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Signs of peace cathing on in Shepherdstown

January 02, 2000|By JULIE E. GREENE

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - As Syrian and Israeli leaders begin peace talks today in Shepherdstown, there are already signs of peace all over town.

The white signs with black lettering state "peace" in English, Hebrew - "shalom" - and Arabic - "salaam" - then "It's a beautiful sight to see."

What once hung on Hali Taylor's kitchen cupboard now adorns the windows and doors of downtown shops as well as the door to at least one local church.

The signs also were available at a special prayer service for the peace talks at Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church on Saturday.

"It's simple and it's applicable," said Taylor of the Jewish-Arab coalition ad her mother cut out of a California newspaper in the late 1960s.

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"Any movement toward peace in any part of the world - it's appropriate, especially in the new millennium, appropriate we are evolving rather than devolving toward war," Taylor said.

Taylor will be recording the peace talks in her own way.

As the designated "town photographer" for the international event, she will be photographing as much of the talks as possible, as well as the media covering them.

The peace talks seemed an appropriate time to share the ad for "Peace" her mother saved for so many years, Taylor said.

For more than 20 years the original copy of the ad hung on her mother's La Jolla, Calif., kitchen cupboard.

Carrie Taylor, the first child born in the United States to parents who were Russian Jewish immigrants, "was just very interested in peace around the world," said her daughter.

"It meant a lot to her," said Hali Taylor, 47. "That sign epitomizes my mom and her whole attitude."

That's why when her mother died in 1989, Taylor brought the sign to her Shepherdstown home. After Taylor had a paper conservator with the National Archives, Susan Page, copy the yellowed, fraying sign, she hung a copy on her kitchen cupboard.

"It's part of my household. My children have grown up with it," Taylor said.

After hearing the next round of Mideast Peace Talks would take place in Shepherdstown, Taylor hung the sign on the door to the Shepherdstown Public Library, where she is the children's librarian.

Her boss, Margaret Didden, suggested she make photocopies to hand out to people.

As Taylor was walking back from Specialty Business Supplies she impulsively decided to go in a few stores and ask if they wanted a copy.

"They all said yes. It just shocked me," Taylor said.

Immediately the signs started popping up in shop windows and doors.

Taylor said her mother would be "just thrilled."

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