I remember Artin el-Khal and how he used to take bottles, clean them up, and put sand and wooden crosses inside, creating beautiful pieces of art. And who can deny it? He and his wife, Anna el-der dereh, made the best "basterma" and "sujok" in Jerusalem. And we never worried about the garlic or the smell of the garlic! Reading the pages of the website brough up one memory that had been locked up for over 40 years. This was 1967, during the Six Day War. The Kankachian, Toumayan, Hovagimian and Ra'i families had been by Artin el- khal to go downstairs to seek shelter from the war. Whenever we heard an explosion, Artin, who had a wonderful sense of humor, would turn to us and comment: "They've hunted another rabbit." After a couple of days, we heard some commotion outside and my father crept up the stairs and peeped through the curtains of the window, across at the Agoump. He was well hidden: because of the plants in the window, no one could see him. He saw Jewish soldiers calling on people to put up a white flag, as a sign of surrender. All my father could find was one of my youngest sister's white cloth diapers. So, he hung it on the window, and ran back to the room. He told us what he had done. Just then, we heard loud banging on Artin's door. Without wasting a second, Artin picked up what looked like a machette, began sharpening it [I think it was a cleaver which he used to cut up the meat for the "basterma" and "sujok", and ordered us girls - there were seven of us there - to get under the bed. He covered us with a blanket and told us to be quiet and pretend to be playing hide and seek. He then stood behind the door and told the men around him, "I will not allow any soldier to touch those young girls - over my dead body." The soldiers were again shouting: so Artin crept up the stairs and found a sheet which he hung outside the window. I have never told this story to anyone else. But the story does not end there. One Armenian family living close to "Haqouret el bashashteh" could find nothing more suitable than some old underwear to use as a white flag. It did not amuse the soldiers: they considered it an insult and kept screaming at the family to take it down! Easter in Jerusalem used to keep the children busy, boiling eggs and coloring them, our favorite color the ones yielded by onion skins which are boiled along with the eggs. The eggs were handed out to the children who delighted in cracking them against one another. You held the egg with the four fingers of your right hand, showing just the tip of the sharp edge. Your competitor did the same, then whoever's turn it was, would peck at the other's egg. And whoever cracked the other's egg, won. But if your egg cracked, you got another go, by reversing it in your hand, and trying to crack your opponent's with the other end. But Easter was more than eggs. The kaghakatzis baked "ka'ek" and "ma'moul," pastries filled with dates and crushed walnuts, and sprinkled with sugar. The tradition was apparently a carryover from the Armenians' pagan past when our people were animists, worshipping nature and all its manifestations, particularly the sun and fire. The Armenians of Jerusalem would celebrate ate arrival of spring by baking the "ka'ek" which represented the sun while the "ma'moul" represented fire. Later, with the advent of Christianity, "ka'ek" came to represent the crown of thorns placed on the head of Jesus, and "ma'moul" the water and vinegar the Roman soldiers gave him to drink. The girls used to go to the empty lot in the Armenian Quarter called Hakourt El Bashashteh to collect square stones for the game which sometimes lasted for hours. It was only a few meters away from where we all lived, but our parents did not look favorably on us playing in the streets. There would be five stones. We would throw one in the air, then pick one from the ground, quickly followed by another, trying to juggle the five, in one manouever which looked complicated but was actually quite easy. When there were boys around, we used to play the "tin game", which posed some problems because it was hard to find an empty or discarded tin: people had not yet got used to eating food from tins. The game started with someone volunteering to lead. He or she would throw the tin as far as he/she could, and the other players would seize the opportunity to find a hiding place. Sometimes, we would sneak into a nearby house. No one had locks on their front doors in those days. The leader had the task of locating us. If he or she succeeded to find one of us, he/she would run to the tin and click it: then the "loser" would take on the job of detective. During a break in the game, we would chat and gossip and exchange jokes, and make fun of the passersby. One of us would be standing guard to watch out for the approach of a parent. If one was sighted, his or her child would scamper home at once before being caught out and given a tongue-lashing. With so many fruit trees in the neighborhood, bearing all those succulent trees, we had a whale of a time raiding the orchards and picking grapes, pomegrenates, berries. If the branches were too high to reach, we used a fireman's lift to hoist one of us up. One game we were absolutely forbidden to attempt was playing cards. But we circumvented that ruling: we would climb up a water pipe and meet at the top of the roof of one of the houses in the neighboorhood. Once the game was over, we would hide the cards behind a tile or stone.