I met Macy at the Kentucky Book Fair. She was peddling her book as I was mine. When she came to my table, her story was not the normal Lebanese story I had come to know. Like other Lebanese immigrants, her family had come to Kentucky in the 1920s and opened a store in eastern Kentucky. At some point, her father decided that better profits were to be had in eastern Tennessee and moved the family there. Unfortunately, he did not get to see his Tennesssee store through to fruition because he died, leaving Macy’s mother, in her twenties, to fend for her three children.
Macy’s mother prospered and made the store a success, but decided it was time to return to Lebanon. She packed up her family and sold her Tennessee home, instructing her neighbors to take what they wished from the house. She returned to Lebanon raising children who became successful adults and who chose to leave Lebanon. Macy moved back to Kentucky and became a psychology professor. Her mother, meanwhile, stayed in Lebanon and fearlessly managed years of civil war. Macy recalled being on the phone with her mother during the war and hearing shelling in the background. Her mother would try to console her daughter’s fear for her safety. “Oh, that’s far away,” her mother would say when artillary would fall not on her street but two streets over.