Levon's grandchildren Silvina and Adriana play with two other children in their garden in Claypole
When the last ingredient goes into the pot of sarma, a traditional Armenian dish made of ground meat, Silvina shouts in excitement: “Mommy, look, the chopped-down tree is blooming again.” The women gather at the once-lush pomegranate tree. Elena had chopped down the second pomegranate tree to make more room in the yard. To the astonishment of the entire family, the trunk produced new flowering shoots after a few months.
Levon had planted the pomegranate trees in the yard years ago as a token of his gratitude.
With grazes all over his legs and arms he dare not budge for three days, feeding on the tree’s fruit, until the search for him is abandoned.
Le Rue Du Cherche Midi
In 1927 he meets a beautiful girl from Sebastia (Sivas, Central Turkey). Aghavni’s father, a smith, was murdered prior to 1915. She, her mother and her three siblings were sent into the desert. Aghavni Tengerian and her sister were the only ones to survive the death march. She watched her mother and her younger siblings die of exhaustion, thirst and starvation.
Aghavni might have suffered the same fate if a Turkish family hadn’t taken her in. As a maid she had lots of work to do, but also a roof over her head. At that time she acquired a habit she kept all her life: in order to remember who she was, she would write her name and origin on small pieces of paper, roll them up and hide them in order to read them the next day.
In 1919 – large-scale death marches and World War I had ended – relief organizations launched a search for Christian orphans, among them children who had been taken in by Muslim families. Thanks to Aghavni’s ingenious method of protecting her identity she was found in an orphanage in the Lebanese capital of Beirut by her uncle, who had immigrated to Boston before the turn of the century. Like her sister Shnorhig, who had been taken in by a Kurdish family, Aghavni was to travel to Boston via Paris, but her journey ended right there. She met Levon and married him later the same year. In 1929 they had their first child they named Anahid.
Levon's wife Aghavni with children Anahid and Juansmaller