My Family: The Kidnapper and the Snake Charmer

Sometimes in life we learn something about our past or our family history that puts everything into perspective.  The following love story (of sorts) was told to me,years ago, by my grandmother about her parents.

My great grandfather immigrated here from Syria.  When he arrived in this country he did not know when his birthday was so he claimed July 4th.  I guess his first name was not a popular one (Muhammad) so he changed it to Sam  after Uncle Sam.

My great grandmother was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, French Canadian whose father had built the first ice skating rink in Prince Albert, Canada. 

As the story goes, my great grandmother was a snake charmer in the Barnum and Bailey Circus.  The circus was traveling on the East Coast when they stayed at the hotel where my great grandfather was working (possibly as a janitor).  He took one look at my great grandmother and fell head over heels in love with her.  So he kidnapped her.  He locked her in a room and had someone translate to her that he would not hurt her.  He did not let her out until the circus had left town.

Soon after this they were married.  My great grandmother converted her Muslim husband into a Roman Catholic and they raised 5 children together. One of those children was my dad’s mother.  It is ironic how my father and his family became Independent Baptists. 

I look back on such stories with excitement and wonder.  It is comforting to know that when I feel like I just don’t fit into social norms there is always good company for me to find in my family tree!



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