Memories by Sophie Farah
Posted June 23, 2007

Khoury Khalil Hazar was around 90 years old when I was in Jdeida with my Mother and Brother.
The years were 1932 and 1933. I remember he could still read without his glasses. There was a court yard where the center of the house was located and there was a well. Khoury Khalil used to play tag with me and William and he chased us all over the court yard. He called me Soofeee.

The hotel had not been built yet. It was build between 1935 and World War II. On the street where the hotel is, Jiddo Habib had a general store. He sold canned goods and sundries. Across the street from the hotel, was the school that Khoury Khalil ran. William and I attended school there and learned to read and write Arabic. Our math teacher was also my Mother's teacher. She tried to give us English math but we were bored with that so we learned math in Arabic.

At the homestead, which became Uncle Alfred's home, there was a large veranda in the front. You could see 4 or five villages from there. I remember sitting on Jiddo Habib's lap while he told me stories of St. George and the Dragon...pointing them out to us in the full moon. To this day, I still see this when I look at the moon. I remember him as being such a gentle man.

Sitto Abreeza was a Mother to everyone. She always took side with all of her daughters-in-law. And could she cook. Delicious is a mild word for her cooking. When she had a headache, she claimed eating olives would cure it. When she lost patience with someone, she would mutter her anger and often would pass air. I would say Siteee and she would burst out laughing. I knew her only for a year and a half but her love and memories are still with me.

I should mention that Uncle Hanan met Aunt Eleanor while he was a teacher at Khoury Khalil's School. Eleanor started teaching there when she graduated from the AUB. We went to her commencement ceremony. She was my ideal. That is why I chose Eleanor as my middle name.

Auntie Najla was a Girl Guide Leader. I went camping in the woods with the troop. When I returned to Lebanon in 1964, the girls that were in the troop came to meet me. The times I spend in Lebanon were the best of my childhood.

There were two levels of roof to the homestead. Uncle Michel and Uncle Emile would go to the top. When William and I would follow them, they would pull the upper ladder up so that we could not follow them.

I was there when Uncle Emile, at the age of fifteen, got his first pair of long pants. He was so shy then.

One last memory. During the winter, the only heat in the house was a clay cooking grill.
Jiddo Habib would wake up early and make coffee for the adults and a special hot chocolate for Bill and me. I could never duplicate the hot chocolate.