“Mom told us countless stories about her family.
People always seemed surprised when I told them Mom was the storyteller in the family. My baba was the Arab. He was the one who was supposed to have stories about the Old Country. The ‘Old Country’ that had never officially existed during his lifetime… Palestine. But Baba worked a lot and spent most of his free time telling us what to do and how we girls, banaat, had to live up to his legacy in the absence of any sons. Well… he had sons eventually; three of them with the woman he married after Mom divorced him.
Baba, he did have some stories, but the people in his didn’t seem so far removed from me.
Really, I never saw Baba’s side of the family much either. They lived in the West Bank and Jordan mostly, though a few cousins had trickled into the United States, starting off with Baba but inevitably moving at least a few States away. They would travel with three, and then six children to visit our scattered family – which was pretty expensive for Baba, but we kept up with them through phone calls, Facebook, and email. I had pictures to track their progression through life, words to tell me how they had changed over time. Regular updates. But Mom had vintage stories that she told over and over until I knew them as well as my own life.
And Mom’s stories were about infidelity, starvation, drug use, secrets…”