Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Speaking of the Kyrgyz . . .

Haroutun Kyrgyzian, (later Haroutun Haroutunian), was attending Tarsus College during the 1895 massacres, the massacres that left his parents slain in their home and his little orphaned sisters (Yepros & Mayry) placed in the German Orphanage Bethel in Marash, Turkey (then Ottoman Empire). Whether or not Haroutun knew about the family devastation at the time is unclear, but after attending Tarsus College, he left for the United States. The family legend goes that at U.S. customs, he was told to use his father's name as a last name, as the customs officers couldn't understand the pronunciation of the last name he had given them (which was probably Khyrghyzoghlu). Haroutun travelled to the United States (probably with the guidance and assistance of missionaries and his professors at Tarsus College),  and enrolled in Boston University's Medical School with the dream of becoming a doctor.    How, we don't know, but once arrived in the United States,  (we surmise in Newtonville, Massachusetts,) he met the beautiful Makrouhi Nargesian, fell in love, and married.  Although he had wanted to become  a doctor, she wanted him to be with her and their children, for her Harry not to have to leave in the middle of the night for medical emergencies, leaving the family with no man in the house (understandable as she probably had experienced the horrors of the devastation to Armenians in the Ottoman Empire),  so Haroutun gave up one dream for another, gave up the dream of becoming a doctor and became a husband, father, and barber working out of the back of his brother-in-law Moses Bilezikian's pool room, so that he could live happily ever after with his beautiful wife, Makrouhi, sister of Khosrov Nargesian.
Uncle Harry Haroutunian  (on left), Zabelle Haroutunian on his lap, Makrouhi Nargesian Haroutunian in center, Unknown woman on right.  Photo circa 1920, Newton, Massachusetts
Photo courtesy of Ben Haroutunian

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