Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Kettlehole Pond in Chatham, Massachusetts

An early morning walk around School House Pond, a kettle hole pond in Chatham, Massachusetts.  Photo by Marash Girl

Most folks go to Chatham for the beaches; Marash Girl's favorite spot in Chatham is School House Pond, a jewel hidden away from the crowds of summer.  Although there are private homes built all around this ancient kettle hole pond, the structures are near invisible, set at the top of the surrounding hillside.  A small, sandy beach at one end of the pond, a beach with a life guard during the summer months, allows for little children to play, fish, and swim safely at the pond's edge. 

Left by the melting ice sheet of nearly 15,000 years ago, this kettle hole pond remains the perfect summer swimming hole, and if you don't care to get wet, or you don't know how to swim, during most summers, the water in the pond is low enough to allow you a one mile walk around its perimeter; twice around and you're set for the day!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Walking through the hallowed halls of MIT

Walking through the hallowed halls of MIT for the first time, Peter looked up and saw an older gentleman walking towards him.

"Hello," greeted Peter with a smile.

The older gentleman stopped in his tracks, stared at Peter, and said, "Do I know you?"

Or so I neighbor Peter tells the tale . . .

But that was back in the 1960's.  Have things changed since?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Family Feud at Market Basket

A favorite stop for Cape Codders driving onto the Cape -- first exit off the Sagamore Bridge -- is Market Basket,  a grocery store where folks stock up for the week with the freshest produce and products at the most reasonable prices on the Cape.  This joy has been clouded by the family feud presently taking place between two Arthurs -- Arthur T. Demoulas and Arthur S. Demoulas --  first cousins -- who are fighting for control of the  very popular long-time family-owned Market Basket Supermarket chain based north of Boston.  At the moment, Arthur T. is on the outs but is strongly supported by a vast majority of the supermarket employees, as evidenced by these photos taken by Marash Girl yesterday at the Market Basket in Sagamore, Massachusetts.  Much of the Cape Cod community is praying for peace among the cousins.

Sagamore Bridge Market Basket Employees show support for ousted Arthur T. Demoulas
 "We are all family!  This is so sad!" said one of the employees, carrying the above sign outside of  the Sagamore, Massachusetts' Market Basket today.

 Inside the Store

Boston Globe's article on Market Basket feud on display at front of store.

 Outside the Store
"We Support Arthur T."   At the Entrance to the Market Basket, Sagarmore Bridge, Cape Cod, Massachusetts    "Store 69"

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Card from the Past

The other day, at the storage facility, Marash Girl's young assistant Ethan found a 3"x5" card inside of one of the books he was shelving.  "What's this?"  he asked.  Marash Girl started laughing.  "That's a library catalogue card.  In the old days (not so old), every library had rooms filled with cases filled with drawers filled with thousands of those cards, several cards for every book in the library -- filed once under the author's last name, once under the title, once or twice or thrice under the subject heading -- oh, and the number?  That's a number in the Dewey Decimal System, an internationally used system that allows you to find that book in any library in the world that uses that system -- if, of course, the library has the book. If you wanted to find a book, you'd have to let your feet do the walking through the room full of card catalogue cases, so that your fingers could do the walking through the alphabetically arranged cards in the drawers of the cases of the catalogue, and the walk through the library until to find the number on the book that you seek.  When the card is slipped inside of the book, it indicates that that book has been withdrawn from the library.  
"Really?" laughed Ethan.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tinking? Just rip it out!

Remember "a tinker, a tailor, a knitter, a sailor"?  No?  That's because Marash Girl just made up the last two words in the old nursery rhyme in order to introduce you to a new concept -- no, not a new concept, a new word -- no, not a new word, but an old word applied to an old concept that makes knitting more complicated than it need be!  According to a recent internet posting, tinking for the knitter means knitting backwards, a method of undoing stitch by stitch a row of knitting in order to repair an error that has been made (most likely by you) earlier in the row.  For Marash Girl (and, yes, you can assume here that Marash Girl knits), if the error occurred near the beginning of the row, it's easier just to rip out the whole row, error automatically corrected, (sort of like erasing a line of writing that doesn't sound right rather than trying to correct one word in the line)  and replace the stitches recently removed from your needle back on to the needle, or, continuing the metaphor of writing, simply starting from the end of the last sentence and rewriting the whole sentence. [Would that we could do this with our lives, right?]  Tinking probably has its origins in the word tinkering, the act of trying to repair something.  You Latin scholars out there:  have fun with waxing eloquent on this one!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Brewer Eddy, The American Board of Foreign Missions, and Grandpa Moses' Pool Room

The kids never knew growing up why we had a pool table in our basement -- the sounds of the billiard balls knocking against each other, the laughter and conversation of the pool players -- all lulling us to sleep in our bedroom situated directly above the gaiety.  All of these memories surfaced when, yesterday, Marash Girl found a copy of What Next In Turkey: Glimpses of the American Board's Work in the Near East, a book written by Brewer Eddy and published in 1913, just before the Genocide of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. What Next In Turkey: Glimpses of the American Board's Work in the Near East  tells of the Christian missionary work of the American Board of Foreign Missions among the Armenians in Eastern Anatolia early in the 20th Century.

Brewer Eddy, the author of What Next In Turkey, was a household word at 474 Lowell Avenue.  Peter always referred to Brewer Eddy's assistance in settling the Bilezikian family in Newton, Massachusetts, in helping Grandpa Moses set up his pool room on Washington Street in Newtonville.  years before folks had automobiles, when pool was a game for the wealthy and most folks of means had a pool table on their third floor. (For proof, visit the pool table on the third floor of the Mark Twain House in Connecticut.) [It is interesting to note that Uncle Paul quickly became an expert at pool; he played for the house, as it were, until he learned that his cousin Krikor was gambling on him (and always winning) . . . at which point Paul never again played pool for the house in his father's pool hall.]

What Next In Turkey: Glimpses of the American Board's Work in the Near East is now listed for sale at

Friday, July 25, 2014

Searching for Grape Leaves

In the old days, we would know when it was time to pick those grape leaves . . . Mommy would simply say, I'm going to make sarma today.  Could you go out and gather some yaprak for me?  just had to walk out into our back yard and there they were.

And then there were 20 acres on the top of Wilbraham Mountain, with not a grape leaf in sight!  But all one had to do was bop down to the Wilbraham Public Library parking lot, and there along the border were yards of grape leaves!  There were, that is, until the landscaping bug of Wilbraham fame destroyed all of the "wild growth" along the border.

It's been years since Marash Girl has picked grape leaves, but last week, walking along the Charles River, and certainly very late in the season (grape leaves should be gathered in June, NOT late July when they toughen up), there were the perfect grape leaves -- young and tender, NOT white backed, perfect size for making sarma or yalanchi.  A big thank you to whoever planted those grapevines -- man or bird -- a thank you for that gift from the past.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Have you started bumping yet?

The fist bump!  Bumping and explosion, bumping and flying away . . . Like clinking glasses without the glass and the clink!  AND . . . the cause for conversation, laughter, and good health!  Forget shaking hands!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Armenians come in all colors!

At a recent dinner held at the NEHGS on Newbury Street in Boston, the woman sitting at table to the right of Marash Girl looked at Marash Girl's name tag and asked, "Are you really Armenian?"  "Yes," answered Marash Girl, "But why do you ask?" "You're so light!" answered Marash Girl's new acquaintance.  Marash Girl just laughed and said, "Armenians come in all colors!"

Retelling this story to a neighbor, Marash Girl received the following reply: "Well, your face is very pale for an Armenian!"

What could Marash Girl say to that?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

God says, "I'll see you in about 97 years!"

Marash Girl met Hovhannes Garabedian, her long-time neighbor on Lowell Avenue (and apparently distant relative),  in the parking lot of Whole Foods yesterday.

He started chatting about life when he used to live in Aleppo in his teens, about 50 years ago.  He remembered that whenever Israeli planes flew overhead, he and the Armenians in his neighborhood would wake up in the morning to find a curved sword painted over the top of their front door with a cross painted under it -- a sword and cross painted with blood red paint. When he went to the police, they said,  "You know it's just the charajijis -- the folks that want to start trouble.  You know your neighbors don't feel that way."

Talking further, Hovhannes remembered that his grandmother,  Lucia Der Hohanessian (nee Bilezikjian) used to say, "You know what they say whenever a Bilezikjian son is born?  "God says to the baby boy, I'll see you in about 97 years!"  He went on:  "You're father died at around 97, right?  Do you remember when Uncle Levon Bilezikian was getting prepared to marry for the second time, in his 70's? I questioned him about the wisdom of marrying at that age and Uncle Levon answered, "You know what they said in Marash whenever a Bilezikian son was born? God says to the baby boy, I'll see you in about 97 years!  I have a good 27 years more to go!"  And he did!

Monday, July 21, 2014

When the Armenians left Marash . . .

Marash Boy's grandmother (Turvant Dakessian Sanjian, born in Marash, fled the genocide and arrived in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1922) used to say (in the Marash Turkish dialect),
Ermeniler getdi, Marash öyle durdu. 

When the Armenians left Marash, Marash stood still.
She had a very polite way of saying things!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Marash Girl walked into a bar . . . again . . .

Marash Girl walked into a bar in Watertown, Massachusetts, yes, the very bar that has the Irish Flag hanging next to the Armenian flag: Donohue's.  And there she met the owner of the bar,  AND the nephew of the man about whom her father,   Peter, often related the following story:

When the Armenians first came to this country fleeing the genocide, they needed work, and work they found at the Watertown Hood Rubber, but there were so many Armenians who needed work, and so few who had enough language to find that work!  (For those of you who want to know more, see Marashtsi Roger Hagopian's film on Hood Rubber.)  

Peter told the following bitter-sweet tale about a fellow Armenian recently arrived from Marash, an immigrant with very little English, a man needing a job who came to Peter with his tale of woe.

"'Benim uçun, I don't care.  Çocuklar evde acukdan gebeyorlar. Give me job.'  That's English, ain't it?"
"Absolutely,"  Peter answered, laughing.


"I told them, 'For my sake, I don't care, but my children at home are dying of hunger.  Please give me a job!'"

N.B. The grand nephew of this man who was so concerned about his children is today a professor at a prestigious university in the Boston area.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Are you using your noodle?

"Are you using your noodle?" asked the fellow who was treading water in the indoor swimming pool of the YMCA yesterday,  a question that startled Marash Girl.  How rude, she thought  . . . speaking to a stranger like that!  Pausing a moment, she realized that the fellow was asking about the long yellow float (or swimming pool noodle) that she was carrying for exercising in the YMCA swimming pool . . . not her noodle (brain) of Newton grammar school fame!

Friday, July 18, 2014

California Desert Big Horned Sheep Golf with the Wealthy

Endangered California Desert Big Horned Sheep live on Siilver Rock Mountain;  there are only 14 on the mountain and three of the fourteen are shown here at the base of the mountain,  golfing with the wealthy on Silver Rock Golf Course.                                    Photo courtesy of Marash Martha

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Springfield, Massachusetts' Tech High, Class of 1954, meet again after 60 years!

All women, the "Big Band" entertains Springfield and the Class of '54 on Saturday night at the Springfield Armory.
Springfield Tech Class of '54 picnic at King Philip's Stockade, Forest Park, Longmeadow, Massachusetts.

 It took Marash Boy an hour to find the place, though he grew up not two miles from King Philip's Stockade.  When Marash Girl asked him why he couldn't find the place, he said,  "All the guys used to go necking there in high school: I never did!"  Did Marash Girl believe him?
The class had Sunday lunch at the Hilton Garden Inn.
Page from Tech High 1954 Yearbook

Excerpt from Tech High 1954 Yearbook

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bostonians and Suburban Bostonians: Trying to get an express bus pass for the MBTA?

You'd better set out early in the day . . . It's a long, long way away.  No longer at the convenient Copley stop, you now have to go all the way in to Downtown Crossing Station, (at least a half mile walk from where the Downtown Bus leaves you off), walk down several steep flight of stairs (that is, if you're walking) -- and then walk about a half mile in dimly lit underground subway tunnels to the place where you stand in line for a half hour (if you can still stand by then) to get your photo taken and renew your pass.  Otherwise,  somehow, you'll have to  get to a place where there's a subway stop and an elevator that works . . .  but still the long walk . . . no more easy rides on the bus to purchase your bus pass at street level! And if you're a Senior Citizen, you may never be able to ride on a bus again, unless you get your grand kids to hustle in to town and get you one of those Senior Citizen passes -- which, by the way are only good for so many years; the older you get, the worse it's gonna be . . . AND you have to be there in person to get the pass, so grand kids are of no help.  Good luck, you elder citizens who live in the suburbs of Boston!

Monday, July 14, 2014

"Wake Up and Die RIght!"

Suddenly, out of Marash Girl's mouth, came the rather curt expression, "Wake up and die right!"  Wherever did that come from?  From years ago when she attended Frank Ashley Day Junior High School?  Crude as it may seem, the kids were always saying that to each other, meaning, "Get it right, kid!"  during a time, a junior high school time, when it didn't pay to be different, to speak as an individual, an individual that differed from the crowd, a time when kids were learning what the term "personality" meant!  In fact, Marash Girl had never heard the word "personality" before 7th grade, where, during social studies class, she learned how important it was to have a "good personality" .  Her classmates made sure to keep each other on the right path, for if they strayed, they were told to straighten up, or, in the vernacular of the day, to "wake up and die right!"

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Where are the police when you need them?


Where are the police when you need them?
In line at Dunkin' Donuts, waiting to buy a cup of coffee.

Actually, Marash Girl would like to differ with the overheard quip quoted above, because in Newton, the police are always there when you need them! In fact, this year Newton, Massachusetts, was ranked fifth among the safest mid-sized cities in the United States.  Marash Girl herewith sends her thanks and appreciation to the police force and the firemen of Newton, Massachusetts, for keeping safe the city that welcomed her father and his family when they arrived in 1922, fleeing from the horrors of genocide, to Newton, Massachusetts, the city of her birth, the city in which she grew up, the city that she loves.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

From the gutters of Wilbraham, to the Hallowed Halls of Houston

Years ago, yardsaling in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, Marash Girl found a broken up chair in the gutter alongside the house that was having the yard sale.  Knowing that her father loved to tinker and rebuild furniture (he had built his own glass fronted bookcase in junior high school, and a man-sized oak desk in high school), she asked the proprietor of the yard sale if the chair pieces were being trashed.  Oh, yes, said the woman; that chair belonged to my old aunt -- it's broken to pieces -- that's for the trash man.  May I take it? Marash Girl asked her.  Of course, replied the woman from Wilbraham, all too happy to clean up the gutter in front of her perfect Cape house.  Marash Girl dutifully gathered all of the pieces and brought them to Newtonville to present to her father and sure enough, her father was thrilled;  soon he rebuilt the chair to its original dimensions and had his artist friend -- the friend that painted his portrait on the day of his 90th birthday -- carefully restore the painting that was on the upper back strut of the chair.  Marash Girl treasured that chair in her home until Karoun asked if she could take that old black chair with her to her new apartment in Houston.  Sure, enough, the chair went along with Karoun, a reminder of her home in Newton, Massachusetts.  And it took her Texan landlord to recognize the chair for what it was:  "That's a real antique . . . a very early Massachusetts chair," he told her.  "Value it!" 

Whatever happened to that chair, anyway?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Topping Off the High Rise with a Tree . . . .

Walking across Brookline Avenue towards Yawkey Way (on her way to buy Red Sox tickets, of course),  Marash Girl was distracted by a tree and two flags waving high above her, at the very top of a high rise under construction.  According to Marash Boy, this is the custom in Massachusetts, whenever a high rise building has reached the top.  Does the custom exist in your country? state? city?

"Topping Off" high above Brookline Avenue, Boston

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Show Me The Way To Go Home!

Anyone who knows Marash Girl knows that she doesn't touch alcohol; everyone who knows Marash Girl knows that one of her favorite songs,  is Show Me The Way To Go Home (words and music by Irving King), a song that she'll belt out at any given moment!  Why it's a favorite, she does not know; when she started singing it, she does not know, though she suspects it was on the bus during F.A.Day Jr. High School field trips.  All she knows for sure is that she has never heard the song sung by professionals, nor has she ever seen the music . . . never, that is, until today, when she was listing sheet music for sale [sheet music that she had recently purchased from a century old music store.] The lyrics to the chorus are exactly as she sings them! The piece was copyright in 1925 in England with a USA copyright of 1952, which is probably just around the time Marash Girl first heard the song!
[N.B. The sheet music is now listed for sale at]

Whoops!  Forgot the most important thing: the lyrics to the chorus!  Here they are!

Show me the way to go home!
I'm tired and I want to go to bed.
Well, I had a little drink about an hour ago, and it went straight to my head . ..
Wherever I may roam; on land or sea or foam. . .
You will always hear me singing this song!
"Show me the way to go home!"

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Two Gloves, Two Stories

In Marash Girl's youth, there were two gloves and two stories.

When Marash Girl first went out with Marash Boy, it was a cold autumn day in Harvard Square. They were walking through the Square, heading for a concert of kanoun music.  When Marash Girl told Marash Boy she was cold, he offered her his gloves!

At another time, Marash Girl was going out with a fellow she wasn't that keen on, even though he was Marashtsi! [Clearly this person was NOT Marash Boy!]  When he tried to hold her hand, she pulled her hand away, and he was left holding the glove!

Monday, July 7, 2014

What did she say?

Walking along the Charles River yesterday with Marash Boy, Marash Girl passed three older women who were vociferously chatting away in Russian.  "What did she say?" asked Marash Girl.  Marash Boy laughed and replied, "The woman said,  'She said, he said, she said!'  What did you expect her to be saying?"

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Maryland's Community Mediation Hits the Air Waves

The following special was recently aired on  ABC2 News | WMAR-TV Baltimore

The Community Mediation Program in Baltimore, Maryland, was founded 19 years ago by Lorig Charkoudian while she was still in graduate school at Johns Hopkins University.  Lorig and CMP were key players in founding Community Mediation Maryland, spreading the movement across the state.  CMM "advances collaborative conflict resolution throughout Maryland, educating the public, providing training and quality assurance, conducting research, and creatively applying mediation to social challenges." . . .and, Marash Girl will add, saving lives.

Congratulations to all of you at Community Mediation Maryland. Marash Girl supports your efforts whole-heartedly. You, Lorig, and your colleagues, are your generation's commitment to living the Word of the Lord.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

An App or a Map?

Visiting Blogger Barley Jim writes, "So there I was in a large chain sandwich shop.  I asked a young cashier if there was a map for all of the locations of this chain.  A young coworker said, "Yes, we have an app!"  to which I replied, "I am sure that you have an app. I asked for a map!
Generational miscommunication????

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

What act of independence in the United States of America are we actually celebrating on July 4th?  Scroll down and fill in the answer in your comment below, and join Marash Girl in celebrating our Fourth of July.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Walking along the Charles River on a Sunny Afternoon.

Two  for the price of one -- Bridge over the Charles River late on a summer's afternoon - Photo  credit: Marash Girl; photo suggested by Marash Boy as we passed the bridge:  "Look -- there's a picture for you!"
Night Heron fishing in the afternoon on the Newton side of the Charles River

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

More water fountains?

Taken from Lorig's Facebook page . . .

I'm laying next to Raffi in bed and he's asking about money and why we use it. I attempt to explain my (weak) understanding of human history as it relates to money. The lesson is followed by this exchange.
Raffi: I don't think people should have to pay for houses, food, and clothes. Because if one person doesn't have money, then their kids won't have money, then their grandkids won't have money. And it won't be fair for all of them.
Me: Yes, Raffi. It is very unfair.
Raffi: Can you protest that?
I fumbled through an explanation of possible policy changes that could make sense for an 8 year old.

Raffi: If you can't change that law, can you at least put water fountains every where so everyone can have water to drink?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What's for supper?

What's for supper?  So asked Marash Boy of Marash Girl as she headed out the door.

Oh, there's some homemade chicken broth in the fridge, and some home made macaroni and cheese left over from the other day.  If you throw those in a pot with the small can of tomato sauce that's on the shelf across from the stove, you'll have a delicious supper!

As it turned out, Marash Boy loved the first supper he ever "threw together" on his own!