Destiny of Dreams: Time Is Dear
Cathy Burnham Martin
What happens when an American girl of Eurasian descent finds herself suddenly immersed in all facets of her Armenian ancestry? “Destiny of Dreams” follows the painfully poignant, true story of a teenager and her grandfather, retracing loving, learning, and terrifying footprints of the past. While survival remains center stage, love and courage must emerge, or all will be both lost and forgotten. The author reveals her Armenian roots in this haunting historical novel, chronicling her family members’ love, strength, and resolve to both survive and thrive in treacherous times. Reflecting the traumas suffered by all people displaced from their original homelands, this Armenian story focuses on one family’s challenge to find light in the dark days of the waning Ottoman Empire. Anyone with the diaspora in their family heritage will relate. Whether thinking of Jewish people from Israel, Africans scattered through slavery, Armenians fleeing annihilation in Turkey, so-called boat people escaping Asia, or Syrians fleeing life-threatening violence in their own nation, humans continue to rise up in the face of the toughest times. Who would emerge from extraordinarily desperate places, and how could they choose to set positive examples of humanity during highly inhumane times? Set in the early 1900s and flashing forward to the 1960s, the story’s themes ring with tolerance and intolerance, dreams and destroyers, family and friends, amidst challenges that eerily parallel life in current judgmental scenarios.
Written for Young Adult and Adult audiences, the book contains some explicit descriptions and a couple of disturbing, though not graphic, violent scenes. While not gratuitous, the depictions may be unsuitable for young readers.
DUST SWIRLED AND dirt flew as hooves thundered down the pre-dawn road. All five horses’ nostrils flared wildly as they galloped, mirroring the fierce determination of their riders.
Garabed’s stallion could truly be called magnificent. As if his majestic stature was not enough, Mitan’s muscular flesh radiated unequaled power. As the first rays of the morning sun oozed across the eastern sky ahead of them, his sweat-soaked midnight-black coat now glistened, his long tail extended straight out behind him, and his full mane dramatically pulsated with every step. Mitan seemed to sense the vital importance of this ride, and he inspired the other horses to keep pace, pushing their abilities to the maximum.
The riders’ profiles remained low as they leaned into their steeds, literally willing them to fly these last few miles. Resolve had hardened. Their situation and troubles had grown far more dire than they had previously realized.
Rounding the bend of the final hill on their route, Garabed Gulumian knew the sadness in the news they brought home would immeasurably shake his community, family, and friends… all their lives would forever change. He now had personally witnessed brutalities he previously hoped were exaggerated.
The atrocities soared beyond his imagination. Refugees spoke of unthinkable terrors. Dozens of small children, unable to withstand the pace of a forced march, had been hurled over a cliff.
Soldiers dragged several women from their homes, stripped them naked, and hung them by the wrists in the public square. Soldiers then abused the women until they tired of having their way with their victims. An older man had horseshoes nailed onto the bottoms of his feet.
Garabed and his entourage personally saw the results of many grotesque crimes. This included finding bodies of four people who had been bound together by Ottoman soldiers and tied to a tree before being lit on fire.
The Ottomans were not just evacuating Armenians out of the six Anatolia provinces that were predominantly populated by the Christians. Oh, no. They were torturing them in the process. They were systematically wiping Armenians out.
He understood that some Muslims did not consider their acts evil. Garabed also knew they believed that when they killed an Armenian, they would go to heaven. Would God truly have mercy on the perpetrators of all these immoral and inhumane acts? Could such heinousness and hatred be forgiven?
Garabed and his father had been readying their family for weeks. Yet, he could not have imagined the horrors that were descending even now as they rode.
Regardless, they would be willing to stand their ground. They would also be prepared to flee.
Oh, how he hoped that his courier had successfully made it to the Armenian quarter in Van and delivered his note to his beloved wife, Aghavni. He pictured her touching the top of her wedding ring, where the two golden hands clasped, hiding their entwined hearts below. He knew she would be willing the men home safely, as she always did.
As they cleared the final rock outcropping, gunshots blasted the silent sky. Large boulders had shielded their view of dozens of Ottoman soldiers standing in rows blocking their path.
Turkish swords were drawn, and rifles were raised. A few officers on horseback stood to either side of the road. They all appeared as eerie silhouettes against the first rays of this cold early May morning.
The five weary horsemen came to an abrupt halt. Mitan and all the horses snorted loudly as the reins jerked, pulling them up hard. Their anxious hooves pawed repeatedly at the hard dirt.
How could this night’s interruption possibly be? No one had seen Garabed and his group in Artimid. Who could have alerted the soldiers to this night’s travels or their timing?
And why would the soldiers be interested in them anyway? They had run several humanitarian operations without issue, nor criticism. Quite the opposite was true. They had received official permission from the proper powers to carry out these deliveries.
Beyond the local authorities, his father’s strong political connections in Constantinople had provided them clearance to carry out missions of mercy, even beyond the borders of their Van province. Officials had always expressed gratitude for all the time the respected merchant and tailor had also dedicated to calming the local political waters.
His father had served as a worthy bridge between differing political ideologies among Armenians and with
the Ottomans. Why on earth would they now, suddenly, be stopped like this as they returned home?
Who, how, and why mattered very little, if at all. By name, Ohanes and Garabed Gulumian were called out! Then the soldiers gruffly ordered all the men to dismount.
The travelers did so, without hesitation. What other choice did they have?
While soldiers set about binding the five men’s wrists behind their backs, one of the officers dismounted from his horse and approached them. Garabed did not recognize him. However, the icy rays of dawn did cast light on one familiar face behind the officer.
Serkan! What on earth was going on here? Serkan was Turkish, yes, but he was their friend! Still, Garabed knew that no Armenian would have ever shared their plans with Serkan Raffi. He was trusted, yes, but Armenians had learned to only trust their Turkish friends and associates to a limited point.
Then something else caught Garabed’s eye. He saw something far more incomprehensible, and yet, menacing. Four long lengths of heavy rope hung from sturdy branches of two trees just to their right. Their purpose became clear as the officer approached them and started hurling accusations.
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History, while not always pleasant, must not be forgotten, lest we risk repeating some of the uglier facets. “Destiny of Dreams: Time Is Dear” while more fact than fiction, relives history through a harrowing, yet loving Armenian family story. With all the oppression being suffered around the world, hope and light at the end of the tunnel can help us all.
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Born in Goffstown, New Hampshire, Cathy Burnham Martin’s eclectic career path wove through recruiting, communications, television broadcasting, management, and bank organizing. An active board member and community volunteer, she received Easter Seals’ David P. Goodwin Lifetime Commitment Award. This professional voiceover artist, journalist, corporate communications geek, and dedicated foodie earned numerous broadcasting awards as a television news anchor. She wrote, produced, and hosted dozens of groundbreaking documentaries, TV specials, and news reports, ranging from the Moscow Superpower Summit and the opening of the Berlin Wall to extensive coverage of New Hampshire’s First-in-the-Nation Presidential Primaries.
Some of her most challenging work includes news stories behind the Iron Curtain under the scrutiny of foreign military personnel touting loaded AK-47’s. While she met and interviewed Presidents and candidates, other interviews ranged from inventor Dean Kamen, best-selling authors Og Mandino and Richard Lederer, and Star Trek originator Gene Roddenberry to Popcorn icon Orville Redenbacher, Boston Pops conductor Arthur Fiedler, superstar New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme, and filmmaker Ken Burns.
Among little-known facts about Cathy? She once sang with The Beach Boys and with the marvelous Marvelettes, shared a dressing room with Ella Fitzgerald, and emceed for Tony Bennett. She also performed on stage with comedian Adam Sandler, actor Dan Lauria, and director Alek Keshishian.
Dubbed The Morale Booster, this 20-year professional member of the National Speakers Association remains a business speaker, media coach, and member of the Actors Equity Association. Proud of her Eurasian heritage, Cathy Burnham Martin narrates her own books and those of other authors. Audiobooks appear on such sites as Audible.com as well as Amazon and iTunes. Author of 20+ fiction, nonfiction, and cookbooks, Cathy writes articles for her http://www.GoodLiving123.com website. When not writing or in full production mode, Cathy and her husband enjoy traveling, boating, music and visual arts, and great food.
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half hour interview with Cathy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xu6_m77qpA0