A Letter from Elaine Imady in Damascus

Elaine, the daughter of Mildred Rippey, grew up in Palisades. Her book “Road to Damascus” is available on Amazon.com.

My new book, Road to Damascus will be out the end of the month, published by MSI Press. My British friend, the author Mary Lovell, is sponsoring a Book Launch for me in Damascus on May 7th. However, the real audience for the book is in the United States.

Road to Damascus is the story of how a young American from a small New York town ended up in Damascus, married to a Syrian. It begins it 1955 when Mohammed and I met, and goes on to tell how we fell in love and married and of our subsequent trip by boat to Syria. It describes the ups and the downs of my first thirteen years in Syria from 1960 to 1973 as I struggled to become part of this strange new/old world. It tells of my slow acceptance of the reality that I would probably spend the rest of my life in Damascus and also describes my immediate acceptance into Mohammed’s family and eventually my “adoption” by Syria itself.

Woven into my personal story, are four chapters called “Tales of a City and a Family” in which I retell in the words of members of Mohammed’s family some of the highlights of the history of Damascus and the part the Imady family played in these events. The massacre of 1860, the Umayyad Mosque fire of 1897, the long Syrian struggle for independence from Ottoman rule and then from the French Mandate are all included in these four chapters as well as the first years of the fledgling Republic of Syria and its brief fling with unity with Egypt. From 1960 to 1973, Syrian events are recounted through my eyes.

Mohammed and I still live in Damascus and will celebrate our 53rd wedding anniversary this year with our three children, eleven grandchildren and four great grandchildren as well as the spouses of our children and grandchildren. This book could be described as our love story; however, since before long I also fell in love with Mohammed’s family and his city, this book is also a valentine to the Imady family and to Damascus.