Local Author Becky McRee to Hold Book Signing for ‘From the Catawba to the Tigris’ Jan. 17 at Lees-McRae

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by Madison V. Fisler

Jan. 13, 2014. Becky Alghrary-McRee, former Banner Elk Resident and Lees-McRae alumna will hold a book signing for her new book, From the Catawba to the Tigris at Lees-McRae College on Friday, Jan. 17. 

The book, McRee’s fifth, recounts her many unforgettable adventures in the years she spent traveling to and from, and living in Iraq in the 1970s and 80s. 

McReeMcRee met her husband, a native of Baghdad, while interning at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte in 1964, and during the 33 years of their marriage visited his family numerous times and spent one year living in Baghdad. 

“I kept journals during those years and had adventures that were quite out of the ordinary,” said McRee. 

“One I especially remember is a ‘Woman’s Party’ or shower, that my husband’s sisters gave me to celebrate our marriage. I sat in the middle of a dusty courtyard surrounded by dancing gypsies with tambourines and guests placing silver and gold jewelry all up and down both of my arms. I also tell of visiting the ancient city of Babylon and in the north of Iraq, the Biblical city of Nineveh.”

“I lived in Baghdad for over a year, and I just loved the people that I met there,” McRee said.

“It’s so important for people to hear about the real people over there. It’s important for people to know that all of the people in the middle east are not terrorists. I hope this book lets readers know that even though they are a different culture and have a lot of different customs, there are a lot of really good people there.”

McRee said that she was inspired by the culture, the people and the way that they experienced life.

“I found in doing this that even though these people and this culture is so different, there are still the same hopes of freedom, peace, safety for their families and love. I hope when people read this they open their eyes and realize that not everything they see on TV is the whole story. These are fellow human beings, and though they are very different, they are good human beings.”

McRee spent six years on this project, beginning in the summer of 2007.  

McRee lived in Banner Elk for 11 years and write for the Avery Journal Times and occasionally for the Avery Post newspaper. She was also a freelance writer for High Country Magazine and several other publications during her years in the mountains. She will be remembered for her popular books, Mountain Magnolias and Hemlocks and Magnolias - stories of Avery and Watauga County mountain people.

A native of Catawba County, Becky is a 1963 graduate of Lees-McRae Junior College and later, a 1995 graduate of the University of North Carolina in Charlotte majoring in English and Communications-Mass Media. 

McRee lived in Charlotte for approximately 30 years and is the mother of two; a daughter, Sabryah, who lives in Key West, Florida; and a son, Joseph, who is a minister in Mooresville. She also has five grandchildren. McRee currently lives in Newton with her husband, a former Newton-Conover classmate, Michael McRee

The book signing will be held at the James H. Carson Library on the campus of Lees-McRae College from 4-6 p.m. All are welcome to meet Mrs. McRee, say hello and get a personally autographed book. Cost of the book is $18.95 plus tax. 

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