Food for Our Grandmothers: Writings by Arab-American and Arab-Canadian Feminists

By Joanna Kadi | Go to book overview

Chalked Out

MARJORIE GELLHORN SA'ADAH

*This is the way a generation ends. By writing the recipe down like this: "Take some good flour and add water slowly. Be careful not to add too much water too quickly, but do add enough until the mixture is just right." Mix it with your hands in the rhythm of a woman who has kneaded for a long time—years—and who kneads in such a way that the people—relatives—who finally come together in the living room or around the dining room table, have no idea how long it takes except by the perky remarks of some woman— who married in with no idea that any one was different from any other—saying, "Oh, Rose, you must have spent hours."

Rosiegram we called her. I had thought we had been taught by our parents to attach a suffix of "gram" to our grandmothers' first names and call our grandfathers by their first names. When I was grown, I read something—probably while snooping—that my grandfather had written about his grandparents. He called them Grandmother and Grandfather. Any other word would have shown disrespect. I was horrified, terrified—I suddenly realized that I had been rude to my grandparents for my entire life. I should have known better. I asked my father, whose eyes would flash deep and angry if we ever, even in jest, called him by his first name, why we called our grandparents by their names. I can't remember exactly what he said, but he made it clear that he never called his parents or grandparents by their first names; still in his fifties speaking of Mommy, Daddy, and Grandmother. You start to think that this rudeness, this inappropriate behavior, this incorrect unknowing comes from an inherent place inside of you. I should have known better.

I should have known I couldn't help it so I could have changed something, done something, or at least been quieter. I should have known they would leave us out there having to figure it out alone.

____________________
*
This is an excerpt from Chalked Out: Race, Culture, and Identity.

-50-

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Food for Our Grandmothers: Writings by Arab-American and Arab-Canadian Feminists
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Related Titles from South End Press *
  • Food for Our Grandmothers - Writings by Arab-American and Arab-Canadian Feminists *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments x
  • A Note about Arabic Terms xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Food for Our Grandmothers *
  • I - Olives Our Roots Go Deep: Where We Came from *
  • Olives 3
  • Recognized Futures 5
  • Sittee (on Phantom Appearances of a Lebanese Grandmother) 7
  • Great-Grandma Michael 18
  • Longing for Winter 21
  • Battling Nationalisms to Salvage Her History 24
  • For My Son Shaadi 30
  • Crossing over to the Other Side 32
  • The Queen, Carcasses, and Other Things 39
  • One Room 48
  • Chalked out 50
  • Unpicked Fruits 56
  • II - Bread a Basic Desire : Going Home *
  • Bread 63
  • Boundaries: Arab/American 65
  • Wherever I Am 87
  • Homecoming 94
  • Banned Poem 97
  • Peace is Tossed to the Wind 101
  • Moroccan Steam 104
  • She Makes Me Tea in Cairo 107
  • III - Thyme Growing against the Odds: Surviving the Gulf War *
  • Thyme 111
  • Amara 113
  • A Woman's Place is in the Struggle - A Personal Viewpoint on Feminism, Pacifism, and the Gulf War 114
  • Offensive Art by Palestinian Children - Anti-Arab Racism and the Gulf War Fallout on Campus 120
  • Military Presences and Absences - Arab Women and the Persian Gulf War 125
  • Gulf War 133
  • IV - Laban Silent Victims and Belly Dancers: (mis) Representations of Arab Women *
  • Laban 147
  • Say French 149
  • Global Sisterhood - Where Do We Fit In? 151
  • Tear off Your Western Veil! 160
  • Arab-Americans - Living with Pride and Prejudice 165
  • Exotic 168
  • The Arab Woman and I 170
  • The Arab Woman in U.S. Popular Culture - Sex and Stereotype 173
  • Orientalism in Science Fiction 181
  • V - Grapeleaves Tangled Identities: Claiming Ourselves *
  • Grapeleaves 189
  • A Lunatic from Libya, One Generation Removed 190
  • Going Home 192
  • What's Not in a Name 197
  • Browner Shades of White 204
  • On Language and Ethnicity 206
  • Mocking Civilization 210
  • Pulled 211
  • Abyss 214
  • Two Women Drinking Coffee 217
  • In Search of Home 218
  • Hairless in Gaza (or Plucking the Lines of Gender Difference) 224
  • Blood 226
  • VI - Mint Moving beyond Survival: Celebrating Who We Are *
  • Mint 229
  • ABC 230
  • Five Steps to Creating Culture 231
  • Camel Girl 238
  • Artist 241
  • A Blessing 244
  • Armenian/Lesbian - Telling out Stories 246
  • Mint, Jomatoes, and the Grapevine 250
  • VII - Appendix Arab Resources and Organizations *
  • The Image of Arabs in Sources of U.S. Culture 259
  • Organizations with an Arab-American/Arab-Canadian Focus 273
  • About the Contributors 275
  • Permissions 283
  • Index 285
  • About the Editor 289
  • About South End Press 290
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