<-- Back to Ahmad Sohrab
(This item is now completely loaded.)
Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, NY), 20 Jun 1920, Magazine Section, Page Two
(To the right there is a quarter-page oval photo of Juanita Storch with the caption: "Miss Juanita Storch, of Oakland, Cal., Now the Bride of Mirza Ahmad Sohrab." and also includes a small pen drawing of an man in Oriental-dress reading a book to a young girl.)
(Below the headline is a quarter-page photo with the caption: "The Persian Lover and His Bride Surrounded by the Picturesque Wedding Guests." showing about 40 people.)
(At the bottom of the page is a smaller photo with the caption: "Mirza Ahmad Sohrab" showing a mustachioed man in a turban wearing an open-necked coat or smock over another garment like a shirt, but hard to see. Looks rather like the old "Turkish" style of clothing to me.)
"Did An American Lover Ever Write Letters Like These?"
"Who But a Countryman of Omar Khayyam Would Ever Address a California Girl as 'My Ever Beautiful Blue Sky' and 'My Isle of the Golden Dreams' — and in Five Hundred Letters"
"By H.H. Hoffman
"Who makes the ideal lover? The American man? No. He conducts his wooing as he conducts his business; direct, without the beautiful poetic version of love expressed by the lover of the East.
"Reasoning thus in the outdoor beauty of her California home, Miss Juanita Storch, for more than seven years compared the American youth and his love-making to the poetic letters, filled with soul admiration, from her dark-eyed admirer on the far-off shores of Haifa, the sacred city of Palestine.
"The Persian lover, Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, thus laid siege to her heart in a volley of notes and letters, describing his love for the blue-eyed young American girl he had met only for a few moments on two occasions in Oakland, Calif.
"The romance began seven years ago when the Persian lover traveled to California with Abdul Baha, leader of the Bahai movement, who was making a lecture tour of the country at that time.
"Mirza Sohrab was secretary of the Persian legation at Washington when he was called upon to act as interpreter for Abdul Baha in his lecture work here. Sohrab speaks English perfectly, and in addition to his education received at Beirut university he has studied at American institutions of learning. But in spite of an intimate familiarity with American mannerisms he has never lost the poetic oriental habit of thinking in terms of classic sentiment when the heart has been stirred by the object of his love.
"Letters to His 'Beautiful Mermaid'"
"Sohrab journed back to Palestine with Abdul Baha and only a short while later the world war broke, holding the young interpreter practically a prisoner so far as traveling was concerned, in the Pilgrims' Home, the residence of the Baha, at Haifa.
"Sohrab wrote as only an oriental, whose feelings are deeply moved, can write. His letters traveled slowly half round the world, and gradually Miss Storch looked forward with interest to receiving them.
"At first she laughed at this peculiar friendship. She was only 18 and filled with the love of the American outdoor girl for athletics and all the amusements that healthy, young women indulge in. She had admirers galore. One of them became peeved because she beat him in a swimming race. No, he would never marry a girl who laughed at his inferiority. So that youthful friendship ended.
"Then there was another who objected to her leadership in out-of-door sports. It was all right when she reclined like a beautiful doll on the canoe cushions, while her partner paddled, but this did not satisfy tihs athletic young woman, for she found more pleasure in doing some of the paddling herself and she told him so.
"And all this time the letters of Sohrab kept arriving, and when it suited her mood, which was not often in these days, Miss Storch answered them. She wrote one to his twenty. But he persisted, and they kept coming at intervals until this country declared war on Germany. Then to his despair one day the young Persian received several of the letters he had written to the California girl. They had been returned to him from Constantinople.
"The curtain was rung down temporarily on that romance. Word was passed that the Turks would search the homes of all the people in Palestine. So on a dark night, Sohrab gathered together his precious papers, among them the letters of Miss Storch, and buried them in an old trunk at the foot of Mount Carmel.
"And then after this long silence, the sun shone again in Sohrab's life with the arrival of General Allenby and his tropps in the Holy City. 'I shall never forget it,' said Sohrab. 'This meant my freedom to travel to my beloved Juanita.'
"After some parley with the British officials, permission was obtained for Sohrab to travel to the United States. He wired her when he reached New York that he would travel West to see her. His letters had paved the way for a happy reunion.
"'He is the only man I would marry; the only man I could be happy with, for his letters breathe love, not dictation and a superior sense of ownership which spirited women dislike so much in a certain type of man,' said she.
"They became engaged before Sohrab left Oakland. Every day following until their marriage in New York, April 28, Sohrab wrote to his bride-to-be. All his letters, numbering upward of 500, have been treasured by the young woman, who calls them her rosary.
"And any young woman would want to treasure love letters in which she was addressed as 'My Isle of the Golden Dreams' or 'My Ever Wakeful Blue Sky' and 'My Divine Mystery of Love.'
"Even such expressive terms as 'Dearest' and 'Darling' and 'Baby' and 'Snookums' sound prosaic and colorless when compared with 'Beautiful Mermaid of the Ocean of Beauty.'
The Ideal Lover's Christmas Salutation
"I walk by the shoreless sea of time (so reads one of the love letters received by Miss Storch last Christmas) and wait for argosies of magic sail, when lo in the far distant horizon a light appears and the angels of Heaven sing out: 'She comes, she comes, comes.'
"I gather courage and enter the labyrinthic caves of the Eternal and from all parts I hear the echoes reverberating through my mind — 'she comes, she comes, comes.'
"Thus many a road I walked, many a song have I sung with many a company did I mingle and many a garland of thought did I weave, but every one of them proclaimed, 'she comes, she comes, comes.' With the Lord of my heart I spoke, with the angels of Heaven I conversed, with the saints of God I walked, with the messengers of the Most High I sat and they all gave me the glad tidings — 'she comes, she comes, comes.'
"In a letter signed 'Thy faithful pilgrim at the shrine of love' and dated a few weeks before the wedding day Ahmad wrote thus to his 'Beautiful Mermaid'
The Pilgrim's Song of Acceptance
"The sea of my love for thee has been waving tumultuously at all times, casting on the shore of existence pearls and jewels of priceless value. They have appeared from the great deep and are to be wrought cunningly into a crown for the head of my queen. I went around searching for the queen but nowhere could I find her. Oh! She was of the pure spirit and I was looking for her in the dust.
"The house of my heart was such a small and humble abode that I could not believe she would leave her infinite mansion of heaven and become the intimate and associate of the lowly. But at last I went to her door, seeking her grace of love. Standing under, the celestial canopy of her pure heart, I lifted my eager, tearful eyes to her majestic, sweet face. There was I a suppliant for the gift of eternity, the freedom of immensity, and she took pity on me. With a thousand conflicting hopes battling in my heart I looked up into her face to read her answer, to fathom the depth of the sea of her eyes and if possible through those windows enter the palace of her love. At last she granted her favors and her smiles on the worshipper of old. In the midnight of silence when the heavens and earths meet and when the fires and shadows mingle with the gold dust of time, she fed my waiting, trembling lips with ambrosial kisses of acceptance. Then in complete accord, hand in hand we crossed the threshold of the starlit temple of mystic union while the soft tunes of the twilight melodies reached out ears.
"And there's another long letter addressed to 'My Ever Wakeful Blue Sky,' and signed 'Thy Warrior Lover,' in which Ahmad pictures himself as an Eastern traveler journeying along the pathway of love to the home of his beloved. One portion of the letter reads:
Admad's Quest for an Ideal
"He had to overcome many dangers and weather many stormy nights on the journey of love * * * He would peer through the ink-black night to see whether she was coming but he could see nothing before him. All was dark, the winds howling and the forces of nature in deadly contest. 'Where in my Beloved,' he would raise his voice in agony of pain. Toward what goal is she travelling? Who is her companion along the perilous journey of life? By the edge of what dim and frowning forest is she directing her steps? How high is the summit of the mountain of her vision? What are the aims and ideals of her life? To all these questions there came no answer but the eternal whisperings of the still night or the shouts of the restless and boisterous tempest roaming in the trackless sky and raging on the endless shore of time.
"Through such experiences the lover of the far East passed but he always kept saying to himself: 'Be strong.' It matters not how deep-entrenced the wrong; how hard the battle goes; the day how long. Faint not, fight on! Tomorrow comes the song.
"There are 500 or more love letters all written in the same high-spirited vein and all breathing the same adoration for the one woman of Ahmad's heart. 'Oh, though spring of love,' he wrote her last December. 'Wilt thou not plant in this heart the seeds of the flowers of they love so that in this divine springtime they may grow and grace the gardens of other hearts with the jewels of beauty and attachments. Wilt thou not, dearest?'
"That was the Persian lover's way of asking her to be his bride. Nothing more need be said beyond calling attention to the photograph of the wedding party reproduced on this page."