THRIVE is an AIWA-SF April project dedicated to highlighting Armenians who are doing amazing things in their personal and professional lives to better themselves and those around them. These individuals are inspiring, dynamic, innovative and interesting. Today, we feature Lucy Mirigian.
Lucy Mirigian lives in San Francisco. She was born in Keghee, (Erzeroom) in 1906.
She has a daughter, Sonia Mirigian Koujakian who is married to Jack Koujakian and a son Garo Mirigian who is married to Aida Mirigian. She also has two grand-daughters and two great grandkids.
Although she still has a sharp mind, and physically healthy, she is going blind. She also is losing her hearing.
According to the Social Security Administration, she’s the only centenarian plus living in a family environment. This is remarkable; it is a testament to the family-first mentality the Armenian culture embodies. She’s also the oldest Armenian in California.
She thanked AIWA-SF for, “putting me on the spot and asking me questions about my life.”‘
April 24, is a day to honor the over 1.5 million Armenians who survived the Armenian Genocide. It is a day where we bind together to honor our shared history, remembering that we not only survive but we thrive. Despite the circumstance we are resilient. The importance of coming together is even more critical in today’s interconnected and interdependent world. As we globally experience the pandemic as a shared human experience we remember that we are all in this together. Together we will not only survive but we will thrive.
Today we are honored to highlight Lucy Mirigian, she lives a remarkable life and we are honored to share some of her life story and lessons with our community.
Lucy reminds us that she survived the flu epidemic of 1918 and at the age of 114, she fully expects to make it through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Question: Are you Genocide Survivor?
Nope, I am not.
You see my grandfather was a priest in Khegee (village in Erzeroum) back in 1895-1915. He sensed that the Turkish government was preparing to hurt Armenians and so he urged my family to pack up and leave and that’s why family, my uncles, aunts did. They loaded up the donkeys and headed to the ships going to America where one of my uncles lived. I was 4 years old in 1910 when we left Keghee.
(After arriving by ship, her family settled in Fresno, California. She attended Fresno State University. She has raised her family in San Francisco. Her husband Ashod passed in 1998.)
Question: How many pandemics did you live through?
1914-1918 – World War I
1939-1945 – World War II
1918 – Spanish Influenza epidemic – Spanish Flu
1957 – Asian Flu (H2N2)
1968 – Hong Kong Flu
1977 – Russian Flu
1960-1981 – AIDS Epidemic
I also personally survived Small Pox and Typhoid Fever.
Question: What advice do you have for us?
Well, listen to the health experts and stay at home, as much as you can.
Use your common sense.
Question: What is your life philosophy?
I have “Played the cards” I’ve been dealt with in life. I have never envied anybody or been jealous of anybody. I have tried to stay productive and advanced myself (I call it -Harachtimutiun). That’s advancement.
Life is truly too short. Besides I am going to be dead a long time, so, let me enjoy my life while I am able to. Also, I have never said “I’m too old for this or for that.” That’s not me. If I could afford it and my health allowed it, I did it. That’s why I’ve been on 50 cruises so far. I rode a camel in Egypt, I faced a typhoon on my trip to Japan in 1963 on a ship even though I can’t swim and I took as many family and friends with me on my travels.
Question: What is your hope for the future?
To continue to enjoy good health, good friends and good wine.
(Every night, she enjoys a glass of wine and has vanilla ice cream and a banana for dessert)
Question: If you could go back what one thing would you change?
I’ve had a good life. I’ve had good friends and good family so, I’m good.