Some months ago, I wrote the entry, “Wife Training,” and posted it on January 30, 2017. In that post, I compared my own training to that of the typical Armenian girl in Ottoman Turkey. Today’s excerpt from my historical fiction gives voice to Annie’s concerns for her training for the future–as a wife.
While Annie shares a meal with her family, she thinks, How had my Mayrig become such a fabulous cook? Had her mother-in-law even had time to teach her?
Uncle Dikran’s stories of our family’s losses echoed in my mind. A mob of local Turks killed our grandparents and an uncle twenty years ago. At about the same time, a band of Hamidiye, Kurdish militia men, kidnapped my hyrig’s and uncle’s older sister when she was only seven years old. The family never did learn what happened to her.
When I was little, I’d wondered why other children had grandparents and we didn’t. I’d made myself believe that some disease had claimed them. Hearing how ours had died shocked and saddened me. As I remembered my uncle’s story, I thought, He never told me why the Turks and Kurds attacked our family. Perhaps he doesn’t know.
Reaching under my caftan to touch the envelope in my pocket, I couldn’t help wondering. Is this letter about a potential mother-in-law? When it’s time for me to marry, I’ll learn how to cook from my husband’s mother. That’s been our custom for centuries. Will I be learning from someone in America?
I finished making coffee and served it to Hyrig, Taniel, and Levon in the sitting room. “Your cousin in America wrote.” Placing the letter in my hyrig’s lap, I left the room.’
Little does Annie know how much that letter will change her life–and actually give her hope for a future. Unlike the rest of her family. The cataclysmic spring and summer of 1915 is not many months hence.