2018 Toastmasters International Speech Contest Area and Division Competition, District 28
Dressed Armenian style belly dancing belt, wrist handkerchief
YEREVAN DARTZATS, IM EREBOONIE,
DOO MER NOR DAVIN, MER NOR ANI (1, YouTube)
This is the song about Armenia’s capital Yerevan which is compared to the 5th century kingdom fortress Ani. (2)
I am fond of my Armenians heritage. Armenia is in the Caucasus mountain region where Noah’s Arch landed on top of Mount Ararat. Also, Jesus’ disciples spread into this region after his death. They formed the Apostle church and Armenia became the first Christian nation in 301 After Death.
Ladies and gentlemen, I grew up in a very loving but confusing household. I am the daughter of an Armenian immigrant named Roupen from Baghdad who survived the killing of Christians in Turkey during WWI. My dad came to America in 1950 when he was 37. My dad was a pharmacist, a closet doctor, and my teacher of philosophy. Dad didn’t believe in God or Christ.
My mom Rose grew up in Detroit during the Great Depression. She was a character, funny and delightful. She was raised in the Catholic church, but she wasn’t practicing her faith. Mom was a closet Catholic, that means you’re Catholic when it suits you.
Growing up in Detroit in the 1960’s was confusing; I had an atheist father and a closet Catholic mother. However, I was raised with lots of love. We loved Food. We loved Singing and Dancing, and I loved my philosophy lessons from my dad.
Let’s start with the Food
Mom would make mouth-watering rice pilaf, chicken, and fresh carrots every Sunday. Her secret was collecting the chicken broth each week for next week’s pilaf. She also made fresh yogurt using last week’s yogurt and a gallon of whole milk. My dad was a happy camper.
My job was to make the salad as my dad grew the vegetables in his garden. He planted parsley, onions and tomatoes. Parsley was its own food group to my dad. We had parsley potato salad, Not my favorite.
I spent hours separating the weeds from the parsley. I lost myself in the calm of that garden. I still love the feeling of dirt on my hands. If I had been raised in Armenia, I might have lived on a vineyard picking grapes and breathing fresh air. Instead, I was raised in the Motor City breathing exhaust fumes and dancing to Michael Jackson. DANCE
We Also Loved to Sing and Dance
My parents introduced me to music. My mom played the piano and she had a record player for her 78s. My dad sang in the choir. When I was 3, I fell in love with Louie Armstrong and his trumpet. I got to play the trumpet in 3rd grade. I loved blowing into my mouth piece after dinner. My parents loved how I practiced that they made me change to the clarinet when we moved to the suburbs.
I dreamed of being a singer. John Denver was my favorites. ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH, COLORADO. I sang in the shower and had concerts with my car stereo. I tried to dance Armenian style, but I had two left feet.
I Loved Philosophy Lessons with My Dad
I grew up watching my dad fix toasters, modify lamps, and upholster furniture. Dad did his work in the garage. I would fetch his tools. I ran to the basement and back out to the garage. I watched him work and I could ask him any question that came to my mind. For example,
Linda: “Dad, should I get married??”
Dad: “Linda, if you are going to have children, you should get married”
Linda: “What if I don’t want children?”
Dad: “Oh, if you don’t want children, You don’t need to get married”
I confounded my dad when I lived with my boyfriend for 7 years. Dad did teach me how to think and be loving at the same time.
I had an unusual childhood, I was Armenian. My dad grew up in the middle east and distrusted religion.
Linda: “Dad, what about these stories about Jesus?”
Dad: “Religion just causes trouble, the stories about Jesus are made up”
Linda: “But Dad, he teaches to Love one another”
Dad: “Religion divides people, it is not good”
After many mistakes in my own life, I found God. I found the God of Love One Another. I was blessed to have a father, my dad, my Abba, who portrayed the God of Love even though he didn’t believe. He was thoughtful, gentle and kind. My dad was my teacher, and I learned how to Love Armenian Style.
(1) Yeravan Song words and music. Retrieved Feb 15, 2018 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbq66OCx8mE
(2) The city of Ani Turkey. Retrieved Feb 15, 2018 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ani
(c) Copyright 2020 Linda Iggy Dean. All Rights Reserved.