The Bookshelf, The Parlor, The Young Texas Reader, and the Monthly

The Texas Bookshelf is different from the The Texas Parlor, . The Texas Parlor carries "general" bookish information and non-book information and even different Texana news and notes of use to the bibliographically challenged and other nosey folks intersted in historical, literary, and cultural observations. Will's Texana Monthly may carry material from either blog, but extends itself beyond those, especially for longer compilations or treatments. The Monthly, the Bookshelf and the Parlor are all companions. So, is the Young Texas Reader which specialized on books and such things for the youngest to the teenagers.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

From Syria to Seminole - Ed Aryain

From Syria to Seminole: Memoir of a High Plains Merchant,

By Ed Aryain, Edited by J'Nell Pate, Foreword by John R. Wunder, Afterword by Edward Aryain and Jameil Aryain. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2006. xxxvii, 260 pages. 27 photos, 2 maps, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0896725863 $29.95 cloth (Plains Histories Series)

When cowboys ride horseback to town to your funeral, you’ll know you were respected and loved. They did so for Ed Aryain. The narrative traces his life from birth in 1897 in Henna, Syria among blue-eyed Christian Druze, onward to his adolescent departure for America, his traveling salesman days on the plains, and his settlement, marriage, and life as a successful Texas merchant, Seminole being is final hometown.

It’s a warming and inspiring life, as American and Texan as one can get. Possibly most novel to readers are his descriptions of his peddling days, now almost a vanishing trade. Carrying suitcases from town to town, house to house, partnering, strategizing, ordering merchandise, he and often his Syrian compatriots lived in boarding houses and customers’ spare rooms, rode horses and wagons through small towns and to distant farms. He began setting up storefronts in Oklahoma with the oil boom and then Texas. In 1925 his store in Navarro burned, but soon he met Miss Etta E. Stone, so smitten, so married. As expected the Depression days were challenging. Finally, in 1939 he followed the oil boom to Seminole where his family took root and remained. While not the subject of heavy discrimination, Aryain found immediate friendship and encouraging business to support his growing family.

They throve. And so will your delight reading the book, first dictated in Ed’s Texan-Mid Eastern accent to Etta who typed it.