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Nick Alwon, my paternal grandfather, came to the United States in 1899 following his brother Toufic and sister Victoria. His father, Norman, came latter. Norman was a gambler, alcoholic, and an abuser of his wife and children. His uncle, George Assatly sent him back to Lebanon. Norman died when his ship sunk in the Atlantic Ocean.

Matilda, my maternal grandmother, came to the United States with the help of her cousin Najeeb Zrake. We know very little about her family other than she had a brother, Salim, who worked for the postal service in Beirut. Salim had three or four children.

Badie and Angelle Katen's immigration occurred at about the same time as Nick and Matilda Alwon's.