We’re all in Oregon, celebrating Mamie’s birthday which is TODAY!
My grandma (Mamie Bahia) and my crazy wonderful uncle Cherif:
Eighty years ago, she was born on the fifth floor of a wooden building in Port-Said, Egypt, the daughter of Ali Saad El Dine Husayn Safwan, of Lebanon (he owned orange groves along the coast of Palestine–now Israel–all the way up to Haifa on Mount Carmel even) and Esmat Ibrahim Ali of Egypt (daughter of one of the first Egyptian Baha’is).
Mamie married Fawzi Zayn El Abedin Ismail Hamadani, a fine arts professor and amazing painter, and had two lovely sons, Kamal (my Sudoku mastermind super-hero dad) and Cherif (a.k.a. “El Rey Arabe” and soccer coach/salsa dancer extraordinaire). Their move to the US after fifteen years of Baha’i pioneering in Spanish Morocco and Tunisia broadened their educational opportunities and shortened their last name (to “Zein”).
After the sad passing of Fawzi in Glendale, California, Mamie married Dennis Garden (they *both* hyphenated their names after the marriage, isn’t that cool? They are now Mr. & Mrs. Zein-Garden). Dennis is also, coincidentally, an amazing artist…Anyway, they left the sunny climes of Southern California for Oregon ten years ago and now live in a beautiful house, artistic from floor to ceiling. You know…I think my grandmother is the only person I know who has had TWO thirty-year marriages in her life…incredible, isn’t it?
We’re having so much fun, eating, talking, staying indoors from the “cold” and drinking tea, giving gifts, laughing, looking at slides from the last 30 years of our family life spanning four continents, playing Yahtzee (our family game) and getting ready for the bash tomorrow.
Pictures forthcoming…at some point…gotta go…tea calls.