Friday, September 30, 2016

"Do as I say! Not as I do!"

Whenever Peter reprimanded his children for a particular behavior, they would answer, "But you do it!"  His answer to that is probably every parent's answer, every parent who has  "smart alecks" (as Peter would say) for kids:
"Do as I say! Not as I do!"   . . . an expression Peter probably picked up in the early 1920's when he first came to this country (although the expression can be traced as far back as the New Testament)!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Don't wait! Record those stories!

Marash Girl's father Peter had always wanted her to write his stories, but did she?  Not until it was too late!  Don't do as she did. Do as she says and start recording your family history -- using your pencil, your pen, your typewriter, your phone recording device, your computer -- whatever it takes -- while you still have time!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Mugging of America

With a nod to Marash Boy for the title and the concept!

Can you think of anything that doesn't have a mug commemoration?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Advice to Dieters and Non-Dieters Alike

"Nothing tastes as good as the first bite!"  . . . Peter Bilezikian

Monday, September 26, 2016

Farewell, Dear Jim Patriquin

Marash Girl sends her condolences to the family of Jim Patriquin.  Jim was a sweet and wonderful father, husband,  and friend.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

WBUR, Bread and Kisses

Marash Girl's friend Bilal was volunteering at WBUR with his little one year old son in tow -- his blonde one-year-old son who signed to me (just as Dylan Marie does) that he wanted more! (Apparently Bilal had just fed him a treat from WBUR's breakfast table!)

Noting the child's sign language reminded Marash Girl of an old expression that her family often used.  Öp de başına koy.  Literally, Kiss (it) and place it on your forehead. Öp (kiss) başına (on your head)  koy (place, put).  An expression that Bilal also remembered from his childhood!

According to both Bilal and Marash Girl's friend Murat, the expression means (in general) to be thankful for what you have -- (and stop complaining!) In other words, be thankful to God (for  the bread or for whatever you may be kvetching about.)

Often, if a member of Marash Girl's family dropped a piece of bread, another member of the family would give the advise, Öp de başına koy.  (Pick it up and) kiss it and put it on your forehead.  Be thankful . . . give a silent prayer of thanksgiving.

If the family member hesitated, Marash Girl's father would add in English, "Don't worry.  You have to eat a pound of dirt before you die!"

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Anatomy on a Piano Bench

Years ago, while Marash Girl was in high school, she would often study with neighbor and classmate Stan Shafran, God rest his soul.  She and Stan, only friends, mind you, would often work together in his finished basement on their latest high school assignment.  They both loved music.  Stan played the piano with a jazz band.  Marash Girl played classical piano.  One day, Stan and Marash Girl were sitting on the piano bench in Stan's finished basement, discussing Stan's latest assignment, when Stan's mother came down the cellar stairs.

"What are you two doing down here?" she asked.

"We're studying," the two young people answered, quite honestly.

To which Stan's mother replied, "What are you studying?  Anatomy?"

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Sweetest Corn In The Town/County/Commonwealth

A  Picture of a picture:  Undated vintage photo of the Wilbraham Village Store
Wilbraham, Massachusetts

If you're anywhere near the center of Wilbraham, Massachusetts, (see above vintage photo of the Wilbraham Village Store in Wilbraham Center), head south on Main Street, (that's towards Connecticut, if you you're not good at geography) but don't drive too fast, because you might miss the Merrick Farm and farm stand on your right, about a half mile from the village center . . .  In the Merrick family for generations, the farm is farmed by Llewellyn Merrick (below).  He gathers his crops proudly and is often heard to say to his customers, "Here -- have an ear of corn. I just picked it. It's so sweet and tender, you don't even have to put the water on to boil!"  . . . the freshest veggies around! Don't miss your chance to visit Lewlleyn Merrick at The Merrick Farm, Wilbraham, Massachusetts.                    
Llewelyn Merrick, our very own local farm hero!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

"Give us this day our daily bread . . . "

Marash Girl asked her father many years ago, "When you were in Marash, did your mother ever tell you what she wanted you to become when you grew up?"

Peter's answer:  "Are you kidding?  We were glad to get a piece of bread!"

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Today Marash Girl received a letter in her mailbox from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology addresssed to her father Peter Bilezikian who passed away a number of years ago.  Ironic, she thought. Looking at the return address on the envelope, she remembered that her father, upon nearing graduation from Watertown High School,  had been offered a scholarship to M.I.T.  Born in Marash, Peter had arrived in the United States knowing no English.  Having no schooling, he entered the first grade as a 9 year old, and graduated to the 6th grade in one year -- he would laugh when he told us that!  Acing his school work, he found himself graduating from Watertown High School in 1932 with a full scholarship to M.I.T.  And he wanted to attend.  But he had been working with his brother as an electrician and repairman while he was in high school.  "Are you going to go to college and leave me to take care of our parents all by myself?" his brother asked him.  Of course, Peter's answer was in the negative, and so he gave up his scholarship to M.I.T. and joined his brother establishing their business -- first on Bowers Street in the corner of a building owned by their uncle, Rev. Vartan Bilezikian, and then on Newtonville Avenue in Newtonville Square:  Newtonville Electrical Company, Inc., Newtonville, Massachusetts.  But Peter actually did attend M.I.T. at night, although he had worked all day with his brother at the shop.

Whenever folks would ask him if he had gone to M.I.T., he would laugh and answer, "Sure, I went to M.I.T. . . . I walked right past it!"

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Saying Goodbye to the People We Love

Funerals are always difficult, especially if they are for the people you love, and so Marash Girl and Marash Boy were very sad to have to go to a funeral today for a wonderful woman: Linda (Zaroug) Durgarian.  But along with the funeral came a wonderful story about Linda's early life.  Born in upstate New York, when her father died, Zaroug, her mother, and sister moved to Dearborn Street in Springfield, Massachusetts.  According to her cousin Arax, soon after the family arrived at Arax's home in Springfield, Arax, Arppie and Kenar sat down with their cousin Zaroug and help her choose a name . . . a name that would work in Springfield's American community.  "Do you like Linda?" they asked her.  And so, for time immemorial, their cousin Zaroug was  known as Linda . . . even now with the angels in heaven.  May God rest your soul, Linda.

Monday, September 19, 2016

How Do Babies Get Here?

Here in the USA?  The stork brings them, of course!  But not in Uganda.  According to baby Mark's mother Irene, in Uganda, mothers tell their children that they (the children) came from the mouths of the mothers, and if they (the children) don't behave themselves, the mothers will swallow them (the children) right back down again!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Note from "Baby" Brother James!

A Note from "Baby" Brother James!

" Big-headed babies are brightest | News | The Times & The Sunday Times"

If you recall, I had the biggest head, remember?  According the stories I heard, my head was so big as a baby that it made me topple over in the high chair, and plop!

So now that we can agree that I have the biggest head, you need to LISTEN UP!  🌅 🤓😇😜😉

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Experience the Vibe with Karoun in Springfield, Massachusetts!

                     On seeing the above, Marash Boy commented, "Your acting career has begun!"

Friday, September 16, 2016

When the car behind you . . .

When the driver of the car behind your car blares the horn at you, and "gives you the finger", have you ever tried giving them five fingers back?  Just a little wave?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

What ever happened to bumper stickers?

Today, as Marash Girl drove her way into Boston along a very clogged Massachusetts Turnpike, she noticed something missing!  Bumper stickers!  There were no bumper stickers proclaiming a favorite candidate for President -- none for Clinton, none for Trump -- there were no bumper stickers proclaiming with pride that the car's owner had climbed Mt. Washington (and survived the climb), there were no bumper stickers stating, "If you can read this message, you're too d.... close!"  No bumper stickers asking her to honk if she loved Jesus.  No bumper stickers whatever!  Where have all the bumper stickers gone?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Antoine's Bakery - Another Story of Survival

Antoine shows Marash Girl a photo of his grandson which he keeps on his shelves.
There she was at Antoine's Bakery down the Lake (in Nonantum) to buy her friend some pasta chorte.  Antoine was there.  Marash Girl had heard he was Armenian, so she started up a conversation with him . . .  in French, in Armenian, in English.  Yes, he was from Marseille, France, but where were his parents from?  Kharpert?  His father was already in this country when the Armenian Genocide began, but his mother was there.  How did she survive?  She fainted.  She fainted?  The Turkish gendarmes came to her village to root out all the Armenians including his mother, then a girl of twelve.  After the Turkish gendarmes had rounded up all the Armenians in the village, the began shooting them down, all of them, except for his mother, who went into a dead faint when it all began, dead bodies  falling over her, covering her, saving her life.  A Turkish family found the little Armenian girl, still alive, pulled her from under the mass of dead Armenians, and brought her into their home, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


"You look lovely today, my dear!"

"You should have seen me 50 years ago!"

Monday, September 12, 2016

"It started with Adam."

"You can't have a relationship with someone if you can't argue with him/her," claimed the priest during his sermon about Moses's relationship with God.

"But was Moses the first person to argue with God?" asked one of the parishioners.

"It started with Adam," answered the priest.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Bunch of Grapes

Looking at the bunch of grapes on the kitchen table the other day, and picking the firmest reddest grapes off of that bunch reminded Marash Girl of her father and her mother.

First, her mother.

Her mother could not bear to look at a bunch of grapes with grapeless stems sticking out.  Unsightly!  Whenever her mother served a bunch of grapes, she would always cut off sweet little bunches of 4 or 5 grapes and place them in a bowl, thus avoiding the future unsightliness of a bunch of grapes with grapeless stems  . . .  or graceless stems, as this spell correct wishes to state!

Next, her father.

Her father would look at a bunch of grapes and remember the days in Marash when all they had to eat was a bunch of grapes.  He remembered how they would pluck off the most perfect grapes first, and eat those.  Soon they would be eating the grapes that didn't look quite so good.  And finally, when they were really hungry, which often they were, they would eat the rotten grapes.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Blaming the Victim

Overheard telephone conversation (mother to daughter):

It's psychological? My pain is psychological? It's real to me!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Instructions For Your Wedding Night

At a Congregational Church on the Cape, immediately after church on Sunday, the congregation was invited to visit the church social hall (after the service) to purchase whatever was left from the church flea market that had occurred the day before.  

Dutifully, after the church service, Marash Girl went back to the book sale section to see what she could see and what she saw was hilarious:   two old guys were looking over the books in a back corner, books on sex and sexuality, while the elderly lady managing the book sale looked on.  One old guy said to the other, "Hey, look at this! Instructions on what to do on your wedding night!  And there are pictures, too! . . . But (he said disappointedly) it says for your wedding night."  His friend commented, "It's okay!  You can use the book for any night! Not just your wedding night!"

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

REGULAR SINGING: An American Family Story at the Charles Mosessian Theater

On Saturday evening, Marash Girl and her friend Helene attended REGULAR SINGING: An American Family Story at the Charles Mosessian Theater, Watertown, Massachusetts.

Heard (at the end of the performance) from the the man sitting in the row behind Marash Girl:

"I don't know about singing, but there sure was a lot of talking."

The heroes? There were none. . . simply women who battered their men (though not physically), and men who were silently depressed about the battering.

That about sums it up, folks.

P.S.  On a happier note, we finally got rain here last night!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Lost and Found, Family Style

Marash Girl's good friend Mariam recently assured Marash Girl, "If you can't find something, it doesn't mean that you've lost it . .  only that you haven't found it yet."

Or as Joe Markarian's grandma always assured him, "If it's in the house, it's not lost!"

Monday, September 5, 2016


Playing Bocce on the mountain in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, on Labor Day!

See Marash Girl's Blog Post for Thursday, October 17, 2013,  
One day left from the old days . . .  "Eski günlerden bir gün kalmush . . ."

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Still no rain!!!!

It's been a long time here in Eastern Massachusetts since we've had rain . . .  The Cambridge Reservoir is down to about 20% of its typical volume of water!

                               Even Marash Girl's garden statuary is drooping from lack or water!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

True Love

Nancy: So how did she ever get him to go out with her?  He's so shy!

Marie:  I guess she just grabbed the bull by the horns!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Fresh herb harvest got you flummoxed?

Overwhelmed with the crop in your herb garden?  Wishing the garden would last all winter? It can!
As with fruit (see previous blogpost), try freezing the herbs by removing leaves from stem, placing leaves in ice cube tray, covering leaves with water, and the next day you'll have herb cubes.  Store in plastic bag, and when you're ready to use them, simply thaw out an ice cube, chop the herb in question, and add to your sauces or soups and simmer for a bit..  (Can't really add frozen herbs to fresh salad, but you could blend them up with your salad dressing and use them on your fresh salad that way!)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Frozen Fruit for Future Feasting

Fruit ripening faster than you can eat it?  Freeze that ripe fruit -- peel the fruit, slice it up into edible pieces, lay it out on a sheet of wax paper or flat in a plastic bag . . . mangos . . . bananas . . . and after they're frozen, toss them into a plastic bag for future feasting and snacking.  You'll be glad you did!  (By the way, the riper the fruit,  the sweeter.  Like eating mini-popsicles!)