Hye Thyme Cafe: Finish the Sentence Friday: "If I could go back in time ..."

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)


Friday, April 11, 2014

Finish the Sentence Friday: "If I could go back in time ..."



When I first read this week's Finish the Sentence Friday prompt of "If I could go back in time...," my mind wandered to those classic philosophical "if you could change one thing" scenarios, like going back and:

  • Killing Hitler to prevent the Holocaust
  • Stopping the assassinations of JFK and/or MLK Jr.
  • Scoping out the winning numbers for that recent $400M+ MegaMillions Jackpot
  • Killing Mehmed Talaat Pasha to prevent the Armenian Genocide
That last one in particular is the ultimate paradox.  Had the genocide not taken place, my grandparents would not have met and married, so my mother would never been born, and neither would I ... meaning I wouldn't exist in the future to be able to return to the past to prevent it ...  

Soooo, I decided to think about it on a smaller scale.  There are a few things in my own life I'd like to "do over," but for some reason, there is one thing that comes up time and time again.  It seems like a silly desire in the grand scheme of things, but what can I say?

It goes back to when I was in the sixth grade.  I had to conduct an interview of someone for a school assignment and chose my maternal grandfather.  I can see it as clear as day - I borrowed my sister's cassette tape recorder and brought my grandfather downstairs to the play room, where we wouldn't be disturbed.  (I'm laughing as I visualize this because at the time, we had some modern furniture in the house - a smoked glass pedestal kitchen table with acrylic bucket swivel seats, white leather and chrome recliners, etc. - he was sitting in one of the recliners, looking like he really didn't belong there.)  He was sitting in the recliner, and I was on the floor next to him, asking questions about his childhood.

That was the first and last time anyone ever heard "his story."   Being 12 at the time, I was more interested in completing my homework than paying attention to the history being shared with me.  He died the next year.  To this day, the only thing I remember about that conversation was him telling me about his mother giving up his baby sister to a local priest in hopes of saving her at the onset of the genocide.  I don't even recall the circumstances of that transaction, just the fact of it.  I can't be sure whether it was a matter of turning in the tape at school and not getting it back, or whether I got it back and recorded something over it, not realizing its importance at the time.  Either way, no longer having that tape, and not having paid closer attention at the time, gnaws on me to this day.

There is no one left to tell the tale.  No more survivors, and no way to go back and find the information.  Heck, we can't even figure out his father's name to just "attempt" research into his past.  As for his sister, that's something else that pulls at me from time to time.  Did she survive?  Did she spend her life in that part of the world or end up elsewhere?  Did she know about her brother?  Was the sent to the states?  If so, for all we know, she could have been our next-door neighbor at some point.  I can only imagine these thoughts are like someone who finds out that they were adopted and wonders about their "natural" family.

So, of all the things I could go back in time to do, that's the one I would choose ... to spend that hour again with my Grampy and hang onto that tape for dear life!





The first two deaths I experienced in life - my Grampy and my dog Duke.  :(


 Ironically, kinda looks like I'm pushing buttons on a tape recorder (X-Mass Morning).


Playing Tavlu (backgammon) with my Grampy in his breakfast nook.  Must have been a week when he burned the Syrian bread and set the toaster on fire ... there should be a toaster oven under the window.

What would you go back and change given the opportunity?



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Feel free to share in the comments below, on Facebook or Twitter using hashtag #FTSF, or if you're a blogger, link up with one of the host blogs:

Stephanie ~ http://www.stephaniesprenger.com
Kristi - http://www.findingninee.com/

This week's co-host:
Jennifer - http://reallifeparentingblog.com/




There will be no FTSF next week.






25 comments:

  1. Wow. What a great story. I'd go back in time to hear your grandpa's story as well. I too would like to prevent all those larger scale things from happening but I think we should start closer to home.

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    1. It can make you crazy thinking about things like that ... imagine someone had gone back in time to stop Hitler. Think about all the inventions and important things that have been done by people who wouldn't have been born had the holocaust not happen. Weird!

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  2. If only we'd listen to our elders more. My own grandparents died pretty young, except for one grandma. I wish I'd have spent more time talking to my wife's grandpa. What an interesting man, but I never knew it until I saw a posterboard at his funeral with some of his stories attached.

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    1. That's like my father's mother - I was at an age where hanging with old people wasn't on my program. She lived to 108. That's not all that uncommon but for the specific years she lived ... late 1800s through the 1900s into the 2000s, so she lived in not only three different centuries, but two different millenia! That's gotta be pretty rare! Just imagine all the things she saw/lived through in all that time.

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  3. Chris, I really envy you that you did interview your grandfather.
    I miss my own terribly and really wish I would have interviewed him, even just to hear his voice again and having some of his life documented would be the total icing on the cake. I am tearing up now and seriously totally get it and then some.

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    1. Awww, speaking of "hearing his voice" again ... I actually found an old micro-cassette from an old answering machine with my Dad's voice on it! I was thrilled about that! Now if only he was laughing on the message ... he had quite the belly laugh! :)

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  4. I have similar feelings like this. I remember only once or twice talking with my Nana and Papa about their childhood. It was pretty amazing thinking about how different it was. I really wish I had talked with them more about it. And I wish I had written things down because so many details are foggy now.

    This was a great post. I loved reading it.

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    1. Family recipes are another one - wish I had either watched and taken notes or gotten more of them translated from Armenian to English!

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  5. I wish I had talked to my grandparents more about their past too, Chris. So many stories forgotten. My father's parents died before I was born, and I would love to spend just one day with them. We named our daughter after my maternal grandmother; I often think about how much she would have loved her great-grandchildren. Ok, starting to cry now - no more for me! Great post, Chris.

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    1. Awwww :( Like you, I never met my Dad's Dad. I understand he was quite a guy. Would also love to have a day to spend with him.

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  6. I so feel your pain about this Chris! I remember one time, my grandma told me all of these stories about trying to catch a chicken for dinner and other amazing glimpses into her life, but at the time, I was hung up on "wait, you had to kill the chickens?" to really appreciate the amazing stories for what they were.
    I so hope that you can find your grandfather's father's name to get to learn some more stories.
    I could really relate to wondering what happened to his sister, too. I was adopted and used to look for people who look like me everywhere when I was younger (I did eventually meet my bio mom and 1/2 bio sister which was amazing and they never were my next door neighbors, although a bio aunt lived about 1 1/2 hour from where I grew up).
    Great post, Chris.

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    1. Sadly, there's no way to find out his father's name. Even my grandmother didn't know it. When he came to this country as a young boy, it was with his mother and step-father. Between his age, records being destroyed, etc., nobody knows. :( As for the chicken, that reminded me of my Dad being in a store one time and dropping a frozen chicken - leaned over to pick it up and kicked it by mistake. Kept doing that, chasing it all around the store. I can soooooooooooo picture him doing that lol. It totally freaks me out when you hear about adopted kids being friends with their siblings, etc. Wouldn't want to end up dating my bio-brother by mistake!! I'm all for open adoption whenever possible.

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  7. That was some story! I totally agree with your choice of what you would do if you could go back in time. It makes a lot of sense. One of my top favorite books of all times was written by Demos Shakarian, an Armenian Christian. The book is called, The Happiest People on Earth. Wishing you a great weekend! Tina from Amanda's Books and More

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    1. Hmmm, I'll have to check out that book. :)

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    2. By the way, Armenia was actually the first nation to accept Christianity (not that I'm religious myself), so no need to specify Armenian Christian. Maybe if something other than ... ;)

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  8. Now that's a great "wish I could go back and change ..." example. What a gem your grandfather was - I well understand your ache to speak with him one more time.
    Got me thinking about my grandad. The one who died before I was born. If I could go back in time I'd just love to sit and listen to him.

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    1. I have so many photographs and have heard so many stories about my paternal grandfather, I feel like I should have memories of my own with him, but he was gone before I came into the picture. :(

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  9. If only we truly knew. I too would love to go back and talk to my grandmother and listen to her stories. I am sure that she tried to tell me them, but I wasn't interested. I guess the lesson we can learn is to make sure that we tell our stories and the stories of those who aren't here to tell them anymore.
    Thanks for sharing. I loved looking at the pictures!

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    1. Those were the only shots I could find of just the two of us - I try not to post pics of other people without their permission. I guess I'm lucky to find ANY, but I wish there were more ... or at least better/clearer...

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  10. Oh wow, that is an amazing story! I love that you chose that moment to return to and shared that with us. I can understand how much you wish you knew more details- what a mystery and tragic story. I remember interviewing my grandparents for a project in high school- I wish I'd recorded that and kept it, too.

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  11. Oh yes I so get that! My great grandmother and her sister we full of stories but I didn't pay attention when they reminisced. I did retain one story not fully sure of the details. But she told me how after slavery ended her family moved on foot from Virginia to Pennsylvania with just the clothes on their backs and a mule that the children took turns riding. I wish I had asked more questions.

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    1. Isn't it crazy to imagine them going through things like that?!? Mine were marched through the dessert like cattle. I have some short stories/writings by a few on my maternal grandmother's side of the family, but nothing on my maternal grandfather's side. My grandmother and one of her brothers actually ended up in orphanages for a while there. Things were so tough at the time, my grandmother actually remembers that as the happiest time of her childhood. How said is that?!? :(

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  12. I'm sure that I'd want to mess with history's big stories - so many ramifications! Wanting to go back and tell your younger self to listen more? Yes! There is so much that I don't know about my family history and wish that I knew more.

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  13. That should read "I'm NOT sure that….." oops!

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    1. I know ... it would be VERY tempting, but too much could go wrong if you tried to change something. Might end up worse - like that Ashton Kutcher movie The Butterly Effect.

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