Mon Amour May: A Photo Mystery, Solved!

—Thank you, Mr. Francesco Medici for writing to me (from Italy) about this Mystery photo post, and also clearing up who is who!

From left to right: Ameen Rihani, May Ziadeh (the one I originally recognized as May by her gaze), and Samia Baroody’s husband Charles Corm, and the woman in the front holding the baby is Samia Baroody (Miss Lebanon from around the year 1935); she was second place Miss Universe (with their two of four children).

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My original post:

I took a long time to figure out this photo…At first, I saw the woman in the back, I noticed I was drawn to her gaze and thought “She must be May; her gaze is so full of love.” But then I recognized author Ameen Rihani beside her from a photo…And I thought how he might’ve had a very high-pitched repetitive laugh with a slight cough, and was like okay no more laughing now that’s a very notable laugh, but it was funny.

I’d figured out the woman in the back row was probably his wife Bertha Case, an American painter in the fauvist school like Picasso. (The woman is actually May Ziadeh! as I first thought.)

The man is Charles Corm. The woman in the front is Miss Lebanon, Samia Baroody, and the children are their two of four children.

At first I noticed no one seemed to care the baby was crying and that made it hard to figure out who was who, but I noticed the woman in front was looking away from the camera (as May has often in her photos), and I admired the fashion; I loved her dress. I noted the look of her part, which was not the same side.

…I am sorry I was careless with a new top I had (like this one I’d noticed on Samia Baroody) a couple yrs ago, that I somehow bleached a spot in the laundry. This vest though, is stunning. I’d learned dark lipstick was a trend in the 1920s in Egypt and the Middle East.

And how I thought it was you, May? Your beauty mark. It matched your other photos! You have to look very closely to see. But you May, were actually my first guess at you, standing next to Ameen. 🙂

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Francesco Medici was kind enough to send more photos! Here May is in the very center, photo dates around 1930s before 1941, shown with author Felix Bares (behind)

Jade

  1. May’s baby brother who died as a baby was named Elias and was named after her dad.
  2. May was a much sought out private French tutor and is likely not currently giving lessons on earth (as the very structured work ends), but the salon has been wonderful.
  3. I want to say nothing now—but this, and then let my ears hear and my lips fall silent.
  4. Here are your words, May, about diversity and kindness: “The heart does not guide by force to the desired path, so do not make the soul tortured in the hands of a healer”—A Turkish quote relating to a dear poet May Ziadeh was writing a biography about to honor, Aisha Taymur. It refers to Aisha’s love for books, which her mother hated and would find not worth her comprehending, as science was seen to her mother as more important or valued.
  5. “You the poet, you the writer, you the artist, do you not remember from your early years a special circumstance, a beautiful scene, a whispered word, or a beloved face, that drew you to yourself, as if you had expanded the horizon of light and opened in your paradise a volcano of fire?” —May Ziadeh
  6. “When you find your light, it will be as if it is the first light you ever saw…You will see everything differently because of it. It will sing you to sleep at night; it will wake you in the morning…You will open your hands as the light expands, letting it touch all those around you.” —(Jade Zirino, 2003)
  7. “But isn’t the drum music? And if the drum doesn’t have the melody, doesn’t it have the music of distinction, impact, and definition?”
    —by May Ziadeh
  8. From the first short story I wrote in college about NYC, (Jade Zirino, 2005) “I step off the train. I can smell the fresh concrete, heavy as clay, strong and bitter as cardboard. I admire the world of strangers, swarming around me, rushing by. I’m drawn to the movement, to the rhythm of footsteps and street musicians. I become part of the beat.”

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