Saturday, July 23, 2011

Musings on Memories of Tehran

As I polish the final draft of my memoir book, I stop to reflect on so many memories of living in Bolivia, Austria, Dominican Republic, Somalia, New Zealand, Cameroon, and Iran. If you've been following this blog you might have read my earlier post "Terrorism and Traffic" on May 28 (see blog archive on the sidebar). Iran has been on my mind even more since I joined the Facebook group, Tehran American School. This TAS group was created for former students and teachers of Tehran American School, but I felt justified in joining even though I am neither former student nor former teacher. My connection with TAS occurred at the back of our yard where the tall brick face of the high school loomed over our garden. Every weekday I picked up evidence of the stolid building's rowdy teenage occupants – wads of gum, paper airplanes made from notebook paper, cigarette butts – revealing bits of adolescent life that I preferred to keep away from my three-year-old son and two-year-old daughter.

Now, when I look at the photos on the TAS Facebook wall and read the posts of students from the graduating classes of 1975 through 1979, I am carried away by profound emotions. Even though the conditions in Tehran in those days churned with unrest and violence, these young people enjoyed their coming of age and still cherish their memories of high school days. Almost every post demonstrates deep respect for the Iranian people and the Persian culture. Our American youth who grew up in Tehran during the pre-revolutionary days do not come across as ugly – quite the contrary; these young people impress me as solid citizens of the world, compassionate and accepting of differences among nationalities.

The Facebook Tehran American School page introduced me to an outstanding novel that I want to recommend to you. Written by Anthony Roberts, TAS class of '79, Sons of the Great Satan portrays an enthralling story of a boy's coming of age -- and much more. Set in Tehran in the 1970s, this tightly written novel weaves the author's political insights throughout the thrilling action. Well-crafted scenes take the reader straight to the heart of a city on the brink of revolution. Roberts artfully draws three-dimensional characters who eloquently express a multitude of conflicting viewpoints on the place of religion and government in society.

Considering the level of current conflict in the Middle East, I see this fascinating historical novel as a must-read for anyone interested in the history and the future of that tumultuous region. Sons of the Great Satan
is available at Smashwords.com at a 50% discount until July 31, 2011.

13 comments:

  1. I'm seeing your home in Tehran being on the North West corner of the campus. Reason being is I had a health sciences class on the third floor of that corner and recall a 2 or 3 story house abutting school. I remember seeing children playing back there and someone tossed a paper airplane and the kids wanted another so soon there were several. Received this link from Anthony Roberts. Still haven't read his book. Sorry Anthony but I promise I will! Mike Mills in Alamogordo.

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  2. Wow. What a small world the internet is. A post about paper airplanes thrown into a backyard in Tehran over 30 years ago, and then the man who threw them. Mind blowing. Thank you for the post, Nancy! Anthony Roberts on the Big Island of Hawai'i.

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  3. Thank you so much for the kind words. As one TAS alum who was likely responsible for more than one object d'art that flew across the wall I would like to officially tender my apologies for anything I, or my classmates, may have done to cause you distress lo these many years ago, bebakhshid. I have only recently reconnected with many of my former schoolmates from TAS and must agree with your observations, my fellows are good people. Thanks again for your insight.

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  4. Thanks for the post. Class of '81. Lived in Tehran 75 to 78. We all loved our experience in Iran and facebook has given us a great opportunity to reconnect. Paula Gardner Myrtle Beach South Carolina.

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  5. Class of '80. attended TAS for the last two years prior to All my Good American friends had to leave my Beautiful Iran. It has been wonderful to find these GREAT men and women who I feel share the same passion I have for my Beloved country which is in Ruins Now.... God Bless you all for taking me back to the good old days.... I have Lost family and friends due to the Revolution and have lived in the USA since sept 29,1979. Kathy.P.M
    Anthony wishing you GREAT Success

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  6. Thank you so much, Mike, Anthony ("Rob"), Steven, Paula, Kathy -- This is like a family reunion! Or maybe we share a bond stronger than blood.... May we never forget those important times. And distill wisdom that we can pass along to generations to come.

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  7. Class of '81. I lived there from 1966 to 12/1978 and always enjoyed my life in Iran. Since all my childhood was in Iran it all seemed routine to me. But I do cherish all of my memories, friends and all of my other experiences around the world. I think that these experiences make us who we are. If only all people in this world had the chances that all TAS families have had.
    Stan Townsend - Bozeman, MT

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  8. Class of '81. I lived there from Dec 75- Mar 77. I left before things got ugly. All the words expressed prior I too feel. We share a strong bond that will never be broken. Many of us are very passionate about our lives that we lived in Iran and the passion will never cease. I think we all can agree that we want to share our experience Iran and it can be done on many levels. Thank you for expressing your observations and I too wish Anthony well.
    ~Lisa Rettig Huntzinger~

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  9. Stan, I agree...if only all people in this world had the chances that TAS families have had. We do need something to bring us together and help us understand each other.

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  10. And Lisa, you're right, there are many levels for sharing our experiences in and of Iran. One of the best ways is to speak our heart-felt truth.

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  11. I don't know which is more impressive -- the post or the comments. But of course the comments wouldn't be here without the post. I get goose bumps when I think about the way stories of personal experience connect people all over the globe. Amazing! Wonderful!

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  12. Sharon, I'm still searching for words that can adequately express the depth of my feelings for the TAS students who have connected on Facebook. Their shared appreciation for the experience of living in another country with a different culture gives me renewed hope that human beings everywhere can evolve to a higher level. Given the opportunity to learn more about each other we can stop pushing each other away with fear and suspicion.

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  13. Nancy, this really speaks to my heart as very dear friends of mine, two teachers and their 14 and 11 year-old daughters, just left to live in Hanoi for one year. It makes me happy to know they will make memories and have incidents that will hugely impact their lives in a positive way.
    Karen

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