JAMAICA PLAIN, Mass. — It was a joyous occasion at the Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center when Anahid Khanbegian celebrated her 100th birthday on March 2. Surrounded by family members, staff, residents and friends, Khanbegian enjoyed the day’s festivities, which included flowers, decorations, homemade chocolate pudding, cakes, ice cream and gifts. But most of all, she beamed with happiness being with her family. Khanbegian was thrilled to have her son Dickran, daughter-in-law Sandra, her grandson Peter Khanbegian and his wife Kwan, her niece Linda and her husband Dennis Tarzian on hand for the festivities.
Born on March 2, 1923, in Portland, Maine, Anahid (Parnagian) Khanbegian was always an active, happy child. After graduating from high school, she met and married Hrayr (Harry) in 1946. They first lived in Brooklyn, NY and then relocated to Massachusetts, where they raised their son Dickran in Roslindale. Khanbegian spent 66 years in Roslindale, working as a hairdresser with her aunt Arousyag, her father Asadour and her uncle Dickran, both of whom were barbers at the family-owned Metropolitan Barbershop. The shop was located at the center of Metropolitan Avenue and Washington Street. Khanbegian also worked for McGraw Hill/Dodge Reports as a researcher and at Diane’s Bakery in Roslindale Square. It was at the bakery that Diane developed her legendary sweet tooth! Family was always important to Khanbegian; she made it a priority to take good care of her mother and her father throughout their lives.
A resident at the Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (ANRC) for the past three years, Khanbegian is a favorite among both residents and staff members. ANRC activities director Salpy Yeterian noted that Khanbegian has not slowed down at all, even at 100 years of age. “Anahid never misses the daily activities,” remarked Yeterian. “Her favorites are trivia, bingo, religious services and Resident’s Council. Musical activities, however, top the list. If there’s any kind of music playing, you can be assured Anahid will be there, swaying to the melodies. She loves music.”
Khanbegian is very proud of her Armenian heritage, praying in Armenian, listening to Armenian music and savoring the traditional foods. She also loves chocolate and can often be found snacking on Hershey’s Kisses, chocolate ice cream or chocolate pudding.
Life at the ANRC provides Khanbegian with socialization and support. She is beloved by residents and staff alike. “We appreciate all the staff does to elevate the care and maintenance of the Armenian Home for the elderly,” said Linda Tarzian.
Yeterian explained Khanbegian’s personality best. “Anahid is always cheerful and friendly. In fact, her favorite term of endearment is ‘honey.’ Every morning, I end morning announcements by saying ‘Have a nice day and God bless you.’ Anahid never fails to respond first, always with, ‘God bless you too, honey.’” For Yeterian, it’s a wonderful way to start each day!