Valentines for 50 years

Lifestyles: Married in Bethlehem, Kalises celebrate more than a half-century of marriage

February 12, 2014 

When Hanneh Kalis traveled to Jordan from Bethlehem to visit her sister in the early 1960s, she didn’t know it would lead to her to her husband, Musa.

Musa Kalis, who sold picture albums in Jordan, delivered an order to Hanneh’s sister’s door.

Hanneh’s sister wasn’t home at the time. Hanneh told Musa to return later, and she shut the door. It’s something she laughs about now.

A month after they met, the Kalises were engaged. They got married on Dec. 9, 1962, in a catholic church in Bethlehem. Today, the couple lives in Sumner, where they’ve been since 1974. They celebrated 51 years of marriage in December.

“This is our home,” Hanneh said. “We love it. There are friendly and lovely people here. Our neighbors are like our family.”

The Kalises lived in Jerusalem, where Musa is from, until May 1967, when they fled the region to escape the Arab-Israeli War. They settled in London.

“We worked, worked, worked until 1971,” Musa said.

That’s when they arrived in the United States.

At the time, the Northwest lacked jobs because of a Boeing downturn. So they moved to Albany, N.Y., where Musa found work as a waiter and Hanneh became a seamstress.

Then the couple traveled to Washington, D.C., to be with Musa’s cousin. That’s where Musa started as a chef for the Marriott Corporation and put to use the culinary school education he received while he was in Europe.

After they returned to the Northwest, the Kalises bought their home in Sumner. For six years, Musa worked as a chef for the McChord Officers’ Club. Then he joined the staff of Anton’s Restaurant, which now is Mama Stortini’s along East Main.

Musa retired and found a new calling as a DJ. He provides music at the Puyallup Activity Center every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

In August 2012, Musa suffered a stroke.

“People here at the activity center take good care of me,” Musa said. “Thank God, now I’m walking.”

Hanneh said she drives Musa to his DJ gigs and to his doctor appointments.

“I believe in God in that he healed us,” Hanneh said.

Hanneh has volunteered at St. Francis House in Puyallup since 1974. Today, she serves as the meal program coordinator at the Armory from Monday through Friday.

Throughout their marriage, Hanneh said she and Musa have supported each other in everything they do.

“We understand each other,” Hanneh said. “We’re husband and wife. We don’t care if we’re rich or poor.”

Hanneh recalled her father once told her she and Musa were rich in love.

“Money doesn’t make our love,” Hanneh said.

Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at andrew.fickes@puyallupherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.

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