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The Syrian Peddler

As a reader, I love historical fiction. Among my favorites is The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani. Although captivated by Trigiani's characters, Enza and Ciro, my thoughts never veered far from my grandfather's story as I read and reread the book. My Gidu had a similar story to tell and I only heard bits and pieces of what I believe was a fascinating life. My father's father, Sam, arrived in the New York harbor and Ellis Island about the year 1905 from Damascus, Syria. This marked the beginning of the remarkable success of a young man who was 17 at the time. Sam began work as a peddler in the coal mining settlements during the era when men became millionaires from investments in coal, coke, and steel. He eventually becomes the proprietor of Hanna's Department Store where he embodied the Syrian values of hard work, honesty, and trust. The central setting for The Syrian Peddler is in Southwestern Pennsylvania including Pittsburgh, Uniontown, New Salem, and Masontown; spanning the years between 1905 and 1958. The story is historical fiction as not all facts were available. As much as possible, the writing is factual. My research included visits to Ellis Island, The Hotel Wolcott, New York City, The Family History Museum, Salt Lake City, Utah. I went back to places in Pennsylvania that were familiar to me: Masontown, where I went to kindergarten and St. Ellien of Homs, Syrian Orthodox Church in Brownsville. I have met several people who have emigrated from Syria. One young man came six years ago and settled in Austin Texas where I now live. He is saddened by the destruction of majestic buildings and the war itself. So many lives lost. I cannot begin to imagine what Sam would think today.
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About the Author

About the Author This is Linda Hanna Lloyd's first novel. She has been the Producer and Host of monthly Howard County, Maryland Cable Television Health Promotion Series, nine of which won national awards, and the recipient of two Creative Writing Awards from The Institute of Creative Research. Linda was a health professor at Howard Community College in Columbia Maryland where she received an International Community College Teaching Excellence Award, from The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development, The University of Texas at Austin. She retired from the United States Department of Health and Human Services where her work focused on improving the quality of health care and health literacy. During the years since retirement, she continues to write, travel, and play the piano. Linda recently moved from Columbia, Maryland to Austin Texas where she resides with her husband Douglas Seward Lloyd. She is the mother of Karlyn Johnston Heide and Derek Johnston.

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