Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Pink Barn

Little Girl:  What's that?

Marash Girl: A barn!

Little Girl:  Why isn't it painted red?

Marash Girl:  You can paint your barn whatever color you want!

Little Girl:  When I grow up and have a barn, I'm going to paint my barn pink!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Newton the 65th safest city in the country?

Hey, Marash Girl remembers when the folks in Newton never locked their doors!  Not so today!

Advice from a local policeman:  No home is safe from burglary, unless you have nothing the burglar wants!  And there's the answer to a safe home!

Monday, July 17, 2017

"Do as I say!"

"Do as I say!  Not as I do!" So spoke Peter, Marash Girl's father, when Marash Girl was old enough to begin questioning his orders by quipping, "But you do that!"  How dared she speak to her father that way?  Well, he did teach her to speak up for the right!

We miss you, Daddy!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Do you live the perfect life?

One day, five year old Marash Girl came home from church (the United Armenian Brethren Evangelical Church of Watertown, Massachusetts) with a handful of religious tracts.  Soon after Sunday dinner, she headed out the front door with the tracts clutched in her little hand.

"Where are you going?"  asked her father.

"I'm going to tell our neighbors about Jesus," she answered.

"When folks ask you what is it in your life that makes you live as you do, then you can tell them about Jesus.  But until then, don't talk. Live the life."

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Do I have a deal for you!

Telephone rings. . .

Peter:  Hello?

Salesman:  Do I have a deal for you!  I can get you $10 for every $1 you invest!

Peter:  Sorry.  I invest $10 to make $1.  Goodbye!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Composting and Grandpa Peter

Grandpa Peter took composting very seriously, way before composting was the fashion for gardeners.  Grandma Jennie took composting as seriously as Grandpa Peter, and would save every scrap of vegetable leavings for the compost pile.  Grandpa Peter would grind fallen sticks and leaves and add those to the compost pile.  What lush soil was gifted to the garden as a result.  Not a scrap of vegetable was wasted; if it wasn't eaten, it was in the garden to enrich this season's vegetables.  Oh, for those good old days . .  . and those good old garden fresh vegetables!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Honesty is the Best Policy!


Tom:  You look great!

Joy:  Yes, but it takes longer than it used to!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What's Going On With The Sparrows?

Yesterday, walking home from the bank, I felt a sparrow (deliberately) skim over the top of my head as it flew to a low branch that hovered over the sidewalk.  

What's going on with the sparrows these days?  Is it the humidity that's getting to them?  

Anyone else experiencing sparrow attacks?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Yet Another Message From the Heavens?

Yesterday, at noon, waiting for the bus to Springfield at Framingham Shoppers World, Marash Boy and Marash Girl took shelter from the sun by standing under the shade of a maple tree.  Very soon, however, a large chunk of bread (which appears to be a very small chunk of bread in the upper left corner of the photo below) bounced off of Marash Boy's head and landed in the parking lot, thanks no doubt to some ne'er do well sparrow who had dropped the chunk as he flew out of the tree.  What is going on?  (See previous blogs for July 8th and 9th.)
Bread in upper left corner; tree's shadow to right.

Monday, July 10, 2017

A Tart to Share

Marash Girl and Marash Boy drove West to enjoy the beautiful day on the top of Wilbraham Mountain, where Karoun was awaiting their arrival.

[Marash Girl had promised Karoun a fruit tart from Whole Foods to share with the class Karoun is training to become yoga instructors.]

When Marash Girl handed Karoun the tart, Karoun started laughing.

"What's so funny?" asked Marash Girl

"I thought you were talking about a tart the size of a muffin.  I didn't realize you meant a tart the size of a pie!"

"Why else would I promise that you could share it with your friends?  Especially when I apologized for having eaten a quarter of the tart!"

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Another Message from the Heavens?

Yesterday, Marash Boy and Marash Girl set out to meet Arax and Karoun at a lakeside restaurant on the Wilbraham/Springfield line.  (Didn't know there was a lake there?  Check it out!) Arriving early, they set themselves up at an outside table overlooking the water.  Soon the girls arrived (women, Marash Girl should say) and began to seat themselves at the table, but before Arax could sit down, a gust of wind lifted the umbrella from a nearby table and carried it straight towards Arax's head.  Marash Girl (or Superwoman, as she now is tempted to call herself), reached up and grabbed the pole of the umbrella, averting imminent disaster. No-one noticed except for Marash Girl, and maybe ???? Or perhaps Marash Girl created the story from whole cloth, just to have something to write about in her blog . . . 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The English Sparrow and Marash Boy

The other day, as we sat in the beautiful outdoors (granted, in the courtyard of a city restaurant, but still . . .) an English Sparrow flew by and dropped a pat of butter, right on Marash Boy's head!  Now what better sign of "good luck" could one wish for?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Never cease laughing!

To the CEO of a huge marketing company, Marash Girl's friend wrote a thank you note stating,

"The conversation never ceases to be dull"!

What she meant, of course, was the opposite!

She called him to apologize and he never ceased laughing.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Never back up when you can go forward!

When Marash Boy worked on construction as a youth in Springfield, one of the truck drivers cautioned him: "Never back up when you can go forward."

When teaching her to drive, Marash Girl's dad had cautioned her as well:  "Never back up when you can go forward."

Let's apply this to life:  "Never back up when you can go forward."  Or, as the Bible suggests in the story of Lot, "Never look back."  You remember what happened to Lot's wife, right?  No?  Look it up!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Dylan Marie on the Fourth of July

Hooray for the Flag of the United States of America -- Long may it wave!   Photo by Megan Charkoudian

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Celebrate Independence Day!

Never forget what it means to be living in a free and independent country . . . and always value that freedom.  How are you celebrating today?

Marash Girl remembers fondly the Fourth of July celebrations on the top of Wilbraham Mountain . . . the days she and her family and neighbors (including old Charlie Merrick!) would watch and hear fireworks from all of the towns surrounding Wilbraham.

Happy Independence Day!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Composting and Uncle Ed

Uncle Ed had an easier method of composting than Auntie Rose.  He'd just throw it in!  Throw what in where?  He set up a large circular cage (stakes in ground surrounded by wire fencing) approximately 3 feet in diameter.  Into this cage he would regularly throw in vegetable leavings and simply toss onto the veggies a handful of soil.  It worked! After the second year, he simply lifted one side of the fencing at its base and regularly removed the rich soil that the vegetables leavings had become, adding the rich soil to his garden!  As the old folks would say, "What goes around, comes around!"

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Composting and Auntie Rose

Have I written about Auntie Rose's method of composting before, or should I say, her method of loving up her plants?

During the preparation of every meal, Auntie Rose would gather vegetable peelings into small piles and, at the end of the meal. add to the piles any vegetables that were left on the plates of her guests.

Out she would go to her flower garden (a magnificent garden and now you'll know why) and carefully trowel around her plant(s) of choice, gently working into the ground around the plant(s) the day's vegetable peelings and vegetable leavings, petting the plants, and crooning to them as she went.  As you might imagine, she had the most magnificent garden in the neighborhood.  No artificial sprays, no artificial chemicals.

She probably "sprayed" her plants with dishwater (after she had washed her dishes, of course), as Medzmama used to do, taking the pan of dirty dishwater and tossing the water (not the pan) over the plants of choice.

You should have seen her garden!

Friday, June 30, 2017

"Get her, Vartan! She's got Lamejun!"

Thanks to Josie Simmons for spotting this advert for lamejun in the front window of
Eastern Lamejun, Belmont, Massachusetts.  The little girl in the picture looks suspiciously like Dylan Marie!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Indzi Naye! ինձի Նայէ

"ինձի Նայէ," Medzmama would say whenever she was trying to get our attention. "Indzi naye!" (Translated into Spanish = Mira)
Marash Girl loved the expression:  "ինձի Նայէ!" "Look at me!"

And so rather than shouting at her grandchildren to stop whatever they were doing that could have caused damage to themselves or to their surroundings, Marash Girl would simply call out, ""Indzi Naye!" But why would they stop what they were doing to look at her? Because it began as a game. Marash Girl would tell her grandchildren to dance and play and sing, but whenever (and it could be never or instantly) she commanded them to look at her, "Indzi nayé", they would stay in whatever position they found themselves at the moment of the command and look at her, often bursting out into laughter. Kind of like the kids' game of statue, but for them, a game that lasted the whole day, the whole week, the whole year. And the game worked. Rather than ignoring her, or crying, the children would giggle and hold stock still, statue-like, staring at Marash Girl, in whatever position they happened to have found themselves when they heard the command, ""Indzi nayé"!"

A lot better than scolding and tears, right?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Daughter Tells Her Father's Story

Marash Girl recently attended a presentation by NAASR on the publication of Yervant Alexanian's account of his early life, FORCED INTO GENOCIDE, a book compiled by Adrienne G. Alexanian, the author's daughter.  According to Ms. Alexanian, her father had kept notes hidden away from the family in a drawer, notes which she found after his death, and published in book form.  

It made Marash Girl wonder . . . how many stories are hidden away in attic trunks, in bottom drawers, in notebooks long ignored?  How many stories are hidden away in the memory of our loved ones, or in our own childhood memories -- stories which have been told to us repeatedly, stories which we have chosen to ignore . . .  How many?  Now is the time to record those stories!  your father's/mother's/grandfather's/grandmother's stories. . .  Use the modern convenience of audio/video, computer, or the old-fashioned method of handwriting . . . or ask a friends to ask you about your parents/grandparents story while they videotape your answer . . . Don't wait!  Now is the time!  Now is the time!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Atul Gawande Speaks at the Mosessian Theatre for the Arts

  • Marash Girl was fortunate to attend the General Event Reception for Atul Gawande  with dinner and drinks yesterday evening at the Mosesian Center for the Arts in Watertown, Massachusetts.
  • The reception was followed by a conversation on life with athenahealth CEO, Jonathan Bush interviewing Atul Gawande on the main stage of the Mosessian Theatre.  Gawande was presented with the 2017 Charles Mosessian Award for the Arts, a presentation which was followed by a musical tribute with the International sounds (of India) of the group Awaaz Do featuring Saraswathi Jones
  • A dessert post-reception concluded the evening.
                Atul Gawande on stage      Photo by Marash Girl

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Kindness of New Yorkers

"BROKEN"  (in case folks  hadn't noticed!)   Some kind NYC soul took it upon him (her?) self to create the sign attached to this bench, and to cover the sign with plastic! "BROKEN"  (if you hadn't noticed)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Bobcat At Home

Wild Bobcat at home in this Southern California Gated Community. . . .
Photo by Martha McCool

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Mayor Cohen with Mayor Cohen

Mayor David Barry Cohen, who served as mayor in the City of Newton, Massachusetts, from 1998 to 2009, posed next to his portrait  on Monday evening at Newton City Hall.                                            Photo by Marash Girl

Friday, June 23, 2017

It's 9:00 A.M. Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?

                                                                  (Photo of a poster on the streets of New York City)

A new twist on an old theme.  "It's nine o'clock in the morning...Do you know where your kids are?"  Scary if you're a parent, right?    But if you're a parent in NYC, you or your caregiver can text “SCHOOL” to 30365 to get the help you need and find out how many days your child has missed.  Unfortunately, that text will NOT tell you where your kids are!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Jim Corsi, Day Jr. High, Newton High School, Boston Red Sox, Swartz's Hardware (Nonantum)

 Jim Corsi at Swartz's Hardware, Nonantum      Photo by Marash Girl
Yesterday, Marash Girl went shopping for an oven thermometer at Swartz's Hardware down the Lake (Nonantum) (that's Newton). As she was waiting in line at the checkout counter behind the fellow pictured above, an affable fellow who was purchasing hardware to repair his refrigerator handle . . . the fellow and Marash Girl had a wee conversation regarding the hardware the fellow was purchasing for the repair (Marash Girl feeling she was somewhat of an expert having inherited some of her father's intuition for refrigerator repair). An affable fellow he was, and soon, of course, we both started bragging about the fact that we had both attended Day Jr. High and Newton High School.  Not sure who mentioned the fact that the fellow pictured above, Jim Corsi, was a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, and later a studio analyst for the Sox. One would have trouble finding a nicer, more "martamod" fellow.  He was thrilled to have Marash Girl take his picture.  (See above.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

From Facebook

Similar to what Grandpa Peter told us!

Séta Tahan and Teporah Bilezikian posted in Marash Bilezikjians on Facebook
Séta Tahan
January 29 at 12:13pm
To Paulo..( as You are interested, with the family History, let me give you some info. I have heard from Father& aunts. 
Garabed, in jail, ( because as Houry said) helping Fedayins..All his belonging were taken by the government. So, his younger brother, Nazareth , also very wealthy, having his big house( you have a picture in front of the door) so, Nazareth(Pacha) took in charge all his brother's family, and they came &a live together. Until the big "Genocide". But my grand pa, being a friend with the"Wally" ho was, it seems a "nice" Turc, told him in secret "Nazareth , take your family, friends, servants some money & leave Marash, don't let someone know I gave you this advice.Say you are going to Aleppo visit a branch of your family".. 
. My grand mother told me one day I was 9 years old,( they used to live in Aleppo, & we were born, my mother too, in Lebanon , so they used to come every 2years to visit us ) she said"Nazareth couldn't sleep for days, not knowing how to behave, not fair to know &keep it secret , at he end he decided to tell the close family members, his married daughters, of course his brother's family, the servants, close friends , etc..etc.. & told them also to advices their own families&friends in big secret. 
The Wali, as promised , let some soldiers escort them until Aleppo(which also belonged to Turcs). Some of his brother's family refused to leave (Houry knows their names) and were killed. But until his death, grand Pa was affected :saying "oh!I 
It was such a difficult situation...I did it first for the family, then I couldn't tell loudly"run away, you are going to be killed" because the Wali, will be killed and all of us with him. 
Untill he died his last words had been" we forgot..that friend...or the other " like a nightmare "

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Little Women on Wall Street, or Facing the Wall Street Bull!

                 Fearless girls (Dylan Marie on right) face down the Wall Street Bull, New York City

Monday, June 19, 2017

What is it?

What is it about going to the dentist that is so unsettling, even though one is only going for a teeth cleaning?  Is it the feeling of being "tied" down, unable to move lest the sharp instruments will stab you?  The inability to attack with your mouth, perhaps dating back to prehistoric times?  The fear of pain?  Whatever it is, it never leaves, does it?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all of you fathers out there, and to all of you folks who made the fathers fathers!

Remembering back in the day when Marash Girl and her sibs would offer a happy father's day greeting to their father and would get back in return, "Just be good.  That will make me a happy father!"

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Free books, anyone?

Today  (a sad day for Marash Girl), Marash Girl begins to empty her warehouse of 35,000 books.  Anyone interested?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Lost the Lease on my Warehouse

Today I was forced to grapple with reality.  I have lost the lease on my warehouse and must divest myself of thousands of books that have been for sale online.  Anyone interested in taking over the lot?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Add What?

In her last blog post, Marash Girl recommended that if a soup or a scarf in progress doesn't look right, perhaps you need to add a color, a texture, a stitch.  She neglected to mention that, especially in the case of a scarf, you may  need to rip the whole scarf out and start all over again!  And in the case of the soup?  Watering the soup down would be close to starting all over again, and not as painful as throwing the whole soup out.  But if you must do that, you must!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Knitting In Life

Yesterday evening, Marash Girl began to knit a scarf using newly purchased, beautiful yarn, but as she started knitting, the beautiful yarn was not becoming a beautiful scarf.  Why?  What could she do?  And then she remembered that just as in cooking, just as in life, she needed to add another ingredient . . . another color . . . another texture . . . another strand of yarn.  The stitch alone was not enough.  Note of warning here:  be careful what you add, especially to the soup . . . you can alway rip out the knitting, but the soup?  

Okay, you philosophers out there . . . how would you apply this to life?  Your life?  The life of others?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

May God grant you . . .

Whenever Marash Girl's dad was non-plussed  upon hearing a senseless comment made by an erstwhile conversationalist, her dad would comment, "God give me money and you brains!"  

Search as she might, Marash Girl could find no reference online to this statement, nor has she ever heard the comment elsewhere.  Was her dad translating an Armenian proverb?

Monday, June 5, 2017

Josie Graduates from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts,

Yesterday, Josie Simmons graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, the same school attend by famed painter Frank Stella.  Congratulations Josie and Frank!
Image by Frank Stella graces entrance to Phillips Academy

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Try, try again, Nasrettin Hoja Style

Nasrettin Hoja was seen stooping at the shores of Lake Akshehir, spooning yogurt (or madzoon, as we Armenians call it) into the lake.  

"What are you doing," the townspeople asked him.  

"I'm going to make the lake turn into yogurt," answered Nasrettin Hoja.

"That's not possible," scoffed the townspeople.

"But what if it is?" countered Nasrettin Hoja.

[Note:  Madzoon is made by heating milk to just boiling, cooling it and when it is at just the right temperature -- not too hot, not too cool -- adding and stirring in a tablespoon of madzoon which has been mixed with some of that warm milk, bringing the total mixture -- madzoon and milk -- to the same temperature.  Cover the bowl, wrap the bowl in towels, set aside, and the next day, you will have madzoon!)

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Go ahead! Try, try again!

Most of us who were growing up mid-century remember the phrase, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!"  It was our core, our reason for not growing up.  It told us all that we needed to know:  that no matter what, we would eventually succeed . . .  or, if necessary, find a better way!  But do any of us know where that phrase comes from?  Marash Girl did not, and so she went ahead and looked it up on the internet, and this is what she found:

William Edward Hickson is credited with popularizing the proverb:
'Tis a lesson you should heed:
Try, try, try again.
If at first you don't succeed,
Try, try, try again.[2]
The proverb can be traced back to the writings of Thomas H. Palmer in his Teacher's Manual, and The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat.[3]

Try Try Again


by T. H. Palmer

'Tis a lesson you should heed,
If at first you don't succeed,
Try, try again; 

Then your courage should appear,
For if you will persevere,
You will conquer, never fear
Try, try again;

Once or twice, though you should fail,
If you would at last prevail,
Try, try again; 

If we strive, 'tis no disgrace
Though we do not win the race;
What should you do in the case?
Try, try again

If you find your task is hard,
Time will bring you your reward,
Try, try again 

All that other folks can do,
Why, with patience, should not you?
Only keep this rule in view:
Try, try again.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Miracle of Perennials

What with the beautiful weather that has finally arrived in New England, Marash Girl's thoughts have turned to the miracle of perennials -- those flowers that return every year, no muss, no fuss -- they just come back to cheer us up!  Every year!  No time to write any more!  Gotta go out and start pulling out the perennial weeds!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Lost the Lease on my Book Warehouse

Thousands of out of print books up for grabs!  Anyone interested, please leave contact info by clicking the blue comment link below.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sitting on the Post Office Steps in Beirut, Lebanon

Years ago, during Gail and Marash Girl's visit with cousin Garbis Dagermenjian in Beirut, Lebanon, the three were to meet in the central square in front of the post office.  Gail and Marash Girl were early, so rather than pace up and down in front of the post office (which they felt would be unbecoming of young ladies), they sat on the post office steps awaiting Garbis' arrival.

Garbis arrived soon after the appointed time, but his face was red with fury!  "Whatever was the matter?" the girls wondered.

As Garbis soon explained, the post office steps were, in fact, the place where the local prostitutes sat awaiting their customers.  How would two young and innocent American girls ever even guess at that reality?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Knit As You Fly!

They don't allow knives on board airplanes but they allow knitting needles?

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Music in My Life

After Auntie Zabelle first set me at the keys of the piano when I was in first grade, my parents took me to the All Newton Music School where I met Mrs. Beulah Bell who, coincidentally, lived on Lowell Avenue as well.  She was my second piano teacher, a teacher who was with me for 12 years.  In amongst those years, Mr. Parker who lived on Otis Street in Newtonville was the orchestra leader at Claflin School, (yes, Marash Girl played piano for the orchestra at Claflin School), Mr. Jurgelewicz was the leader of the orchestra at Frank Ashley Day Jr. High School, (yes, Marash Girl accompanied the orchestra and the chorus at Day Jr. High School), and then in high school, Donald March led the orchestra and kept Marash Girl on to accompany the high school orchestra as did Henry Lasker who kept Marash Girl on to accompany the high school chorus.  Even in college, Marash Girl accompanied the acapella chorus (only during rehearsals to make sure they stayed on key!)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

In a hundred years

How did Daddy comfort us kids when we were wailing?  Broken hearted? Scraped and bleeding?

Invariably, he would console his children with these words :

 "In a hundred years, you'll never know the difference!"

Some consolation!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Wild Front Garden -- No Grass to Cut!

                                                                                    Photo Credit:  Sarah Salter

Friday, May 26, 2017

Remembering Miriam Goldstein

One of Marash Girl's most memorable teachers was not really her teacher, although some students were lucky enough to have Mrs. Goldstien for English. Miriam Goldstein was Marash Girl's homeroom teacher in 10th grade at Newton High School, in a homeroom which encompassed students of all levels, from all walks of life, all religions, and all reading levels; the only thing they had in common was the first initial (B) of their last name.  

Mrs. Goldstein exuded caring for each student as she called the roll in homeroom every morning and read aloud a chapter from the Psalms to her homeroom class before she led them in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and then prayed with us aloud as we recited the Lord's Prayer.  Her caring was contagious; we all cared for each other that year.  Thank you, Miriam Goldstein, for being there for the students of Newton High School.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Yesterday Evening's Knitting Circle

Brother James called this morning to ask "Did your knitting party keep you in stitches?"

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Soul of an Octopus

Gail has been reading "The Soul of an Octopus".

She asks, "Did you know that an octopus has a soul, consciousness, but no bones, 3 hearts, and every arm has its own brain individually.  They are smart, escape artists and can be affectionate.

"If you wanted to be a philosopher and start thinking about what a soul is and what  consciousness is, just think about an octopus."

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Wedgwood and the Senior Citizen Center

Browsing the Resale Table at the Senior Citizen Center, Marash Girl picked up an unusual piece of what appeared to be Wedgwood and peered at the bottom of the piece to see if there were any identifying markings.  None that she could see, but it was still a pretty piece.  The woman next to Marash Girl took the piece out of Marash Girl's hand (gently grabbed?) and turning it over, said, "See, it's not Wedgwood!" as she (the woman who had grabbed the piece) proceeded to hand the antique vase over to the saleslady and pay the $2 listed on the price tag.

Monday, May 22, 2017

May the Lord bless you and keep you, Uldo.

Remembering that before he died, her father had told her to call Uldo should she ever need help with her book warehouse, Marash Girl picked up the telephone and called the phone number that her father had given her for Uldo and his wife Natalie.  Of course, many years had passed since her father had given her that phone number, but dial the number she did.
Uldo's wife Natalie answered the phone, surprised that Marash Girl was asking for Uldo.  "Uldo is with the Lord," she said.

Marash Girl is so sorry to hear of the passing of this wonderful, talented, kind and generous man, a good friend of the Bilezikian family,  a member of the Watertown Evangelical Church, Uldo Collella, who passed away in March of this year at the age of 85.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Growing up with Three Bathrooms

Not many people Marash Girl's age can claim the particularly luxurious accommodation of growing up with three bathrooms, but Marash Girl can!

Now maybe it's not appropriate to talk about bathrooms in a blogpost, but Marash Girl is going to attempt to do this anyway.

She grew up in a two family house which actually housed three families . . . a house  with a pool table in the cellar (more on that later), her family on the first floor (one bathroom with a toilet, sink and bathtub), her auntie and uncle and three cousins on the second floor (one bathroom with a toilet, sink and bathtub) and her grandma and grandpa on the third floor (one  bathroom with a toilet, sink and walk in shower!)

So, if the first floor bathroom was in use, up she went to the second floor bathroom.  If the second floor bathroom was in use, up she went to the third floor bathroom.  If the third floor bathroom was in use, down she went to the first floor bathroom, and by then, THAT bathroom would be empty.  Phew!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Johnnie Vaich: How to Select Your Best Photos!

Johnnie Vaich had a camera store in Newtonville Square.  It was there that Marash Girl bought her first single reflex camera and it was there that Marash Girl received her first lessons in photography.  The most important lessons she ever learned from Johnnie Vaich?  Take many photos of the same subject, and when you go to develop the photos, (yes, Marash Girl would develop her own photos in those days), "Don't try to select the best photo you've taken; simply get rid of the 'less than best' photos and soon the best will emerge."  

Thank you, Johnnie Vaich!

[More on Johnie Vaich in future posts, but today, Marash Girl must be off to a memorial service!]

Friday, May 19, 2017

Ice Cubes for your Indoor Plants?

Yes, ice cubes for your indoor plants!  Easier and safer than watering is to place ice cubes on the soil around your indoor plants -- the ice will slowly melt and the plants will welcome the refreshment, without getting drowned!  They can't sip wine, but they sure will enjoy those sips of water!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Nomad Story Slam at Newton Free Library

The Newton Nomadic Theater sponsored another Nomad Story Slam yesterday evening, Wednesday, May 17, at 7 PM at the Newton Free Library ... and, yes, it was FREE. (Even the refreshments were free.)  A special event being presented as part of the month long Newton Festival of the Arts, the theme of all stories was "out of the blue" and the night featured four invited guest storytellers:
Tova Mervis - Author of "The Ladies Auxilliary", "The Book of Separation"
Tom Lyons - owner of the NE Mobile Book Fair
Alicia Johnson - Pastor of the Myrtle Baptist Church
Linda Plaut - Director of the Newton Cultural Council

The guests were, of course, also welcome to throw their names in a hat to tell a 5 minute, true, about themselves, "out of the blue" story.

Linda Plaut - Director of the Newton Cultural Council

Alicia Johnson - Pastor of the Myrtle Baptist Church

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dreams of Superwoman

Marash Girl would often dream that she was Lois Lane (Superman's Lois) or Superwoman or Nancy Drew -- out there saving the day for a would-be victim.

She never did become Superwoman, or Nancy Drew, for that matter.  But she still loves reading murder mysteries with a heroine leading the way!

Any suggestions for books she may not yet have discovered?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The New England Fog and Uncle Paul

Growing up, whenever Marash Girl and her family were in the car driving through a heavy New England fog, they would remember and retell the story of Uncle Paul, who driving from New Jersey to Massachusetts through a heavy New England fog, was unable to see anything except for the taillights of the car in front of him.  That was enough for Uncle Paul, a fearless and well-practiced 1930's driver.  In the midst of his trip, however, the car in front of him stopped suddenly.  Thus, Uncle Paul found himself stopping behind the car he was following; he couldn't figure out what the problem could be.  Pulling up his brakes, and getting out of his car, he found that he had pulled up behind the car he had been following --- pulled up right into their driveway!  Where he was now he had no idea, but at least he was safe and sound at home, even though it was someone else's home!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Haven't heard these Armenian exclamations for many a year!

Ooof!  (That was said if you stubbed your toe or bumped into a chair or such!)

Okh! (That was said--the sound elongated-- for example, as an expression of extreme delight in drinking a cool glass of water on a hot day . . .)

Haven't heard either of these expressions since childhood!  Have you?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day to One and All (Fathers Included)!

Mother's Day at the Marriott
                                      Happy Mother's Day to One and All (Fathers Included)!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Growing up During World War II

Little Marash Girl would be sitting in the bathtub, hearing the whistle of the jets overhead, wondering, "Oh, is that the sound of an atom ball falling?"  That was many years ago, and thankfully, that was NOT the sound of an atom ball falling!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Dr. Taner Akçam: The Story Behind 'The Smoking Gun'

                   Taner Akcam presenting yesterday evening at the Armenian Museum of America          [Photo by Marash Girl]
"A Presentation of Never-Before-Seen Armenian Genocide Documents" by Taner Akcam sponsored by the National Association of Armenian Studies and Research and the Armenian Museum of America,  attracted an large and attentive audience yesterday evening at the Armenian Museum of America in Watertown, Massachusetts.

 "On April 23, 2017, The New York Times published an article about Taner Akçam's recent work. The article centered on an Ottoman document described as "the smoking gun," demonstrating the Ottoman government's awareness of and involvement in the elimination of the Armenian population. The document, acknowledged as authentic by the post-World War I Ottoman government, had helped convict its author, Behaeddin Shakir, as one of the masterminds of the Armenian Genocide. However, this key piece of evidence, along with other damning documents used during the post-war Constantinople trials of the perpetrators, vanished. Or so it seemed.
     In the course of examining the archive of the late Fr. Krikor Guerguerian, Akçam discovered that the Armenian Catholic priest had made photographic copies of Shakir's telegram and other crucial documents. This presentation at the Armenian Museum of America will present this and other documents that have never before been discussed in public."

Thank you, Professor Taner Akçam, for your unstinting research into the truth, the true history behind the devastation of the Armenian populations living in the Ottoman Empire.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Practicing Piano Under a Practicing Piano

Remembering her piano practicing days (she studied piano for 12 years of her life, and practiced for 1/2 to 1 hour almost every one of the days of those years), Marash Girl recalls the "jungerma" that occurred when she would be playing Bach and her cousin would be playing Chopin right over her head (upstairs),  at the same time.  That was an interesting concoction -- 18th and 19th century music made modern, and nobody was there to record it!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Stretch Your Toes to the Length of your Yorghan

Got cold feet?  All you have to do, according to Marash Girl's dad, is to "Stretch Your Toes to the Length of your Yorghan!"  Now that could mean not to stretch out quite as far as you've been stretching, or it could mean to stretch even farther than you've been stretching.  Try even harder.  Work even more intensely!  In any case, that's the advise from the old country, the old country being Marash, of course!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Jangurma?  Haven't heard that word in a long time.  Is it Turkish?  Is it Armenian?  At any rate, it's the word that the older folks used when complaining about all the noise we kids were making!  Jangurma!  All those wonderful words thrown into our daily English made life so much richer than it may have been  , , ,  the words, the folks, the songs, the stories . . . How Marash Girl misses them!

Monday, May 8, 2017

First Impressions -- Splattering the Living Room Wallpaper!

When Marash Girl first visited the home of Marash Boy, before she was married to Marash Boy and before she had met his family, while helping to make the salad, she offered to dry off the lettuce leaves with a method that was certain to dry every leaf.  She hadn't tried the method yet, but she was sure it would work.  

The method?

Place the rinsed lettuce leaves into a pillow case.  Knot the pillow case closed.  Swing the pillowcase full of lettuce leaves in a circle over your head.  The lettuce will come out dry and ready to "dress" with home-made salad dressing.  (If you're Armenian, that would be lemon juice, olive oil, sait and pepper.) 

The problem?

The pillow case was old and as Marash Girl swung the pillow case over her head (it was cold outside, so Marash Girl and the pillow case full of lettuce leaves were in the living room of her soon to be in-laws), the pillow case tore open and the lettuce leaves flew  all over the living room, spattering the recently upholstered furniture, the wallpaper, the floors.   

That was her introduction to Marash Boy's family.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

From the Marash Book , a translation.

Bilezikjian Family
Hovhannes Bilezikjian’s father, Mahdesi Garabed Bilezikjian, has moved to Marash either from Persia or Armenia.  Garabed becomes a merchant, gets wealthy and after being chased by (beyeri) Turks escapes to Kesaria.  Garabed’s son was Hovhannes Bilezikjian, who had two sons, Garabed Bilezikjian (who died in Marash prison in 1896) and Nazareth Bilezikjian.

Garabeds’s children are, Armenag, Hagop, Arsen, Mihran, Haroutun, Hovhannes, Santoukhd and Zarouhi.

Nazareth Bilezikjian’s children are Haig, Hovhaness, Levon, Stepan, Mariam, Arousiag and Lousentag.

Havhannes Bilezikjian:  He was born in Marash, in 1826.  After finishing school at 17 years old he starts working as a merchant.  Establishing a huge import/export business.   He becomes successful, and wealthy.  Marash people call him Altoon Babase . (Gold Father)

Being sick he does not get involved with community affairs. But he donates lands to Secondary School and Soorp karasoun Manganzt (St. forty Children’s (?)) Church.  He does monetary donations too.  He dies in 1892.

Garabed Bilezikjian:

He was born in Marash in 1850.  Educated on his own, he continues his fathers business.  He was a church going man.  Being charged with helping with Zeytoon revolution he gets imprisoned in Aleppo but gets freed soon.  After 1895 massacre, he gets jailed again and dies in prison at the age of 45.

Bilezikjian family members Nazareth and Armenag Bilezikjian also were merchants.   They helped with community affairs. Milli (??) government has taken all their belongings.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Marash Girl NEEDS YOUR HELP: Losing Book Warehouse

Marash Girl is losing her lease on her book warehouse at the end of August, 2017.  As some of you may have learned by now, Marash Girl sells out of print books on the internet, the number hovering around 30,000, depending on the day!  

If anyone knows or hears of dry first floor warehouse space in the Newton, Massachusetts, area, please let her know!  Her books need a new home!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Not happy with the political . . . . . ????

Some 200 Brookline residents think there's enough evidence to impeach President Donald Trump.

The problem is, who would be taking Trump's place?  Look down the line . . . Will they have to impeach the next, and the next and the next?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Lilacs of Spring

Thanks to Marash Girl's children who gifted her this lilac bush on Mother's Day years ago.  More on lilacs in the next blog post!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Concert at the Armenian Cultural Foundation

Over a week ago, now, Marash Girl attended (first row seats!) a concert featuring New England Conservatory students  -- Canadian/Armenian Eva Aronian, violinist, and American/French Pierre-Nicolas Colombo, pianist.  Hosted by The Andreassian Music Fund and the Canadian Women's Club (Canadian Consulate), the musicians, New England Conservatory students, (Violinist Eva Aronian, Pianist Pierre-Nicolas Colombo) played pieces by Maurice Ravel, Johannes Brahms, Fritz Kreisler to name a few.  A cocktail reception preceded the concert which was followed by (the concert, not the cocktails) a social hour that included desserts and coffee.  An enjoyable Sunday afternoon!  And particularly enjoyable for Marash Girl, as the concert was held at the Armenian Cultural Foundation in Arlington, Mass., a foundation established to preserve the collection of her dear, long ago friend, Vahan Topalian.

Armand Andreassian introduces the event at the Armenian Cultural Center

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Memories of Tuna Fish!

As Marash Girl whipped up a simple tuna salad for Marash Boy's lunch today, she was flooded with memories. 

Whenever her mother, Jennie, heard Marash Girl coming in the cellar door to visit, Jennie would begin to fix a bowl of tuna fish with celery and mayonnaise  to make into a sandwich for Marash Girl for although Jennie was an amazing Armenian cook, Jennie knew that Marash Girl's favorite was . . . yep . . . tuna fish with mayo!  [Marash Girl and her sister Martha and brother James would feel so sorry for the neighbor children because their mother would put chopped onions in her tuna fish! Can you imagine?]

Fast forward to Marash Girl's college days and the tuna fish sandwiches that were offered at a little sandwich shop on Massachusetts Avenue . . . Marash Girl and Gail would trot over to the shop when the luncheon meals were particularly disappointing and order a tuna sub -- "Heavy on the tuna, please!"

And forwarding even further, whenever Marash Girl would begin to open a can of tuna in her Newton Corner home, her wonderful cat Pudd would hear the the sound of the can opener breaking into the can of tuna fish and she would come running!  Marash Girl would always pour the juice from the can over Pudd's meal (especially if it were rice pilaf), and Pudd would be purring so loud that you could hear her all the way into the dining room.

(Of course, we had to check the label to make sure that there had been no additives or preservatives!)

Yes, we loved canned white tuna fish -- (after it had been removed from the can, of course), but it was sad when we would be forced to face the reality of where that tuna came from . . . forced to face that reality every summer that we went to Plum Island and saw the fishing boats coming in with the proud fisherman pointing to the catch -- a nearly dead tuna fish!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Vanilla Prices Soaring?

Not again!  Marash Girl grew up in an era when her mom couldn't afford to buy real vanilla to flavor the wonderful cakes that she (her mom) baked.  Once Marash Girl realized this, she would splurge at Christmas time to buy her mom a bottle of real vanilla.  The flavoring was expensive, but it's alternative, vanillin, was so riddled with chemicals that in large doses, well . . . . you get the picture.  Why is Marash Girl remembering that today?  According to the Boston Globe,  "A massive spike in vanilla prices is threatening to drive the cost of an ice cream cone into the stratosphere."  Any chemist out there can tell us that the chemical makeup of artificial vanilla is very close to that of formaldehyde . . .               just saying . . . !

From Wikipedia:  Vanillin is a phenolic aldehyde, which is an organic compound with the molecular formula C8H8O3. Its functional groups include aldehyde, hydroxyl, and ether. It is the primary component of the extract of the vanilla bean. Synthetic vanillin is now used more often than natural vanilla extract as a flavoring agent in foods, beverages, and pharmaceuticals.
Vanillin and ethylvanillin are used by the food industry; ethylvanillin is more expensive, but has a stronger note. It differs from vanillin by having an ethoxy group (–O–CH2CH3) instead of a methoxy group (–O–CH3).

Any chemists out there who are willing to weigh in on this question?