Adonis Diaries

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Mother Julia recollects: “How I fell in love and selected my husband…”

After WWII ended and travel lines were opened, Julie’ dad asked for her and her two younger sisters Maria and Montaha to join the family in the town of Segou, West Africa. Segou is in current Rep. of Mali and was a French colony till 1962.

Apparently, Julia’s father had lined up two prospects for marrying Julia without her knowledge.

The trip from Beirut to Marseilles took an entire month, and mother was so sea sick that she couldn’t swallow anything. The Captain alluded that Julia will not make it to destination.

A month later, Julia and her sisters left on a rickety plane from Agadir (Morocco?) and barely made to Dakar (Senegal)  and to Segou by train and cars.

About a month before Julia left Beirut, Georges had advanced her to Segou.  Georges’s ship landed first in Cyprus, then to Alexandria before resuming the travel to Marseilles. Georges boarded a “bananier” or a cargo ship for banana to Dakar and then by cargo train to Segou.

Julia’s mother opened a shop for selling almost everything that could be sold and Maria and Therese took over the running. Julia barely set foot in the shop.

There were deep enmities and animosity between the Georges and Julia’s  families: Julie’s father Tanios considered the other family to be plainly a lazy lot and nothing good will ever come from them.

Tanios was not far off the target in his assessment from facts and evidences. Actually, my dad worked hard in the next 20 years and then reverted to his genes. Same case with me.

Julie’s dad disagreed with any marriage arrangement with Georges, although he knew that “I loved him and will refuse any alternative arrangement”.

Julie said “Father brought me an eligible handsome and tall guy, but I faked to be busy and never met him”.

She resumed: “I asked Georges to rent a room in the hotel in front of our shop in order to distance himself from his family. The next day, Georges packed a suitcase and moved in a room”.

Georges crisscrossed West Africa for a suitable location to settle with his future bride but could find nothing but a shack in Bouake, kind of 100 km from Segou and leading to Haute Volta (current Burkina Faso) you you had to use a barge to cross the river since no bridge was available at the time.

Julia convinced her dad to meet once with Georges and he changed his opinion: “Seemed a nice and intelligent guy”

Georges’s family refused to attend the wedding despite several attempts by many people. And Julie’s father had to pay for all the expenses of the wedding ceremonies.

Note: Mother was 8 months in her pregnancy when two problems happened simultaneously. Father had to undergo surgery of the appendix, which turned out not to be the case, and all the saved cash was stolen in the shop at night.

I came to life in dire conditions. I was born upside down, feet first, and I was blue and barely breathing. I would not eat or take the tits and the physicians took me for a goner. Mother would lie to the doctors saying that I managed to suck some milk. I’m sure they never believed mother’s assertions but they had to deal patiently with such cases of insane mothers under grave situations.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
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