Elsie Jenanyan was my grandmother. I never had the chance to meet her because she died before I was born.
Melkon Jenanyan, the main character in Reclaiming Konia, was her father, my great grandfather.
My Uncle Bill and Auntie Rose both never married and lived together in Eagle Rock, CA. They became just like our grandparents since both parents on my father's side passed away at very young ages.
Melkon was adamant about leaving the old world behind, so even though he wrote sermons in Turkish and Armenian, he refused to teach his children either language. My Uncle Bill would say a word followed by "I don't even know if that is Turkish or Armenian."
Growing up, we did eat lahmajoun (dough covered with minced meat) and kofta balls (bulgur wheat filled with ground beef). I have personally handmade sarma (stuffed grape leaves) with my father.
Author of Reclaiming Konia
From left to right: Semma, Alfred, Paul, Helene, Bill, Rose, Melkon and Elsie
Melkon and Semma holding their grandson, my father, Donald.