Annig Ergot Arslan was my maternal grandmother. She fled Turkey during World War I with her children and her husband. The youngest child and my grandfather died en route of cholera, a common disease among refugees.
In Armenian, grandmother is pronounced medz mairig. My brother couldn’t articulate medz mairig, so it came out “Memommy.” That became her forever name.
Despite her losses and struggles, she carried herself with dignity and made some of the most delicious delicacies I can remember. She would conjure up amazingly flavorful meals and desserts in her very small kitchen. She wore an apron as her perennial uniform. The only false step she made was making kooluch, a lamb’s head, right after President Kennedy’s assassination. That was a rough one.
When Memommy sat down to watch TV, her aproned lap was a magnet. I’m not sure it was a verbal invitation that took me there, but it was the safest place in the work as she stroked my hair.
Those moments of loving kindness shaped my heart. I used to associate that feeling with her, but now I know it is a universal feeling that comes from God through us into the world. I pray I can be transparent enough to provide some measure of that feeling to others as I walk the Earth.
With love, Rosanne