Sky Picture Framing in Boynton Beach did a beautiful job of framing some pictures for us last week. I enjoyed meeting the owners, Harry and his daughter Jenna. Harry was born in Adana, Turkey near the US Air Force base at Incirlik. He came to the United States 35 years ago, married a Turkish woman in New York, and got a permanent green card. Jenna and her brother were born in Brooklyn. They moved to Boca Raton when she was a senior in high school so Harry could join a cousin at Anatolia Mediterranean Restaurant. And now they have this great shop near us. I told them that Steve and I had enjoyed living in Istanbul in the summer of 1967 and asked them how they came to name their shop Sky. Originally, they had thought of “Sea” since Boynton Beach is on the ocean and Jenna’s 3-year-old son is named Deniz, Turkish for “sea.” But one day on the beach Harry was inspired by the clouds: “The Sky’s the limit!” he exclaimed. His attitude and their framing shop expresses that spirit, not with high prices, but with imaginative solutions and high quality work.
Jenna disagreed when I remarked that they were living the American dream. “Sure,” she said, “we work hard and make a good living, but we could do that in Adana. I lived there for three years and I loved it there, too. In fact, the schools there are much more rigorous. But my husband is a jazz musician and he sees more opportunities in America.”
I love the personal attention one gets at a shop like Sky Picture Framing. Their friendliness and attention to detail remind me of a shop I patronized in the 1980s, Print Time in Arlington, Virginia. The owner was Abdul Ghafari, an immigrant from Afghanistan. He displayed a certificate commending him for his work for the US Embassy in Kabul. Abdul’s six children helped out in the shop and over the years they all graduated from college. His work was impeccable and his manner, cordial. He taught me to say “khuda hafiz” when leaving the shop, which he translated as “May God be your guardian.” One day he predicted that major problems in Afghanistan would affect the wider world. That was a dozen years before 9/11. Our country is so much richer because of people like Abdul, Harry and Jenna.