Miami Stories

Adele Khoury Graham's parents drawn to each other from far-flung locales

Adele Khoury, seen in front of her Miami Shores 
home at age 10.
Adele Khoury, seen in front of her Miami Shores home at age 10. COURTESY OF GRAHAM FAMILY

My life began because of the union of two individuals from distant parts of the world.

My mother was of Scotch Irish ancestry whose family settled in the small town of Richwood, Ohio. Her father was a carpenter.

My mother's sister had a failed marriage in Ohio, which led the family to move to South Florida to begin anew.

My aunt, Golda Moore, became an adored teacher at Dania High School. My mother, Mildred Moore, became the legal secretary for Judge Jefferson B. Brown, then a circuit judge for Dade and Monroe counties.

This period of her life was full of activity -- including many suitors.

One of these was Gabriel Khoury. His family came from the hills outside of Beirut, Lebanon, a center for Maronite Christians. The tension between the Christians and Muslims led my father's family to the United States, first to Cincinnati, then to Miami.

My father was working for Prudential Insurance Company when he first spotted my mother on the steps of the courthouse in downtown Miami. She was wearing a dress with a cape, which enchanted him -- along with her light brown curly hair and crystal blue eyes.

My father pursued my mother for six years. They married, and I arrived three years later.

During World War II, we moved to Miami Shores.

We had a lively main street with a five-and-dime (Mr. Macks) and Dr. Black's Drug Store. Miami Shores Elementary was a center of attention. My mother was president of the PTA and my father began the Daddy's Club for the school.

I rode my bicycle to the house of my closest friend, Arva Moore.

This friendship, started when we were 9, continues to this day.

There were trips to downtown Miami on Bus 11 and lunches at Burdines. While I was at Miami Shores Elementary, my sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Gahan, took our class to Havana for a week.

We all rode our bikes to Horace Mann Junior High and then rode the school bus to Miami Edison Senior High. Our high school years were perfect. We participated in all school activities -- sock-hops, civic clubs and football games.

College took many of us away. A large group went to the University of Florida, which at the time had no entrance requirements except graduation from high school.

At freshman orientation, we were told that only half of us would make it to graduation.

During my college years, I reconnected with Bob Graham, whom I had known in high school.

I ran into him on the steps of the administration building, my destination to get a tutor for a freshman science class.

His offer to tutor me led to a continued friendship, courtship and marriage in l959.

Off to Harvard we went for Bob to attend law school. I completed college at Boston University and taught history in the public schools of Wellesley, Mass.

After Bob completed law school, we returned home to the new town of Miami Lakes, which Bob's family had developed on the old Graham Dairy pasture land.