."

The outline of Cape Cod:
"God separated Land and Sea . . . Genesis 1:9

"Waters refreshing my soul . . . " Psalm 42

Church reflects community and this church's building reflects its community (the roof the structure of 3 boats turned over).

Marash Girl's  photos do not even begin to capture the light and inspiration that the structure and stained glass windows provide the worshipful.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Free to a Good Home

On Saturday mornings, while other folks are running around to yard sales and supermarkets, this Chatham family is gathering bouquets of flowers from their gardens to share with their neighbors.  The box at the top reads, "Free to a Good Home!"  Marash Girl would rename the effort, 
"Free from a Good Home"!

"Free to a Good Home!" 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Slips that could cost you your marriage!

Man writing a postcard to his wife from meeting on the California coast:  
Having a wonderful time. Wish you were her  

Wife (away from home, visiting friends) calls home to make sure all is well with husband.
Husband: Don't worry.  We're having a wonderful time.  
Wife:  Who's we?
(From the sound of his voice, the "we" was, at the very least, her husband and Jack Daniels!)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Local Color, Chatham, Massachusetts

Taking an early morning walk in Chatham, Marash Girl felt eyes following her from afar . . . she couldn't explain the feeling, until she looked up and saw, far in the distance, a group of folks sitting out in the back of their house, a house sided with cedar shakes . . .  but five o'clock on a Saturday morning was far too early for such activity.  As she cut through the parking lot of Ocean State and approached the gathering, this is what she found . . .
A bit aghast, she wandered around to the front of the old Cape house and discovered that the house had been converted into an art gallery, a gallery of local color.  Could the models at the back of the gallery be true examples of local color?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Anchors Aweigh!

                                                                                              Photo credit: Marash Girl
Walking along Indian Hill Road in Chatham, Massachusetts, you may notice a heavy iron anchor propped up against a pine tree . . . an anchor that looks as if it should be on the bottom of the ocean rather than on the side of the road . . . how the heck did that ever get there?  Was this (as in North Texas) once the bottom of an ocean?  Or a very large kettle pond?  But in those days of course, there were no anchors, much less folks to lift them aweigh!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The one-armed bandit . . . I mean basket!

The one-armed bandit . . . Whoops -- got caught in the Springfield MGM casino battle . . . I mean basket!

So there they were at a Cape Cod yard sale when Marash Girl spotted this beautiful basket -- a one-armed, one-handled basket . . .
She had never before seen a basket with one handle on only one side  (except, of course for the baskets for mail that one hangs on the front porch, but this one was too big for that . . .)  -- how beautiful -- and it was only 10 cents!  "I'll take that," she grinned.  And purchase it she did!

Admiring it on the way home, she pondered aloud to her friend Joan, "I've never seen a one-armed basket --  a basket with a handle on only one side.  It's beautiful.  I wonder what it could be used for..."

"Oh, that's not a single-handled basket . . . the other handle just broke off . . . see here?"

Marash Girl wished the riddle had not been solved; she was a lot happier considering the many possibilities for her newly acquired single-handled basket . . .

And while she's on the subject of baskets . . .  did you know that woven baskets are ALWAYS hand made?  At least that's what her friend Shirley who lives in East Longmeadow     (she and her husband make EVERYTHING by hand, except baskets . . .)  told Marash Girl one day in the not so distant past:
"There is no such thing as a non-handmade basket.  They're all handmade."

Monday, July 22, 2013

You can help build a community kitchen!

Always taking on the seemingly impossible, always   seeking ways in which  to help build community, Marash Girl's daughter Lorig has been working towards creating a shared use community kitchen in Takoma Park, Maryland, a kitchen that would make it possible for local groups to produce food and food products in an effort to support worthy causes. [community commercial kitchen is a shared resource for safe preparation of food for sale at farmers markets and retail outlets and for distribution to shelters and to needful neighbors. Community commercial kitchens (CCKs) provide economic opportunity and play a vital service role.] She and her fellow community members have found a church willing to donate its kitchen, and together they have raised $343,000 in funds for the kitchen's renovation. Their need?  Another $31,000. In order to raise that $31,000, and call attention to the funds needed to complete this worthy project, Lorig has decided to race in an ultra-marathon trail run – 31 miles on hilly trails with roots and rocks. Impossible to run such an uphill race, you say? Impossible to raise such an uphill amount of money, you say? Not if Marash Girl's good readers and friends will help to support Lorig's and the community's efforts. Here’s the video in which Lorig talks about the project.  Watch it and learn about community kitchens and how you can support this effort. I support this initiative, and I hope you will also. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Larry's PX, Route 28, Chatham, Massachusetts

Larry's PX opens mornings at 5 AM, a breakfast/lunch place that the locals and the fisherman enjoy daily.  This morning,  Marash Girl wandered in at around 5:30 AM, sat herself down on one of the vinyl covered stools at the formica counter, and ordered a mug of coffee.  All around her, the men were holding forth in conversation.  From them, Marash Girl learned that there are 5,000 Native Americans in New England, and 5 tribes.  The fellow giving this information had met the chief of one of the tribes who, he was surprised to learn, was a woman.  He went on to say that his grandchildren just left, but another passel of grandchildren were arriving today, and because there was no room left in his house, his nephew was holing up in his neighbor's attic.  "Your rates must be good," his friend commented.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Freshly squeezed orange juice? Really?

At a recent visit to Market Basket, the one in Sandwich, Massachusetts, just over the Sagamore Bridge, Marash Girl noticed two big bins of recently squeezed oranges.  Whatever could that mean?  Astounded, she asked the woman behind the counter, "Your freshly squeezed orange juice is really freshly squeezed, and freshly squeezed right here moments ago?"  "Absolutely," the woman behind the counter answered proudly, with a big                 smile on her face.     Need Marash Girl say more?

Friday, July 19, 2013

More Mulberries along the Charles -- A feast for the birds, a feast for a king

If you have been sauntering along the walkway that borders the Charles River in Watertown, Massachusetts, (and, by the way, only on the Watertown side, not on the Newton side), you may have noticed the walks stained with purple.  Were you to look above you, among the green leaves of the tree shading the walkway, you may have spied shiny white berries or perhaps luminous red berries.  White berries, red berries -- You may have asked yourself, "Are they poisonous?" and walked on by -- But if you were truly sensitive to the ecology of the area, you would have asked yourself, "What are they and how did they get here?"  Marash Boy knew what they were and stopped to feast on the lusciously ripe mulberries that bordered the Charles River on that June day. Who would have planted mulberries along the Charles?  He thought that mulberries were the special property of the Armenians from Marash -- he had grown up with the mulberry tree on the top of Wilbraham Mountain.  [See]  But here they were in his own back yard, as it were. . . How so?  Did the Armenians from Watertown plant them when they arrived in the 1920's?  Did the Italians from Newton plant them?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Karoun Yoga, West Springfield, Massachusetts, offers individualized yoga instruction in a class setting

If you find yourself anywhere near the West Springfield (Massachusetts) Plaza, (on the west side of Memorial Bridge at Route 5), be sure to stop by Karoun Yoga (right next to TJ Max) and sign into a plan for healthy living. Located in a newly finished studio with offerings in a variety of levels of yoga classes and/or individual instruction at incredibly reasonable prices, Karoun Yoga ( offers the world weary the hope for a new beginning.

Paul Menard, Yoga Instructor at Karoun Yoga, shows off as he  turns on the air conditioner for the photographer (Marash Girl, of course) when she visited Karoun Yoga in West Springfield, Massachusetts, yesterday.  He  promised that he wouldn't make her try such a stunt were she to take his yoga class.  Photo by Marash Girl

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

MGM wins. Yes vote for Casino in Springfield, Massachusetts

Precinct One Springfield residents voted at the former Children’s Court House, now a Senior Center. 

Legal cases that involved children were once heard in this building until a new large court house was constructed that incorporated a number of small court structures.  Photo by Marash GIrl
With only 25% of registered voters casting their ballots yesterday (statistics from Springfield City Hall), residents of Springfield, Massachusetts, voted in favor of MGM's right to compete for the sole casino resort license created for Western Massachusetts, a 'thumbs up' to MGM's promise to build a casino and entertainment center in Springfield's South End. MGM won the election with a vote of 13,973 in favor,  to 10,260 opposed, according to the Springfield Republican.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

MGM offers gambling, jobs and entertainment for the family, or so think those demonstrating in the streets of downtown Springfield, Massachusetts yesterday.

In a city where strip clubs are the main source of entertainment, MGM offers the hope of instant riches, jobs for the jobless, and family fun, or so think the families demonstrating yesterday at the corner of Harrison and Main Streets in the heart of downtown Springfield, Massachusetts.
The little boy on the left holds a sign he made that reads, "Vote 4 our future!" When Marsh Girl asked his mother, "So, are you going to take your son gambling?"  His mother laughed and answered, "When he gets old enough!"
"Entertainment for the family," this young woman assured Marash Girl.
(Marash Girl wonders what Mr. Rogers would have said about that.) 
"Why would you vote for MGM opening a casino in Springfield," asked Marash Girl of this fellow . . .
"Why wouldn't you?" was his answer.  "Jobs, jobs and more jobs! That's why!"
"Vote Yes for Springfield - MGM Springfield, Tuesday, July 16"

A casino that will save the city . . .  that will provide jobs for the folks who live in a city that was already depressed when a tornado wreaked physical devastation two years ago, and a gas explosion further destroyed downtown Springfield a year ago. . . What is Marash Girl's opinion?  An old joke (sorry, but it's politically incorrect) comes to mind . . .
The rooster says, "Cock-a-doodle doo."
The Yankee says, "Yankee Doodle doo,"
And the old maid says, "Any old dude'll do!"

Today the City of Springfield will decide.
                                                                              Photo Credits: Marash Girl

Monday, July 15, 2013

Slow down!

Walnut Street, Newtonville Square, circa 1953

Peter was walking to work as he did every morning, from his home on the hill on Lowell Avenue near Commonwealth Avenue in Newtonville, to his shop on Bowers Street in Newtonville Square.  As he crossed Walnut Street, he noticed a car speeding towards him from the south.  Before he even reached the sidewalk, he gave out his famous whistle -- the one with two fingers in his mouth that Marash Girl could never master -- and motioning downward with both arms, he shouted, "Slow down!"

The driver of the car jammed on his brakes as the car screeched to a stop at the side of the road.  The driver jumped out, and pulled out a knife as he approached Peter.  Dancing around eachother,  Peter never looked at the knife--he never turned his steely gaze away from the eyes of the would be attacker. A crowd gathered, but not one person said or did anything.  They just stood and watched the life and death struggle.

"Weren't you afraid?" Peter's children asked as he related the story that evening.  "Never -- as long as I had my eyes on his, he could never stab me with the knife -- he would have to look at where he was going to stab, and he couldn't -- he couldn't take his eyes away from mine.  He finally put down his knife, slunk away to his car, and drove off."

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Butterflies . . . Are they going the way of the honeybee?

Are we relegated to the plight of the "moron" in the old politically incorrect joke?  Will we have to throw butter out of the window every time we want to see a butterfly?            Photo Credit: Marash Girl


Saturday, July 13, 2013

No Fishing Beyond This Point!

If you happen to be fishing in the tarred parking lot of the JFK Museum in Boston, you know that you have to reel in your lines when you come anywhere within view of the water!

               Walkway from parking lot to ocean, JFK Museum, Boston Harbor   Photo Credit:Marash Girl

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sculptor of Boston Common's Ducklings dines at the Karoun Restaurant

Nancy Schon at the Karoun (Armenian) Restaurant, Newtonville, Massachusetts        Photo Credit: Marash Girl
If you were listening to WBUR yesterday, you may have heard the interview with Nancy Schon, the sculptor who sculpted the ducklings that wander across the Boston Common (after the book, Make Way for Ducklings, written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey, a children's picture book set in Boston, first published in 1941). 

It was quite a surprise to meet the personable Schon last night at the Karoun (Armenian) Restaurant in Newtonville.  Overhearing that Marash Girl was a regular at the restaurant, Schon introduced herself (not as the sculptor, of course) as a long-time resident, born and bred in Newton!  When Marash Girl asked Schon if she knew Marash Girl's father Peter (Newtonville Electric Company in Newtonville),  Schon said she wasn't sure, but added that Schon's father was Quint Florist in Newton Centre.  It turned out that their fathers were very good friends back in the day!  

Schon's studio is in Newtonville, the birthplace of those little ducklings, and Marash Girl's birthplace as well!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

How many people are dead in that cemetery?

At a recent visit to Sturbridge Village, Marash Girl decided to take the official "tour" of the main street in the village.  The tour started in front of the cemetery, next to the Congregational Meeting House, and began with the tour guide saying, "The first question everyone asks me?  'Is anyone buried in this cemetery?'  The answer is, 'No!'"  
"But where do the authentic grave stones come from, then?" asked Marash Girl.
"Folks donated the grave stones to Sturbridge Village . . . " the guide answered.  
Marash Girl asked, "Why would folks donate gravestones of the dead to Sturbridge Village?"  
"Oh, they're only the foot stones of the graves!"  
None the less, it made Marash Girl wonder!
Tour guide at Sturbridge Village
The experience brought to mind a joke that Peter loved to tell every time he was driving past a cemetery, which was often enough!  
Here's the joke:
"How many people are dead in that cemetery?"  Folks in the car who had never heard the joke before would venture a guess . . . "200?  400?"
Peter would laugh and answer, "All of them!"
If he were with Marash Girl at Sturbridge Village last week, and asked the question, he would have laughed when the tour guide would have said, "None of them!"
Footstones in "pretend cemetery" at Sturbridge Village
Photo Credits: Marash Girl

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Keeping the record straight . . .

Overheard on the 57 Bus . . .

"You owe me $5!"

"I'd rather owe it to you than cheat you out of it!"

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Business as usual . . .

"Cheat me once, it's your fault; cheat me twice, it's my fault."  Peter B.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Watermelon Rind Soup, a la Yepros

With 98 degree (Fahrenheit) days, and almost the same number in humidity, Marash Girl has been eating a lot of watermelon, and as she enjoys the crisp cold fruit, she remembers hearing her father tell of the watermelon rind soup that his mother made for the family in Marash, (using everything she could in order to keep her family from starvation).  

Upon searching the web for a recipe for Watermelon Rind Soup, Marash Girl found many praises for the nutritional value of the watermelon rind to be eaten along with the watermelon, or blended into a cold drink with the red part of the watermelon and the green outer skin removed, but nowhere on the web did she find a recipe for Armenian Watermelon Rind Soup.  And so, imagining what her grandmother might have done, she offers you the following:

Remove the watermelon from its rind, and eat.  After you have had your fill, remove the outer green of the watermelon rind, and cut the thick white rind into bite-sized pieces. While you are doing that, simmer in olive oil a couple of chopped onions (without the skins, of course, although I hear that boiling the onion skins and adding the resulting broth to your soups is very healthful, and yes, of course, using the onion skins at Easter as the traditional Armenian dye for your Easter eggs!)  When the chopped onions are golden, add the chunks of peeled watermelon rind and sauté.  Then add a can or two of Italian stewed tomatoes (depending on how much watermelon rind you have) and simmer until rind is softened, about 30 minutes, more or less.  After cooking is completed, add lots of lemon (or lime) juice, salt, pepper, and Aintab red pepper.  Improves with age, so you may want to serve this the next day, over rice pilaf, bulgur pilaf, or with thick slices of freshly baked bread. Or serve as a side dish with whatever meal you've prepared. Chicken & pilaf, perhaps?  (We call this type of vegetable presentation a "soulu", as it's slightly watery, not quite soupy, yet not without broth and can be made with or without meat.)

Marash Boy remembers eating Watermelon Rind Soup (Sulu) in Springfield, Massachusetts, prepared by his mother, and he says it was "eshki" (sour), and sometimes made with bits of lamb.

If you happen to know the traditional Armenian recipe for Watermelon Rind Soup (or Sulu, as the Armenians would call it), please share in the comments below, and thanks!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Leather Jackets & Motorcycles in Springfield, Massachusetts

Kenar tries on a black leather jacket for her ride through the corridors of the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts!
Remember 7th Grade? Mugsy McGovern? Reed Murphy? Wolfie Boven and the gang? That's where Marash Girl first experienced black leather jackets, "DA's" and gangs!  Years later, (that is, on July 5, 2013), she was allowed to try on one of those black leather jackets and hop on one of those bikes!  As she couldn't take a picture of herself, Marash Girl photographed Kenar (see above) who apparently in her youth rode up and down Monson Road in Wilbraham, on the back of an Indian Motorcycle, one of the motorcycles built at the Indian Motorcycle factory in Springfield, Massachusetts, while the "tester" tested the latest model of the Indian Motorcycle on the S curves of that road, the S curves that have long since been eradicated.  As her sister wrote after seeing the photo, "Fantastic!!!  She looks great!  Better than riding and hanging on the back of a young guy testing Indians up and down the S curve in Wilbraham back during WW II."

Check out the exhibit -- it's worth the trip to the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield, Massachusetts, and don't forget your camera!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

East Longmeadow Reverses Fourth of July Parade Route

A bit confusing for the onlookers, the East Longmeadow 4th of July Parade, for the first time since its inception, marched along Elm Street from the west to the east rather than from the east to the west. The old folks who, through force of habit, looked expectantly to the right were forced to reverse the twist of their necks to look hopefully to the left (that is if they lived on the West side of Elm Street), and the old folks who, through force of habit, looked expectantly to the left were forced to reverse the twist of their necks (or cross the street) to look hopefully to the right (that is if they lived on the East side of Elm Street).  The turnaround was disappointing for all who live on Elm Street, because by the time the parade participants arrived at Elm Street, approaching the finish line, they were too exhausted (granted the temperature was 96 degrees fahrenheit with almost the same number in humidity) to engage in their typical antics and interactions with the crowd.  Even the folks who yearly throw handfuls of candy to the kids were (apparently) out of candy, or at the very least, out of the energy to toss the candy to the outstretched hands of the hopeful!

[To see a few of Marash Girl's photos of the East Longmeadow Parade, scroll down.]

Friday, July 5, 2013

East Longmeadow Celebrates the Fourth of July

24 hours before the celebration began, residents of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, had their chairs lined up along the parade route, ensuring them a front row seat to the festivities on the 4th.
           Local dignitaries march in their shirt sleeves on a 93 degree 4th of July morning.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Sleep, Creep, Leap, or Weep!

Talking with a neighbor, the neighbor who created Marash Girl's "borrowed landscape", Marash Girl made mention of the perennial garden she has begun in the front of her house (an effort at saving Marash Boy from having to cut the grass!)  

When Marash Girl expressed concern that the plants seemed to be "standing still", our neighbor quoted the apocryphal wisdom of perennial gardeners:  "You know what they say about perennial plants:  The first year they sleep, the next year they creep, the third year they leap!"  Marash Girl, the perennial doubter, asked, "And what if they don't?"  "Then," her neighbor answered, "You weep!"

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Borrowed Landscape

Borrowed Landscape.  Have you ever come across the term?  After many years of gazing out of her kitchen window, Marash Girl heard a visitor comment, after peering out of the same kitchen window, "borrowed landscape, ey?"
Certainly the house being built butt up against the fence at the Y takes advantage of a "borrowed landscape", wouldn't you say? (See photo below and yesterday's blog post.)