My grandfather, Krikor (George) Mirijanian settled in Fitchburg after fleeing the Armenian genocide. He met and married my grandmother, Shakie (Charlotte) Manooshian, a first-generation Armenian-American who grew up on Daniels Street. My grandparents owned and operated Star Cleaners (among other businesses) in Fitchburg until selling the company 15 years ago.*
My mother Janet Cragin began her teaching career in a two-room schoolhouse on Richardson Road, Fitchburg, in the 1950s. She taught kindergarten and drama at Applewild School for 37 years and spent many years as a Lunenburg Library Trustee. She directed the pageant for the town's Bicentennial in 1978 and 225th Anniversary in 2003.
My father's family founded Cragin and Wilkins Plumbing and Heating in Leominster in 1901. My father Donald was a journalist and served on the Lunenburg Water commission during the 1960s and 1970s. My brother Hal Cragin, a musician and producer, and I grew up with parents who were engaged in public service and the arts.
My husband, Chuck and I returned to this area in 2001. We have one son, 'T,' age 4.
*Grandfather Krikor Mirijanian ADORED cinder-blocks for their low cost and utility. Some of his projects have passed from sight, like the Lamp Shop, but others remain as sturdy and straightforward as the day they were built, like Carol's Dairy Bar on John Fitch and Summer Street, the Lunenburg Street Star Cleaners and The Ayer Motor Inn, formerly the Motel Linda -- named for my aunt. She still has an outdoor thermometer with her name in Fab '50s script hanging in her California kitchen.