Friday, August 14, 2009

it was my home

In a few hours I will be flying to Chicago. I am reuniting with my childhood friends from Beirut, Lebanon. This year would have been 30 years since we graduated together from the American Community School in Beirut. Lebanon was a place like no other during the 1970s. Some called it the Paris of the Middle East, it was my home. My family left in 4 1/2 hours in October 1975. My parents drove us by ACS, to see if any friends were about, to say good-bye... But, the school was empty. I was 14.

Some of us have seen each other over the years. Some of us have not seen each other since Beirut. We've had our 10 year reunion and our 20 year reunion, and some in-between. Each one memorable. A handful of our original class stayed through the war. Those of us who left felt lost. Those who stayed felt abandoned. We have an incredible bond. Friendships stopped in time. Of one thing I am sure. When I fly home Sunday, my stomach will ache from laughter, I will have shed some tears for all of us, and I will be more complete.

Aaah....Beirut...I will see you again someday. Inshallah... God willing...

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  1. Wow. I didn't know this about you. It's so sad that for most of us, the name "Beruit" conjures up war, strife, and a ruined city - when once it was such a beautiful place.

    I just learned my boss's boss was raised overseas - her father worked for the state dept. and she lived in Beruit for a while.

    I have friends who lived in Sarajevo, and the sense of loss they feel is similar.

    Have fun at your reunion - I know it will be heartfelt.

  2. lovely! safe travels, and love to hear how it goes!

  3. Enjoy your friends! May we someday know peace.

  4. Such an amazing way to grow up. I hear it was a beautiful, beautiful place.

    Enjoy your time!

  5. Have a great weekend!

    And hey! Next time you're in Chicago....

  6. Wow. What a way to grow up. I can't wait to hear your stories.

  7. My neighbors are from Lebanon. They tell wonderful stories about how beautiful the country was many years ago. They miss it terribly, but moved here 20 or so years ago when a bomb blast destroyed their neighborhood and killed their parents. We are very fortunate here and my neighbors will be the first to say that.

    God speed and have a nice time on your trip.

  8. I look forward to a post about the reunion. I want to hear more about your time in Beirut... Amazing lead to a more detailed memoir. A monologue? A play? To be 14 in Beirut in 1975, the story is irresistible! Sounds like you are going to have a wonderful weekend.

  9. oh. i would love to read more about this.

    thought about you the other day when i listened to an interview with author Anna Quindlen. she was asked if she was a feminist, and she very proudly said she was. ;)

  10. I confused. Help me: when you talk about your "home", are you referring to Lebanon, Chicago, or both??

  11. Safe travels and wishing you lots of laughter.

  12. I didn't know this about you either. What a fascinating, life-altering experience, especially for a young teen.

  13. That is amazing! I hope you are having a wonderfully special time this weekend1

  14. Cool!!!
    Old friends get-together are always great!
    Up to date, I'm still organising such gatherings for my class ever since we graduated 16 years ago....sad to say many hardly make it...
    But the best of all gatherings is meeting up with some really close childhood friends of more than 18years! *wink*

    Have great fun, girl!

  15. How wonderful some of you stay in touch! How many make the gatherings, JCK? Are the numbers growing or attritioning? And final question (promise) has the internet allowed you to get reacquainted with any additional people you had formerly lost touch with?

    nosy nellie

  16. Oh and I should have mentioned, one of my neighbors is formerly from lebanon. his family migrated down to northern africa.

  17. There was a terrific memoir about living in Beirut published a couple of years ago. .. I'll see if I can get that title. I hope you can return again, too.

  18. Are fishnets allowed there? Because seriously, I had no idea about this little secret place you know....


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