We left north Fresno and headed downtown, driving down Blackstone so that I could show D where the "George's II" once was. I'll always remember that version of the restaurant because its ladies' room still smelled like I remember ladies smelled in the early 1960s: cigarettes, liquor, and a singular perfume. It was at George's II that I learned where it came from: the women's restroom at George's II provided coin-operated perfume dispensers.
We aimed for the Metropolitan Museum on Stanislaus, but ended up turning left instead of right and found the Holy Trinity Church instead.
We didn't go inside the sanctuary because we thought maybe there was a rite or rehearsal taking place, but we did stay and look at what was in the vestibule, which contained a painting of the church 100 years ago:
and this painting of a religious leader...
...which was donated by this family.
Under the painting of the religious leader was a case of beautiful illuminated manuscripts...
...and this story of how an Armenian bible came to arrive at this church in Fresno.
In 1915 on their long road of deportation with many of their friends and neighbors, a young couple, Mr. and Mrs. Tabriz, came upon a marketplace where a Kurd is selling spices. He is tearing pages from and old Armenian bible to wrap his merchandise. Upon Mr. Tabriz's curious inquiry, the Kurd says that he saved several books from a burning Armenian Church in the valley. Mr. Tabriz buys the books from the Kurd and and later brings them to the United States.
Mr. and Mrs. Tabriz settle in Modesto, Californa. Despite the hardship of the depression days, even a handsome offer for the manuscript made by the University of California, Berkeley, does not convince them to part with the priceless book. The Tabriz feel that the book rightfully belongs in an Armenian church.
Fifty years later, Mr. Geroge Bozmagian of Fresno, who was a grocery store salesman in Modesto, happened to be outside the store and saw an old lady waiting for the bus in front of his story so she could take her groceries home. George takes a chance that she is Armenian and calls her "Mairig" (mother). The old woman is elated that she has met someone who is Armenian. George offers to take her home. At first, she is reluctant but upon his insistence, she agrees.
After he takes her groceries inside the lady's home, she asks him to sit and visit with her. Upon discovering more about George and who he is, she tells him that she has something of great value and had been wondering as to how to find a
rightful place for it. She asks him to contact the Holy Trinity Church paster to come and accept the manuscript as a donation. George contacs the Very Reverend
Bahram Yeghiayan of Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church in Fresno and this is how George Bozmagian is instrumental in Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church being the recipient of this valuable Armenian manuscript displayed in the case. We are grateful to Mr. George Bozmagian for his insight.
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