BY ARMEN BACON
When anyone or anything turns 100-years-old, it seems only right that there should be a party or celebration. So when Fresno’s “red brick church,” Holy “T” as so many of us call it, sent out invitations marking the hundredth anniversary of its sanctuary, Armenians everywhere took note.
RSVP-ing with delight, we inked the date on calendars and combed closets for our Sunday best (black tie optional) attire. Knowing right then and there blinding sequins and glitter would fill the room, I told my mother we’d pull out all the stops and that she should get out her mauve, lacey dress – the one she wore to my daughter’s wedding.
As for me, filling out the response card and sending in our reservation was simply a formality triggering the arrival of countless, childhood memories – each an appetizer to an evening I knew would bring the past into present.
What was it, I wondered, about the church? Was it the billowing incense, a scent so strong and sacred it often transported me to another world? Was it the hymns I listened to while secretly watching my grandmother drop to her knees and weep in sorrow? Her family had been sacrificed in the Genocide and although she never spoke a word of it to any of us, she carried the weight of her grief into every moment of her life.