Richard Terzian, 1924–2015

2013.11.28 Richard Terzian at Thanksgiving

Peter’s father, Richard Terzian, died at home in Latham, New York, on Sunday, 18 January 2015, at age ninety. Born in Watervliet, New York, on 13 July 1924, he was a member of the Armenian American community and was given the baptismal name of Dicran. He grew up in Troy, where he remembered playing kick the can, kick the stick, baseball, and basketball in the streets. In 1942, during World War II, he left high school, where he had been studying electrical wiring, to work at the Watervliet Arsenal, and in March 1943 he enlisted in the U.S. Army. After training at Camp Upton, New York, and the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, he served in England, France, and Germany, assembling jeeps and driving trucks, until November 1945.

After finishing high school, in 1946, he attended the State University of New York’s College for Teachers at Albany, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1954 and a master’s of science in 1958. There he met Barbara Ann Mendoza, Peter’s mother, whom he married in 1959. Until 1981 he taught high school math and driver’s education in a number of Capital District school systems. He was an aficionado of the arts, especially the Impressionists, and loved golf and heated political discussions. He was a warm, sweet, generous man, and a great kidder.

There will be a wake at the Dufresne and Cavanaugh Funeral Home, 149 Old Loudon Road, Latham, NY 12110, on Thursday, January 22, from 5pm to 7pm, and a funeral mass at St. Peter’s Armenian Apostolic Church, 100 Troy Schenectady Road, Watervliet, NY 12189, on Friday, January 23, at 10:30am. If you’d like to make a donation in his name, please consider Community Hospice and the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.

1943 Richard Terzian in uniform with friends at mother's house. Front row: Ed Kazanjian, John Avakian, Richard Terzian. Back row: unknown, Ralph Vartigan, Charlie Partamian, John Jevanian

1945 Tom-Segreto, Noreen-Bayliss, Richard Terzian playing cards in England

1967 Barbara and Richard Terzian with Don Manuel Osorio

1968.08 Richard Terzian holding Peter

2006 Richard, Peter, and Barbara Terzian in Latham

2004.08.15 Richard Terzian holding Nina on the back porch

“Errori necessari” and other book news

This fall, my novel Necessary Errors will be published in Italian by 66th and 2nd. I’m afraid I can’t speak or read Italian myself, but to judge by the kind of questions she’s asked me, my translator, Federica Aceto, has done an incredibly thorough and careful job. She has even put together a Pinterest page of images that might illuminate scenes in the novel, shades of the extra-illustrations that I posted on this blog last fall. In conjunction with the release, I’ll be traveling to Italy in September to speak at Pordenone Legge, a book festival in a town near Venice, among other stops. If you happen to speak Italian and are interested, here are the Pordenone festival’s descriptions of my novel (“Jacob è a Praga per esplorare una nuova forma di libertà”) and of me.

In other news this summer, a blogger named Theobald wrote a thoughtful review of the book at a site called Loads of Learned Lumber. And a friend of mine from college, Richard Howells, now of King’s College London, wrote about the book for the Times Higher Education supplement.

A retrospective glance

The New Yorker, as you may have heard, has redesigned its website, and is making all articles published since 2007 free, for the summer, in hopes of addicting you as a reader. Once you’re hooked, they’ll winch up the drawbridge, and you’ll have to pay, pay, pay. But for the moment let’s not think about either the metaphor I just mixed or its consequences, shall we?

A self-publicist’s work is never done, and it seemed to behoove me to take advantage of the occasion. So I googled myself. It turns out that I’ve been writing for the New Yorker since 2005 and that ten articles of mine have appeared in the print magazine over the years. All seem to be on the free side of the paywall as of this writing (though a glitch appears to have put several of the early articles almost entirely into italics). Enjoy!

“Rail-Splitting,” 7 November 2005: Was Lincoln depressed? Was he a team player?
“The Terror Last Time,” 13 March 2006: How much evidence did you need to hang a terrorist in 1887?
“Surveillance Society,” 11 September 2006: In the 1930s, a group of British intellectuals tried to record the texture of everyday life
“Bad Precedent,” 29 January 2007: Andrew Jackson declares martial law
“There She Blew,” 23 July 2007: The history of whaling
“Twilight of the Books,” 24 December 2007: This is your brain on reading
“There Was Blood,” 19 January 2009: A fossil-fueled massacre
“Bootylicious,” 7 September 2009: The economics of piracy
“It Happened One Decade,” 21 September 2009: The books and movies that buoyed America during the Great Depression
“Tea and Antipathy,” 20 December 2010: Was the Tea Party such a good idea the first time around?
Unfortunate Events, 22 October 2012: What was the War of 1812 even about?
“Four Legs Good,” 28 October 2013: Jack London goes to the dogs
“The Red and the Scarlet,” 30 June 2014: Where the pursuit of experience took Stephen Crane