‘Kash’ moves on from L.B.

‘Kash’ moves on from L.B.
By Jim Kashishian

Long Beach Press-Telegram, CA
Feb 28 2005

When asked where I come from, my answer is “California,” followed by
“Long Beach,” if I am pressed further. I get asked that quite often as
I have been a resident of Madrid for the last 38 years. Not only am I
a native of Long Beach (born in 1941 at Long Beach Memorial Hospital),
but my father, Edwin George Kashishian (better known as Kash), was
born in Long Beach. His mother and father were originally from an
Armenian neighborhood in Kayseri, Turkey, and settled in Long Beach
around 1910. George Sarkes Kashishian and his wife, Pearl, became a
bit of a legend in Long Beach by eventually living in a home styled
with a Turkish dome on the top of it.

Anyone who has spent any time at all in Long Beach should now begin
to put two and two together and come up with the name: Kashishian
Oriental Rug Company on East Carson between Long Beach Boulevard and
Atlantic Avenue.

As my grandfather was in the construction business, he built the
domed rug company building (where his family also lived) for his wife
to have a place of business for the career she learned as a child
in Kayseri. G.S. Kashishian, contractor, will also be remembered as
the name imprinted every few yards on many, many of the sidewalks in
Long Beach in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. I remember my school friends,
as we walked to Burbank Elementary School, spitting on the name when
I pointed out that it was mine! I can laugh about it now!

Pearl became well-known in the city for her expertise in Oriental rugs
and my dad, Kash, carried on the tradition, expanding the business
into rug and carpet cleaning. During a recent visit in the Bixby
Knolls area, I asked him if he had cleaned carpets in many of the
homes we were passing. He answered with “an approximate 90 percent,”
which may be exaggerated somewhat, but probably isn’t far off.

The rug company building still stands, although it is now a private
home. My sister and I were very pleased that it was purchased by a
family that wanted to keep it in its original state when the company
was recently terminated.

My father turned 90 on Feb. 16. Myself, my Irish wife, Orla, and
my sister, Gracia and her husband, Tom McDairmant, joined Dad for a
small birthday party with a few relatives and friends.

We all were amazed at arriving in Avalon in less than an hour,
remembering the steamboat that used to take over three hours when
we were kids. The Belmont Shore area has come alive with shops and
people, and nearby Naples is really a beautiful area.

It is amazing to recognize street names and know exactly where you
are but not recognize a single building in the area. Some places never
change, though. The Art Theater still stands on Fourth Street … the
Villa Riviera still pokes its head up high (although the area around
the beach side doesn’t look right to me, as the hill should drop
steeply and the road should go onto the planks that were Rainbow Pier).

I ended up in Madrid due to my music, which began in the Long Beach
school system at Burbank Elementary, Franklin Junior High and later
Poly High, and was nurtured further by being a member of the Long
Beach Junior Concert Band for about 10 years. The U.S. Air Force
became my next stop in music after several years playing jazz in and
around Seal Beach and Huntington Beach, and I was eventually assigned
to a band in Spain. I later decided to stay on to become a part of
the recording studio and jazz scene here.

The Press-Telegram had a lot to do with my upbringing in Long Beach.
Also, as I had newspaper routes for years and eventually had a “corner”
of my own, which involved passing out the papers to the various boys
for their routes and managing their “collections” from the subscribers.

The purpose of writing down all of this history is brought on by the
fact that we are moving my father to be close to my sister and her
extended family in Warsaw. Dad’s wife, Ruth, died last May and there
is no family left in the area now. Time moves on, I know, but I find
it a little sad that almost 100 years of Long Beach history with the
Kashishian family comes to an end as Kash leaves the area.

It is a beautiful city, with wonderful opportunities and wonderful
weather, and should be appreciated by those who live in it. I wish
to thank all those Long Beach residents who supported me as I grew
up and a farewell to all who were friends of the Kashishian family.

— Jim Kashishian, a Long Beach native, lives in Madrid.


From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress