Bachelors Zwemer and Cantine were in Basrah when two Christian nurses came through on their way to Baghdad. One, Amy Wilkes, was very attractive and was asked to pour tea. Zwemer called her to see a passing caravan. As she arose her foot caught on the shawl that was covering the packing case used as a table. Most of the dishes came crashing down and she fled to the balcony in tears. The report is that Zwemer "suggested it would be fine should she stay on and break the remainder of the dishes at her convenience." In resolved pursuit, he arranged to be the Arabic teacher for the young ladies and you can guess the rest.
Amy was an amazingly suitable wife for Zwemer. He said of her: ...she worked under "circumstances and in an environment of untold discomforts and physical hardships. Naturally strong and self-reliant, she triumphed over everything bravely and hopefully. Our small, uncomfortable, three-room leaky house, without screens in the midst of the town became a center of hospitality for Arab women and children....Looking back on those early years, what she patiently endured now seems incredible."
This is a poem he wrote about her:
"Her love was like an island
In life's ocean, vast and wide,
A peaceful, quiet shelter
From the wind and rain and tide.
'Twas bound on the north by Hope,
By Patience on the west,
By tender Counsel on the south
And on the east by Rest.
Above it, like a beacon light,
Shone faith and truth and prayer;
And through the changing scenes of life
I found a haven there."