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Write Your Story…Cuyahoga

Cuyahoga

Bruce Haase

This is a second draft of a chapter of the fictional ‘faux-auto-biographical’ novel that I’m writing. It’s the story of two boys and a girl, born on the East side in Cleveland, Ohio in November 1943, and goes to the summer of 1959… “Cuyahoga” is the County that Cleveland is in.

June 2018

* * *

Mrs. Hagopian’s Goat

In the early hours of a still frigid April 1956 day, twelve year old Charlie did his now daily charitable task. He had discovered that the Hagopian Family (who weren’t his newspaper customers) had a young goat in their garage. Charlie was captivated by the goat, plus he was feeling sorry for the poor thing, living in a 50 year old, unheated garage with a non-running, spider infested, ’36 Ford. Since Charlie fancied himself a decent, and possibly heroic young man, after his route, at 6:30, he’d walk past the st

ill sleeping house and carefully open the garage’s side door to pet and feed a snack to Gary the goat. Actually the goat was unnamed, only Charlie seemed to care enough about Gary to name him and pet him. Charlie didn’t know if Gary was a boy goat. Maybe he should have named her Gretchen.

By Easter Sunday, the weather was better and Gary was on a chain in the back yard, the weeds were chomped short and Gary was pretty plump. Gary or Gretchen liked the morning treat and rub down, he or she knew that Charlie was due and was pulling the chain taut, eager for his upcoming visitor.

The Saturday following Easter, Gary wasn’t there. Mrs. Hagopian saw Charlie and came out. She told Carlie that the goat had been slaughtered and was being prepared at the Armenian Butcher shop for a Madagh feast to be held at the Armenian/American Social Hall the next day. She invited Charlie to come and join in the festivities.

In a most unheroic manner Charlie shook his head and ran away. He was horrified, the Armenians were cannibals and had killed Gary and were going to devour him, probably raw.

When Charlie calmed down, his natural curiosity took over. At the library in the following month, Charlie learned a lot about traditions, prejudice, Armenia, Genocide, independence, immigration, Greece, Turkey and more. One afternoon he went to the Hagopian house and apologized to Mrs. Hagopian for his rude behavior in running away from her invitation. She explained about the goat, why, from the day that they had bought him, they had never named him or made a pet of him, his existence to them was to be a sacrifice, that’s all. Next year it would be another families job to raise a goat or a lamb for the Madagh feast.

She invited Charlie to come to supper that evening, he accepted. At 5:30 Mr. Hagopian and two adult sons sat down with Charlie, they nodded to him. Mrs. Hagopian served from the stove, she flitted about, and didn’t sit down. Like a mother robin she made sure the chicks were fed. There was no conversation, a few grunts, a belch or two, some slurping, then a final wiping the plate with a piece of Wonder bread and chairs squeaking back, and the three men went to the living room TV for a beer, the sports report and a game show.

Charlie helped Mrs. Hagopian clear the table, then she dished up her food and sat down to eat. Charlie sat with her and they talked. He asked her about a “Madagh”. She told him it was a commemoration for the million and a half victims of “The Genocide”. She told him of Armenia, of the Armenia that she remembered as a girl, she told of moving to Ottoman Turkey when she was ten, of the Genocide of the Armenian people that started when she was twelve. She told of camps, refugees, walking, hiding, hunger, finally stowing-away aboard a ship to Portugal. Of her older girl cousin, named Lusine (meaning mysterious), somehow obtaining legal passage for them to Boston. Them being sent to Cleveland to be live-in servants to a rich Croatian family on the east side, near Shaker Heights, being set-up at eighteen to marry Mister Hagopian, a man 21 years older then herself. A man that she barely knew. She told Charlie of teaching herself to read English from the newspapers, of the four children that she bore and raised for Mr. Hagopian. She told of the two oldest, both daughters. How each were married when they were eighteen. How each married boys that they knew and chose for themselves. How happy her girls were to drop the name Hagopian, and move to the West Coast and a new way of life, near the clean, white California sands.

Charlie helped her wash and dry the dishes, he told her how much her liked her cooking. In the background, the television set quietly murmured, the three men snored, probably not dreaming about their brutal steel mill jobs. Mrs. Hagopian tousled Charlies hair, and told him, “you good boy to listen to old woman’s stories.”

She left the kitchen and came back with a small shoe box, covered in Christmas wrapping and decorated with ribbons. Carefully she opened it and took out a colorful silk and cotton wrapped treasure. It was a cheap child’s toy tea cup, broken, chipped, and carefully glued. It was her sole possession for her girlhood in Armenia, before they moved to Turkey. It was priceless to her, she cradled it then gently kissed the cup, she told of her father and mother and brother and sisters, her five family members of whom she knew nothing since 1916.

Eyes closed, she tightly held her cup, and told of herself as a 9 year old girl, the youngest in a healthy, and happy young family. They were picnicking in a meadow, under an Ash tree, laughing and sipping pomegranate juice from the child’s tea set. That picnic was during the good days, safe, under a clean Armenian sky, with puffy pure white clouds, the scents of flowers and spices in the air, song birds singing joyously. She clutched her little cup to her chest, her eyes were closed. Her cheeks were damp.

Charlie quietly let himself out of the kitchen door, dusk was sneaking up. He looked at the goat’s chain hanging from a nail on the old garage. Weeds in the small, un-landscaped back yard were reappearing, there was no goat to stop them.

Walking home Charlie thought about the refugees, immigrants, non-english speakers. Brave people, seeking freedom and safety, coming to a strange, and foreign new country. His four grandparents had all done that, the three that he had so fleetingly known were gone now, he had never heard their stories about their lives in the old country.

Four grandparents, all dead and no one to tell their stories. Someone should have written them down. Maybe someone should write down Mrs. Hagopian’s stories. Maybe he should help her do that this summer.

Charlie thought, from now on, maybe he wouldn’t make fun of immigrants and their funny clothes, their funny accents, their odd ideas, foods, and traditions. Maybe sacrificing a goat or lamb once a year is very meaningful to them. Maybe we shouldn’t judge them too quickly.

Charlie made a vow to buy Mrs. Hagopian a pomegranate or two at the fruit stand when they come in season….

When he got back to Villa Beach, he sat on his bench, overlooking his now dark great lake, a few night birds were singing, maybe singing the songs of their grandparents.

Write Your Story @ Union City Library

Join our library group, for an   informal gathering of aspiring writers of all types of genres. Your writing can be memoirs, creative non-fiction, poetry, song lyrics, science fiction, plays,essays, you name it!  We just want to hear what you have written and support each other as we grow as writers.

Third Tuesday of the Month:  July  17 ,   August 21 , and September 18  .                            1 p.m. — 3 p.m.

 

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Eat What You Grow…Gardening Series @ Union City Library

Gardening workshops with Lori Caldwell

Wednesdays, June 13, June 27, and July 11—4:30 to 6:30 P.m.

Learn how easy and fun gardening can be!

Join Bay-Friendly Landscape Professional & Garden Educator Lori Caldwell to learn the basics to be a successful gardener. She will be present three workshops this summer.

 

Eat What You Grow

Wednesday June 13

There is nothing more satisfying than eating food from your own garden. Topics such as: crop rotation, seeds vs, starts, soil fertility, and plant succession, transplanting, seedlings, watering, irrigation and the best crops for your garden. Emphasis on re-use able materials will also be discussed.

Big Gardens in Small Spaces:

Adventures of container Gardening June 27

This class is geared toward people who don’t have a lot of space and want to grow their own food. Topics such as maintaining soil fertility, best plants for container gardens & crop rotation will be covered. Growing in containers is a great way to start a garden or add-on to maximize your already existing garden possibilities!!

Gardening All Year:

Prepping Your Garden for Fall Wednesday July 11

One of the many benefits of our climate is being able to garden year-round!!

Fall/Winter is still a great time to garden. This class will go over some great techniques on how to transition to your Fall garden:  cool-weather, edible crops, starting seeds, crop rotation, sheet mulching & planting natives.

  Lori‘s Blog: 

Facebook Page: CompostGal: Consulting, Landscaping & Education

There are more than 500 titles in the Library collection under the subject gardening. check it out!

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Nowruz 2018 @ Union City Library in Pictures

Shahrzad Dance Company presened an engaging and educational program on Persian Dance, Elegant and flowing, yet rhythmic and inspiring, this visual journey showed the unique body positions, angles, and dynamics that are intrinsic to Persian aesthetics.  A brief informative lecture and audience participation were included.

 

Amir School of Music performed using three traditional instruments , Daf, Ney, and Santur .

Naghmeh Danishmand, a library member , as well an Miniaturist Painter was present to talk to public about Persian art ,She displayed her works and other artists. She also kindly served tea and Persian pastry after the program

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Nowruz Celebration 2018 @ the Union City Library

Nowruz Celebration @ Union City Library

Saturday March 3, 2018

3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Nowruz celebration with a dance performance by the Shahrzad Dance Academy, and Persian Music by the Amir School of Music.

Nowruz is celebration of  the New Year

(spring equinox) in Afghanistan, Iran

and Tajikistan.

Shahrzad Dance Company is proud to present an engaging and educational program on Persian Dance, an ancient art form shrouded in mystery!  Elegant and flowing, yet rhythmic and inspiring, this visual journey will showcase the unique body positions, angles, and dynamics that are intrinsic to Persian aesthetics.  A brief informative lecture and audience participation are included.  Created by world-renown choreographer and author of the ground-breaking book The Art of Persian Dance, this program features the exquisite choreographic art of Shahrzad Khorsandi.

 

 

This event is part of a series of 300 free Art IS Education events for youth and families presented by Alameda County Library in partnership with the Alameda County Arts Commission and the Alameda County Office of Education to celebrate arts education and creativity.

All Library programs are free! No reservations are required.

 

The Union City Library is a branch of the Alameda County Library system located at 34007 Alvarado-Niles Road, and is wheelchair accessible.

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Book Club @ Union City Library

“took a deep breath, tasting dust and eucalyptus, and moved past the smeary lights of the veranda. In the small park across the road, smooth clay had been spread like a dusting of confectioners’ sugar,”
― Paula McLainCircling the Sun

“Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal bestseller The Paris Wife, now returns with her keenly anticipated new novel, transporting readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun brings to life a fearless and captivating woman–Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, author of the classic memoir Out of Africa. Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships. Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But it’s the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly. Set against the majestic landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, McLain’s powerful tale reveals the extraordinary adventures of a woman before her time, the exhilaration of freedom and its cost, and the tenacity of the human spirit. ”

Chicago Sun-Times”–Provided by publisher

The Book Club at the Union City Library will be discussing this book on Tuesday November 7, 2017 –1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

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Asian Art Museum Multimedia Presentation @ Union City Library

The Silk Road: Globalization in the Ancient World

Sunday October 8, 2017

at 3 P.M.

Please join us for a multimedia talk  by Asian Art Museum.

Before jet planes and smartphones, merchants and pilgrims spent months traveling over perilous land and sea routes to carry luxury goods and new ideas thousands of miles across lost civilizations. Accompany the travelers over high mountain passes and parched deserts on their voyages of discovery and exchange.

To read more on this subject, check the catalog: here

 

 

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Winning Resume Workshop

JOB SEARCH WORKSHOPS @ THE UNION CITY LIBRARY

Winning Resume

What makes a good resume

Tuesday August 8, 2017

 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.

       Presented by the Tri-cities One-Stop Career Center 

For more information contact:  (510) 745-1464

for materials on resume writing check here

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