Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Barns of Western Massachusetts

The barns of Western Massachusetts housed not only the animals, but the tramps who walked in from the train station in the cold of winter -- no longer could they live out in the woods -- they needed a warm place to stay, a place warmed by the animals in the barn, and, if the farmer's wife was kind, she would invite the man (women were never seen as tramps in Western Massachusetts) . . . the farmer's wife would invite the tramp in to eat at the family table.

Or, as Medzmama experienced in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts, the tramps would come to the back door and ask for food, food which she would always gladly give them, as she had experienced hunger and loss in her youth during the "aksoroutioun", known today as the Genocide of the Armenians by the Ottoman Turks.  She had tramped, as it were, not in the cities, but into the deserts where the problem was not only to keep warm (during the nights), but to keep hydrated during the days, to keep from getting sunstroke and heat stroke.  Oh, what our parents/grandparents experienced was far more than the tramps, for our parents had to care for those around them -- they were not alone to do what they would with their lives -- they were a part of a family, if only the human family, the Armenian family that was becoming smaller every day from the ravages of hunger and thirst and disease and hopelessness.  

Now how did Marash Girl ever get here from thinking about the barns in winter in Western Massachusetts?


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