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The stories my family wouldn’t tell: Living through war in Lebanon

There are things my mom won’t tell me about her childhood in Lebanon. I’ve heard snippets of little Hanadi at a French Catholic elementary school, standing in her underwear because she wore the wrong colored pants — of her crying to her parents because they didn’t save her any escargot from lunch. And I know, at some point, she fell in love with my father, who lived a few houses down the street in their village of Ras Masqa. But details are hazy — hidden — and so many of the years are shaded with clouds of war: a mist that hangs over all memories, blurring the line between the good ones and the bad.

What she would talk about was a dog she had when she was growing up. He was a Sulaki Persian Greyhound named Fox, and my jiddou (grandfather) kept him as a hunting dog. Fox had slender legs and a barrel chest — a fast runner and tireless predator. Sulakis are known better for their tendency to bound off unexpectedly, never to return, than they are for obedience. But it is said that fierce loyalty can be earned from a Sulaki given the right treatment. Jiddou Jalil got him as a pup, and my taita (grandmother) Henriette would cradle him in her arms, feeding him out of a bottle like an infant.

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