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As it turned out, she had been reading The God of Small Things while writing Three Apples. We stayed in the only house that has been a constant in my nomadic American upbringing: my grandparents house in Sulemanieyah. As I sifted through his dirty wares, he said to me in Turkish (as my friend translated), “You are Anatolian, aren’t you? He responded, “I can tell from her eyes.” I stared into his—a sense of calm, recognition, familiarity. At every juncture in life, I believe we have the choice between two things: love and fear. This tragedy was not an “us” against “them.” We are an Anatolian family.The house where I was given the stories of my ancestors, where I first heard of places like Aintab, Urfa, and Kharpert. We drove five hours, passed Ras ul Ayn (where tens of thousands of Armenians were massacred) and went south into the desert. Walked around the sand dunes unsure of what we were doing or looking for. Our friend Hrag Varjabedian asked in Arabic if there were still bones where we were. To bring to reality the mythic place where darkness had transpired in some sinister childhood story I was told. And I believe choosing love is always the better choice. This pain was tremendous, because it was the breakup of a family.I’m a first generation Armenian-American, born in Baltimore, Md., to parents from Aleppo. To eat peanut butter, and not zaater sandwiches for lunch. And from a young age, this mysticism pervaded my life as well. Truth has been something I have had to find on my own.I was raised in small Technicolor American towns in Alabama and Indiana with summers spent with my mother’s family in Syria. To go to arts and crafts camp on summer vacations, not the mountain resort in the tiny village of Areha in the province of Idlib, from where my maternal family’s livelihood stemmed. I heard the chattering of ghosts in the hallways of our Indiana home and was petrified by the Virgin Mary’s presence in my bedroom watching over me every night. It helped connect an introverted, taciturn child to the rest of the universe. Truth has been something that I haven’t taken for granted and left in the hands of others.That first call lasted two-and-a-half hours, and ended with the decision to visit her in Berkeley a few weeks later that June. My husband, Micheline, and an American filmmaker friend of ours who had been living in Turkey for 15 years. Went to Ani, Van, Akhtamar, Dogubeyazit (the foothills of Mt. I imagined Lucine walking those roads in this city on a hill.And it was there that we planned to go to Der Zor together. I found a stall where a local Turkish man was selling goods from 100 years ago—old metal bowls, hammam boxes—engraved in Armenian script with the rudimentary tools of a century ago.
There they were, after 92 years under the Mesopotamian sun. My trip coincided with the Golden Apricot Film Festival.
I geeked out on the Walt Whitman allusions in her novel and I told her that my grandfather was born in Kharpert, where Three Apples is set, and that his mother, Lucine, gave birth to him in 1915. It was after I convinced my boyfriend at the time to read the novel on the way back from the Cannes Film Festival where his film, “The Motorcycle Diaries,” had premiered.
I had finally read The God of Small Things by Arundati Roy, one of his favorite books, and it reminded me so much of Three Apples.
Whitepages, founded in 1997, helps you stay in contact with and verify the people in your world.
More than 50 million people per month use our free and premium people search engine and background reports to reconnect with friends and family, keep contacts up to date, and verify identities.I was speechless, thoughtless, and all I could do was walk. Looking at the earth beneath my feet and all the sorrow it held, all that it had accepted and given a final resting place to. Standing by a mound of dirt, I watched as she pulled a piece of an arm out of the side of a hill, and then I watched it crumble. I brought back bones, and my boyfriend still proposed to me. I also needed to pick up my recently granted Armenian citizenship. In my passion, I needed a partner to take this dream and turn it into a reality. In Buddhism, we talk of turning poison into medicine.