Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Heritage

I have pride in my heritage, but I wish I knew more about where I came frome. Perhaps when my thesis is done, I will begin researching my roots. What I do know is that I am Lebanese on my mother's side. My grandfather, although born in the US, spent his childhood in Lebanon and returned to this country as a teenager in 1914. He came through Ellis Island with his brother, sister and mother and they ventured through NY and into Pennsylvania where they settled. I can't begin to imagine what Lebanon or the US looked like at the turn of the century. I wish I would have asked him more questions before he passed, but I do remember some of his stories, and I know my mother remembers many more.

My mom said that my Great-Grandma Shaheen kept the family going by earning money as a peddler when they returned to this country. Whether or not you are Leabanese, I think you'll appreciate this story - but don't read it! Listen (its only a few minutes)- it is much more powerful. It's a story of immigrant families, food, culture and history. I think you'll like it!

Kibbe at the Crossroads: A Lebanese Kitchen Story

2 comments:

Sean said...

Actually, my great grand-parents came over the exact same way... from Poland/Scotland, to Ellis Island, to Pennsylvania, then Michigan. Ha.

Anonymous said...

I have some stories. But, the one you need to hear is the one that when you great-grandfather died, his brothers took away everything from grandmother Shaheen, and they literally turned her into a slave to their wives and children. The brothers together owned the only mercantile, and cinema in Clairton Pa. She had allot of spunk and packed up the babies (ages 4, 2 and new) and took them all home to Hamet Lebanon. Her family owned a olive orchard. They stayed there until the trip to NY. I have pictures of the mercantile with all the brothers in front....
I also have other stories...whenever you want to hear them.