Print from a copper etching
Done by Joan Sprint 2015
Print of Aziz Gorra
Supermiposed on essay describing Aziz
This is a first draft of the print
Letter written by Joan in 1994
that is behind the image of her father
Born: May 11, 1902
Died: May 15, 1964
Aziz is my father.
He was born in Zahle, Lebanon and his name means "dear one". I loved him beyond words!
His father died when he was a child. He eventually came to America with this mother and sister. His formal education stopped after eighth grade.
Arabs have a tradition of being merchants, and he began selling linens door to door. In time he and his cousins had saved enough money to open a clothing store in lower Manhattan. They worked long hours and operated on the principle that low prices and low overhead combined with high sales could yield high profits. Business prospered and eventually each of the four cousins was managing his own store.
During this time my Dad and one of his cousins went back to Lebanon to find "a good Lebanese wife". They married two sisters, Rose and Victorine, and came back to America.
Dad married Victorine and she bore him eight children, one son, the eldest, and seven daughters. Sons are highly prized in a Lebanese family and my mother was teased about all her daughters but my father took great joy in his daughters.
My Dad loved life- people, good food, the opera and learning.
He loved his family, and his extended family-the aunts and uncles, the cousins and their families. Most holidays as well as Sundays were shared with this extended family and there was always lots of wonderful Lebanese food, children and laughter. When one of the cousins died, Dad and the other cousins made sure that the family was taken care of.
He loved learning and taught himself because he wanted to be more than he was. I can remember him sitting in the living room many times with the newspaper and a dictionary,looking up words that he did not know. He regretted that he did not have more education, and I grew up with the sense that my education was a privilege. Many Lebanese felt that higher education was wasted on a daughter but not my father. He was proud and happy to send his daughters to college.
Now all that I have left of him is his spirit and myself.
By Joan Galbi May 14, 1994.