A Cucumber On My Forehead

And a loving grandmother who put it there.

Deborah Barchi
2 min readOct 4, 2021
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

When I was a young girl, around five or six years old, I would sometimes spend an overnight visit with my grandmother.

We spoke very little. Not because we were shy, or weren’t enjoying each other’s company. But because I only spoke English, and my grandmother only spoke Armenian, with just a very few English words.

Through sign language, facial expressions, and quite a bit of laughter, we managed to communicate what we had to say. As a child, it didn’t really strike me as strange that my grandmother didn’t speak much English. After all, my Italian grandmother spoke very little English as well.

With both I got along just fine, although my grandmothers seemed intent on getting me to eat more. As a girl, I was extremely active and extremely thin. Both my Armenian and Italian grandmothers seemed consumed with urging me to Eat! Eat! Eat!

Most of the time, I was happy to oblige, although I never seemed to eat nearly enough to dispel their anxiety. At my Italian grandmother’s, I indulged in home-made pizza, macaroni, and meatballs. At my Armenian grandmother’s the tasty fare centered around pilaf, pita, and shish kabab.

It was while helping my Armenian grandmother prepare a salad one summer afternoon that I…



Deborah Barchi

Deborah Barchi has recently retired from her career as a librarian and now has time to read, explore nature, and write poetry and essays.