Shakeh's Story

In 1896, when Shakeh Y. Hodelian was born in Aleppo, Syria–then part of the Ottoman Empire-- a man by the name of Melkon Kazandjian made a copper water jug which he gave to Shakeh’s parents as a gift for the child’s baptism which had taken place on February 1, 1897. Years passed and Shakeh moved to Egypt with her family.

Later, somehow, the 4-inch high water jug disappeared from the household belongings. Shakeh grew up, got married and had a child whom she named Yervant. Yervant grew up, got married and had two children of his own.

Sometime around 1962--sixty-six years after Shakeh’s birth--an old Armenian woman, named Karzouhi Markarian, knocked on Yervant’s door in great excitement: ‘’I think this belongs to your mother,’’ she said, holding up the missing copper water jug; she had found it, she said, at a metal refinery and had noticed Shakeh’s name on it. By this time, Shakeh had already passed away.

In 1967, Yervant’s family moved to Canada, bringing with them--among a myriad of personal possessions—Shakeh’s water jug. Yervant passed on the jug to his older son, Vrej-Armen who, in his turn, got married and had two girls. I am one of those girls, and if I don’t get married soon, I will have to hand over the jug to my sister who already has two daughters.

Hopefully, this typically Diasporan story will open the doors to other stories of other objects that will resurface from oblivion and, together, will fill this new virtual museum.

Araz Artinian
Creator of 20 Voices

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Close-Up View

My grandfather and my great grandmother
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