Apigian-Kessel: Mitch Kehetian’s Book and Other Items

Mitch Kehetian’s name is well known in Detroit and throughout Armenian Diasporan circles as the long-time editor of the Macomb Daily newspaper and a contributor to the Armenian Weekly. Now Kehetian, the newspaperman with ink in his blood, also has a book to his credit, Giants of the Earth, which recounts the persecution and struggle of the Armenian people.

Mitch is a first-generation success story. His family’s roots are in Keghi, in historic Armenia, the distant land of his ancestors that he visited on several occasions, one time in an effort to locate his father’s sister, Parantsem. “I want the third generation to know what really happened,” he said, referring to the Armenian Genocide. “And why the Armenians still seek justice.” A community book signing is eminent for this true son of Armenia who says his book is written newspaper-style in plain talk. Look for announcements. The book is published by Publish America and sells for $19.95. For more information, visit www.publishamerica.net/product88361.html

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Congratulations also to Hermine and Hovagim Manoogian—West Bloomfield residents and members of the St. Sarkis community—who proudly welcomed grandaughter Natali Karin Manoogian to their growing family in December 2009. Happy Grandpa Manoogian glowingly says, “Hye azku aghchig zavagov mun al pakhdavorvetsav.” His way of saying, the more Armenians born the better.

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Celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on Jan. 16, Steve and Anne Karadian were joined by daughters Stephanie Karadian and daughter Julie and hubby Raffi DerManuelian (and children, David, Christopher, and Emily) when a surprise limousine pulled up at their West Bloomfield home to whisk them all away to celebrate the auspicious occasion at the elegant Dearborn Inn.

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Congratulations also to Diane Haroutunian-Brus and son Armen on their new “baby” Danny Dublin, a soft-coated Wheaten Terrier born on Oct. 26, 2009. Danny Boy is one of the most darling pups you will ever see, the kind you want to pick up and just cuddle. His Mom says, “He has taken over the household in a great way. He loves to go for walks and chew! He amuses himself all day with his toys.” Diane and Armen are true animal lovers. Diane is also a Pampered Chef consultant and can adjust home parties for this popular concept to accommodate your schedule. Contact her by visiting [email protected].

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Rose Kehetian informs me how long before his passing, Vahan Mouradian was made an honorary member of the St. Sarkis Ladies Guild—by virtue volunteer driving four Allen Park ladies to meetings at the church for numerous years. She adds, “He helped at all the fundraising events and did everything all the other members did.” Mouradian was the tall, well-dressed gentleman everyone loved for his kind demeanor and pure Armenian soul. Daughter Alice and son George are his legacy to perpetuate his beloved Armenianism. Both are active in the St. Sarkis community of organizations.

Kehetian also tells of petite 95-year-old Ladies Guild member Keghouhie DerOvagimian, who is in church every Sunday where son Manoug has been the Deacon for many years. Her daughter is Lucy Gurganian. Rose says the elder DerOvagimian is a dynamo who does a lot at the Ladies Guild baking sessions and teases the younger women who take a sit-down rest with: “Inchou nsteres, yelir kordzeh.” She’s got a great sense of humor. “Only a Rose” also reminds the community that they are invited to attend the annual Lenten luncheon on March 10 in the church hall.

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This very interesting item was posted in the Dec. 31, 2009 Brantford Expositor newspaper by staff member Heather Ibbotson, as received from Brantford, Ontario friend Carl Georgian, son of one of the original Georgetown Boys. Bill Darfler, a local historical researcher, is seeking information to uncloak the mystery surrounding a 1914 roundup of Turkish Muslim foundry workers and their subsequent internment at a camp in remote Kapuskasing, Ontario. They are not to be confused with the many Armenians who also worked in Canadian foundries. Darfler has received a grant from the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund to study the experiences of ethno-cultural communities affected by Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914-20.

Apparently in Nov. 1914, 100 Turkish men were rounded up by city police and relocated. Those that had Canadian citizenship were stripped of it, and few records of them exist. Records of this time period were destroyed in the 1950’s. Many of these Turks, oddly enough, lived in Armenian-owned boarding houses.

I got in touch with Prof. Isabel Kaprielian Sullivan who grew up in nearby Hamilton and who wrote the book From These Mountains. Kaprielian Sullivan did extensive research for her book but she could not add light to the mystery. Ned Apigian volunteered that his uncle Mamigon Apigian—then a youth of only 14—entered one of those Turkish inhabited boarding houses and, according to reports, “contaminated the food source.” Mamigon Apigian’s parents and three young sisters were slaughtered by the Turks in Keghi. Yes, he was this author’s father.

If anyone has information about this roundup of Turkish foundry workers, please get in touch with me. Hopefully more on this later.

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Betty Apigian-Kessel

Betty (Serpouhie) Apigian Kessel was born in Pontiac, Mich. Together with her husband, Robert Kessel, she was the proprietor of Woodward Market in Pontiac and has two sons, Bradley and Brant Kessel. She belonged to the St. Sarkis Ladies Guild for 12 years, serving as secretary for many of those years. During the aftermath of the earthquake in Armenia in 1988, the Detroit community selected her to be the English-language secretary and she happily dedicated her efforts to help the earthquake victims. She has a column in the Armenian Weekly entitled “Michigan High Beat.”

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